PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.
It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger. –National Institute of Mental Health
Many people equate PTSD with soldiers, when in fact, most of the people who suffer from it are survivors of childhood abuse. I’m one of the latter.
I’ll refer to people involved by the first initial of their first name- unless two are the same, then one will be the first letter of both their first and middle names.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when it all started, but I know it was when I was very young. R came into my life for good when I was about two years old. I know that for as long as I can remember, I loathed him and feared him.
He drilled it into my head how I should behave- because I’m a girl. For years, he mentally and emotionally abused myself, and my mother. I wanted to go to Duke University from a young age. It was one of my dreams. I was a girl who loved fun, loved hanging out with my friends, had many dreams, and hope. Over time, R chipped away at that. Little by little.
I didn’t know what emotional and mental abuse were until years later. Even then, I never put the two together with how he treated us. I could do nothing right. I was in the wrong for everything. No crying, no speaking up, etc.
Years came and went, and I started acting out when I was about 13. I didn’t care. Nothing anyone did stopped me. There was this hole that I couldn’t fill.
The first time I cut, I was 14. Nothing major. I don’t even remember why, to be honest. Little did I know that would be my first addiction. Every day for 5 years I bled. Every day for 5 years, I called myself weak for not going deeper. For not just ending it all. Oh, I planned. Over and over. I planned how I wanted to die, and was always too scared. What if I failed? How much shit would I be in? Was all I could think.
The last time I saw, or spoke, to R…I was 17. Just hearing his voice made it feel like I had rocks in my stomach.
Life got worse. And worse.
When I was 18, I was living with J. I blacked out. When I came to, the bathroom was covered in blood, and I was in the middle of it. J was pissed that he had to clean it up, and bandage my arms. Not once did he show any type of concern for me.
The first time I tried to get clean, I was 18. It’s hard. People don’t connect cutting with addiction, but it is. The longest I’ve gone without since then was 2-3 years. That’s it. 14 years I’ve been struggling with this. 14 years of being an addict to something that I used to turn to when I could hear R in my head. Putting me down, mocking me, and more. When I could hear him screaming in the other room, over the music blaring from my headphones.
It wasn’t until 2013 that I was diagnosed. I didn’t think before that that I’d ever be told I’d have that. Just like many others, I associated PTSD with war, and the military. I was wrong.
It does involve a war, a war in your head.
I saw his picture one day, and had a panic attack. I haven’t seen R in 11 years, and he still reduced me to that. I shut down, and it felt like my world was coming down around me.
I’d always held this gut feeling that he’d done more, but never voiced my thoughts. I was wrong. I had to be. No one would believe me. No one would believe the mental case, right?
Finally, I did. I told my mother about the thoughts I had, and had it confirmed. He’d also sexually abused me. To what manner, I’ll never know. I don’t remember much before the age of about 6-7. It hurts to try, so I don’t.
Finding that out hit hard. In fall of 2012, I was raped by someone I thought was a friend. With those two things on my shoulders, I went through what I’m sure many did. Blaming themselves. Thinking they deserved it. I still struggle with thinking anything different.
I know that I need to face these things to move past them, but all I want is to lock them away and forget about them.
I’m still a victim. I live every day with the consequences of one person. I’m scared, and I’m broken. The smallest things can send me spiraling into a mess of a person. Leaving me in a state of depression and suicidal thoughts for days. Anger overflowing at the life that I once wanted. The personality that was buried, and died somewhere along the way. Thoughts race through my head, adding fuel to my rage.
How is this fair? How can he live happily while I have to fight to make it through the day? How can he walk into public while being such a monster, where the thought of being around more than a handful of people scares me more than I can describe? How can he be so happy when I’m far from the mother my kids deserve? The mother I hoped to be? Why does he get to actually live, while I have to think every action through. Will drinking this finally be the time I become an alcoholic? Will I fall back into smoking? Will I relapse again? Will I have a panic attack while shopping? Will tomorrow be a bad day? Will tomorrow go fairly smoothly?
I am constantly on guard. And it’s not fair. I finally sucked it up and asked for help.
I don’t expect to be some outgoing person. All I want is to live without all the shit that comes from years of abuse. To be able to get my license. To make phone calls for myself. To get a job. To not need to walk away from doing dishes because the knives are right there. I want to live! Not just fucking survive.