PTSD

I’ve experienced many PTSD episodes related to smells. I have not ever experienced an episode due to a physical interaction. 

If I smell certain smells that remind me of the men that abused me then I have a predicatable response. I dissociate. I become a robot. I will have manic thoughts, manic actions. It takes time to come back. Someone can help me to come back. On occasion if I can catch it, I will practice the coping/therapy skills of staying present by focusing on an object. The other predictable response is to freeze. I am paralyzed. I have not one thought. I am simply gone. I have left my body and I can see myself there but I cannot speak. I cannot move. I’ve experience both of these PTSD symptoms often. 

But something new happened. Something different. This was in a physical interaction. I immediately went back to the actual event. But I don’t even remember the event happening. I was just a child. I felt JUST like a child. I felt small. I felt afraid. I felt helpless. I looked at my own arm and I didn’t recognize it. I looked at the person I was with and I didn’t recognize him. I was not there. I was transported to an event I do not even recall. I could not come back. I thought I was lost forever. I felt like I had lost my sense of self. I didn’t know who I was or where I was. I barely remember the rest of the day. 

I’ve been in trauma therapy for…I’m not sure how long now…6 months maybe? There are so many layers of trauma. PTSD is not a simple diagnosis with a simple cause. Learning how to cope takes time. This new event will need more work. It is hard to work when I am so tired. But I will. 

This week has been hard for me. I am suffering. 

I worry PTSD will kill me. 

I worry the past traumas will take me to the brink and that one person will push me right over. 

This week felt like that week. 

Therapy put things in perspective for me. My therapist helped me to put those who have hurt me where they belong. They cannot and should not have that kind of power over me. So I put them all in my hand and dumped them. Dumped their actions and their words. As soon as I did that, they lost power. As it should be. She helped bring back my power. She brought me back to me. 

I asked, I wonder if the family member who hurt me after knowing exactly what my current situation is knows the harm she caused. Will they ever stop? No they won’t. My family is so wrapped up in their family secrets and me speaking even a fraction of them has made me the enemy. One day, I don’t know when that will be, maybe not even until heaven, they will see that I am not, nor was ever the enemy. The abusers are. Only the abusers. No she does not care that she hurt me. None of my family does. They would have to be able to really see to put the blame on those who deserve the blame. But they still don’t know all of the truth. They are so scared of what I wil reveal. The secrets I have revealed are directly related to me and have impacted me. Their secrets are their own to face. I can only pray they stop penetrating the protective wall I am trying to build. I more pray that I stop allowing them to make me feel worthless and as if I would be better off dead. They push me to wishing I were dead. Every time. Each one of them. If they only knew the secrets that I withheld to protect their hearts. If they only saw in me what everyone else does. Only my family members see me as the villain. And they have had more weight than those who see me as the loving being that I am. I’ve given them to weight. I’ve given them too much power over me. 

So things needed to be put in perspective. The PTSD is not going away and I cannot have one family member penetrate the protective barrier and push me over the edge again. 

So my therapist helped me. My husband helped me. My friends helped me. Those who really know and love me put everything in perspective. 

A kind neighbor’s compliment put things in perspective. 

Another kind neighbor brought me a gift today, putting things in better perspective. 

I went on a 2 hour walk with my husband and we looked at the birds, the sky, and talked like we had not a care in the world. Love can put things in perspective. 

Those bad memories are there. Those bad people who slip through the cracks of my barrier and try to stomp out my will, do appear. This world is full of triggers, narcissists, hateful people who have no idea that their words could be my breaking point. This world is also full of compassionate people who have no idea that their actions have saved me. 

I am thankful that the scales have shifted from the bad weighing me down to the good lifting me up. Thank God I have a husband who reminds me that I am not small, I am not worthless, I am not the words that have been said to me or the way those words made me feel by my family and by the men who have abused me. He reminds me that I matter and that I am loved and that I am more than I could ever imagine I can be. I watched the owls with him today. And the owls watched us. For those moments I wasn’t the girl that had been raped. I wasn’t the child that had been molested. I wasn’t the adult dealing with PTSD. I wasn’t that member of the family that was wrongly attacked. I  wasn’t the woman who had a flashback earlier. I was with my husband out under God’s great sky. I was just a woman, a wife, a mother, living in the moment of good. God knows my heart. He knows the things I have done for others for no one to see but God and that other person. God knows. All of the people in the nursing home that I helped. All the animals I saved. God knows my heart that I have given unconditionally. Those who cannot see into my heart can no longer take up space in my brain nor can they have the power to make me feel like my life does not matter. 

PTSD is excruciating and life altering. I have no control over that. I do have control over who I allow into my life. People can be dangerous. Especially those who know I am fighting for my life here while fighting for my daughters as well and are willing to stab me in the back anyway. Keep your eyes open. Put up your boundaries and barriers. If you are fighting PTSD you don’t need to be fighting insensitive people too. 

I can’t say , “be strong,” because you may not feel you can be. I can say, “find your owl.” Right now, all I can do is hold my husband’s hand, pray for guidance and protection and healing, and look into the eyes of my owl. We can only do what we can do! Right now, that’s all I can do. 

67 thoughts on “PTSD

  1. It has made sex so difficult for me that I barely bother. In fact sex can turn into flashbacks. I am dying to be hugged sometimes. People are happy to hack shit and bitch about someone like me. They poop themselves when I actually hear their smartass jibes. I have meditation and incredible physical health. I suppose they are scared. I could never have afforded to be as sloppy in my behavior as them.
    The government pays me a pension to shut up. I would love to participate. I volunteer my considerable skills and experience. People need grunts like me to pick.up their shit so they can get drunk and shout out how how good they are. Bless them.

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  2. I’m sorry to hear about your PTSD reactions. Very painful indeed to have to go through, even if the effect is dissociation. Yes, smell is the sense that triggers memory stronger than any other sense. As hard as doing therapy is, I’m glad you’re taking it on. So many people just can’t deal with it and spend their lives doing all sorts of things to avoid pain. Along my own road of healing, taking back my own power and setting personal boundaries are a must. Do what you need to hold your ground, especially now, when you’re so raw and open. I’m glad you have support. As far as I’ve come in my own healing journey, I had another level of personal boundary issues come up very recently. It was painful and very ugly, and a lot of progress is being made.

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    • Seems we are going through the journey together. I suppose there will always be those who invade our boundary. Those who bring ugly. And we have to restrengthen. Thank you for sharing that.
      I’ve been to different therapists my entire life but never found the right one until now that did specialized trauma therapy in a way that my body and mind can really understand. She has been very helpful. Thanks for your comment !

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  3. I’m sorry you’ve developed new symptoms, your struggle is difficult enough already. I think one of the hardest things to do if your PTSD is caused by the actions of other people (and not just by some random natural disaster) is to find a balance between protecting yourself from those who will hurt you, and finding joy and healing through human connection. Trust is hard, and isolation crushes your spirit. I am inspired as always by your ability to still see beauty around you.

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    • Ah thank you. I do see the beauty. And you are so right. Removing those that caused harm and still cause harm is imperative to healing and NOT letting anyone of them back in if they are capable at all of siding with the abusers. I live and I learn and I grow a little more each day and change my decisions to protect my self a little more. It is difficult because I never had boundaries before so creating them and upholding them is still a challenge. Thank your for your insight!

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  4. Pingback: PTSD By Bethany K – The Militant Negro™

  5. I’m so sorry. PTSD is no joke. It’s not fair. I’ve had a PTSD episode at work due to an a physical interaction. I was at work and I saw a woman that looked like my mother when she was younger. I was freaking out. I thought I was going to freak out in front of everyone. I got so scared. I kept looking around to see her, but I found I couldn’t breathe very easily. I was so scared. It scared the shit out of me. She eventually left and I was able to breathe easier. Oh man. Scary. I love that you are going to therapy and that your therapist is a big help to you. You gotta do what you gotta do. At the end of the day you have to do what’s best for you. It doesn’t matter who thinks what about it and who did what to you. You have to do what’s best for you. Your family and those that hurt you are just fucking stupid and that’s all I’ll say about that. I’m so proud of you. I really am. I love the pictures and especially the owl. That’s awesome. I love you. I truly do. You are a rare breed my dear one. Sending you my loving vibes and a huge ass hug!!!

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    • Oh I am so sorry you had that experience.
      It is so hard.
      I’ve been in therapy off and on my whole life but never have I had a trauma therapist who specializes in PTSD and she has helped me immensely.
      Thank you for your always support and loving words. Love to you friend!

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      • Thank you. Yeah it wasn’t fun. I would love to tell people who think this stuff doesn’t exist that it does. But they won’t believe me even if I tell them. That’s awesome. I’m glad she has been able to help you. You are so welcome my dear. That’s what friends are for. But to me you are not just my best friend, but you are like my sister. I love you too!

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  6. So we came home from vacation and my mother in law cleaned the house. Spotless. Kids rooms. Bathroom. Laundry room. My daughter was upset. Her ptsd. Triggered. She was raped in her room. Her privacy invaded. I gave her space. 30 minutes went by she came to me and said how she felt. I asked why do you feel that way? What’s the connections? Was that triggered feelings? Was it really that nana cleaned your room? She said mom in making the connections. I know where it’s from. I commended her for being able to voice her feelings and connections out loud. That’s big! I try to prompt her to the conclusion lead her to it. So she can gain control. Such a simple thing as a clean room. Can be a trigger. Making the connections not allowing the bad guy( no matter who it is) to have the power and control is so important in coping long term with ptsd. Keep working. Keep fighting. We all need to support each other and need each other’s support. 😉

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  7. The gratitude in your heart makes me smile. In spite of everything you have an inspiring way of reconnecting to what’s good; a kind word, nature (I love your owl), the people who love you. You have so many strengths. ❤️

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    • Thank you friend. I love you too. I just wrote a poem on my blog, thinking about all of those who don’t support us, those who are insensitive and cruel by choosing everything but us.
      Poetry is a way for me to let them go and release them.
      When I write, poetry it is not the part of me that I share with the world usually. It is the depths of pain and the choices others have made that got me into this strugggle I am in.
      Anyway…another night of no sleep for me. I’ve tried but it just isn’t happening. I hope you all got rest.

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  8. Having PTSD I know all to well how smells, sounds and events can trigger memories. I hate it and I will always hate it. I have been trying to deal with it when it happens but it never gets easier really. Stay strong…know that you are not alone. I understand.

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    • Thanks for understanding. I am learning more understand than I thought because they experience it. I only thought I had smell triggers but have learned I have many more than that. It sucks. It’s awful. My therapist told me today to remind myself by looking in the mirror “I am a strong 45 year old” and do it all day so that when I do have a PTSD moment maybe I will come back quicker. Something I am trying

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