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”

“Triggers” of PTSD

I must move forward.  Staying stuck in the past has not served me well.  It is a hard reality that all of your life you have been telling yourself lies about YOU.  I am doing CBT Cognitive Behavior Therapy and have learned that 90% of the negative shit I have been telling myself is absolutely not true.  My mind has been playing tricks on me but I have served it notice that we are doing some renovation.

It is grueling to monitor your thoughts after the fact.  Gleaning through every nook and cranny looking for a “trigger”.  It is like recreating an accident and walking through the steps to find out the point of impact.  The wreckage that has to be disposed of is my life and all the things I told myself I was not worthy enough to have.

I have choices.  I can continue as I always have and keep telling myself the same ole lies and getting the same result.  I can basically go insane, or I can love me enough to heal.  Even if healing means letting people go because allowing their presence in my life is actually self-abuse.  Even if it means I walk alone because others want to stay in darkness.  Sometimes in order to be whole we have to remove the diseased member.  I have realized that their presence in my life is why I have not healed.  I have been putting band-aids on an open wound.  And if the wound would heal in the least, I would reopen it with dysfunctional interactions with unhealthy people that have no intention of changing.

I know they will say I am being selfish and I am all about self-preservation only.  I let that guilt trip work for too many years.  If I do not preserve self, I will self-destruct.  I have no more energy for people that want to stay in denial.  I have no choice but to let them go.  I have to give up on the unrealistic dream of the big happy family.

I know what I need and it is time to stop pleading with those around me to understand or empathize.  Or even give me permission or support.  I know I am rambling.  This therapy stuff is rocking my world and shaking me to my core.  They say it will get better and there is a light at the end of the tunnel so I hold on to that hope.

I want to say to people that have the audacity to say “just get over it” that if you only knew how badly I want to be over it you would weep for me.  PTSD is an insidious and horrific condition.  I am grateful for the knowledge and awareness I have about my condition, but I think about people (especially women) that are misdiagnosed or even unaware of why they act like they do.  I am starting to think that maybe part of my purpose in all of this is to be an advocate or educator.

To be honest with y’all I do not want to be the poster child for this or any of the other conditions I deal with on a daily, and sometimes moment-by-moment basis.  I just want PEACE in my MIND.  Ignorance is not bliss it is death.  TOO MANY PEOPLE DIE through either suicide or homicide.  Or, they die spiritually and just exist, going through the motions.  Others numb out with sex, drugs, food, or gambling.  It really does take courage to face your demons.

I would not be me if I did not think about others that suffer because our society does not understand all people really need is LOVE.  It is tragic that we have been conditioned to believe that serving others is a weakness.

Understanding of self leads to acceptance, which leads to compassion for others.  Thanks to whomever read my ramblings.  #iwasjustthinking

Hope……………………………………….

The Birthday Call

“Bring me to my knees” was written because my mother did not call me on my birthday.  I will not try nor do I feel the need to justify my feelings about this but I have gained a lot of insight and I want to share.  If you have followed the blog you already know my history of neglect and childhood sexual trauma.

As a child living with my grand mother every birthday the only thing I really wanted was acknowledgement by my mother.  A phone call would have sufficed or a card would have been even better, but no calls or cards ever came.

I don’t have the words to explain how unimportant I felt.  It did not matter what party I had or gifts I had received, no call from her said I did not matter to any body especially my mother.  In therapy I learned to ask for what I wanted so I explained to my mother in my mid thirties how her behavior made me feel.  She started from then on at least calling me on my birthday.

This year that I turned Fifty was a big deal for me because I have survived and thrived.  There was a lot of discussion about what I was going to do for the big 50 born day and for many reasons I just wanted to be away from home.  The main reason being I did not want to spend any energy pretending every thing is okay with our family.

I was concerned that maybe something was seriously wrong with her because I had come to expect the call.  When I called to ask about her well-being she told me she did not forget.  She just did not call.

I hung up the phone and started to cry.  I was the little bare footed five-year old all alone in a dark roach infested apartment by herself with no food crying for her mother.  PTSD is horrific.

This time though I was different.  I loved my self enough to validate my own feelings.  It is okay to cry.  It is okay to feel bad about this I told myself, but it is not okay to wallow in it.  So I decided to talk about how I felt honestly with a couple of friends that I knew would just listen so I could process the feelings.

In the past I would have went straight into a deep depression feeling sorry for myself.  I used to be the queen of pity parties but I have grown.  I know not to take her behavior personally it is not now, nor has it ever been about me.  But that does not change the fact that it hurts.

I love my mother.  I want to facilitate her healing but she lacks the courage to face her demons.  So, now I find myself on my knees praying for my mother instead of praying for my self.  I pray for our healing.

I am continually striving to learn how to give more love.