Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

My Battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

When I gave birth to my daughter in 2007, it was a blessing; more of a blessing than I was willing to see at that time. I already had two boys and my daughter being born on Thanksgiving day, gave me lots to be grateful for. I now know that God sent her to me to assist me with my healing. She became and remains, my biggest trigger. With my boys, it was so different. I always had flashbacks and many symptoms of abuse, but they were manageable; I could always just ignore them and they would go away. I had accepted that this was going to be a part of my life, and I was okay with that. However, after my daughter’s birth, my symptoms began to get worse and increase with intensity.

I convinced myself that it was probably hormonal influences and that it would eventually get better; I was wrong. My symptoms grew and grew. One day when I was changing my daughters diaper, I made a comment regarding her genital area “looking so cute” and in that moment I would be changed forever. It was that moment where I was reminded that “abusers sometimes become abusers themselves”, so I cannot have the luxury of making such comments towards my daughter. It was the moment where I wondered how my grandfather could have looked at me and decided to “play with me” after bathing me. Maybe he touched me once by accident and “let it go”, and justified it to himself. It was the moment I wondered “how will I know, how will I know if I violated her”? My inability to answer that question made me promise to never make a comment about my daughter’s body again. It was the moment I became afraid; afraid of touching her, afraid of even looking at her with adoration. Afraid that someone would be “keeping an eye on me”. I literally became afraid of everything because I am her mother; I have to take care of her physically, mentally and emotionally. How was I going to do this and keep my own sanity?

For the next three years I tried my best to help myself. After all, I spend all my time giving advice to others as a Life Coach, surely I could help myself. It took a great deal of time for me to see that my way was not working. I was suffering in silence and developed high blood preasure that landed me in the ICU in critical condition. Things just began to go downhill but I refused to let this destroy me. I knew in my heart that my medical issues were somewhat connected to my abuse issues. So I began to seek help for myself and it took another two years before I was told that I was experiencing PTSD symptoms and another year before it was officially assessed by a psychiatrist, that I was diagnosed as having sever Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In my next post I will share what occurs when you have this dis-ease and how it affects your everyday life. But it will not be an easy thing to read because it’s not pretty. I am now having buried memories resurface, and the memories are now giving me answers to questions about myself that I have always wondered. So in a way I am getting to know “me” better; it just sucks that this is how it has to happen. I wish there were other ways to find myself but there isn’t. The only way to deal with this, is to learn what you can from it and face it head on. It also sucks when you have little support behind you. But I realize that no one knows what is happening and no one ever asks. So, I thought I would take the first step and see what happens.

……….to be continued

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Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

INVISIBLE…..The Conclusion

I became a mother at the age of 16 and moved out on my own before my 19th birthday. I was grateful for my parents’ support while I lived at home with my son. My mother took care of her first grandson as if he were her own; I never had to worry about him. Now that I was on my own, being invisible was not sufficient enough to carry me through; I needed to take control. I needed to be in control; control of everything and everyone around me. This was my way of being and feeling safe. Now that I look back with some wisdom, I realize that I was not in control at all. What I thought was control, was really manipulation. I was taking action and making choices out of fear. I was very smart and resourceful, so I could always figure things out; even if that meant manipulating my way through situations. I did whatever it took to get my own way. I wasn’t just good at it, I was one of the best.

I saw firsthand how my grandfather manipulated everyone through his issues of control. But I could not see how he was doing it to me. He would call our home and pretend that he wanted something and my siblings and I would take turns saying hello. When he talked with me, he would ask me to come by his place instead of playing with my friends. He would also ask my brother to come over to help him with something and bring me (sometimes my sister too) with him. My grandfather used money to lure me and it worked; I always had money because of him. He would tell me to save some of it but to spend most of it. He said if I saved too much of it, my parents would want to know where I got it from, then I would have to tell the secret that he gave me money because he loved me more and I was his favorite. Well, that’s what I thought at the time. I learned how to lie and manipulate from my grandfather.

I was never invisible to my grandfather, he always gave me attention. So when that attention ceased to be, no one ever made me feel wanted again. No one ever “saw” me or “looked” at me the same. I was not special anymore, I was invisible. My family was frozen with shame. I felt like they stopped seeing me too. My family meant the world to me and if they couldn’t see me, then no one else would either.

What I was not prepared for was the discovery that in becoming invisible to others, I became invisible to my own self. I could not see myself anymore; I could not find myself anywhere; I was lost. I lost myself. In 2002 I walked away from my job for the sole purpose to find myself; 11 years later, I think I found her hiding in a closet. Writing my story, is me coming out.

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Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

INVISIBLE Part 1

When I discovered that my relationship with my grandfather was wrong, I stopped feeling special and began to feel a sense of invisibility. This feeling did not occur immediately, but rather, grew on me slowly then gradually bled out into all aspect of my life. When you feel invisible for long periods of time, you become accustom to it. However, I did not see this until I began to look into the darkness that was eating away at my soul.

As a young girl, I could never look into the eyes of others. I would look away, look down or at something. I also know how to control the “fine tuning” of my eyes; so if I needed to look into someone’s eyes, I would make my vision go out of focus to blur away their face. My grandfather would look me straight in the eyes when he was with me; but I remember always looking passed him or at a spot in the ceiling and sometimes close my eyes. I would be there with him but somehow make myself disappear. I mean I was there but most of the time I couldn’t feel anything or I wouldn’t let myself feel. This is probably the reason children are able to block out memories; we spend so much time blocking out our physical pain, that blocking out memories seemed quite natural.

When I would walk into a room, I would zoom in on something or a spot in the room, then walk in that direction. I was so devastated to find out that my grandfather was commiting a crime against me. I would think back at how he touched me while being in a room full of people. I could not make myself believe that no one ever saw us; it was as if we were invisible. Now as an adult, I try to make myself invisible. I can walk on to public transit and look not one person in the face. I take a book, and read until I get to my destination. Everyone became invisible to me, so in my mind, I was there alone.

In my mind, I was not worthy of my family’s love and support. In my mind, being loved meant getting hurt. In my mind, feeling special meant getting hurt. In my mind, I needed to make sure that I was not going to allow myself to be hurt again. In my mind, what you see, is what you get. If you could not see me, then you could not get me. My living room is always dark; I never open my curtains. I feel too exposed when when they are open. I feel like someone is watching me all the time, so I make sure that will not happen.

When feeling invisible becomes too overwhelming, I will find myself sitting in the dark, crying, sometimes for what seems like hours. It is the type of crying that has no definition. I can never pinpoint why the tears would come, but they did and kept flowing; making it difficult to stop myself. I would cry until I could not feel anymore…I became numb. This numbness would prevail for a couple of days; then I would wait…and wait….and wait, because I knew it was only a matter of time before it happened all over again.

There were times where I become obsessed with being alone. I love being alone; it makes me feel safe. I never become bored; being bored is not an option. As far as I am concerned, being alone is time for celebration. There are times where I do not wish to hear sounds or be touched by anyone, including my own children. When I cannot find solitude, I become irritated, moody, impulsive and angry. It makes me want to disappear; and when I cannot disappear, I do whatever it takes to feel better.

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Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

ABUSE Has No Measure

I received a response from a friend of mine the other day and felt the need to address it. After reading my blog she texted the following, “I’m in tears and speechless”; then her other response got to me even more because she said, “lol…I am a loser”. She made me laugh but it wasn’t funny. My friend has received coaching from me and I give her advice whenever she needs it. I know most of what has occurred in her life and childhood. After reading my blog, she compared my trauma to her own and felt like “a loser” because I have spent so much time working with her on her issues, when I have so much pain of my own. She is a survivor of many abuses, including being a witness to her father’s attempt to kill her mother.

Abuse has no measure! One does not receive more abuse than another. We all deal with our abuse differently. I know a woman who was inappropriately touched by a neighbor just once; she has never learned to trust anyone because of this. When I heard the stories from the three women who were sex slaves for Ariel Castro for ten years, I too compared my trauma to theirs. It’s inevitable that we will do this from time-to-time. It’s a part of our human nature. No matter how bad your circumstance is or becomes, there will always be someone who has been through “worse”….but remember “worse” and “bad” are relative at best.

Whether you were sexually, physically, mentally or emotionally abused, you hurt. Not only do you hurt , but you will also act out your pain. We usually don’t connect our choices and actions to our pain. If you take the time to be honest with yourself and be willing to take a look into the darkness, you will see the connections. We all have pain to deal with on some level. We all deserve healing. We all have the right to be heard. Your story is just as important as mine.

Abuse has no measure. You all matter…at least, to me, you do. And you are not a loser.

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Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

I Can Breath Again

I do not know how else to describe what I am feeling, except to say that for the first time in a long time…I can breath again. The support that I have received so far has been quite amazing. To my new friends who are now sharing their own stories of abuse and incest, thank you for speaking up and standing together. I will continue to share my story with you; not because I want to, but because I need to.

I am so happy to say that I have two wonderful cousins that took a stand for me and spoke for me, and let me know how much they love me. When they stood tall in my corner, I found myself taking a deep breath and exhaled in a way that made me feel lighter. That’s all I ever wanted…to actually feel supported.

So the journey continues; because this is not just my journey, it’s our journey.

To my brother and sister, hang in there. Your healing has just begun and I’ll be there to walk you through it. Thank you both for being there and having my back.

My story has just begun; there is so much more to share. I am also looking forward to hearing your stories as well.

May God Bless You All.
Be Well, Play Well & Love One Another

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Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

BULLET PROOF You Cannot Hurt Me Anymore

The responses to my blog has been quite amazing. Thank you for all your support. I even thank those family members who has taken a stand to be my voice as well. For those of you whos response is to be angry with me, so be it. To my cousins who feel the need to defend your parents honour, well I understand. My feelings about what happened to me are MY FEELINGS. My perspective on this issue is quite different from yours. Whatever was said on facebook as a negative comment was said without having a single word spoken to me. But if you had asked me I would have explained that I found it interesting that my minister aunt and grandmother gave or laon me money during hard times but chose to reject me shortly thereafter. Perhaps the money came from church funds….but that’s what chuches are for, remember. You also would have been told that I originally contacted my aunt because I wanted to be “water baptized” and wanted her to perform the duty. You would have been told that after receiving this money I was told by my grandmother that after having a conversation with my aunt, that I should try to get married first; and that it would probably be better for me to attend the church that my mother attends”. You see my dear family, the church was good enough to “lend me money” but I wasn’t good enough to attend my own family church. I was REJECTED FROM THIS FAMILY FOR THE LAST TIME. I was told to attent another church because of the fear of others. So fogive me, if in my eyes it looked like “HUSH MONEY”, of course they really wanted to help me; they just wanted to help from afar. And if they can sit behind my back and accuse me of being a thief and blackmailer, why haven’t they called to ask about the repayment? If they wanted the money back they would have called by now. But not one call since receiving the funds, not one call. It seems to me that I would not have heard anything about this money had I not started this blog. It seems like we are only hearing about it because I spoke up. I’m not “hushed” any more so let’s expose me for the theif that I am. Seems like the loan was forgiven as long as I kept quiet. I’m not quiet, so now you want your money back!!!? Hmmmmm, so thank you dear cousin for proving my point. If I stayed in my corner, you would not know about the money. Hence, HUSH MONEY! Hope I made that clear.

This family has no idea who I am. I thrive on the strength that God has given me. I have many gifts that I now use to help others. I am a Life Coach who must practice what I preach. I am not afraid and I’m fully prepared for all that is to come….the good, the bad and yes the ugly.

Those of you who will be hurt from this blog or become angry, let me give you some advice. When you become so angry, it is never for the reason that is showing up in front of you. Anger is deep rooted. Look into your own darkness; what is it about you that makes you so angry and defensive. Do you have something your hiding that will upset the family as well? Are you angry because your parent is in pain and has to face their own demons? I am not going to defend anything that is said on this blog nor will I apologise for it. You are all entitled to your own opinions. The negative response(s) is a result of secrets being held within this family. To all my cousins out there remember this….there is no condemnation in Christ, therefore I do not hold condemnation towards anyone. In Christ there is only compassion and forgiveness. So I have compassion for all of you and for those who choose to “nail me to the cross”, as my Beloved Jesus would do, I do also….I forgive you. Especially because ignorance is bliss. You cannot be wronged for being angry because you don’t know the truth. Besides, I’m bullet proof; you can’t hurt me anymore. So when you slap me on my cheek, I’ll turn and give you the other.

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Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

Shining a LIGHT into the DARKNESS

For every wrongdoer hates the Light,

and will not come out into the Light but

shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds,

his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved.

John 9 verse 20

The Amplified Bible

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

This is the song I would sing whenever I felt myself slipping into that dark place of my mind. I would sing it over and over again, until I could picture a little flame within me. I know that as long as I could see and hold that light, I would find my way. Even a small dim light is comfort in the darkness. It reminds me of waking up in the middle of the night, craving a drink of water to quench my thirst. You know you have to navigate our way through the dark; at first you try to convince yourself that you can wait until daylight but your thirst will not allow you. So you grab your cell phone, turn on the screen light and hold it in front of you. There is just enough light to see the steps you need to take ahead of you. It’s just enough light to help you find your way; and when you finally arrive in your kitchen, you open the refrigerator and like magic that tiny little light led you to a place that where the light was much brighter. You quench your thirst. Ahhhh!

My family has been through some dark times and are about to go through some more. No different from any other family out there. We all have family drama and the baggage that comes with it. I began to understand why we keep ourselves in that darkness so long. There’s really only one reason, one “bottom line”. You see in the dark, we are safe. In the dark, no one can see what you are hiding. In the dark, no one can see you. The true “bottom line” is that in the dark, you cannot even see yourself. If you cannot see yourself, then you cannot look at yourself. Eventually, you become lost in the darkness. And in the moment when you realize that you are lost, you also wish to be found. But no one will come; that is when you hear a voice ” I AM THE LIGHT” saith the Lord. Since He lives within you, He shines within you. You must then begin to reach for your light and sing “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine”. And when it begins to shine just a little bit, you find your way to the well that will quench your thirst.

This is what motivates me; this is my intention. I do not have hatred towards my family; only Love. It is this very Love that allows me to become that Light that this family needs. Then perhaps, just perhaps, we will all become a Light for others. This is what Jesus taught me:

We cannot pull ourselves out of darkness

nor can we avoid it; we can however, navigate

our way THROUGH it. So shine your LIGHT and

become that Light for one another.

Wise One

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