Tag Archive: ptsd symptoms


Little Girl Lost

ritsuka-cry

Ritsuka from Loveless by Yun Kouga

There are things that are hard for me to describe, even as a decently educated writer. The hardest is to explain what being triggered is like. It’s not just discomfort or being upset. I wish it were simple. Then again, of PTSD were easy to understand, then there wouldn’t be as much misinformation as there is about it.

Right now, I’m deep in the bowels of a very deep and profound triggering event. I’ve gotten past the anger that is usually what I feel first, anger and sadness. Now I’m working on tackling a near-crippling self-doubt and depression. And that’s not the only thing that’s living here, that’s just the guardians of the house.

Deeper inside the house that trauma built is a deep hurt of a child who was left to be the adult. A child who never knew what it meant to be wanted. A child who was tossed aside and was beaten and abused for decades. A child whose parent came back later after she learned how to cope with things most children don’t start approaching until late middle school or high school.

Inside this house is a little girl, lost and afraid… on her own to fend for herself. No matter what color of happiness she paints on the outside of the house, she can’t just ignore the misery inside.

This is probably just a simplistic snapshot of an incredibly complex and insidious set of neurological responses. It’s something that people want to trivialize because it’s easier to make fun of people who are deeply troubled. At least that seems to be the American way of things.

And that’s what makes this all so terribly difficult. I have a lot of things that I know I’ll never get any closure for. That makes it so much harder. I have no way of getting closure. One of the people is no longer amongst the living. Others I have no contact with… and that’s probably for the best. I would need to sever that relationship regardless… and then there are relationships that I’ve been told I need to sever, but it’s not going to be so simple.

I start to feel so helpless because I can’t figure out how to move away from the relationship that seems to be more emotionally detrimental as time goes on. I feel like no matter what I do, that I’m stuck. I have no clue how to take care of it. There’s never really any one good way to pull away from abusive relationships. There isn’t. Even though I know what will help me in finishing healing, I haven’t a clue on how to break away from it. Unfortunately, my therapist isn’t being any help, regardless of how many times I’ve reached out.

I feel so lost right now.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been having quite the hard time of things. This isn’t surprising since this is the time of the quarter that I hate so much. That’s right it’s PMS and on into that horrible female affliction known as a period. I’ve never really enjoyed it… I don’t know many girls that do.

For me, it’s always been a horrible mass of pain (I get horrendous cramps), moodiness, and general discomfort. The pain I can handle. Sure, it can be double over and can’t move bad. Frankly, physical pain just doesn’t hurt as much for me.

Then there’s the hormones. This I hate.

OK, I don’t mind my hormones. I hate the psychological mess they make me.

Normally, I get pretty weepy and generally low-level depressed around this time of the month. But not this time. Nope… because that would be easy and expected. This time, I have to be dealing with a lot of emotional go-booms and dealing really heavily with my PTSD from abuse.

This makes me an even bigger mess.

While I know I’m not alone, I feel even more afraid to ask for help. I’m afraid that I’m going to be judged because I can’t handle my shit. That I can’t just get over it. That I can’t pack it up in a nice little box and put it on a shelf somewhere to ignore and never see again.

I really wish that were the case. I wish dealing with this all was that simple.

Then there’s the worst part… I feel so damn emotionally needy that I don’t know what to do.

So, what of these go-booms you were speaking of earlier?

Well, funny you should ask…

I know that issues with one of my partners has been very well documented. The biggest part of it started in December. Then it looked like we were working through things, albeit somewhat slowly. Then he has the audacity to do the same thing for a second time. Not just once, but twice. So, yeah… I’m pretty angry, hurt, and frustrated. I feel that the time and money that I’ve been spending on couple’s therapy has been a huge waste. I’m not even sure, at this point, that there’s anything that might be left to salvage because of how I feel. You know how the saying going, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

In dealing with this, huge “Do Not Touch” buttons have been hit. That means that I’ve been triggered pretty hard… to the point of a panic attack. One of the things about complex PTSD that’s different from garden variety PTSD is that you won’t just get visual flashbacks, you also get emotional ones. All the emotions come flooding back… and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it.

And, I had to deal with my ex-boss. This is something that I haven’t really talked about. After all, it’s not all that important, normally. So, he decided to sit on my check two weeks after I quit. I had the mediation session for that. I will say this, I didn’t even get close to what I deserve. I got a fraction of it. At the same time, I do feel a good amount of vindication. You know your ex-boss is an asshole when the deputy commissioner tells you that if the wait wasn’t 7 months for a hearing, you should totally pursue that. That’s pretty bad.

The past three paragraphs have happened in the last week. This isn’t over months, this is in the last 7 days.

So, here I am… this huddled mass of hurt and pain… and a certain amount of anger. I’m not angry at anyone but the people whom I should be angry with.

Then there’s the hurt and the pain. This is the hard stuff… and I do mean hard.

This is the stuff that can make me ask the questions I don’t like to ask, because I know exactly where my mind is.

Yeah, I’m asking them.

So, what do I need now? I need love, reassurance of that love, I need to be held, and hugged, and all sorts of things that have to do with physical touch. I need it from the important people in my life. I need people to check up on me. I feel so pushed back to when I was a teenager that I feel awkward asking for what I need because, in my mind, I feel like I’m not going to get it. That I’m going to be told what I was told all the time when I was a kid, “You need to fight your own battles.” I feel both powerless and voiceless. (Yes, I appreciate the irony of the last sentence, given that this is in a blog post.) I want to ask for it… and constantly, but I’m too scared. I want to talk to my supportive partners about this, but, once again, I’m too scared. This is the only way I know how to. It’s the only thing that served me well when I was a teenager.

So, maybe that’s the point of what I’m writing this. Maybe it’s to get it out there. Maybe it’s to give voice to how I’m feeling because I don’t feel like I can accurately convey it verbally. I don’t know. But right about now, I feel hurt… hurt, sad, angry, frustrated, and alone, even if that is of my volition (but not really because CPTSD is a bitch).

Welcome to emotional flashbacks.

Then there was living with my mom’s ex best friend… that was a living nightmare. Every night I would hope for some way to escape. I would wish that someone would take me away from this place. There were a lot of things that happened there that are absolutely beyond what would be acceptable to do to anyone.

Punishment in that house would come often for the eldest children. The younger children would get off scot-free. I remember plenty of punishment that would be about embarrassment. I used to love bananas as a child. I was punished once by being forced to sit on bananas… for something I don’t even remember, possibly something trivial because serious punishments were mortifyingly bad. Since that day, I can no longer have bananas without it evoking a response of disgust. It was so bad, that I just wanted to hide. I was constantly mocked, even while I was doing what I was asked to do. It wasn’t just by her either. Her children would also make fun of me. There was never a moment where I wasn’t being beaten down emotionally, if I wasn’t being hit.

The beatings, however, were bad enough.

I discussed it back in 2011, as I went to therapy to talk about the time where I was beaten because someone had written my name all over furniture that was mine (it was given to me by my godmother). She got so mad she repeatedly hit me. She wouldn’t stop. My mom was there and when I asked her for help to make it stop, my mom just watched. She did nothing. I have talked to my mom about this and she doesn’t remember it happening. Since she was out for the weekend from the hospital, it’s possible that she was heavily medicated. I just remember pleading for help, my eyes stinging from the tears as I was still being hit… and no one helped me. They all just stood there and watched.

After she was done, everyone left the room. I was left by myself, curled up in a ball, crying.

This might be the most compelling reason as towhy I have issues with asking for help. This, of course, is magnified by my mom repeatedly telling me that I have to fight my own battles. I’ve never had help, even when I needed it most desperately. So, it’s of little surprise that this incident might be the inciting incident.

This wasn’t the worst thing to happen to me in that house. One night, while I was sick with flu… I was forced to sleep on the drafty living room floor. The room that I was sharing with the other eldest daughter (it’s easier to abuse that which you hate if they’re together) was being used by… I think my mother… or a guy who was living in the house. Her genetic daughter was given the couch, so I wound up on the floor.

I was so chilled because my fever was high. I curled up and tried to keep warm despite the fact I was ill. I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I was chilled to the bone with fever. I got up several times in the night to vomit. I would moan because my body felt so awfully… yet no one checked on me or offered to let me sleep somewhere other than the cold and drafty floor. It wasn’t until everyone was getting up and getting ready to go to school and someone finally checked on me, that they realized that I was sick. I was about to pass out from exhaustion and sickness. Then I was allowed to sleep on the couch. I spent most of the day asleep while trying to let the flu pass.

I remember thinking about how this was like Cinderella. Being forced to take care of everyone and being treated so horribly… and that maybe, some day, my Prince Charming will come to save me from this torment. I was 7-years-old. I was looking for anyone to be my savior, anyone to help me and save me from this torment. I felt more like a slave and less like a person. This is a fact that I never let show at school. I maintained many good friendships, while hiding everything that was happening to me. I felt like I had done something to deserve this. That it was my fault that I was being treated that way, so I couldn’t report it to anyone. I felt like I had no self-worth. I certainly had no agency there. They threatened to throw me into a pool that I wasn’t comfortable with. I would never swim there because I was afraid that I would drown. It wasn’t because I didn’t know how to swim or anything… after the beating where no one would help me, I knew that no one would help if I were to flounder and then wind up drowning.

However, none of this is the worst thing I dealt with while living there. One night, the youngest daughter picked a fight with me… and I fought back. I didn’t take anyone’s shit that night. I think I had snapped after being constantly verbally beat down for so long. So, instead of hitting me, she opted for something worse. She grabbed a roll of duct tape and taped my mouth shut, straight off the roll. Every time I would try to move my mouth, lick my lips, try to talk… I could feel the tape pulling skin off the area it was touching. The pain was horrendous. I remember thinking when will this tape be gone. Then thinking about what it would feel like to have the tape pulled off.

I ran to the garage to hide. I was so scared of the pain. I knew it would be worse than when I would move my mouth… and I knew it would be a fast yank followed by burning and pain. I wasn’t sure whether it would make the area around my mouth, and the mouth itself bleed. I hid in the garage, not wanting to be found. I would rather keep the tape on my mouth.

Eventually, the tape was carefully pulled off of my mouth… but I was scared by that point. There was no reason to have someone use duct tape to cover my mouth. Any time I see anything that advocates the usage of duct tape for bondage purposes, I feel such a pure and hot rage. When I mentioned this instance to a therapist of mine, they called what happened torture… and I would agree. I didn’t know what would happen, why it was happening… and the thought of it being pulled off scared me. When the tape was gone, the area was red. It still pulled skin off my face, but there was no bleeding. It was red and hot and in pain.

I have such a great amount of anger when it comes to her. It was so bad at one point that I called her, justifiably given my experience, a psycho bitch. Everyone wanted me to apologize. I didn’t I stood my ground. I can’t stand that woman. I don’t want to see her again. I’m so pissed off by the degree of abuse she did to me. I felt like a slave, the red-headed stepchild (ok… I am a redhead, but that’s beside the point), the whipping boy. All I wanted to do was to escape. I wanted to be free of the abuse, the negative words, the beatings, the fear that I might die there.

Now… all I’m left with are some deep-seated fears of never having any help and anger… lots of anger. It also alienated me more from my family. No one helped me. No one told her to stop or stood in the way in defense. She was allowed to do whatever she thought was fit… even if I had no idea why. It’s forever altered me in so many painful ways. It made it hard for me to trust anyone… especially people I didn’t know. It put me even further in my shell and made me shyer because I was constantly belittled. I had no sense of being a person worthy of anything… and that’s the worst part. I thought I deserved the torture and pain. That I must have done something wrong… even if I knew that I did nothing.

The next major event that I remember was my mom not really being there for me. At the time, my mother was undiagnosed for bipolar. She was medicating how worked best for her at the time. While I understand that, it also meant that I had to step up and do more than I was even prepared for. I wasn’t even 10 at the time. I felt that I had to be responsible. In many ways, I resent having to give away my childhood and a part of my innocence.

While I know that there’s nothing that anyone could do, because my mom was undiagnosed. I’m also angry and sad about it. I had to face many hard realities before I was really prepared for them… and in some cases I had no preparation for them… like seeing my grandfather’s body at the funeral home. It’s that moment that I pinpoint my changing opinion on death. This is probably one of the healthiest responses I’ve had. I don’t fear death. I accept it as inevitability. I don’t let this realization allow me to do things that will kill me, at the same time, I’m not afraid either. I treat it with the proper respect it should while not shying away from it. So, one positive takeaway from this was that.

But the negative… that’s also there. And it’s more numerous than how I deal with death.

My sister and I remember more than we really talk about. We’ve seen more than we care to discuss… but those memories are so hazy to me, probably because I didn’t want to acknowledge what was really happening. More than anything, I felt neglected. I felt like I didn’t matter. I wasn’t important enough for my mother. This was later confirmed when my mom apologized to me for driving while heavily intoxicated because she was trying to kill herself. Except she wasn’t just trying to kill herself, she was trying to kill me and my sister as well. I think I already kind of knew that because I have always felt like maybe I didn’t deserve to live. This really haunted me after my rape. The rape helped confirm this thought I had. I’ll get to that later though.

That’s probably the hardest thing to try to tackle as a child… that I’m not important enough to be a reason to live and that maybe just maybe I didn’t deserve to be alive. These thoughts still haunt me to this day.

Honestly, I know that my mom wasn’t in her right mind. Unfortunately, this is the hand she was dealt. She may not have realized that this was an issue until her diagnosis. So, I can’t really fault her for this. That doesn’t mean that it still isn’t a reality… and it still really hurts. Even writing the paragraph above hurt straight to my heart. Just because I understand the situation, it doesn’t make it hurt any less. And, of course, there was the day that she was hospitalized… it’s good that she was because then she could get treatment.

At the same time, this made me scared because I had no idea what would happen to me or my sister. I knew my dad mostly worked at night. There was a degree of insecurity there. When we had to go and live with my mom’s ex-best friend, it felt like we were just people who could be passed on. I still deal with this issue, especially when it comes to relationships. I feel like I’m a transitory person… or just there for now. I haven’t had many people tell me that I am in no way temporary in their life. I can count the people who have told me that way and not treated me that way on one hand.

I still struggle with that and it’s a constant fear. Because it was so easy to pass me along to someone who beat and tortured me. I’ll get to that explanation in a while. I try to remind myself that I’m not transitory. People genuinely want to be with me. It’s hard to see that sometimes… and it’s interesting, because I never thought it was from my sister and I being handed off to someone who beat me.

A Quickie for Today

I’m gonna be doing a quickie post for today. I feel like I need to. I’m feeling pretty mentally bogged down after work yesterday. I’m still feeling particularly triggered.

So, my 2-day a week job is hard on me. My boss is fairly controlling. He wants things done a specific way but never tells you what that means to him. This happens all the time. So, instead of being specific before I start something he’ll then tack on other things and be angry about how it’s not good enough… even though he never stated what he wanted done.

So, he reminds me so much of the guy who rapes me. He needs to desperately keep control of the situation that it becomes a power play and he won’t listen to me, even though he hired me to take care of certain things and this happens to be my realm of ability. Now, this could be because he is on the Tea end of the political spectrum. That means because I’m a girl, I couldn’t possibly know more than he does. But either way, just being around him triggers me.

Then there’s the hours of FoAx “News” I have to listen to. This is why I’m feeling particularly unhinged today.

Fox “News” was reporting on the rape that happened at an Indiana university. Now, if it was called an alleged rape, I would have been annoyed, but it would have been accurate.

Of course Fox “News” couldn’t use the term “alleged”. Instead they said “so-called rape”. This is during their news reporting… not during one of their many opinion pieces they run all day long. I was about to break something, anything… possibly throw a $3000 computer across the room.

Calling it a so-called rape is so incredibly dismissive. It’s like a huge middle finger to a rape survivor. Let me scratch that, it *is* a huge middle finger to a rape survivor. There’s a reason consent is being redefined. It’s not OK for someone to beat the shit out of anyone. It’s not OK to rape someone. It’s especially not OK to do both. If someone says no when you start hitting them, you stop all play.

So, here we go. Rape is a serious issue. It’s emotionally damaging to the victim. But calling something a “so-called rape” is unconscionable.

And it’s the reason I’m upset… and understandably so.

So, I’m feeling… a lot of things. A lot of them are rage and hurt. It puts me back to how I felt when I was 13. It gave me a panic attack… well, several of them. So, I’m having a hard time keeping my head on straight.

I am grateful for my dog. He does a good job of taking care of me. He’s been by my side since I came home last night. He’s not normally a snuggler, but last night he went for the full snuggle. He’s been so close to me. He wants me to pet him and make sure that I know that he’s there for me. As we speak, he’s lying on top of my feet.

I’m still vacillating between being weepy and trying to maintain. it’s hard to deal with… but I’ll get through it. I’ve had to do this before. It might require me sharing some more. It’s not fun and it could be triggering for someone else, and for that I apologize. The treatment for PTSD is to talk about it. Talk it out. Talk about what you’re feeling. I’ve been through a lot of therapy for this and my abuse.

I’ll get past this. I just need to take the time to do so. I need to remember, more than anything, I need to be gentle to myself. I need to give myself time.  I need to remind myself that I’m not the same person and I’m not in the same place I was when I was 13.

More importantly, I need to just breathe.

~Note: There will be emotional abuse discussed with in. Don’t read if you’re afraid you’ll be triggered.~
There are times where sleeping is hardest for me. It’s a problem that I have deal with largely since I was 13… at least that’s as far as I can remember. I might have had this problem for longer then I realized. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve only had this problem since I was 13.

The problem is, why the random bouts of insomnia exist. It’s attached to my issues with PTSD. I was diagnosed with it back in 1999. It has many symptoms some of them are stated here. I largely have control over these things, however, there are moments where some how, something comes up and triggers the symptoms. I had this happen last night.

I was reading Captain Awkward answering a question about what to do when friends consistently invite you and your abusive ex to the same parties (the article can be found here. This article was sent to me with the intention of being helpful. The information contained is pretty damn helpful. However, discussion of the person’s issues with abuse triggered me.

Some of the things said remind me of an ex of mine… One that I so lovingly call Douchey McDoucherson. After all, a lot of the things he did was pretty douchey. It was manipulative and controlling. Thinking about it made it difficult for me to even sleep. My head’s been stuck back where I felt like I was going to constantly be barraged with words that were designed to let him do whatever he wanted and get whatever he wanted from me. He would constantly belittle me. He would make me question my self-worth or whether I was attractive enough. He would start arguments with me in public and would force me to spend my hard-earned money on him for frivolous things that he wanted, not things that were needed.

As I read it, I was sent back to where I was with D McD. I felt like I couldn’t escape. I was there to be his accessory. I felt emotionally violated. He never physically hit me (that I can remember), but he never made me feel human or even loved. He would say such horrible things to me and say that he loved me. To this day, there are certain things that just aren’t OK when they happen near me because they hit that one hot button.

It took me about an hour of me telling myself that I was in a safe place. That he couldn’t get me here. That I was with people who were supportive and loving. That I would never be back in that place. I told myself that over and over again until I finally fell asleep at 6 this morning.

My brain keeps me awake so I won’t have nightmares. Dreams where I feel useless and hopeless. Where I feel like I’m stuck in a place where I’m just there. I’m an object.

I wish that there was something that I could do where I wouldn’t have this insomnia, where I wouldn’t be afraid. I wish there was a way to make this go away. It doesn’t work like that. Once the brain starts working this way it’s hard to turn it off.

I can get it to turn off, but it’s going to need a lot of talking. Hopefully this will help me get through it. We’ll see.