A letter to survivors (originally posted 4/2014)

If you had told me that I would I be living this free two years ago, I would not have believed you. Two years ago, events happened that triggered my healing. I have post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a result of surviving childhood sexual abuse, abandonment, neglect, and rape before the age of five. Five is the age of the first rape memory at the hands of my mothers’ boyfriend.

Writing saved my life. Words were my saviors. This is why I am compelled to tell my story. I do not tell it to gain pity or fame. I tell it because I was born to tell it. So I tell. Everywhere I go I tell.

I want to tell my story of PTSD because most of us do not know what that looks like on an African American girl or woman. The number is many but until we start talking about it, most will suffer in silence, and ignorance. The majority will be miss-diagnosed with a mental illness or written off as just an angry black woman.

Be clear that PTSD is not a mental illness. It is how I respond to stressors in life after some trauma. My brain is wired differently, when it comes to how my body and mind react to stress. Knowledge about this disorder has been the single most important piece of my healing outside of my willingness to heal and therapy. I was able to function in society but the evidence showed up as “angry black woman”. I married, had children, went to school, worked, and to some had a pretty good life but PTSD affected everything. I will talk more about it in my book.

The story was telling me. I was angry and spiteful. Guarded was the aura I wore. I had to wear a mask that made you want to stay away from me. It served me well as a child but, as an adult, it robbed me of everything good. As a child, it kept me safe. If I came across as angry and hard then you could not interact with me. You just left me alone and that was how I controlled my environment. Of course, all of what I know about how I used to be is the result of a lot of therapy and my soul’s persistence to heal itself. I say used to because I have worked hard to change. I am not that woman any longer.

I am who I always knew I could be. I did not have the tools to let her live but I always knew there was a beautiful sweet woman inside of me.

I want to tell you, whoever may be reading this and experienced similar trauma that you can make it. You are a survivor and you will thrive. I know you feel like you will never be happy. I know you feel the weight of all that has happened to you. You get tired of trying to be happy. I know you are tired of people telling you to “get over it”. I know you want to be over it so badly it hurts.

You may have even learned, as I did, to give the appearance that you are okay. Believe me I know that feeling of being two different people. You have the functional face and energy that has served to get you through until this day. However, you also have that little child inside that needs nurturing. She needs rescuing and you know you are the only one to save her but you feel like you don’t have enough to even save yourself. I am telling you that you can and will heal.

It really does get better. Like I say in my poem “survivor” whatever it took to get you through until this day, it will take you further. You are not what you are feeling. You are strong and courageous. If you are reading these words that means you survived and now you can choose to do the work and start to thrive. https://thesoulspoet.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/survivor/

I know it f***ing sucks that you have to heal yourself. You did not do this shit to yourself. I look at it like this I had two choices. I could stay in pain or I could heal. Either way, I am in pain. So, I told myself if others said they made it over to the other side of healing then I am going to try it. It is true that the day will come when healing is the only choice you really have because the alternative has become unbearable. Trust that your body and mind know when the time is right. If you are suffering, it is time.

The most loving thing I have ever done for myself is do my work in therapy. I swear there have been days when the fear of healing took my breath away. My mind hid those things away to protect me until I could fully comprehend what happened and go through the healing process.

It has really become a spiritual journey for me because I know that my personality is only the tool my soul uses to heal itself and everything that has happened to me was for the elevation of my soul. Looking at it in this manner does not lessen the pain it just helps me to accept it as a necessary part of my journey. I hope my words have helped. My purpose is to use my words to help.

Mozayik “the souls’ poet”

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