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Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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I suffer from the worse type of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Chronic PTSD. This disorder is treatable, but not curable because of the fear, guilt, and other unwanted thoughts and emotions that make it very difficult for me to move on with my life. It’s an awful disorder I would not wish on anyone. I have been subjected to domestic violence and sexual abuse as young as I can remember. I am a poster child of how childhood domestic violence and sexual abuse affects a person. I know I am only one in a million.

As far as I know I suffer from:

1. Frequent suicidal thoughts

2. Anger and rage

3. Severe anxiety

4. Obsessive thoughts

5. Amnesia

6. Thoughts of revenge

7. Hyper vigilance (being overly aware of possible danger); or survivalist behavior

8. Hypersensitivity, (trouble sleeping, angry, difficulty concentrating, startling easily, having a physical reaction which includes rapid heart rate or breathing-panic attacks, and increase in blood pressure)

9. Exaggerated startled response

10. Flashbacks

11. Relationship problems

12. Alienation, isolation, and avoidance of people and places

13. No sense of future

14. Difficulty concentrating or remembering

15. Guilt

16. Difficulty falling or staying asleep

17. Distress caused by reminders of the event (sights, sounds, smells)

18. Flashbacks of event

19. Recurrent, intrusive, and distressing thoughts about the event

20. Recurrent dreams, nightmares (sometimes called “night-terrors”) about the event

Studies have shown family support is one of the keys to dealing with PTSD. I have no support of any kind. I realize on my own there are many people who have been through much worse than I have been. I do not need to hear it over and over again from psychiatrists and people who say they love me. This just angers me more. Who are they to say this to me? I need support and get nothing but more hurt. The only thing I feel will help me get over this is to stay in my house and write, hoping my experiences can help other victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. These same people say I am a drama queen and love being the victim.

Okay, let’s say for one second they are right. So what they are telling me since birth I asked my father to traumatize me by beating my mother and creating nothing by chaos in the house as early as I can remember. I asked to be traumatized by seeing my father’s affair. I asked my half-sibling to traumatize me by molesting me and making me feel unsafe in my own home because he tried again and looked at me as if he was undressing me with his eyes. I asked my husband to traumatize me by holding me down and raping me while our baby slept in the same room.

I asked five “men” to traumatize me by physically, emotionally, and verbally abusing me because daddy taught me this is how men are to treat women. Hell, I did not even know what my husband did to me was considered rape until a counselor told me so. How mess up it that to think I thought this was normal behavior? How do you get over living a life of violence when this is all you know for over forty years. You are all geniuses. You’re right! I asked for it all! I loved it so much I kept it locked deep inside my broken soul for over thirty years. It’s been only five years since I first talked about all of it and everyone tells me they are sick and tired of me not getting over it.

Well, I am sick and tired of all you heartless people. I wonder if you would say these awful things to your own daughter or sister. You all better start praying all these things that happened to me do not ever happen to someone you love. So tell me where is your personal, not professional, experience of getting over all of this abuse. Did you ever think your love and support will help me move on to find peace instead of turning your backs on me? That’s okay. I am strong. I will succeed.

It’s time we stop ignoring these issues just because they are subjects no one wants to talk about. It’s easier to ignore it. Every child deserves a happy childhood, which usually results in a happy adulthood. I kept my sexual abuse and my parent’s domestic violence a secret for over 30 years. Secrets destroy lives. We need to educate grade school children to high school teenagers about these real life issues destroying innocent lives 365 days a year.

For the past three years I have been asking those (women and men) addicted to either drugs and/or alcohol this one question. What happened to you as a child? All but one said they were not subjected to some sort of abuse. I was told she lied. Most have told me such awful things so very difficult to hear, but I listened and cried with them. Most of them I did not know very long. I just knew they were damaged like me and had enough courage to ask them why.

In 2006, I was ordered to outpatient psychiatric group counseling for six weeks. Upon discharge my counselors told me to keep talking about my experiences informing me that I did help others in the group. By sharing my stories, I had women in their 70s admit for the first time they were sexually abused. Somehow through all of this pain, I manage to hold my head high. I am not ashamed to talk about the abuse that has been inflicted upon me. The people responsible should be.

We need to stop the cycle of abuse. I know my life full of abuse has had a negative affect on my daughter. I tried my best to raise my daughter without abuse, but I failed her. This breaks my heart. I am trying to stop the cycle so my granddaughters do not have to suffer as we have. Now my PTSD is affecting my relationship with my daughter. I am at lost as to how I will ever get better as I have tried just about everything I could think of. Maybe helping other victims is the key to my healing process, so I can finally be at peace.

Everyday you hear about a woman or child who has been harmed mostly by men. We need to stop being so easy on these abusers by putting out a message we are not going to tolerate this anymore. To date nothing has deterred people from raping, molesting, murdering, etc. another person. I say put me in a room with one of these people. Just me with a gun and this person. Then air it on live television me explaining the crime of violence they have committed against another person. I will then turn to this person and blow their heads clear off. I will then look into the camera to say, “This is how we are now going to deal with everyone who commits violence against another person. If you don’t care about someone else’s life then we don’t care about yours. Any questions?” Putting them in prison in protective custody needs to stop. Why are we protecting a sexual predator who just raped and killed a child? Why are we protecting a husband or boyfriend who abused and/or killed the woman they say they love or hate? It doesn’t matter. No one has the right to take an innocent life. We need to start protecting those who deserve it. See, this is what PTSD does to a person. The thoughts of revenge haunt you.

As I said, I feel as a result of witnessing my parent’s domestic violence, I have attracted the same abuse in five relationships. I feel growing up in a domestic violent home has resulted in me becoming addicted to violence. I actually get exited by it. I love violent movies, but not those when it’s against women, children, and animals. As a very young child I remember a milk carton being thrown through the window, things being smashed, a gun, scissors, screaming, and fighting while I was trying to sleep. It always happened after 2 a.m. after my father came home drunk. Maybe this is the reason why I would sit in the middle of a room and pull my hair. Since my mother informed me of this and I do not remember doing it, I must have been very young. I can imagine a child pull their hair out of frustration just wanting it all to stop. How couldn’t my parents see how their violence was affecting their children? Were they that selfish they just did not care? I remember being scared to death. I remember being pulled out of my bed time after time in my nightgown pajamas into the cold dark night to go to my grandparent’s house. Why didn’t my grandparents help? Then there was the sexual abuse.

Domestic Violence and Sexual abuse has molded me into the person I am today. A lost angry soul with Chronic Post-traumatic Stress. By the time I was eleven years old, I was smoking cigarettes. Shortly thereafter, I started smoking pot, drinking alcohol, lying, and stealing. Not one adult in my life connected the abuse in the household to my acting out. My parents blamed me. When I was about twenty years old, I remember my mother telling me her friends all ask her what is wrong with Colleen. She called me a martyr. The nerve of her. If I did not look like her, I would really think I was switched at birth. I am so grateful my morals are different from theirs. I am so grateful I am not in denial as they are or is it really selfishness.

Neither of my brothers ever protected me against my abusive relationships, which started at fifteen years old. If I was a male, I know for a fact no other male would lay a hand on my sister. Why didn’t my full blood brother protect me? Probably because he also punched me in the face a few times himself. My parents never taught their children to love or protect one another. A few years back, my daughter’s one friend was beating his girlfriend in my living room. I jumped right on his back. I pulled him off of her and punched him in the face. I then had to pull a baseball bat out to get him out of my house. The girl’s sister called me to thank me for protecting her. His mother called me asking me when I was going to start acting like a woman. I told her when she teaches her son how to treat a female. Then I cursed her out.

My Chronic PTSD has stewed for over thirty years. I am forty-four years old. When I was twenty-one years old, my first husband would force sex on me. I would head butt him, spit in his face, but he did not care. I was sleeping one time. He woke me up by him wiping something on me. He said, “I hope it was good for you as it was for me.” Here he masturbated and wiped it on me. How disgusting is that? I did not consider him forcing himself on me rape until a counselor asked me if I was ever raped. I replied no. As we continued to talk about my life I told her about my first husband forcing sex on me. She interrupted saying, “Colleen, that is rape.” Up until then I thought this was normal for men to treat women this way. That’s messed up!

They called a local psychiatric center, who immediately showed up to join our meeting. I was a mess. I had suicidal thoughts with a plan, which included always a bottle of vodka and carbon monoxide. They wanted to call an ambulance to admit me right away. I told them I had some things to take care of before I went to the hospital promising them I would admit myself by the end of the week and that I would not hurt myself. I kept my word by admitting myself by the end of the week. To my surprise my niece, whose father is my half-sibling and sexual abuser, was also a patient in the psychiatric ward. I cannot help but wonder if he did the same to his daughter as what he had done to me. She was there because she was injecting heroin at twenty-one years old.

My second husband did not show his abusive ways until six weeks of marriage. He was an alcoholic, but according to him he did not have a problem he just like the taste of beer. Such denial. His alcoholic father beat him as a child. He also witnessed his mother and sister being beat. One night he smashed everything in the house and I mean everything. He smashed the kitchen table in half. He turned the refrigerator over. Then he held a knife to my throat telling me he would kill me and then he tried to get my rings off my finger. He said he was going to cut my finger off if I did not give them to him. I then told him to go ahead cut my finger off saying I wondered how much time in prison he would get for a finger. Somehow we ended up in the living room and I still had all of my fingers. I was sitting on the couch crying. He ran from the other side of the room punching me with a closed fist on my left cheekbone.

I ran out of the house trying to get to my vehicle because this was it. I was going to carbon monoxide myself. I could not take any more abuse. I’ve had it! He ran after me and kicked me to the ground where he kicked me over and over again. He kicked my head. He kicked my entire body. Two days after the incident I took pictures of my bruises. I lost count after fifteen. I had the imprint of the bottom of his sneakers on my back in deep purple. I still have the pictures. By the end of the week I was in the emergency room for a head scan. I previously had two other visits to an emergency room for head injuries. Most of the time he would hit me in the back of my head, so it would not be visible. He is 6’2” and all muscle and I am 5’5”. I am a woman and he was supposed to be a man. How could he beat me like this? I was his wife. He was to protect me, but just like every male in my life did everything but protect me. Shortly after this incident I left him for good. I guess you can say this beating saved my life because I never made it to my car to follow through with my suicide plan.

I do not know why I never told the real reason behind me running away. My parents never discussed anything. It was their way or the highway. I guess my parents intimidated me. I did go back to high school. The vice-principal pulled me out of my one class to compliment me on bringing my grades up. His act of kindness touched my heart. Mr. Wagner was his name. I graduated a year behind my graduating class of 1983. Can you imagine how hard that was? I recently sent a letter to Mr. Wagner. Maybe my story may bring another troubled child to safety. I feel the schools need to be better informed on what things to look for when it comes to an abused child/teenager. Maybe when he reads this he will think back and say, “Yeah, now it all makes sense.”

I also recently sent a letter to my former employer, Capital Blue Cross, to explain the reason behind by surprising and abrupt resignation. Since they are the most well known health insurance company across the United States, I felt maybe my story my help them identify an employee in crisis as a result of domestic violence and sexual abuse occurring at that time or earlier in their life.

In January 2005, I sent a letter to my mother telling her about the sexual abuse and the real reason behind me running away to Florida. To date, I have heard nothing from her. I do not understand how a mother can be so cold. From what I have been told by my sister, she is acting like the victim. I cannot help but think my entire family is calling me the crazy one and the liar, but I know everything in that letter is 100 percent the truth. I have no closure. I have no family support. I am hurt and angry. I am having a hard time moving on and getting over being the victim. It’s so hard after keeping it locked inside for over 30 years. Everyone who has not walked in my shoes feels it is time for me to let go and get over it. Don’t you think I would if I could? I don’t want to be like this. If I could, I would gladly give my Chronic Post-traumatic stress to anyone who wants it.

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