Overcoming PTSD

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Walking on a spring evening in Golden Acre Park – Leeds

I have to do this. Releasing my thoughts onto the world like an eagle spreading its wings above a small stone, but at this moment in time my story has a beginning and no end. I am still in the process of understanding my story, my past and present. It haunts me day after day like a crazy killer on the loose repeatedly stabbing me in the back, in the chest, in my head and in my eyes.

I get up and get on. However for the past 2 years it has eaten me up and there is nothing left in me, I feel empty and numb, sometimes I like it numb, I can numb certain people out of my life, I am a pro at this. You see me and I give you the illusion of ‘I’m listening’.

Just as I gather myself it chases after me again. The killer is let loose.

Just imagine that for a second.

Now imagine this, I am ready to release this image, this symbol of pain and it’s acquaintances – they are;

Low self esteem

Low confidence

Extreme fear

Immense feelings of betrayal

Lifelong loneliness

and tears that never dry.

The stress is real and I am living it, the circumstances which made me a strong independent women are now breaking me, pounding in my face as a reminder of the bad experiences, what I have achieved despite the difficulties is not enough to erase those memories.

So I ask myself why now? Why now?

At least it’s now and not later, maybe?

Releasing all of this in writing is painful yet it is needed for me to overcome and understand my life and what it has made me.

Overcoming PTSD started at the age of 27, I said to a crowded room that I am a carer, economically and socially underprivileged and abused by those I cared for, experienced homelessness and witnessed terrifying violence and people in my life leaving the world too soon.

It has taken me 17 years to say this aloud, to accept and acknowledge this is what I am, I know this sounds insignificantly small to some people but it meant that I no longer pretended to be someone else. Of course I was encouraged to speak out by a supportive group of people around me at the time, fallen in to a group so supportive by chance and destiny, I felt their openness about their own struggles pushed me to do the same.

That small act of acknowledging the fact that I am a carer, that this is what I have done for the majority of my life unleashed the power within me, the power which enabled me to overcome. I then started to talk about all the other things that made me.

Still the trauma attempts to attach it self to me sometimes, in different ways and places and sometimes in peoples faces and actions. Maybe these snippets of trauma are there to show me that I am not superhuman and yes we have complex minds which our very beings will never understand.

Life’s complex situations and experiences has taught me that your past will catch up with you. I would now give advice to my younger self, I would say to my self – take your time, relax, play and be silly, do not carry the burden of the world on your shoulders if you don’t want too and most importantly you don’t have to.

I just wish someone was there to tell me this, but nobody really did. I imagined they were and comforted myself in the ‘adult’s’ presence. I know now as an adult that I would not do what they did.

So now as I sit as a 28 year old thinking, why did they not help me? I realised the comfort I found as a child was imaginary and I no longer have a child’s imagination, therefore I am struggling to comfort myself. The counsellor said imagine your younger self hugging you. This helped me, but strangely I turned on my younger self and questioned her. Maybe this was the snippet of trauma seeping in again – low self esteem or confidence, or the inability to love my self.

I have always used faith and religiosity to attempt healing but this is not enough now. I have used strangers, friends and cliché techniques such as self care tasks to help my self. I have run that hot bath and I have watched that famous soap opera, eaten so much chocolate its made me sick and used nearly every new face mask on the scene.

What has really helped is a connection with people, relating to those who have suffered and overcome, having a listening ear, a sympathetic face and a hug. A walk with no anxieties about getting home on time and daily, weekly or even monthly tasks that push me ever so slightly into changing. I don’t need people to tell me what to do, I need people to hold my hand and tell me I am true, I am right and I will be better someday.

9th January 2017.

Categories mental healthTags

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