“What’s with her?” they ask. Even if I can’t hear them I know they think it. Better yet…“Why can’t she just get over it?” Who do I speak of? Mostly my family members. I know, the very people who should try to understand don’t. The people closest to you sometimes feel the farthest away. I guess that there are some things that we experience that others can never fully understand unless they have experienced it themselves. It’s true of my debilitating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the accompanying anxiety. You can try to understand, but if you haven’t experienced it then you can never really know.
I have many scars left from wounds that have been inflicted upon me over the years. Most of them came during my 11 year marriage. They varied day-to-day, but rarely did I find sleep at night without having added another to my already war-torn body. The most hideous of them are invisible to the eye. The are carved deep into my psyche and they attempt to torment me all the time. If you were to see me in the market you would never know how nervous I was or notice that my eyes are darting around the room. In case you didn’t know…I am casing the joint at high-speed for a quick exit if needed. Same goes for when I walk out of my house…I always look in the bushes to make sure that no one is going to jump out.
Sometimes I will be talking to you, but my mind is elsewhere. It may have been something that you innocently said that ripped me back to that horrible night. One of many horrible nights. You will have no idea that as you sit and gingerly talk to me about the new color of your living room that I am reliving an event I only wish I couldn’t remember. Why is it that at the most benign of moments the littlest things can tear me away from the present and hurl me at light speed back into the past?
Ironically, much of what I have forgotten can come back in a flash without warning. Imagine that? This is the exciting world of a trauma survivor. I know I am not alone and I hope that my words here resonate with someone. Quick or I might forget what I am writing about. It’s that bad some days. My memory is shot. I feel like my brain is full of clouds that prevent thoughts from connecting and allowing a continuance of thoughts. Don’t ever argue with me…you will win. I will forget what we are arguing about somewhere in the middle.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affects many survivors of trauma. Victims of violent crimes, car accidents, and injuries can cause you emotional pain when you think back to the moment of impact. 1 out of 5 veterans coming back from Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. Then there are the victims of domestic abuse; women and children who live nightmares for years at the hands of the very people who are meant to love them. I have never been in war, but I have been in an accident, been injured, and a victim of a violent crime. The worst for me was being abused physically, mentally, and emotionally by the man I thought was there to protect me. I struggle to this day, years after my divorce, to overcome the flashbacks of my past.
Remember that not all wounds are visible. Since this is something that afflicts so many I thought I might share a little knowledge to those of you who don’t know much about this. To those of you who do, I can already hear you saying “check”. The following is an informative overview of the symptoms of PTSD. You may have it or know someone who does. Everyday is different for us and we have to handle each situation as they come. For me personally, memory issues, flashbacks, feelings of detachment, difficulty concentrating, hyper vigilance, and being easily started are always present. It’s only normal that I would want to avoid people or situations connected to that part of my life. So when I say I can’t do something it means I really can’t do it. XO Ella
These symptoms envelope ways that someone re-experiences the event. This could look like:
- Intrusive thoughts or memories
- Nightmares related to the traumatic event
- Flashbacks, feeling like the event is happening again
- Psychological and physical reactivity to reminders of the traumatic event, such as an anniversary
Avoidant symptoms describe ways that someone may try to avoid any memory of the event, and must include one of the following:
- Avoiding thoughts or feelings connected to the traumatic event
- Avoiding people or situations connected to the traumatic event
Negative alterations in mood or cognitions
Basically, there is a decline in someone’s mood or though patterns, which can include:
- Memory problems that are exclusive to the event
- Negative thoughts or beliefs about one’s self or the world
- Distorted sense of blame for one’s self or others, related to the event
- Being stuck in severe emotions related to the trauma (e.g. horror, shame, sadness)
- Severely reduced interest in pre-trauma activities
- Feeling detached, isolated or disconnected from other people
Increased arousal symptoms
Increased arousal symptoms are used to describe the ways that the brain remains “on edge,” wary and watchful of further threats. Symptoms include the following:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irritability, increased temper or anger
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Being easily startled
15 thoughts on “What’s with her?”
Another beautiful post Ella.
Take care. xx
Thank you so much Kylie. XO Ella
I can feel your pain. I suffer from all of these. I am having hard time right now. It is hard to live a normal life and it seems every time I get a few steps ahead some one knocks me backwards..usually myself…
Oh Angie, doesn’t it feel good to know that you are not alone though? One step forward and two steps back sometimes. Never give up though…it does get better day by day. XO Ella
Totally get it, Ella……having more and more of those “moments” / flashbacks……one day at a time……right? xxxxxx g
Georgia! I hope you are doing okay. One day at a time is all we can do. I am so glad that this post resonated with so many. Of course it is the light version…kinda hoping my family one day reads this. Alas, we know it can get pretty rough some days. Perhaps I shall write about that one day too XO Ella
I know you speak of being on the inside of the nightmare but it is also hard for those on the outside as well. The ones on the outside looking in having no clue as to help the one living the nightmare.
I have and know of 3 women close to me who have gone through domestic violence; 2 got out but 1 is still living it.
One of em was/is a best girlfriend from highschool who’s’ highschool sweetheart turned into the devil himself after saying “I do.” After many years she got out but I never knew about it till the very end for she never told anybody. Fast forward she is happily remarried and has 3 beautiful children-2 from her Ex and one with her current husband.
Another is a cousin of mine who had moved to other countries and was at the hands of many devils who were oh so charming till they had her in their grasp and turned jekyl and hyde and beat and raped her and scarred her soo deep she hates ALL MEN! It is only through divine intervention that she is back in the states and living with her mom and stepdad and as you described PTSD also. Trying to help her isn’t easy I just listen and try to be there for her.
The 3rd woman is the hardest one for me. We were co-workers and were not very close so we would be distant friends at best. At one time she reached out to me during one of her and her husband’s violent fights but she rarely keeps in touch and meeting up with her never happens. I have been keeping in touch by sending her quotes of encouragement that I hope are helping but really don’t know if they are. I wonder tho if I should keep in touch or let go for I don’t know if my keeping touch makes things worse for her cause her husband goes through her phone and reads her texts and checks her phone calls. I am afraid of making things worse for her so I don’t know what to do. I want to know if it is her keeping me at bay or him. Do you have any insight on this? I hate knowing that she is in this situation and i worry about her a lot even tho we don’t communicate.
Thanks and thanks for posting this, it has really helped and I really do love your page, thanks for creating it!
Thank you xxx!
none of what you say is lied cause unfortunately I recognize the whole ‘mumbo jumbo’
I specially notice the loved ones around me are having hard times with me.
even people running away for not understanding this . I don’t blame them , but the mirror gets sharp edged .and it is pretty hard these days .
But thanks for sharing so much . Relieving words.
so somehow I have to say now to myself I am OK In what I am
even in this stade
wish you & all love ,
Thank you for commenting Boudewien. This is why I write…so that others feel connected. Someone out there understands what you feel. Never forget that! XO Ella
Oh Ella, I am right there, walking down these paths right there. I try to explain but my tongue gets wrapped around the words and I struggle with them.
Val, then I shall speak for both of us. I feel you sister. Hang in there and know that like the sea life also ebbs and flows. XO Ella
I am intrigued to keep reading for reassurance that I’m not crazy ; Ive been in and out of a domestic violent marriage for 10 years now. But, I keep going back to the same shit and i dont know why. I guess i am comfortable to embrace all that i know and thats him. At times its been easy to run away and come back and then the worst is trying to leave the bully again it is the hardest thing to do and make sense of. its confusing to my daughter, our friends, and our family. I feel like peter and the wolf I wish I was OK with my own decisions – I cannot trust myself. I’ve lost some dear friends ..because of the PTSD and anxiety its been hard to have a job and remember things. Thanks for your posts they are helpful –
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Sarah, I am a little confused. Are you still with this man? If you are then I have simple clear advice for you. You must leave. For you and your daughter. You must be diligent and strong. You must make a decision to get to know you and forget him and his ways. There is no way forward if you continue this. This man is the example for your daughter. I am not sure how old she is, but if you don’t get out she will repeat this cycle herself. Love to you…you can do it! xo Ella
It’s true that we are never alone. We each have the other’s hand in ours. xo
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So very true Nan. Xo Ella