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Good morning all!
Once again, Beckie from Beckiesmentalmess has posed a great prompt for us to consider. This one is about Complex PTSD and PTSD. For those who want to know a little more about these disorders check out Beckie’s original post and/or MSB’s Trauma and PTSD Module.
This time, Beckie has asked us to write a narrative about the events surrounding our PTSD experiences. You can see the full prompt below after the narrative.
My story starts almost 25 years ago.
It was one of those cold spring days, where nothing is really alive or dead yet.
My brother and I had come home from school and were sat in front of the television that was propped up on our piano bench. I was 6, he was 9.
We were totally unaware of all the foot traffic around us – we were pretty used to the near constant stream of guests by now. I remember being so absorbed by an episode of Arthur that I hardly wanted to come when my mom called my name.
I don’t remember what exactly she said to get my attention but it was something like “you need to come say goodbye to your dad.”
My brother and I exchanged worried looks and started down the long hallway to our parents’ room. It was a small room, so dark and full of people, I felt the cloying grips of claustrophobia and anxiety rise up into my throat.
The hospice nurse was attending to my father’s frail body. He was pretty much already gone. I remember being confused, I didn’t know things were this bad – I’d never seen anyone die before. I was terrified.
His eyes were open and staring, like he could still be alive but I sensed that he was gone. Mom said he could hear me so I should give him a hug and a kiss goodbye. I didn’t believe her but I did it anyway.
As I leaned in, he moved a little bit and muttered something, which scared the hell out of me. I jumped back and looked up at my mom in confusion and fear. To this day, I haven’t forgiven myself for wussing out on saying goodbye.
Not long after that, he took his final breaths and was gone. I remember crying and feeling the worst feelings I had ever known. Like my guts had been ripped apart.
Then I stopped crying.
I looked at my mom and my brother and my family members and realized somebody needed to be strong. And for some reason, it was going to have to be me.
And that was the moment I stopped feeling.
For a very long time.
The Complex Part of PTSD
PTSD, especially PTSD associated with grief, usually lessens within a certain amount of time if treated correctly. Proper support can help you manage the ups and downs of the disorder. But if you don’t have any support and experience ongoing stress, PTSD can fester into something much, much worse.
And that’s what happened to me.
I wish I could say my family stepped in with love and support from that moment on, but love was a long way off at that point. Only a month after my dad passed, my grandaddy did as well – wasting away quickly from pancreatic cancer.
My dad’s family disowned me and didn’t speak to me because they were Catholic and didn’t believe he was married to my mom in the eyes of God.
My mom, now a single mother for the third time in her life, couldn’t emotionally handle the death of her husband and her father.
So she checked out, leaving us with our grandmother or babysitters – one who was so verbally and emotionally abusive to me that I still have trouble being around male authority figures.
My brother, having found out after the death of my dad that he was someone else’s son, seemed to have his own mental breakdown. This was the beginning of his long, nasty fight with bi-polar depression, one that my mom and I would find no escape from for the next 16 years.
At first, they thought he had ADHD. Big mistake. Upon being put on Ritalin, my brother went into a hyper manic episode where he tried to kill us with a kitchen knife and jump out a window. My mom ended up having to literally sit on him to get him to stop.
So our household was pretty broken. We fought, we hit, we cussed, we even stabbed each other on occasion.
I remember a coach of mine calling us “barbarians” one time. He was not wrong.
Someone was always screaming whether it was my brother or my mom. I cried all the time, counting down the days until I could get away to college. My brother picked on me, often violently. We had no earthly idea how to communicate without our fists.
There was no place that was safe in our house. My mom locked herself in her room most days to avoid it all. I wasn’t nearly as lucky.
When I was around 10 or so, I started to go into uncontrollable rages when upset over the slightest thing. From then on, I had just terrible mood swings all the way up until high school where I experienced what’s known as a fugue state in my junior year that lasted for months.
It was kind of a blessing actually, because during that time the mood swings were gone. The tradeoff was paranoia, dissociation, obsessive compulsive behaviors and a host of other fun prizes.
Freedom at Last
I was so excited to go to college, it meant freedom from my effed up family. Finally!
Except I didn’t realize my barbaric behavior and killer intrusive thoughts were going to follow me.
So, given an ounce of freedom, I ripped through college like a bull in a china shop – making friendships just as fast as I destroyed them, having insane fights with my then-boyfriend (sorry dude, you didn’t deserve any of that), smoking, drinking, doing drugs and eventually flunking out in my third year.
From there I worked. I worked hard so I could forget all my pain and failure. All of the unaddressed trauma from my childhood just got deeper and deeper in me and festered. That’s the complex part of PTSD, when it’s not addressed for a long long time.
Not surprisingly, this all made me a target for a narcissistic boyfriend, who did me really, really dirty for four years (as in he was an emotionally manipulative, gaslighting, cheating creep).
He did such a number on me and was so bad for my mental health, I fantasized about jumping in front of a train on the regular just to end all the pain.
Luckily, I did not jump in front of said train.
I left homeboy (in a very satisfying almost out of a movie way) and started in on my long journey to recovery.
The one good thing he ever did for me was introduce me to therapy and spirituality, which helped me get on the right path (the one that led away from him)!
I’ve been working on myself ever since.
It’s taken a couple breakdowns, a marriage, three jobs, and a whole lot of introspection but I’m finally addressing my C-PTSD. It’s not easy for sure, in fact it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it’s turned out to be so so worth it.
So that’s my story up til now. Thanks for reading and be well <3
Hello, All! Welcome back to “Working on Us” – A series that represents people with mental health illnesses/disorders.
This week is going to be a little different, meaning I’m not going to set prompts in place. Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, I’m requesting you, the reader, towrite a narrativeof your experience that caused your PTSD-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and CPTSD-Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the treatment you have received.
- Write your own post and create a pingback to theoriginalpost here.
- There are no right or wrong answers. Write in any format you see fit. (Answer’s, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, poem, short prose…anything, and/or narrative).
- You can do one or all prompts.
- You have from October 9th. through October 15th., to submit your entries.
- Please reblog the original…
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