The Effects of Trauma

For me, this was the effect of a very traumatic childhood and some events that happened when I was about twenty or twenty-one. Over the years, I have had a lot of therapy, and not a lot of it was that helpful-and the majority of that is on me. When you’re not even being honest with yourself, you won’t be honest with the therapist and you are wasting your money. May as well light it on fire.

In learning to make peace with the past, time does help heal. Revisiting trauma in therapy time and time again may be helpful for some but for others, you are reliving it. I met criteria for PTSD in my twenties because I witnessed a murder, and it was pretty violent. And then that person also tried to kill me in the same fashion. Murder is by definition violent, but it was exceptionally violent even as far as murder goes. And it does haunt you.

Due to insurance coverage (see the entry, An Atrocious Mental Health System, I never until recently, had the EMDR that would have helped me years ago. And a few years ago, a provider did not believe me when I told them what I had seen, and it was treated like a case of psychosis. I actually had an involuntary hold placed on me and forced antipsychotic treatment for several days. Being a liar and being delusional are two very different things.

And sometimes, you need therapy for the therapy.

Where was God when that happened? He was all over it. And I am alive because of it. More people were not injured or killed. The murder I saw did not cause my disorder but it certainly made things worse for me. It’s funny how we punish ourselves for someone else’s shortcomings. I realized I also had a choice, I could continue to destroy myself because of it, but the man who did that does not deserve it. Neither do the adults in my childhood who put me through what they did. And I am not referring strictly to family members.

Forgiveness does not come easy. As I said, time heals, but the wound does not go away, not overnight. A scar remains, and it tells your story-but even that fades with time. For me, I had to ask God to help me forgive the person who hurt me and the others involved. And I had to do it more than once. And over a lengthy period of time. I realized also that it could have been much worse than it was-more people could have been hurt. And some good came of it (the perpetrator was killed by police, suicide by cop), some changes were made in how things were done. Granted, those changes came at a very steep price. Too steep.

Forgiving yourself is even harder than forgiving another person. In my experience at least. And yes, in part, I refer to my actions as a result of my disorder. When I fully realized the impact of what I had done to others as a result of my addictions, I wanted to take my own life. And the tears did not stop for some time. One may say I was hysterical for a while, and panicked. I was also at the acute end of my first manic episode following a traumatic brain injury (a real one). And the guilt worked its way into my delusional system. It wasn’t pretty. I also had to learn to view myself as a sick person. Mentally and especially, spiritually. AA helped with that.

As time went on, and with God’s help, forgiveness takes hold. It allows you to start to let go of the past. Some therapy did help (EMDR was the most helpful).

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