Living Life with PTSD

My entire life, up to this point, I have always thought deep within that “this is the way that I am, this is the way that I have always been, and this is the way that I will always be.

For the first time in my life, I can actually say, “this is why I am the way that I am, this is not how it’s always going to be, and the most important part? – “this is not my fault”.

I am a victim of child sexual abuse! The first part of healing, is admitting what happened to you as real, and true. You cannot heal from something you do not accept as happened to you. It has taken me 5 years in this journey of healing (therapy) with someone I trust, to help me understand that “this was done TO me, and this is NOT who I am”. I took the step 5 years ago, to go to someone and talk about my story from ME, and release the silence within – and I am thankful that I have that support to go forward in my journey.

Living with PTSD and trying to overcome it, has been the hardest work I have ever had to endure! I am still to this day working hard through it! There is not a day that goes go by, that I do not live with the ramifications of the abuse I endured as a child. People may say that “it’s the past, you have to let it go” .. but if you haven’t lived with it, or lived IN it, you will never understand it, or understand the demons it casts upon you.

Yes the abuse may no longer be happening now, but you never forget! You never forget how it made you feel, how it destroyed your self worth, or what it has done to you inside. The memories, the smells, the triggers, the thoughts – that at any given time on any day, an image can pop into your head uninvited, and you are immediately brought back to the situation that traumatized you. When those moments happen, you feel you have no control; as if you are being abused all over again! You feel as if you are back in the very moment it happened, and you feel defeated, you feel lost, and you feel alone – Imagine going through this process for 35+ years? I do not wish this life on ANYONE!

I have finally reached a place in my journey of healing, and came to realization, that this is NOT the way I am going to live, and this is NOT who I am, and this is NOT who I am going to be. I am finding my way out of the abuse by honoring what has happened to me in the past, telling my story for ME, doing a timeline of my story of  the abuse I endured, and facing it head on. I am slowly welcoming the memories as “information” and not “triggers“. I have found that the more I honor the feelings and the memories, the more I have control over them, and when I say THEM, I not only mean the memories; but the people who hurt me in the past.

It’s not easy to honor something that hurts, it’s not easy to face the memories head on and invite them in.. it’s painful, sad and it makes you angry, but what I have realized is that, the more I fought the triggers and the feelings, the more they had control over me every single day, and that is giving it another day of my life that “they” already took from me!

I go through this daily ritual, and have for the past 35+ years – a ritual that sends me right back into the abuse that makes me feel isolated, and ashamed, guilty and sad, worthless, and full of fear. I have taken that ritual and I have welcomed it! I have come to terms that I am no longer letting it ruin my life, but welcoming it as information that I need to heal from it. It’s a lot easier to walk WITH the current, than it is to walk against it.

Honoring is hard work, it takes a lot of strength, courage, and support!! – But I am taking control over the story and no longer being the person that lived in “their” silence. Each day that you take that trigger and feel it, and walk with it, instead of against it, it will eventually get weaker; to the point of you walking ahead of it, instead of IT walking your path for you!

I am, and always will be a victim of abuse, but how I choose to let it empower over me is my choice.. and the one thing that I now know in telling the story from me is that  -“this is why I am the way that I am, this is not how it’s always going to be, and the most important part? – this is NOT my fault.

 

 

18 comments

  1. I’m so very proud of you, Karen. All this, and not to mention the unbelievable amount of hours that it’s taken from your life just working through it. You are brave and strong, Karen, and I look forward to seeing more and more of the outcome of all of your determination and work. I love you.

  2. Karen, well it looks like we have something in common and not just our sister.I too have ptsd that I developed thrugh years of physical abuse.Thank you for your words makes me feel not so alone in these feelings.I really hope to meet you one day I think we have a lot to talk about.You sound like a strong woman. Thank you for sharing. Christine Carpenter.

  3. You’re not alone in this & I’m so proud of you for working so hard to heal after what you’ve been through! God Bless You! XoXo

  4. WOW! This blog totally blew me away! I dont know you, but you have alot of courage to open up about something that is so hard to deal with on a daily basis. The way you explained how PTSD effects you, was right on, and I am so glad that I can read something like this, and know that people out there are not alone. Your writing is amazing, you should write a book!

    Thank you again – Mark

  5. Karen, I have known you for a while now, and I have never saw your true strength until reading this blog. I have sat here with my jaw open at the mere thought that you who I believe to always be such a strong person, could have held her head to high to hold all of this inside without anyone knowing. I have always looked up to you, you are an amazing spirit and person – I dont look up to you anymore, I ADMIRE you. I dont know too many people that can be honest about what they have been through, but this blog just compleltey took me in a whole new respect for you. Love you Girl

  6. Karen- My Friend – so incredible you are, such a well written story, your whole blog is quite amazing, thank you for shedding some light on what it is you go through everyday. I am honored to be your friend

    .. Dan

  7. Karen- Living with chronic PTSD is hell. Others do not understand the triggers, flashbacks, and the resulting fear, anger, grief, anxiety that all attempt to take control. Confusion, as all these voices vie to be heard, then rocks your brain and heart. Those two who never agree on anything, then send you on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. All this is going on while other people are standing nearby even talking to you totally unaware of the hell that you’ve just entered. The toughest part is keeping all this chaos inside and not giving away anything that you may be feeling. We keep the poker face, and if others ask, “Are you ok?” we smile and say, yes fine. Holding it all in behind layers of walls and protections, lonely and silent, fighting a private battle against demons no one can see and who unexpectedly show up is hell. I don’t ask for help, and I don’t show the signs of weakness. It’s too risky. Then I’m left hurting, alone, misunderstood, in my pain. That too reminds me of my childhood. Does this sound familiar?
    Yes, it is true. It is not our fault, but it is our fight each and every day. If you are like me, maybe you can say, “It’s not my fault”, but it doesn’t sink to the heart very easily. Some ugly thought interjects and says, “You deserved the pain then and you deserve it now.” At least this is true for me. I hear the doubts and lies and convince myself that those are lies that should be squashed out of my mind. Living as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse with chronic post-traumatic stress is something few people understand. Truly, what we experienced then and now are certainly not our fault, but it is part of the walk, part of our lives, a huge part that must be faced and lived with, managed daily. It is a burden placed upon us by another. I honor your bravery for the long journey into healing. God Speed.

  8. I realise this is an old post, but I imagine it is still very close to your heart. Sexual abuse is something I write a lot about on my blog. What I am coming to realise is that I have already been through great healing by being open and upfront about the abuse, rather than hide behind the shame.

    You are so right, “acceptance” is the way forward. We can never change the experience’s or the psychological scars, but we can change how we view the situation. Acceptance brings peace and paves the way for healing. I tend not to take notice of “get over it” opinions – they are usually born of ignorant people. Unfortunately, to find healing, we need to face the demons. Continually avoiding them only feeds the beast within.

    I am sure you have been doing loads of work on this during therapy and I do hope you have found healing. Thank you for sharing such a sensitive part of you.

    1. Yes we need to face the demons and look them right in the eyes..

      My therapist once told me this story about how when he was a kid, whenever he would rise his bike down the road this dog would always run and chase him, and he would RUN from the dog EVERYTIME and the more he ran the faster the dog chased him… well one day he STOPPED, turned out and BARKED back at the dog and the dog STOPPED what he was doing. When we FACE the fears, it doesn’t seem as scary when they are chasing us .. that is what i hold onto everyday! TURN and face the feelings and how we are made to feel and healing will follow :)

  9. I am sorry for the abuse you suffered. I too have chronic PTSD from childhood sexual abuse. I am impressed with your writing. The more we survivors talk openly about what happened and its lasting impact the more people will be helped and hopefully more people will understand the damage done. Blessings to you!

    1. Hi Melanie.. thank you for stopping by my blog and thank you for your comment .. I am also truly sorry for your suffering as a child as well. But its also nice to know I have others out there who understand the struggles I go through.. as much as I hate there are others who suffered what I did, it’s nice to know other out there can relate and really connect with me… so thank you :)

  10. Your willingness to share your struggle will help so many people. I love that you are helping others through your blog and the other communities I am connect with you.

    1. WOW Amanda.. thank you so much for that … that means a lot to me, and it’s because of you and support around my blog and the reason I write is why I posted my most recent blog tonight “writing for me” .. thank you.. it means a lot to me!

  11. I love this statement:

    “I am slowly welcoming the memories as ‘information’ and not ‘triggers'”

    I, too, am a survivor. It’s a difficult road. Being able to welcome memories is such a big step. Accepting information as just that- information- is like opening a door to a new place.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Sarah … so sorry that you have had a hard road .. but know your not alone and thank you so much for connecting with me and I am glad my blog could offer help in any way … thank you for connecting

Please take a moment to comment! I love connecting with others!