Me and PTSD

I have lived with the after-effects of male violence for most of my life . I wish to write about what it is like.

The way I see trauma is that it is an outside force pouring poison into the “victim”. I say this because I feel that it is no accident to have trauma. It is not a mental disease, although it does affect mental welfare.

When the outside force is male violence , then trauma is a natural reaction to such hatred.

When living with male violence, I felt nothing. I thought I was hard. Thought if I did not feel, then nothing would matter.

I was not living, I was just breathing.

It was a time that I refused to see. I was in a place where I could not see an exit, so I pretended I did not care.

Now, it is another life time ago, I can let myself feel.

For me, this begun by finding that I was believed.

I had always thought that my reality could not be spoken about. I could not believe my own reality – why would anyone else. I could not understand why I live with so much violence – and not be dead.

It made no sense.

But, I got to the point of collapse after a rape too many. I lost the energy to keep my silence.

When I saw I was believed, words would not stop. I spoke for three years. I cannot remember what I said. All I know was I could feel the ice breaking in my body.

It was then I had body memories. For me, this is the hardest part of trauma. I get and have terrible pains thoughout my body. When I see a doctor, there is only minor things physically wrong with me.

It is all in the mind.

The pain I get is all down the left side of my body, especially my leg, arm and ear. I get many pains in the parts of my body where I was abused. But, as I was abused in almost every part of my body, I cannot predict where the pain will come from.

I have found the pain is not a bad thing. It reminds to remember my truth. I often get pain when I running away from my life. Pain slows me down, and helps me reflect. Pain makes me write to express reality, not the fantasy others may have of my life.

As I slowly uncovered my reality, I am getting space for becoming the person I can be. I have found that I enjoy relaxing. This I never known.

When I lived with male violence, I never stop being on alert. I live tense. I was used to catnapping, never allowing myself to be so vulnerable as to sleep. I thought it was normal to be on guard.

Now, if someone said I am laid back, I see that as a massive compliment.

I let myself enjoy my pleasures without wanting to keep others happy, or to stop them being angry. I do not feel a need to have to pleased others if I do not trust them.

This is important, for I have learnt to know I have an instinct for violent men. That was always there in me, but when I lived with male violence, I made myself ignored my gut reaction.

I remember the first time I meet my stepdad, I hated him, and had a strange feeling of fear. But, being a good girl who like to please, I smiled at him. This is how I was for too much of my life. If I was not being polite, I was silent.

Now, I feel if I don’t trust and like men it does not matter. For, I will not give the benefit of the doubt, to have it smashed over my head.

What I never know would happen is by being more selective about who I will trust, have made me a lot closer to my male relatives who are trustworthy. As I defreeze, I have my Dad and my brothers back in my life. This gives me so much.

As I see clearer, I see my abusers as sadistic criminals. They had no pity for me, so I will have no pity for them. I will write, speak and remember them for who they were -not as they forced me to see them. I know that their violence was planned. I know I was abused because I was a girl or woman who happen to be in their eye-line. It could of been any girl or woman.

I was never the cause. The men who went out of their way to destroy my life hated all women and girls.

As I grow into PTSD, I have found that I can feel grief.

This feels like a victory. I have always been so hard on myself. Always punishing myself for “letting” the violence happened to me. When I feel grief, I feel pity and compassion for who I had to be. I can see my past self, and do not want to shout at her – but, instead I want to hug her and give her hot chocolate. I know she may hit out at me – but I can hang on in there.

I think I have said enough for now, I am sure I will write again about trauma. It is not the whole of me, but it is a part I no longer run away from.

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9 responses to “Me and PTSD

  1. Rebecca, it’s interesting that you are experiencing discomfort on the left side of your body. On a metaphysical level the left side of the body symbolises the ‘female essence’ and the ‘past’ this sounds as though your bodies ‘remembering’ is starting to process stuff. Which would make complete sense.

    Pleased you’ve took the blog plunge 🙂

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  2. Thanks Sparkle – it great to hear from you.
    I am sure that pain in my left side is because I am able to see, feel and know my past for what it was. And not to continue to live by blanking out who I was.
    Unfortually my body memories are extremly painful, and too often it affects my day-to-day existence. Also, I have these pains for over ten years – so I am bored of it.
    But, I also know that I cannot go back to when I lived by being dead inside.
    I will remember and say my truth. I know I can have that power. For I know I can slow down, in order that I have the strength to go forward.

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  3. That explains exactly what it’s like for me (not the pain down the left side, but the muscle spasms and migraines started coming out when my PTSD finally caught up with me.) I never worked as a prostitute, but I did spend 15+ years of my life dead inside just freezing whenever someone assaulted me. I need pills to put me to sleep, and only behind locked doors. I’m sick of it too and it’s annoying and I’m pissed.

    Thank you for your brave words. It is my belief that the more people who speak out, the more people who will speak out, and eventually people will have to listen.

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  4. Hello Lost Clown, thank-you for writing. I really enjoy reading Angry for a Reason, such a great title.
    I so sorry that you have PTSD as well. I send good wishes to you. Having male violence reaching out through trauma into women’s day-to-day existence does really piss me off. But, I believe that you and the many other women who have lived with male are extremly strong and will give a lot to the world.
    You are right to say –
    “that the more people who speak out, the more people who will speak out, and eventually people will have to listen.”

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  5. Hey Rebecca,

    This blog is awesome and you are awesome. I’m so proud of you. I really look forward to reading more of what you have to say. And I am so privileged to have you as a friend. You are such an inspiration.

    dani

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  6. Hi Rebecca,

    Well, this is another unbelievably courageous account from you. Well-done!

    I am so sad to hear that you have suffered all this appalling male violence and that you have those pains.

    Interesting comments made by Sparkle*Matrix and LC, and a brave comment made by Lost Clown, by the way!

    I agree with Allecto: This blog is awesome and you are awesome, Rebecca!

    You wrote: “I never stop being on alert. I live tense. I was used to catnapping, never allowing myself to be so vulnerable as to sleep. I thought it was normal to be on guard.”

    Yeah, I also feel that way sometimes…

    P.S.: Thanks for your kind words about my new blog (http://maggiehaysagainstporn.blogspot.com) that you sent me via email today!

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  7. This piece is up at Abyss2Hope site under the Carnival Against Sexual Violence Section. It is a fantastic site, so I feel very honoured.

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  8. Thank-you Patricia, I really appreciate that you have read my blog. Your blog is really moving and beautiful. Love, Rebecca,

    Like

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