It Begins with Me

Posts tagged ‘complex trama’

We are People

“I am a fat person. I am a person that is fat. I am a woman that is fat. I am more than my weight. I hate my weight. I accept that my husband loves me as I am. I wish I loved me as I am. I am a person. We are all persons. Persons are People. People deserve to be loved. People deserve to be people.”

I’m going to try to do one paragraph at the start of each article that shows my mental state and my train of thought.

One of the pervasive truths about me is that I have struggled with mental health my entire life. When I say my entire life, I mean, my ENTIRE life in memory. As far back as I can go in memory, I struggled with mental health, identifying reality, and feeling safe and secure in ME. My whole life.

I was never protected or cherished. I was also in process of struggling for perfection, not only in my own mind but through outside forces, be that my teachers, my mother, my family, my friends, or just my perception of those things. I grew up knowing that love was conditional and could be lost in a moment’s mistake. I cried myself to sleep half the time and the other half I stared at the darkness until sleep finally took me.

It was not a pleasant childhood.

I was subjected to physical and emotional abuse by family members, primarily my mother. I was sexually mistreated and/or outright violated by childcare providers, my mother’s friends and/or boyfriends/husbands, associated people in my mother’s circle of friends (children of said friends, and their friends, etc.), and trusted members of my own family.

I was mentally unstable as early as three or four years old, and struggled with discerning reality from fantasy as far back as I can remember. I had my first psychotic break around 8 years old and again at 14.

I was raised in a form of Christianity that makes most Christians cringe. There is a cult of personality deep within the right-wing fringe groups of Christian faith, who believe in demons and angels, and the very fiber of their faith casts doubt on what is real and what is pure delusional fantasy. It comes as no real shock that I struggled with reality with that knowledge in hand, but it doesn’t change where it left me by the time I was on my own at 15 years of age.

I did survive, obviously. And threw myself into therapy when I was approaching 30 because I wanted children and I didn’t want to visit on them the nightmare that my childhood was. That choice changed the course of my life is likely why I am still alive today, with children of my own and a relatively stable life to live.

Yes, this entire entry is TMI. But it’s important, I think, to understand where I come from and why I hold some pretty determined opinions about certain things, primarily religion and self worth as well as actualized rights of personhood and where boundaries should be placed to keep that intact.

I have what is called “complex trauma” or, more easily known, PTSD. Realizing this, and facing this, was a long path. Originally my “diagnosis” was long and scary, and I thought of myself as permanently damaged and non-treatable. I came to understand that I am more than my diagnosis and with new information over the last few years, I’ve come to see myself in a completely different light.

https://www.nctsn.org/what-is-child-trauma/trauma-types/complex-trauma

Now that I understand a little more about myself, things have shifted away from self-hate and self-deprecation to self-love and the struggle to see myself as a perfectly viable PERSON that has a right to survive. I never saw myself that way until I started working in social work and met people as damaged as myself, but less able to navigate – for whatever reason. I came to understand that a few well placed shrinks and some inner dialog had given me tools that other people simply never had.

This in turn, gave me a mission – to help those less fortunate and understand that despite my childhood, there were good things and good responses to bad things that had given me some pretty amazing tools to handle the trauma. That’s not saying I didn’t have and don’t STILL have terrible ways to handle my past, but those ways are all in process and being slowly re-taught.

Part of the formula was, in fact, my own innate intelligence. That was one of the more difficult things to see in the mirror – that I was, actually, very intelligent and learned to land on my feet and run to survive, and this is part of why I am “far saner than I have any right to be” (according to shrinks in the past).

I learned to dissociate and to separate from the trauma happening to me, to try to preserve a core self that was actually a good, healthy, kind person. While on it’s face, dissociation is seen as a bad thing, in truth (to a child’s psyche) it is a healthier way than to shatter or break into non-fixable pieces. Instead, I simply “pretended” it wasn’t happening, or I wasn’t there, in an effort to insulate my tender heart and mind.

Yes, these created their own issues, but they are fixable issues.

Learning to see yourself as a person, a normal, everyday person, is a challenge to the damaged. We’re told by society, our abusers, and even doctors and shrinks (sometimes) that we’re not repairable. Psychiatry, in the past, gave us long-worded diagnosis and shoved meds into our mouths, and told us to accept we were less than other people. We were broken. We were damaged beyond repair.

It took a long time for me to see myself as anything BUT broken.

I am not broken. I am damaged, yes, but damage can be repaired. While it’s true that complex trauma and PTSD are lifelong struggles, that struggle puts you closer to normalcy with every visit to the shrink and every little talk you have with yourself that doesn’t end in self hate. There’s hope.

There was always hope. I just couldn’t see it. And now I can.

This is my point of start. This is where it begins. I (finally) know who I am and what I want. And I’m ready to start the fire.

Jaz

Lyrics:
People like Us – Kelly Clarkson
We come into this world unknown
But know that we are not alone
They try and knock us down
But change is coming, it’s our time now

Hey everybody loses it
Everybody wants to throw it all away sometimes
And hey, yeah I know what you’re going through
Don’t let it get the best of you, you’ll make it out alive
Oh, people like us we’ve gotta stick together
Keep your head up, nothing lasts forever
Here’s to the damned to the lost and forgotten
It’s hard to get high when you’re living on the bottom

Hey, this is not a funeral
It’s a revolution, after all your tears have turned to rage
Just wait, everything will be okay
Even when you’re feeling like it’s going down in flames

Oh, people like us we’ve gotta stick together
Keep your head up nothing lasts forever
Here’s to the damned, to the lost and forgotten
It’s hard to get high when you’re living on the bottom

We are all misfits living in a world on fire
You’ve just gotta turn it up loud when the flames get higher
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

They can’t do nothing to you, they can’t do nothing to me
This is the life that we choose, this is the life that we bleed
So throw your fists in the air, come out, come out if you dare
Tonight we’re gonna change forever


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