I was abused! In order to start to heal I need to admit what happened in my past was real and was not my fault. I will heal from this! In order to heal I have to set a goal and remind myself daily that I am going to reach this goal. I will be there for you during my recovery! I need to promise, no I mean comfort you, wait I mean tell you… I am hurting so bad that it is so hard to be there for you when you need me. That sounds more like what needs to be said when the realization of Child Abuse comes out as if you were just hit a brick wall, during a foot race in the middle of the night, out in the country where there are no street lights. It never happens when your expecting it or ready for it to come out and the news hits you harder then learning a parent has passed away, at least you can understand why they passed away, but not that the inner child in you was killed and you forgot all about it when you realize that it now explains how you have been living your life.
So how do you tell the people you love so much that learning about this is not going to change a thing or the person that you are? When it first hits, you really have no idea what type of road your about to embark on and no two people have the exact same path. My path included Sexual, Physical and Mental abuse as a child but the biggest realization was that not only physically abused mostly at the hands of my mother, but the fact that she was aware of the Sexual Abuse by my brother and did nothing about it. Standing there looking at the path I was going to be headed down looked like the haunted woods out of a horror movie where it is dark, the trees all look like hands ready to grab you and the sounds of coyotes can be heard in the distance. One of the problems from this, with every flashback, nightmare, and memory the path was really starting to look this way. Major Depression sets in which feels as if a Black Hole appeared inside of your body that won’t allow anything to pass it, sucking in feelings, thoughts, dreams and basically anything that has to do with being the person that you are. Your whole life changes, just as the Black Hole appears so does a new Star giving off new feelings that you’re not ready to feel or know how to express. Anger, feelings of helplessness, despair, so bad that some reactions could be so painful, that the taking of ones life becomes the only option they feel they have.
When this all hits, and most times it hits all at once as mine did, it brings a person to the point where it affects family and friends in ways that one cannot imagine. I know I have blogged before about missing concerts, dinners, church and other events of the family, but what about their feelings? What about their real inner feelings like fear of the unknown because they have no idea what is going on. What about their own feeling of helplessness that they feel because as much as they love you, they were always there for you if you got hurt or upset and now they have no idea to react towards you. If they ask a question, will they set off a flashback that will cause you to withdrawal and hide away from anyone? What happens when one child yells at another child as kids do and it reminds you of your own childhood that can bring on a flashback or trigger depression that is so deep that it just feels like the end of the world is near? What happens when your loved one comes to you in need of something and because of the depression, which takes away all your energy, all you ever tell them is you can’t right now or it’s not a good time and the now and time never comes around.
Throughout my blog I have talked about things my children have said in comments to me out of anger and other things that I cannot do like I used to do. To the family it becomes like living with a zombie, always depressed and always feeling so very low. The children see this and wonder if daddy will ever be able to play with them again, they start to question how they should act and treat you. My oldest daughter did research on PTSD in her child psychology class and talks to me as a child, which sometimes makes me feel better, or explains to my wife some of the things I do because it’s just what she studied about in children. My wife tries to understand that why I spend most of my time sleeping or sitting around looking like such a lost puppy. She attends all my counseling appointments and understands that the medications that I am on is not helping and this is the reason they are discussing and waiting to start ECT in hopes to stop the depression, but understanding and dealing with it is two separate things. Just as I know that I am not going to get hurt again, yet the fears are so strong that I became agoraphobic afraid to leave the house. What’s really weird is that I am suffering from my abuse as a child, dealing with so much information and becoming more and more depressed and my family is suffering from a loss of the father they knew, having to deal with so many ups and downs and becoming so depressed because they can’t do anything to help. Why do I say weird, because when I am having bad days do you think that this even crosses my mind? And when it does cross my mind it adds to the suffering because it is something that is so hard to change and I realize that as time goes on I am loosing time with my family that should becoming great memories, but the loss of the memory that I am having I can’t remember yesterdays happenings let alone the last nine months.
Basically PTSD DID and Major Depression does not just hit the person who experiences the trauma but seriously impacts the lives of the people who love us the most. They watch their father go from smiling, joking around all the time to frowning and living in what seems to be my own little world. It hurts even more that as much as I try I just can’t seem to get out of this slump; even the medications just don’t seem to fit the correct bill to bring me back. Many stories I read tell of broken homes, lost families and bottoming out without really being in control of what happened. I discussed this with my own counselor and she suggested that Family Counseling should be used yet if one has a problem dealing with life how are they to deal with the losing of family along with ones mind. The whole situation becomes so difficult at times that one does not feel like healing is possible without a cost. Almost makes taking the path to recovery less attractive so that you do not hurt your family yet by not taking the path only hurts your family more because you hide the truth and that is going to come out in other ways such as anger. It often causes the most unthinkable in my own opinion because when anger takes over, the fighting over the littlest things become an everyday event which as we can’t admit will affect children for the rest of their own lives. What they start to see places fears in them, they will blame themselves, they will begin to change their own lives over seeing what is going on and out of their own anger will often say things they do not mean, like what my daughter already has done. And the stress that is placed on a marriage is so enormous because what used to be a couple is now one taking care of the other which only places more resentment because even though the wedding vows say for better or for worse, living with someone who suffers with this places so much burden on them that they wish to seek to get away for breaks when most times they can’t and that breeds resentment in the marriage, bottom line it is a vicious circle.
The Biggest bottom line is that everyone needs to trust their family members and continue to allow them into our lives. When you have a flashback don’t be afraid to share it with your wife, she may not like it or be able to deal with it but she will begin to understand what your going through. It is going to be very hard to answer the questions that she has but by answering them will make you more comfortable in opening up to her and she will learn how to hold you and love you even more because she will start to fully understand what you are going through. Take your loved one on a session or two, her input just may help you recover because she sees you from the outside and often two views help counselors find that right treatment plan and can give you homework on getting better that might even include your loved one taking some of the stress off you because you now have a team 24/7 to help walk the path with you. It’s may or may not make the recovery any easier or faster but it will make it a recovery that you won’t have to reach on your own. Trust in your vows; trust in your family and most of all trust in yourself because you’re going to reach your goal. Most of all, it’s going to help you find ways to deal with things that you feel you need to deal with on your own. Until Next Time….