I look at my child face here and I think about the life before me at that point. You don’t look at this picture and think, one day this child will be molested. One day this child will be used and maipulated and alone. One day this child will feel like she doesn’t want to live anymore because of the lack of support of everyone around her,in her darkest days following the child abuse. I look at this face and I think…I deserved so much better! I DESERVE so much better! You don’t look at this face and think, she will have PTSD one day. This face turns into a 44 year old woman who has PTSD.
I was recently told by a family member that she believed my blog was unhealthy. I have been told by other family members that I need to just leave the past in the past. My psychiatrist says that my blog is very healthy AND therapeutic! I tend to go with the thoughts of my psychiatrist rather than opinionated family members who have never had my best interests at heart. Regardless of anyone’s opinion of why I write or what I write, the fact remains that a person that is diagnosed with PTSD does not have the luxury of just leaving the past in the past. When I was diagnosed a few weeks ago with this , it put my life in a much better perspective for me. I understood why I was triggered by certain things. I understood what these triggers represented and why in this present time, the past is still affecting me. It is beyond my comprehension, why I have seen so many therapists in my life and none have properly diagnosed me. Getting the proper diagnosis can lead to profound healing. It simplifies otherwise very complicated emotions and behaviors. It explains a lot! It explains the nightmares I have had my entire life. It explains why feeling vulnerable or helpless brings up emotions that I did not understand. It explains the anxiety, panics, depression, and isolated feelings.
I briefly thought that if my family had known I had this diagnosis then perhaps they would have treated me with more understanding. I quickly realized that if knowing I was molested didn’t get me understanding then getting a diagnosis of PTSD wouldn’t. In reflecting on this diagnosis and my family more, it puts them in a different light. Post traumatic stress disorder. Post trauma. Post stress because of the trauma. If everyone in my life, throughout my life, had done what they should have, then my stress level would not be so high right now. So how can I NOT look at the past when looking toward my future. I weed through my past. I trudge through it to learn more about how I got to where I am and how to best move forward from that. If I don’t understand how I got here then I cannot very well move past it. IF the trauma that I endured when I was a child was handled differently by everyone around me, then I would not be right here right now struggling with this level of PTSD. The PTSD is not only from being molested but ALSO and most importantly from feeling vulnerable, helpless, and alone. Which Is why I look at this little girl’s innocent face and think, she deserved better!
I don’t claim to be an expert on PTSD. I have only heard the word used in the past for soldiers. Do people tell a soldier who has PTSD to just “let it go?” Why is it ok to tell a sexual abuse victim to let it go? Are war veterans validated who have PTSD ? Sexual abuse survivors aren’t. Granted I know many more sexual abuse survivors than I do war veterans and I have a feeling, even though I don’t know it for a fact, that if sexual abuse survivors are told to just move on and let it go, then war veterans are too. Please don’t think I am comparing the two. I am just saying I have, in the past, heard PTSD used in soldiers and until now I did not know it could be a diagnosis for a child who was molested. I have always heard it associated with veterans. In either case, telling someone with PTSD to just let go of the past is ludacrist. If they could do that don’t you think they would? Does the person telling you to move forward expect you to say, ” Oh my gosh you are right!!! I never thought about letting go of the past and moving forward, but now that you say it, yes, yes, I will do just that! Next time I get triggered and have a full on panic attack, leave my body, find my self balled up on the floor crying, I will just remember what you said and that will get me through it!” No it doesn’t work that way. Which is why these unwarranted comments need to stop.
So I now have a name that pretty much sums up what I go through on a daily basis. If you can look at the child in the picture above and give her compassion and love and empathy then you should also be able to give this 44 year old woman the same. We are the same person! I have a diagnosis that was compeltely PREVENTABLE!!!!!! My diagnosis required someone to cause me trauma. I just keep looking at this picture and thinking a man chose to give this little girl PTSD for the rest of her life. Anyone who can then judge me or my emotions because of HIS choice makes them just as bad as he was because they are perpetuating the trauma.
The fact is I cannot undo what has been done to me. I can try and minimize it’s affects as best as I can. I am trying new medications and seeking diffeent kinds of therapy. This seems to now open the door to new and more comments from others. People weighing in on what meds I shouldn’t take, how dangerous meds can be, and using my knowledge of seeing a psychiatrist against me. Now that they know I am seeing a psychiatrist they can choose to not listen and say, ” Well maybe you should talk to your psychiatrist about that.” Hmm I was unaware that seeing a psychiatrist meant that I can nolonger make decisions on my own and needed to run everything by her or that I needed to be told which things in my life required a psychiatrists approval! But alas, this is why mental health has the stigma it does. More secrets are kept because of these exact people.
My life is not a secret. My blog is about not keeping anyone elses secrets but it is also about not feeling I need secrets of my own to hide behind. It is about not feeling shame about anything that was a result of sexual abuse. I am not ashamed that I am seeing a psychiatrist! I SHOULD be seeing one! She is brilliant and an expert on not only medications but other mental health issues. I am not ashamed I have PTSD. Why would I be? I didn’t choose to have this trauma! I have no shame and I have no secrets.
The best advice I can give to those who want to make comments to a 44 year old sexual abuse survoor in regards to ANYTHING is look at the picture of that little girl and think about her. Really look at her first. Then come back to me and only choose loving supportive words that will help me in my life right now. You don’t need to worry about my future or my past. You definitely do no t know what is best for me. SO just look at that little girl, know she is me, and realize that she deserves better…Then be that better.