Confession of a Trauma Victim

Confession of a Trauma Victim

The days are longer in the summer, and for me that means a bit more freedom. One of my triggers is night time. It really sucks too, because I swear to God, I used to be a night child. I loved everything about walking out at night, and feeling like a dark cozy blanket with starts, gets laid over the earth. I felt more charged and alive at night, than any day in the sun.  Its sad, but now all the night brings me is anxiety. I have other triggers too, like, certain areas of the city, or even alcohol and substance abuse; mostly though when someone is drunk and loud. I just feel like the intoxicated person could do anything at any moment, and things can turn sour fast. These things have hindered me quite a bit if I’m completely honest, but I try to do things out of my comfort zone still, because I need to try and live MY life.

So not long ago, my friend asked me if I wanted to come over swimming at her place, and use the sauna. I really needed the heat therapy for my neck, as I have a permanent neck injury, due to being beaten up so bad. The very first thing that came into my head was, what time is it now? and how much time till its dark? followed by the feeling of severe anxiousness in my chest, and then slowly mixing up my lunch in my gut. Brain to Alice! BREATH! I take a breath, figure out the time, and since the sun doesn’t go down till much later in the evening, I agreed to go.

I try to turn things around in my head and well, not trick, but almost re-wire my brain and say to myself, that I’m not anxious, I’m excited to go out with my friend! Yeah that’s right, excited! We both used public transportation to get to her place and you know I had such a good time and I was so glad that I had gotten out. Its almost a feeling of accomplishment for me, when I stay out past a certain time too, even if the sun is still out. I had about an hour until it started getting dark out, so I started wrapping things up with my friend. I hadn’t had the best experiences in that area as well, so she gladly walked me to my bus stop (decreasing my anxiety by 50%).

I saw my bus coming and hugged my friend goodbye, and as I took in a deep breath, I again felt pretty good now. I got on the bus smiled at the bus driver, walked over to a spot by the window, and pulled out my book to read for the trip home. I remember thinking to myself, ‘See Alice, you went out, you had a great time, you are on the bus safe and sound, and on your way back home’. I was totally relaxed as i started into my book.

It was only two stops later, that I heard a loud and inebriated voice come up from the front of the bus. Two drunk women pleading with the bus driver to let them on the bus, even though they had no fair to pay. I could hear my voice in my head yelling, ‘NOOOO NOOO PLEASE NOOO’, while simultaneously assuring myself, its okay mind your business, and read your book you’ll be fine.

A flash of me walking down a back lane, going home from work, music blaring in my headphones, and then THUD! something crashed down hard on my left shoulder blade area. I immediately looked to see if a something was thrown at me, and pulled out my earbud and heard screaming. Looking up, all I could see was some girl yelling, and hanging from the passenger side window, and getting back into the vehicle.  My heart was racing so fast, the sound of blood rushing in my ears, made it hard to hear what she was yelling. Then they turned at the end of the back lane, and I ran the short bit home, in case they came back around.

I’m back on the bus, and immediately pull out one of my earpieces, so I can hear in case anyone tries to attack me. I can tell my senses have been heightened, because I’m feeling extremely aware. Even though I’m looking down at my book, I can see through my peripheral vision, they are walking toward me now, looking for a spot to sit. Of course with my luck, the two sit across from me and slightly behind me. Honestly at this point, I’m just trying to breath and not panic.

Just as I’m trying to assure myself, that they are probably just trying to get home safe, like me, one of the women starts yelling. She literally is trying to pick a fight out of no where, and starts yelling racist things to the bus driver, who just let her on the bus for free. I couldn’t believe the nerve of this woman, but then remembered the alcohol, and intoxication. My chest was so tight, and at this point my stomach was being held by a fist of anxiety. She starts yelling at other people on the bus, at everyone now even taking racial shots at me. My fingers were white gripping my book. My legs felt non existent.  Honestly it felt as though my legs where made of jelly, and from the waist up it was all concrete, and coursing through my entire body was a bolt of electricity. I tried switching up my thoughts from fearful to something else, but then it just turned to rage. Complete anger, and I found myself picturing me kicking her ass! That thought right there freaked me out, because I hate fighting, its another HUGE trigger for me.

Should I get off the bus, and risk being stuck out here in the dark ,around possibly more intoxicated people? should I just sit here? What if they target me, and get off where I get off, and then try to fight with me? So needless to say I was a mess at this point. I don’t know what I would have done, if the bus driver hadn’t stopped the bus, and had security remove them. For the next twenty minutes, I would keep trying to read the same sentence over and over, all the while reminding myself to breath and that I’m okay.

That event isn’t, and hasn’t stopped me from going and doing things since, but it was really hard to sleep for a while ,and made my anxiety worse for a bit. Its such a slap in the face, when things like that happen to me, at least that’s how it feels for me. Like I’m already trying really hard, and then people have to go and make it harder for me. I can only focus on me though.  I can only continue to move forward from what had happened to me, and try to learn from it and be as patient and positive with myself along the way.

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Vicious Cycle

Vicious Cycle

Abuse is never okay. That being said its also unfortunately usually a cycle of things. The man that hits his wife and kids was once beaten often by his father growing up and watched his own mother feel the harsh contact of his fathers hands. This same man I speak of is my biological father. I want to talk about the cycle of abuse not just in terms of how the abuser abuses and then puts blame on the abused and then feels shame and remorse and promises never to do it again before doing it again. No, I’m talking about begin a victim of abuse and then projecting those same painful infliction onto other people through various forms of abuse.

You see like I had said, my father was hit by his father and even though I think he truly didn’t want to be the same kind of dad he turned out to be a lot like him. When his stress levels would get high from work or not having enough money to provide for his family his temper would flair up and he’d yell at us for everything, till his face was beat red. Then he’d get into a fight with my mom in the other room and things would get physical, you could hear things crashing around and my mothers screams back at him. It didn’t take long for us kids to realize that one of us was going to get it next. If not by our dad then for sure by our mom. She was being abused, in turn she hit us to let out her anger and hurts.

I grew up like this and vowed I’d never be in a relationship like that. So toxic towards one another to the point of such violence. I was wrong thinking it would be so simple for me. Later on in my late teens/early twenties I was living with my boyfriend at the time. It was my first serious relationship. Even though we were good at being friends, best friends even, we were not so fortunate in our relationship. Young love though! Love! These things can hinder us from seeing the signs that warn us we are going down the wrong path unfortunately. We had gotten into a huge fight because I had found him cheating on me with more than one other girl and after what seemed like a forever and never ending screaming match, I hit him. I was enraged and couldn’t control him and so, I hit him.

We stayed together for over 7 years. Needless to say there were more fights like that and both parties were physical toward each other. It was wrong. Wrong of me, wrong of him all of it was wrong. I had tried to recall tips from therapy from previous years, that helped me control my temper and violent acts. Remember, I grew up in a household filled with abuse so naturally I grew up being violent in my anger at times. Thankfully, I had gotten help and straightened myself out or so I had thought. People change, and other people bring the worst out in us sometimes. As I tried to fix myself though, my partner was hurting too and so when we would get into fights, sometimes he’d shove me around.

I’m not trying to make excuses or justify the abuse by any means, however, understanding my violent actions and behavior based off of being the abused at one point helped me realize my errors. Sometimes in all the rage or even just being used to this behavior makes it harder to see the wrong in our ways. Understanding that my parents were both abused also helped me in my healing process as well. Knowing I didn’t deserve to be treated that way took away the guilt I felt as a child for making my mom and dad so mad at me. The key to all of this is to understand and to break free from the cycle. If you can’t do it on your own, then get help. Be it from a family member, a friend, a support group etc. I suggest anger management programs and therapy because it really is so much bigger than you’d think. All the support and help is going to be needed. Even if you feel silly, like there is nothing wrong with you, people just piss you off….I hate to break it to you but you probably need to work on how you react towards other people and how to manage your emotions better. If not, you will only perpetuate the vicious cycle.

I’m okay. No really!

I’m okay. No really!

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My name is Ashton, and I’ve got my life together.
Let me share a little bit of my story with you. I’m a middle class woman with a beautiful 7 month old baby girl, a nice apartment, two cars, and no money problems. My fiance loves me and we spend time together often. I go to work on time, and I’m one of their best employees. I smile at everyone and I’m there for everyone. My friends love me. People trust me and share their problems with me. I’m respected by my peers and I pay my taxes and my bills two weeks early. My family is proud of me. I’ve got a four year degree and a 4.0 GPA with
Now I want to share with you the story of a different woman, someone I don’t really like that much, to be honest. She has a panic attack every time the alarm clock goes off at 7:46 a.m. She worries daily that she’s going to be suddenly evicted, or lose her job. She is afraid of the dark so she sleeps with the light on. She hears voices in her head, sees twisted peripheral images as she walks down the hallways at work, the voices of her superiors a gargled blur. She has to sit down for a few minutes every hour to remind herself she’s still alive, and not unconscious, or dreaming. She thinks about quitting her job every day, just so she doesn’t have to work. To live. To function.
Her name is Ashton, and her life is falling apart.
Yep, that’s right. It’s me. It’s all me. And If you’re like me, you probably know what I’m getting at.
It’s called being a highly functional, mentally ill person, and it’s horrible. But I’m ok…no really!
I’m talking to all my dear friends out there in the world that know how to succeed , and do. Who cope, who function, who do everything right. I’m talking to the people who say “I’m fine,” when they want to say they didn’t want to wake up that morning. The people who smile at other people when they’re dead inside, and solve everyone else’s problems but their own.
Here’s something maybe no on ever told you: Just because you’ve got your life together, doesn’t mean you’ve got your life together, unless going through the motions is what you call “living.”
Here’s something I’ve noticed in my [way too many] years of therapy: too many therapists gauge the severity of someone’s mental illness on how well they function in society and in their relationships. I mean, if you’re able to do what you need to do, it must not be that bad, right? Wrong. And trust me, I’ve lived that scene. I’ve seen so many doctors and shrinks, I should already be in one of their tv ads by now. But it’s not, ultimately, making sure we function in society and relationships, is it? Not really. It’s about how we feel about ourselves.   So I’m going to ask you today, and be really honest:
How do you feel about yourself?
Some of us are so used to being ok, or having to be okay, we may not even have an immediate response to that. You may have to think about it for a little bit. What things have bothered you today? How do you feel about the way your life is going? How’s your emotional state when you wake up in the morning? I don’t care if you have the perfect husband, beautiful kids and a lap dog with bows on its ears. If you are not happy with yourself or your life, you aren’t doing well at all. Outward success is not, and never has been, an indicator of personal peace or happiness. Of course, it can be, but too many people equate the two.
For all us high functioning persons, thinking about this is going to be hard. Why? Because sometimes, the only thing in our lives that hasn’t fallen apart yet is that societal projection, that mask, that persona we project onto people that makes them like us. That makes us not fall apart. That perfect behavior that makes people think we’re wonderful. It’s all we’ve got, so we deny we need help. We push on. We push through. So thinking about our emotions or what makes us upset or how we really feel, well, it kind of throws us out of our groove.
I’m here to encourage you to derail a little bit. Just for a little bit.

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I’ve got my life together. And also, I’m one French fry short of a happy meal. And you know what? I’m okay with that. The one thing I’ve learned over the last 20 years of suffering, is that in order to function well, and truly well, [not in the plastic Botox smile kind of way,] is to have those moments, those days, those hours, or even seconds, where we LOSE IT. I’m talking screaming into a pillow, writing in a journal, crying, doing something. Anything. Whatever activity redirects you to what’s really going on inside, to your inner dialogue.  Anybody that knows me well, knows I’m all about self-awareness. I’m one of those weird people who will sit in a room by themselves for a half hour just getting their emotions and thoughts together, so that they can face the world with a little more confidence and function better. I’ll do yoga in my living room after a chaotic event, just to make sure I don’t have a panic attack later; I’ll meditate several times a day, just to redirect my thoughts to what’s going on inside. Does everyone need to do that? Pshh no. But the point isn’t what you do, it’s that you are conscious of that inner dialogue, which is constantly running, taking notes on what’s going on in our lives, even if we’re not aware of it, and most importantly, being honest with yourself about how you feel, so you can take charge and really progress towards healing.
This is what I’m all about. I want to help people get in touch with themselves, so they can go out and live the life they truly WANT to live. I have about 20 years of life experience with some scary diagnoses and years of therapy, and I know what works and doesn’t work for me; and hopefully some of these things will work for others too.

Outside By Alice

Outside By Alice

Standing on the outside

 

Being in a toxic relationship is one thing all on its own, but I’m wanting to talk about being the friend or family member of someone who is in a toxic relationship. I myself have grown up watching my mother be in one and then grew up to end up in not one but two toxic relationships myself, so I feel I have a pretty good understanding of what makes a relationship bad and what it feels like to be in one. Usually you feel stuck and this could be for many reasons; such as you are truly in love with the person and just want to fix things with them, or possibly even that you have fallen victim to abuse and now have issues with leaving. I’m not going to get into the abuse part of a toxic relationship right now but focus on the support that a person needs when they are in a toxic or abusive relationship.

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As a friend or a family member its hard to see someone you care about going through something that is breaking their heart and in some cases their spirit too, changing the person you once knew into someone you barley recognize. I see two things happening after this. Either you just walk away completely from the person and tell them that they are stupid for staying and they are making a big mistake or you keep your mouth shut and you let them go on making their own decisions because really, its their life, right? So this is the touchy part. I don’t think its okay to just snip someone out because you don’t condone their choices in life, but I also don’t believe you should hold onto people who practice in toxic behavior and allow themselves to be put through such negativity in life. I find there is a fine line and of course you must use your judgment but first when doing, so start off remembering that this person you care about IS just that, a person you care about. So what can you do to help? You can be supportive!

 

Showing support and letting someone know that you care and are there for them in the decisions they make can help someone, who is feeling really down in a bad relationship, to build up confidence. Usually when someone is stuck there is a broken down self esteem that makes them feel like they are damaged goods or that no one else will want them, causing the person to feel like they are better off in the current crap relationship they are in. You want to be empathetic and compassionate when telling your friend or loved one that they deserve to be cared for and loved and in a healthy way. Try telling them all the great things that you love about them, chances are they have forgotten. Let them know that walking away will be hard but that you will be there to help them in any way that you can. They need to feel strong again in order to set themselves free.

 

That being said, there is also a time to walk away from these people. Yes even if they are a good friend and yes even if they are family. I won’t tell anyone what to do or how to do it but I know that I also have to live my life in the best way that I can and try to stay on a positive route. So if I have been trying to be there for someone so that they can leave a bad situation and get into something more positive for themselves and they don’t want to follow through and help themselves then there really is nothing more for me to do. No amount of support or love will make that person leave or make them see their worth if they don’t love themselves or are accepting to the help they need to get out. Its a hard thing to do to walk away from those you care deeply for but I feel like I’m also being a good friend/family member by showing them that I won’t allow them to be abused and that I don’t allow room for toxic relationships in MY life. I will always let them know I love and care for them and when they are ready to love and care for themselves too I will be waiting right here for them with open arms.

 

Alice

Damage Done

Damage Done

 

When an offender or perpetrator harms a child or minor physically, sexually or psychologically, it is known as sexual abuse. Though the child is not in a position to consent to any such sexual activity, it is thus considered a crime that has a lasting impact on the victim.

If a child is sexually abused all bonds of trust seem to break. This is a violation against a person’s own physical intimacy.  Such acts of physical exploitation will be seen as spiritual violence that has disastrous effects not only on the body but the mind as well. To recover from such an incident it might take years or even a lifetime as sexually abused victims can never emotionally get over it. 

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It is difficult to get precise statistics on the number of sexually abused survivors in the world as many survivors never reveal the truth. The whole tragedy is that since the survivors never tell anyone, they are not in a position to seek professional help to deal with the situation. Moreover the nature, duration and circumstances of the abuse and the child’s relation with the abuser all have a very adverse effect which does not enable his or her ability to move ahead in life. Furthermore it is seen that more than half of the victims are below 12 years of age mostly in the age group of four to six years. It is often seen that the offender is usually an adult member in the family or a teacher or coach or someone generally known to the child whom the child trusts. Childhood sexual abuse mostly occurs at home where the child can be easily accessed by the offender where he will not be suspected or caught. Abusers manipulate the victim to never reveal about the abuse by using various tactics, threat being the most common.

Considering the gravity of the problem of sexual abuse we can understand the need to converse with children explaining to them about body safety and at the same time keeping them safe ensuring a safe environment where they can without hesitation express themselves. The two main issues here are firstly to protect the child from sexual abuse and secondly to talk to your child if you suspect sexual abuse.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can lead to some of the most traumatizing experiences ever

Sexual abuse can lead to some of the most traumatizing experiences ever and no body is meant to endure such an experience. As a parent, an individual, or a member of the society, there are a lot you can do top inadvertently prevent sexual abuse from happening to you or anybody around you. Below are some steps you could take to prevent it:

Educate yourself

In order to stand against sexual violence at all times and never be caught off guard, you should take the time to educate yourself on the myths and the facts behind it. Take for instance, a lot of people still believe sexual assaults are committed by strangers; but in actuality, 90% of most sexual assaults are perpetrated by close friends and relatives. Moreover, it’ll be wrong to let your guard down or appear sexually provocative even around the people you trust.

Don’t give off a wrong sense of gender roles

Research has shown that a lot of perpetrators of sexual abuse are victims of a rigid understanding of femininity, homophobia, and masculinity. This is usually caused by statements like “Girls don’t play football” or “pink is not a color for boys”. These statements sometimes pass wrong messages and can lead to the perpetration of sexual abuse. Additionally, homophobia has been directly linked as a cause of sexual violence or sexism.

Change begins with you

Make an effort to model proper and healthy associations to other people. You are obligated to always respect people in the society and never attempt to abuse someone immorally. At the same time, you shouldn’t keep to yourself and endure unhealthy relationships; break out because you deserve better!

Take Rape seriously

While some people make funny jokes about sexual assault and rape, you are not expected to be part of them. As a matter of fact, it is your duty to always stand up to those types of jokes and to explain how it can dramatically influence a person’s life!

Stand up for survivors

Let the people around you and in the society understand that you are willing to always provide help, resources and advice to sexual assault issues whenever they arise. This portrayal of availability can reduce the possibilities of sexual violence and make a very big difference to those who might have fallen victim to it.

In conclusion, these tips should help make the society a better place and reduce occurrences of sexual assaults around you. However, if by any means you have been a victim of this vile offence and you are having trouble dealing with the experience’s aftermath; you should immediately walk up to a mental health counselor who can help you out of that stronghold.

Depressed? Feeling Anxious? Here are some tips from Alice

Depressed? Feeling Anxious? Here are some tips from Alice

Do you wake up sad every day? Do you feel like maybe you’re just a downer for everyone, or that maybe you’re just not trying hard enough? I feel like that all the time. I have friends and even family that feel like that too, the difference is they take anti depressants. Thats absolutley fine, and I don’t discrouage anyone to take their medication, if it helps.

I am a person who does not like taking medications or pills, and when I have taken antidepressants, they didn’t react well with me. Either I felt like a zombie and I completely couldn’t figure out who I was anymore, or my symptoms got worse with some, and once I even had an allergic reaction to one type, and had to go to the hospital. Some people say that I should give them more of a chance, but I think people should give me more of a chance.

How one person mananges their depression, isn’t necessarily going to be beneficial to another person. I know I can be very hard on myself, especiially in the tough swing of things, those days or sometimes even weeks, where you find yourself crying over little things, or remembering old things you swear you’ve gotten over, or just not acting yourself.

Sometimes I feel so silly for the feelings I get, I get angry with myself and start to question if I’m handling my depression properly? Thats when I realize I am not. Its okay to manage your deprestion in different ways than others, so long as it works for you, and is beneficial to you, and the people around you. But getting mad at myself for the way I feel, isn’t handling it appropriatley, and its hard for me to see that sometimes when I’m going through a depression spell.

I try to write in a journal, so that I can be more reflective when I need to be. Other times, because of my axiety I’m very aware of myself and my siatuation, which really does work as a bonus in those down times. So i’ve learned some self help methods, starting with how to make me feel better.

I can start by trying to think of something that makes me feel good, or a person that I love. I think back at a happier time, if I can’t find good around me at the moment. I try to be kinder to myslef, notice that I need to be loved and cared for, and its usually in that moment that I feel, like I need to mabye try to do something I like, like working out or dancing or listening to music or reading a book. I find that that helps me for a little bit, but only for a little bit. I also realize in that moment, that i’ve been pushing people close to me away, and usually the ones who know me the best, will try to come around anyways, because they see the signs and they care.

I realize that, when i’m sitting alone that I pushed them away, and now I need them. So I pick up the phone. I never did before, because I didn’t want to bother people with my feelings, but then I realize that if they care about me, they will be there for me. I’m lucky enough to have a few people who will be there for me, even after I push them away, because they know that I will welcome them with warm embraces, once i’m back to feeling better. Once the depression subsides or the anxiety eases up.

I did have a time when I felt I had no one to call, but I knew that I would also hurt people if I didn’t get help for myself, so even though I felt silly, I called a help line. Honestly just knowing that there is no right way to handle my mental illness really helped me work through it.

It was when I was being forced to do things that weren’t for me, that made me feel worse. I may not like my depression or anxiety, but its kind of a part of who I am, and the things I have been through. I know for some people, they go through things and get out of them, I know for others its a life long struggle and thats okay. I’m never going to shame someone for living with depression, and I hope they never feel that way from anyone else. Just know that you are you, and there is no one exactly like you, so take comfort in handling your mental illness, in whatever positive way that works best for you.

In a time when someone is drowning

do not try to teach them how to swim
-Alice