For years, I’ve tried to work my way back into the middle class

Well-meaning people tried to encourage me by pointing out how far I had come. “You’re working!” they said, “You’re housed!” And the declaration I found most diminishing: “I’m so proud of you!”

I was 52 and I did not mark my progress by those measurements. Rather, I marked my progress by how far I had fallen. What did it mean that I was earning enough to rent a room in someone’s house when just a few years ago, I had owned a three-acre horse ranch in Oregon?

One of the most debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress is that people who suffer from it avoid the things that hurt them most. For me, that meant I avoided myself.

I was full of shame and self-hatred. Hatred that I—someone who had once had hundreds of thousands of dollars in the stock market—had collapsed. Hatred that I had become one of “them.” Lori Teresa Yearwood, Technology Review