Therapy and Trust Issues
I’m surviving my second experience of PTSD, the first was when I was a child, which took me a decade to get mostly over, without assistance.
See, my existence has been one of solitary survival. There was no one noticing, caring, or switched on enough to notice what I was going through or had endured.
That’s no one persons fault, just a general failure of a society that mostly ignored Mental Health issue in the 70’s. Even today, with our increased awareness, increased openess about Mental Health, its still not as easy as some would think it is.
I only have to dip into my Twitter timeline to see that.
The world is full of damage, it always has been, its just it was hidden before, easily ignored, explained away as those things that happen to other people, the weak, the poor of heart, you know, human beings who feel.
We have centuries of simplistic story telling to thank for how we see ourselves, brave or weak, solid or frail, unbreakable or vulnerable.
And its all rubbish.
There are no simple people, no one dimensional heroes or villians, no simple answers to this world of ours. There never has been.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.
I am not excusing the messed up people of this world, full of fear and hate, screaming that this person or that person is inferior. They are simply messed up and beyond any effort I’m interested in. Although if funded well, by our shared taxes to support civilisation, I’m sure we could have services to sort out most of these people.
Its the rest of us, trying to get by, appearing so called normal, while either ignoring, plastering over, or slowly falling apart, under our awareness of what this world can do.
I learned as a child that your life, your world, can shatter into a million pieces in seconds. There is nothing to protect you but chance. It horrifyingly true. When violence, pain, terror and untimely death occur, of the millions and billions on this planet, odds are good that you won’t experience it. And in doing so go on in your life without understanding what its like for those of us who have.
There is a learned terror, a burned in fear response that takes decades, if ever, to fade. We have been taught the utterly terrifying vulnerability of our lives. We aren’t safe. We cannot protect ourselves or those we care for. Or in the worst scenario, we can’t protect ourselves from those we care for.
My first PTSD taught me as a child to be afraid of being close to people. Those I cared for would be hurt or killed and there was nothing I could do about it but watch, scream in terror and weep. I was a powerless child, torn from a childish faith in a just world by the brutal reality of drunken men in poverty.
When ever I got close, I sabotaged the relationship to protect them and myself from what I knew would happen and what I wouldn't be able to prevent.
A decade of my formative years, when I should have been learning how to be with people, how to socialise, how to understand and navigate this world of friends and acquaintances, spent alone, isolated by the fear of getting people hurt and watching them suffer.
After a decade of self aware processing, of my mind being all I have, I came to the realisation of what scared me, what was eating at me in every relationship, of how I was only a kid, how it wasn't my fault, how I should forgive myself, how I should have the courage to love.
And of course, at this point, my love of six weeks, dumped me.
So that worked out well.
During this time I left school, found work, and found I understood systems, and employers needed that. Unfortunately not at the level of programming or any professional discipline, just a intelligent cog fitting into the processing machine.
But I was still flawed, still different, unable to make normal connections.
And yet, somehow, in near Deus Ex Machina way, I found love, married, found a couple of friends, but not much else.
(Seriously, if you watched a film where my connections with my three spouses were part of the plot, or even come to that a lot of my life, you would seriously question what idiot wrote this, its so terribly contrived.)
So my last partner, was abusive.
Domestic Violence abusive.
After decades of dealing with my fears, my vulnerability, of having a child with my last partner, of finally, truly opening my heart and soul to another human being, of letting that person in under every self protection I had developed to survive, they ripped me apart.
Everything I had constructed from these poor pieces of psyche I had, this mess of a life, these chances and circumstances of opportunity, that had allowed me to survive, was less than worthless trash to be crushed underfoot to serve the whims of the one I loved.
I wasn’t good enough, my love wasn’t good enough, my soul wasn’t good enough.
The one person I wanted to be able to rely on against all the chaos of the world was an easily enraged monster of pain and suffering and it was all my fault.
I was never right, never worthy, and I had to be punished in every way possible.
I was under orders to be in contact constantly, to report all conversations that could be social in nature. I was to confirm everything I did and thought.
My social media was tightly controlled, and then, due to some infringement I cannot even remember, destroyed.
Years of ever increasing stress, tension, fear and terror.
Anxiety was burned into my flesh with the words of the one I loved.
But I had that moment where I was shown the reflection of my life, my abusive relationship, on how my love was twisted against me, and I fled.
Its been years, but I still have memories of what I endured, and especially what I have lost.
Five decades of living has been stripped away.
I’ve lost my past, my mementos, my history, my actual memories, worn down by years of high levels of stress wearing away my cognitive ability.
I’ve spoken with a couple of psychologists. They’ve agreed with my judgement, my thinking, my deductive reasoning of how to move on, how to process, how to be. But I don’t see them seeing deep into the heart of me. I don’d see them being good enough, incisive enough, to get to the core of me. I saw their simplicity, their lack of the depth, the knowledge, the experience, needed to reassure me it was worthwhile continuing.
I didn’t trust them enough to go with me on this journey to survive what I’ve had done to me.
After I fled, free for the first time in what seemed like decades in hell, I went a little insane. Giddy with relief, I lost my bearings, missed things, made social mistakes I can see now, was misunderstood by and misunderstood by people I now find it easier to just avoid.
How do you explain to people that you were mildly deranged as you’d just escaped from psychological hell and were still coming to terms with the trauma?
Not a simple conversation at the best of times.
I still suffer from anxiety at times, but not at the level it was.
I could have nightmares that would leave me shaken for days.
I could hear a sound and feel smothering panic.
I would feel that I was still there, with them near, ready to scream at me for whatever infringement on the rules I had made this time.
I’m still moderately lost, still get down about what happened, still remember what they did, still know what I lost because I loved.
As a lonely child I always craved connection, and now, maybe even more so.
But I can’t.
It’s not as simple as it should be.
I can’t trust you, I can’t put you through my strangeness, my anxiety, I can’t be part of this world that never really had a place for me before, no matter how many times I tried to make myself believe otherwise.
I never in all my years found my tribe, never found my people, found those I truly felt at home with. I see so many who have and envy them so.
So why write this? Why go on? Why keep sharing (or over sharing) on Twitter. Why? Why? Why?
Because its what I do.
Its what I’ve always done.
I’ve felt so broken, so lost, so loneley and despairing, yet I just keep going because some really stupid, dumb part of me still beleives. Still beleives in love, in hope, in dreams, in a future where I might even be happy.
This part of me, for some unknown reason, despite so many people people over the decades trying so very hard to teach it otherwise, to teach it the world is shit, you’ve got no chance, you are destined to amount to nothing, mean nothing, be nothing, not even a memory, has never listened or learned a damn thing.
I’ve got scars inside and outside, I’m as likely to talk you’re ear off for 7 hours as I am to avoid you like the plague if we should ever meet, but I just can’t for the life of me stop beleiving I really am something.
What an astoundingly deluded ego I must have..
Look, the basic facts are, a lot of us suffer, a lot of us are afraid, and a lot of us might be brave enough just that one time to say “Hi” in the right circumstances.
But as far as anything else is, what the hell do I know?
I know myself, I like to think I can offer advice, but its only advice, nothing to be taken as words to live by. The fact is no one can tell you how to live your life, they can give suggestions, but they aren’t you, they haven't worn those shoes, walked where you’ve walked, haven't felt those songs, heard those laments, felt that exquisite longing for that special someone.
I can’t tell you what to do and you can’t tell me either.
We have lived such different lives.
But like you, I can empathise.