I did not have the best childhood. In fact, It was extremely traumatic, filled with physical, emotional, and sexual abuse; spurning, terrorizing, and, lots of isolating from both my mother and step-father. I felt like I was going through an ongoing cycle in hell. I hated my life and I honestly did not want to live. I had no hope. Any chance of getting out of my house I would take it. Whether it be at my great-grandmothers house, church, or even school. Actually, school was like my “safe place.” I remember on many occasions, begging my bus driver to let me be the last person to leave (I lived close to the school) because I did not want to go home to be alone with my step-father. My step-father made my life a living hell, as well as my mother. If I ever get the guts to talk about what they did to me, I will try. But, trust me, you do not want to know.
Sometimes I wonder why people are abusive. Why do some think that hitting, name calling and molesting a child is okay? My mother and step-father would always tell me about how terrible their childhoods were and compare it to the way they beat me. So, why must you punish me the way your parents did? Why does your terrible childhood matter if you are beating me and breaking my bones? It doesn’t. Now don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of people that have grown up in abusive households and were able to “break the cycle” and are amazing parents. But unfortunately, that was not the case for my family. And, statistically speaking, most abused children are more likely to grow up and become adult abusers than those who weren’t. But, a messy childhood does not always mean a messy adulthood. Yes, abusive behaviors can stem from mental disorders or drug addiction, but when it boils down it it, abusing someone is a choice. You should want to break the cycle of abuse, and that is exactly what I did.
If you have been abused, I feel sorry for you and you are in my heart. But, if you turn around and abuse someone else, I have no sympathy for you whatsoever. Being abused does not excuse abusing someone else.
The police and Child Protective Services came to my house on many occasions; I was threatened not to say a word of what happened in that house. My guidance counselor called and sent CPS to my house for wellness checks on many occasions, for nothing to happen for me or my younger brother. Despite my step-father, a convicted felon with a lengthy criminal record, nothing happened when I spoke out about what he did to me. Now, when I look back on it, I wish I would have called the police more and try to stop the abuse completely. But, every time I called I was abused even worse. This man was huge and very threatening. Sadly, after four years of no contact with my family, I do not remember anyone’s voices, even my mothers. But, I remember his because I constantly hear it in my head and in my nightmares. I saw this man as the devil and I still do. My mother did not believe a word I said, along with the rest of my “family,” which just ended up enabling the abuse for much longer. Every time I told my mother about my step-father, he would get angry and hurt me more. Every time I cried to my grandmother, great-grandmother, and uncle about the physical abuse from my mother, they denied the severity of the abuse. And when I cried for help from my step-father, no one believed me.
On many occasions, I remember my mother saying to me: “I could have aborted you, you know, but I chose not to!” As if she made the right choice by not aborting me or putting me up for adoption. But, I can honestly say that I wish she did; I would have rather been born as a fucking farm animal than be “raised” by her and my step-father. Now, I definitely know that people have had it worse than me. I am aware that I am not the only one that goes through this kind of abuse. In fact, more than 3 children die as a result of child abuse in the United States every day. I am very lucky that I got out when I did, because if not, I honestly do not think I would be alive to write this.
I couldn’t defend myself and I had no support. I had no choice but to run away. The day I ran away, I was severely beaten by my mother and my step-father was in jail. Shocker, right? I ran to my neighbors house who then took care of me until my boyfriend picked me up. I had nothing to my name and he, along with his amazing parents, took me in as their own.
It wasn’t until January of this year that I finally decided to see a psychiatrist. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, major depressive disorder, and panic disorder with agoraphobia. After my diagnoses, I was very embarrassed and felt like a “crazy person,” but after awhile, I actually felt relieved. I felt this sense of relief because my diagnoses are real and treatable. I do not believe that taking medication will solve everything, but since starting medication and seeing my psychiatrist every month, I can honestly say that I haven’t felt this way in my whole life. If I were any other person, i would say that I feel like I am re-building a happy and safe life, but that is not the case. After going through everything I did for 20 years, I feel like a brand new person. It amazes me to look back on 5 years ago and see how far I have come. As I stated, my diagnoses are treatable, but for me, there is no cure. I honestly do not think that there is a “final healing” for PTSD. Just like grieving the loss of a loved one, going through this kind of crisis is just a cycle. There are lots of good days and some bad days. Despite my medication(s) working great, I still suffer from the same symptoms that I have lived with almost every day. But, I do not let a mental illness define me; a mental illness is not a character trait. I honestly think that if a mental illness such as PTSD was seen as a physical illness, it would be taken more seriously. Luckily, there has been an increase in mental health awareness and crisis intervention over the last couple of decades.
I am happy because I am no longer in that abusive situation and surrounded by such toxic people. I think that the two most important things that I have learned is that it is never too late to seek help and that blood is not thicker than water.
Some things that have made living with PTSD a little easier:
My special blanket. It is not considered a weighted blanket (I really want one of those) but it is heavy enough to help me feel protected. I cannot go to sleep without it.
My cat. If you know me in real life, you know that my cat Pumpkin is like my baby. She helps me in so many ways.
William. My boyfriend William is my rock and I honestly would not be here without him. I could honestly write so much more but I’m going to save that for another post.
Journaling, writing, and sharing my story. All of these help me a lot. Telling myself that I have these issues, but I am not alone in my experiences helps me tremendously. It feels good knowing that I am not alone and that there are people that understand me. If I am having bad flashbacks, writing a letter to my abusers and and burning them also helps me a lot, too.
Adult coloring books. Who doesn’t love coloring? I have just discovered them this year and they are so satisfying and calming. If I am having a panic attack or bad thoughts, coloring keeps me occupied.
Coincidently, I started writing this post and found out that June is PTSD Awareness month. I think it’s awesome that the Senate designated a whole month for National PTSD Awareness.
Thank you so much for reading.