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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

It’s in the little things, that is where I see it the most.  Small occurrences that most people wouldn’t notice or have a second thought about give me cause to want to run and hide.  Dropping a raw egg on the floor and feeling that icy grip of terror as it cracks is a good example.  I will become anxious and nervous if the TV is too loud because I need to hear as much as possible in the house.  My stomach turns when someone raises their voice or slams something down on a table.  I do not like to be touched; casual hugs from friends, someone leaning over my shoulder, someone cutting my hair, and so on.  I have a hard time being comfortable with it.  I have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and this is how I live my life. 
I am a survivor of child abuse.  You name it; I can safely say I have been through it.  Small things like insults and put downs to big things like being held hostage at gun point.  It is strange how these things shape you as an adult.  Most of the time I feel like I am on the outside of society looking in, like I'm playing a part in some strange theatrical production.   My emotions are deep, broken and tormenting. 
What I find to be the most odd, is that I know these things have happened to me but to look back on them is like hearing a story of someone else’s life.  It is like a fictional tale about a kid who seemed to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But the story becomes reality when something happens and all of the emotions I learned to bury as a child come flooding over me. 
I was good at buring it all.  I was raised by a person who felt the need to hide every bad thing from the world.  She taught me to lie and conceal the truth at all costs, even if it meant I had to return to a bad situation. When I would let her know someone was hurting me she would immediately defend them, or have me repeat “it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen” over and over again in hopes I would forget.  It would not be until the abuser turned on her would she be willing to talk about anything and usually it was talking about how to save her from the situation. My parents divorce was so bad that I was court ordered into therapy, each time I was dropped off for a session; I was coached on what to say and what not to tell.  I learned to protect the abuser at all costs, and I did it beautifully.  Now that I am an adult, I no longer have to keep anyone’s secrets.  I can instead be honest with anyone who cares to learn about it, I can tell the truth about what happened to me. And THAT my dear reader, is the most liberating thing I have ever experienced. 
This is information that I do not generally share with everyone.  If you know me well then you probably know some of the stories.  What I often find is that people are so impressed at how easy I am to talk too and how much I seem to understand what they are going through.  It amazes me how much everyone needs to talk.  I just listen, I'm not comfortable with telling too much.  It can be off putting.  Like I am sure at the beginning of this post when I said I was held hostage at gun point, you considered clicking away.  Thinking surely she's making this up.  I wish I were.  But it is what it is and it's made me who I am.  I am not ashamed of my past and I hope that if you experienced the same you are not ashamed either.  You have no reason to be.  You can not be responsible for what happened to you when you were a child.  That was their flaw, not yours.  As a kid you have no rights, and even less of a voice. 
If you know of a child that is in an abusive situation, please speak up.  Too many people saw what I was going through but did not say anything because they didn't think it was their place.  If just one person would have come forward my childhood could have been very different.  It is easy to find resources for reporting child abuse online.  Protect the child not the abuser. 
The last thing I want to say is please do not pity me.  I am not a victim, I am a survivor. 


  1. and yet you decided to enter into a loving situation, and raised a fantastic child. I'd say you are not only a survivor, but a thriver. You are a wonderful neighbor; and a kind and considerate human being.

  2. Jeff you are always so kind. Thank you so much

  3. Thank you for sharing Martha, I believe the only way to heal ourselves is to share and be open and honest. Hiding it is the worst thing, I am sorry someone didn't protect you when you were a child and had you lie. I NEVER want my children to lie ever. When my oldest daughter came to me with her story, I believed her, I made sure she did not have to have contact alone with the person, I let that person know that I knew and that I believed her. I was abused as a child with words and beatings by my step mother... I then chose a man to marry that abused me over and over with words and then finally raped me... I am here to tell you I am not just a survivor, I am a winner and you will be too with each time you tell your story and help other people to know it is more than okay to share. Secrets are not good, these kind of secrets hurt. Amazing blog post, I was completely and totally touched.

    1. Thank you for sharing and a massive thumbs up for doing what needed to be done to protect your child. It amazes me how cruel people can be to children. I am sorry for what you have gone through but glad to hear you have over come the obsticle.

    2. Thank you for being brave and honest. Our past pain can make us more tenderhearted, giving people, if we face it and find healing. If your abuse included sexual abuse, as my did, you may want to take a look at my book. It is faith-based, and includes stories, questions, bible reflection and prayers. May you continue to bring hope to others by sharing your heart.

    3. Awesome post! I also suffer from PTSD and have since I was 17.. My best friend was shot in the head and killed right in front of me, his brains blown all over my face. Then as an adult I served in combat more than once and saw many bad things as a police officer later in life..

      People with PTSD need loving and supporting friends and family. People who even though they can't understand the trauma, can show compassion and caring..

      I only found people who laughed at me, put me down and called me names because of the way I was.. That was until I recently decided to make changes in my life.. The PTSD is still there but surrounding myself with good and caring people has helped..

      Very few people know my story but you inspired me to share a little of it.. If I went into detail this post would become a book..

      Thank you for the post, it was AWESOME!

    4. Thank you for your service to this country and your community. It took strength to keep a calm head with all of that. I know you are living a more peaceful life now and you have earned that! Keep looking up :)

  4. Martha I chose you for a blogger award :)


    1. Thank you very much Launna, you are too kind!