Mental health awareness week

I wanted to talk about how PTSD affects me and why it can make relationships really difficult.

A child whines and my jaw clenches, my heart picking up speed just a little as I measure my breath to try to stay calm.  I try to handle whatever issue has caused the whining, it feels urgent.  She talks in a way that the words can’t be heard and I feel myself becoming quickly reactive whilst I beg her to speak clearly so I can understand her.  Whilst I’m still trying to find out what the problem is, he rushes into the room  throwing the door open in frustration. I flinch and shrink into myself as he raises his voice, demanding she stop the whining and talk properly. My breathing quickens, in my mind I’m trying to focus on my breath  I can feel my thoughts drifting to another time  another man, another place, I can almost smell him, the musty scent of his rage, I can already taste the coppery  blood in my mouth. Everything has gone quiet now and the only sound is the blood rushing in my ears as my body shrinks further into the safety of the corner of the sofa. I feel the soft leather around me as I bury into it and I take my head to another place, a warm place wrapped up and hidden away, I’m a little girl now, hiding under the bed, my quilt cocooned around me as I him and rock   I’m no longer in the room where there was loud noise or conflict.

Maybe minutes later or maybe hours  I don’t know because I no longer have any sense of time, I start to become aware of my surroundings again, and feel a rush of emotions overwhelm me, a deep heart wrenching sadness  and I finally let out a breath as I sob. I don’t want to be like this anymore  I don’t want to live in this fear that carries me away   And now I’m angry  – I’m angry at me, I angry at everything that brought me to this point, at the past, at all the men that hurt me, and I’m angry at him..for triggering me. I start saying awful things to him, I tell him he’s aggressive and I can’t handle it, he knows I have ptsd, he knows how it affects me. I tell him he’s just like them. I know he isn’t, I know this is me. I know he would never hurt any of us, but..I don’t want to be scared anymore, I don’t want to feel hurt anymore.

Later I apologise, he tells me it’s ok, but I can see the pain in his eyes. He tells me he’s sorry too.

Everything gets swept under the carpet as though nothing happened… Again.  I don’t get over it though, I feel insecure  anxious, I start worrying about our relationship and the damage I’m doing  how long he’ll be able to handle it for, how long until he breaks and dumps me. I get scared he’ll stop loving me or already has. It fester and plays on my mind as I try to control my insecurities  I tell myself this is me not him. I try not to look for reassurance or act needy. Sometimes I fail and other times I wonder if I’m coming across as cold and distant in my attempt not to seem so needy. I want him to hold me, to tell me it’s all OK, that he loves me, forgives me, that he will try not to do that again, and that most of all, I’m safe. I ache inside as he keeps his distance from me, giving me my ‘space’

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Dear abusers

I wanted to write a letter to my abusers, you know who you are

I want you to know what you did to my life and my inner being.  I’m 40 years old and I still can’t have a healthy lasting relationship with anybody.  I’ve lost everyone I ever cared about and loved.  They can’t handle the damaged pieces of my soul or the scared little girl that I still am.  I contemplate suicide every single day, I still wake up shaking every morning and fighting back the tears, so that I can get on with my day.

I imagine you all getting on with your lives, unaffected by what you did to me.

The pain inside gets so bad at times that it physically hurts my heart, I sob from the deepest parts of me but the tears never wash away the stains left behind by your hands.

Sometimes  I get flashbacks and memories flood in and I can smell you again, you now exist in every place that was meant to feel safe , I see you in the eyes of those I love  and I’m terrified

Then they leave me because they can’t handle it, they can’t cope with my fear, pain or reliance.

I want to die. You did this to me.

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