Many people go through some extremely terrible things. I always told myself not to bitch; it happens to everyone. Over the years, I’ve been to a handful of counselors and psychologists. They only wanted me to relive past horrors and talk about things I’d prefer not to talk about–no plan, no diagnosis–well, depression. Depression was most commonly the diagnosis.
Maybe that’s the go-to for women with traumatic pasts. But, I rarely felt depressed. I just felt alone, isolated, and terrified of people the vast majority of the time, so I avoided them. Being isolated tends to make a person sad. Not because you have no friends; but because you’re afraid those friends will hurt you; you’re afraid to be your true self because you’re wrong, you’re damaged, you’re not fit to be in polite company. And so, you avoid it.
If I were to describe, in detail, events of my past, I could make people listen and understand. I’m good at that–only writing it on my own terms. I very rarely actually let the words escape my lips. When I did, I met some fairly strong reactions. But, I don’t want anyone to feel or empathize with what I lived through. I’d rather never put anyone else through that and I certainly don’t want pity, avoidance, or for people to wonder, as a friend once put it, “how is it you’re still alive?”
I pushed everything down and away. I push people away. I never really understood why I pushed people who appear to care about me away. I was terrified they’d leave–find out I’m damaged and run. I worried about it until I couldn’t worry anymore and ended it. Anxiety can be crippling. You know it’s irrational, but you can’t stop worrying. Being alone is better than worrying, you think, so you make the cuts that you were worried about and you keep surviving alone. It’s not ok. You’re not ok, but you aren’t worried about other people anymore. No one else can hurt you when you only have yourself to rely on.
It was standard intake procedure except one part, I’d never done before. I was asked to fill out 3 simple questionnaires. I filled them out, not knowing what they were for. I turned them in and, just like that! Diagnosed.
PTSD. Because I didn’t know what the questionnaires were for; because I wasn’t trying to escape a label, because I want to get help and was honest, not knowing the reason.
Most of it happened before I was even 18. Events that occurred after 18 were likely a result. The brain is a fragile thing when you’re a child.
You don’t know how to process. You don’t know the words to ask for help. Even if you do, you’re a child and nobody believes or understands you.
I’ll be starting EMDR treatment soon. I’ll post follow-ups to help others.