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How To Explain Trauma To People Who Don't Get It

January 1, 2014 Michele Rosenthal

So many times I've heard civilians say, "You mean, major trauma that leads to PTSD happens outside of the military?" The answer, of course, is a big, resounding, YES! The problem is that we don't have enough sources demystifying trauma and PTSD so that it's easy to see where it comes from and how it happens (Finding Meaning in Trauma and PTSD).

Have you ever heard about someone else's awful traumatic experience and thought that yours was inconsequential, or less awful? All too often we look at the experience of others and judge our own experiences against them. But that's fundamentally wrong. Just because your trauma may not, on the surface, appear "as bad" as someone else's doesn't mean it's any less traumatic or has less adverse effects.

Adding to this kind of thinking is the opinion of other people. Whether you're in a competitive support group where members try to outdo each other with horror stories, or you're surrounded by people who don't understand what trauma is, it's easy to feel devalued and invalidated by the comments of the world outside.

Explaining Trauma and PTSD Starts with Knowledge

Educating yourself about how to define trauma becomes critical in appreciating your own experience and recovery process, plus educating those around you. This week, I had a terrific conversation with Judy Crane, founder of The Refuge - A Healing Place, a treatment center for addiction, trauma and PTSD recovery. During our chat, Judy defined trauma down to a very minute level. I want to share it with you and hope that you'll share it with others so that we spread the word about what trauma really means.

What is Trauma?

When it comes to trauma and PTSD, some people don't understand the depth of the problem. Here's how you can explain trauma and PTSD so they easily get it.A trauma survivor herself, Judy first defined trauma as

"anything less than nurturing."

Wow, that casts a wide net and repositions trauma from the exotic to the every day, which makes it much more accessible and ubiquitous. If you've ever felt like you're separate or disconnected from the world because of your trauma, the truth is that the world is full of it; you are very connected, indeed.

Judy then went on to deepen the definition by saying that trauma is

"an event or experience that changes your vision of yourself and your place in the world."

From this perspective, you (and anyone you share this info with) can see how easily trauma leaves its mark. Without your permission, a negative, frightening, hurtful or disempowering event occurs that shifts you into a place of feeling "less than". From here, it's a slippery slope to feeling unworthy, undeserving, purposeless and useless, the very feelings that contribute to posttraumatic symptoms and interrupt a normal life.

Explain Trauma & PTSD Simply; Others Will Get It

The next time someone (including you) poo-poos your trauma or PTSD experience or belittles the effects it's had on you, share Judy's simple explanations. You can say, for example,

Trauma is anything less than nurturing that changes your vision of yourself and your place in the world.

Explain, too, that trauma happens in both the big and little moments of how life negatively alters you.

From bullying to verbal abuse to abandonment and neglect, trauma comes in as many forms, shapes and sizes as the human race. That means experiencing trauma is part of the human condition. When you feel traumatized you are a normal, feeling, thinking being who has just had a perspective shift that can be shocking, startling, disconcerting and leave you feeling at a loss for how to respond.

 

Michele is the author of Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity. Connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and her website, HealMyPTSD.com.

APA Reference
Rosenthal, M. (2014, January 1). How To Explain Trauma To People Who Don't Get It, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 14 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2014/01/feeling-misunderstood-how-to-explain-trauma-to-people-who-just-dont-get-it



Author: Michele Rosenthal

Dagan
January, 7 2014 at 1:13 pm

Great piece! I'm always amazed by how many people truly have very little understanding of mental illness. It is such a common difficulty that many people face, and if society doesn't understand it, they will never be able to properly accept it either, or offer their support to loved ones who are mentally ill.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michele Rosenthal
January, 7 2014 at 8:19 pm

@Dagan -- Thanks so much for your feedback! As survivors we know on the inside what the truth really is, and isn't it a shame that others aren't always willing to listen? You're so right: if society doesn't embrace the facts then it can't offer proper support for survivors to heal. The age-old dilemma.... It's a good thing we all have each other. Very glad to have you here.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Merry
June, 15 2014 at 5:26 pm

Michele, what's your stance on calling it a 'mental illness' as opposed to it being a natural response to unbearable events etc? Fine line, I know...
But if one could slightly distance it from mental illness, it may possibly receive a better reception from the general populace. Not very PC either I know, but people are starting to accept ptsd in soldiers. Starting... It'll be a long time before the meaning of the word cptsd is understood by general public, let alone what it actually entails and any ensuing empathy. So good on you for your work in getting it out there, Michele.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Angelina Degelder
August, 2 2016 at 10:52 pm

I once read the term mental injury - that seems more descriptive to me.

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Tiffany
September, 21 2018 at 2:56 pm

Having C-PTSD, this is the first time I've heard it described that way but yes. I always explain trauma feels like someone ran over me with a mack truck over and over and everyone around me is like "that wasn't a truck, a fly landed on your arm", or alternately, they don't want to feel unsafe either and they just look away. Maybe even sometimes both.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Hazel Steenman
January, 15 2019 at 2:00 am

I agree re ‘injury’ rather than ‘illness’. Rings more accurately for m.

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personal
March, 4 2019 at 11:13 am

It is known as a mental illness because every part of the brain is over active especially the frontal and ocipital lobe and sometimes even the temporal lobe and central nervouse system.
frontal - emotional
ocipital- vision
nervouse system - sensory
temporal - visual memory and sensory

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jenny
September, 4 2018 at 2:50 pm

Thank you

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Elizabeth
January, 31 2014 at 7:12 pm

Because people do not understand PTSD is a Nuerological Emotional Dis.Ease induced by Trauma Only- that is curable- Non-Vetrans will not get the support nor therapy they need. Much like: The National Crime Center Registry in lack of funding. The Change You Choose website & the bi-weekly show available by professional counselers for those who can not afford it elsewhere or to be directed to a facility for those who can & all resources In-between is EPIC.

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Karen
October, 25 2015 at 8:49 pm

PTSD is a mental injury, not a mental illness. It is considered a disability covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. We were injured just as a soldier who is brain injured, some people experience a permanent change in brain chemistry and automatic reactions to triggers. It is how we learn to cope with the triggers and character traits from the wounds inflicted on us that make us resilient enough to be productive working members of society or need disability support.

VJ Whit
January, 16 2014 at 2:49 am

I took care of my son who had Bipolar 1 and Schizophrenia for 10 years and became caught up in running along side of him trying desperately to help in any way. It was like trying to chase down a train you knew was going to crash. Crash it did in March of 2013 when he passed away. Totally devastated, I have questioned everything I did, said, believed and lived since he was born in 1985. Now I stand a stare at the broken pieces of myself and wonder where do I go from here and who am I. To even attempt to explain this to anyone who hasn't walked this path is impossible. Only God understands :(

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esther
November, 4 2014 at 4:16 am

hunhun I understand this pain. It's awful, it's all consuming and soul destroying.
But at the other side of this turmoil is the problem that you are still here
To deal with it. So amongst the heartbreak and turmoil find a place for you.
Grip on to the kitchen bench, let the tears of confusion run out and remember
You to need to allow yourself a way to move forward. Cry loads, play all the music that lets you roll through those emotions. Then go to the ocean, or some nature near you and let it all go. The hurt, the sorrow, the confusion and the regret. And remember that you need to find a way forward and that in tide and time this feeling of hurt will pass. Your son, your very confused and frightened son would want you to go on. To have hope, to have love, but to most crucially a life without heartache. He is watching down on you. Make him proud

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Tamera
August, 21 2015 at 2:30 pm

I deeply appreciate your post. I was in a group yesterday and shared an aspect of the effects of the trauma I have been through and one of the group members said something about how it's important not to get bogged down in self pity and get busy doing for others.... Wow, did I feel like I was in the wrong room. Fortunately I have given myself permission to feel my feelings and have been through years of healing and recovery or this would have triggered an episode, but PTSD is so isolating, I have found, because it seems like no one gets it.... But God.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jessica
August, 21 2018 at 12:18 pm

I agree ???

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Caroline R
March, 21 2019 at 11:52 pm

PTSD is the most lonely thing to have.
Everything that you said resonated with me.
Only we know the startle response that keeps waking us during the night. We can't switch it off.
Everything looks bleak at 0300hrs.
It looks worse at 0400hrs.
Cue years of despair and thoughts of suicide at 0500hrs.
Only God is awake then too. Only He understands.
Only He is there to hold me. That's walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
So glad He's with me. I would have been dead long ago if not. (Violent assault and indecent assault and torture by a surgeon in Australia in 2011. Left me with nerve pain and damage, and nightmares, as you can all appreciate.)
I wish you all peace, comfort and healing.

Caroline R
March, 22 2019 at 12:11 am

That should say "cue TEARS of despair...", not "years".
Blasted autocorrect!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Tiffany
September, 21 2018 at 7:04 pm

I have C-PTSD, not BP1 or Schizophrenia, but my biological mother (who I never met after my birth) had Schizophrenia and died in her early 40s. My heart goes to you. I think your son probably would hate that it's caused you so much anguish. The suffering he experienced was, I'm sure, so intense that he is at peace now. If he were here I imagine he'd hug you and offer you peace. I hope you do find that and I am so sorry for your tragic and painful loss.

Michele Renee Renaud
January, 16 2014 at 2:21 am

Great article! Trauma is trauma. Symptoms are variable for each person. Repeated traumatic experiences over the course of time contributes to the concept of Judy's well said statements, where some people get lost in the "less than" mentality. Being a civilian Survivor while knowing we are not alone, for those who do not understand PTSD, nor are able to contribute to the nurturing encouraging, or supportive aspect that is part of our healing...well our recovery is made through self perception, perceptual expectations of the outside world (society) that do not always 'get it', and a determination to not put credence on others understanding, while understanding ourselves and our personal journeys

Laura
January, 20 2014 at 12:22 pm

I understand what it is like to lose a child. I had two sons and a daughter that I lost in a house fire on May 22/1977. And still feel the heavyness of this terrible accident to his day And still see my family doctor who has been so very understanding. I donot know what I would have done, without all the wonderful doctors'that I have had in my life. Thankyou

Angela
February, 4 2014 at 12:53 pm

Perfect explanation! I'm sad to say I suffered PTSD twice within the last 2 1/2 years (one trauma happened in June 2011 and the other in Dec 2012) and both experiences have been unbearably AWFUL. Literally the impacts of the events made me want to end my life so bad. I finally fully recovered from the June 2011 trauma by May 2012, and began a process of positive inner love, freedom and transformation.. but somehow the "right" (perfectly orchestrated) situation hit me 7 months later, in Dec 2012, and impacted me way worse than the other one. This one completely destroyed or poisoned special things in my life that served major positive purposes for many many years. It was like my biggest security blanket ever since I was a little girl. It is nothing short of a miracle that I'm still here, deciding to fight through it all, simply because I know I deserved a better more fulfilling life than this.
Anyway, I always say the worst thing about going through traumas that lead to severe PTSD is not only dealing with the illness and all the painful reprecussions...but it's trying to explain it to others, family and friends (who've never been through it) in a way where they take it as seriously as you do. Or see the severity of it in the way that you do. And the sad truth is most won't give you the validation that you oh so desperately need. They're too busy criticizing. For the longest time I got treated like crap, like a person who was flawed and weak, when I am stronger than most of them will ever be. I'm just a strong human being who went through something that impacted my life and mind so tragically and fast that it overcame my natural ability to fight back. It impacted the tools that normally always helped me fight my life battles. So they'd be messed up too given a similar predicament. It just makes you feel even more understood and alone.
They don't understand that PTSD makes you lose the ability to control your thoughts and reactions/feelings that stems from those thoughts for a very long time. Doesn't make you immature, it just makes you human. That's why I'm so grateful for websites like yours that speaks nothing but the truth. It is quite comforting and affirming during the recovery process. It gives me a voice again. Thank you thank you Thank you! :)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Angela
February, 4 2014 at 1:12 pm

And just to add onto what I said...traumas that lead to PTSD not only makes you lose control of yourself...it can seriously disconnect you from yourself. This trauma disconnected me from the deepest part of my inner self...the one part of me that had been stable and unpenetrable, no matter how bad life got for me...and that was two major things: Music, and my personal life memories. It's other things included, but two 2 are the top. Accessing those 2 things helped me get through some major life struggles. So it's a no-brainer to see how it can be traumatic to have a perfectly orchestrated trauma that invades and poisons those areas that used to give me nothing but joy, freedom, light, love, hope, connection/harmony with self, and great memories. One day at a time, I'm trying to reclaim my life back from the trauma. I'm slowly trying to gain those connections back to my music and memories, because that's the core of who I am as an individual.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Caroline R
March, 22 2019 at 1:33 am

Yes,
everything you said resonated with me Angela.
My surgical damage made it impossible to do the things I previously did to decompress. The nightmares/flashbacks and intrusive thoughts made it impossible to sit and meditate, to calmly process, to journal. Every moment became a battle to distract myself, to FORGET and NOT think. It pushed me to my limits. I'd be sobbing silently in the toilet cubicle at work by the afternoon.
I was on a path to an inevitable nervous breakdown.
I'd been good at managing my stress before the assault that gave me PTSD, and the loss of that part of my life, and the enjoyment (of meditating and journalling) I'd lost as a result was part of the grieving process.
It is a downward spiral.
The depression also disconnects you from yourself. You can't be there for yourself.
I wish you continued healing and peace.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Julie Barker
September, 29 2016 at 5:09 pm

I just need to tell you Thank You for your post. You have No idea how much it helped me. I like you had several Tragedys and while healing and feeling better I got hit two more times.
The most recent was the worst and I've struggled so much more because of it. During therapy my Doctor explained its accumulative and therefore making it worse this time.
So thank you for sharing. Atleast I don't feel so alone now

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Amy
January, 18 2019 at 4:18 pm

Thanks so so very much! Reading what you wrote is exactly how I feel now , and have for years! Also the way people esp family, close friends ones never thought would treat us after BN faced with trama and unexpected to! I walked in my home on lunch like every day but this day
Changed my lufe! I found my 25 year old fiance dead, also I had 2 children that looked at him as a dad he same! Then 2012 I didn't know it could happen again but worse I lost my 14 year old daughter in a car accident when I got call that night I've never been the same no support like I needed I struggle daily still can't get my life on a normal routine I feel like Im slowly losing my mind scraes me! No one understands but ya that have BN through it's so aggravating ! Also haven't had good docs to get help needed! Thanks again I feel like you said can't explain what you said exactly how I feel thanku prayers to all ! Amy Danielle

Amy white
January, 18 2019 at 5:35 pm

Sorry i meant no one I'm around understands me, I can't explain with out argument or fighting and I get so mad and sad! What you wrote is how I feel

Rhonda
March, 21 2014 at 10:47 am

My husband seems to thinks that his PTSD is worse than mine because mine comes from a completely different kind of trauma. He was in the army and suffers from the effects of being deployed a couple times, which I completely understand. I've tried to let him know that I can help as I have suffered from PTSD since I was 5 yrs old and I've been able to (for the most part) learn to deal with the day to day events that may trigger me into feeling less than. He keeps telling me that it's completely different and I wouldn't understand because I've never been in combat. Whereas I have never been in a combat situation or any branch of military, I do have experience dealing with the effects of the disease. How do you make another person with PTSD understand that although the causes are different and even some of the symptoms that the disease is the same?

Scoopy
June, 16 2014 at 2:03 pm

It's also important to note that there is such a thing as Secondary PTSD. Parenting a child with trauma is traumatic. Being married to someone with PTSD is traumatic. We develop our own triggers and wounds from being around the confusing, frightening and sometimes exhausting behaviors of those living with trauma. Their trauma in some ways becomes ours. And it is real. I know many mothers whose children are in therapy and they too, end up doing some (awesome) EMDR therapy to get back to positive healthy coping strategies. It never goes away though. Wounds can heal but there are scars.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

WhoamInow
July, 4 2014 at 7:53 am

Oh Scoopy, someone else out there who is suffering "secondary" PTSD. I have parented my daughter through 15 years of mental illness numerous suicide attempts after being sexually abused from infants school throughout to primary school and now that she is a survivor, graduated and happy with her partner and doesn't "need" me like she used to I have crashed and crumbled. It is so hard, flashbacks of her at her worst, triggers when I hear ambulances etc. I have searched everywhere for a support group but to no avail. Nice to be able to get my voice out there if only once. Take care Scoopy x

Jess
August, 25 2014 at 7:24 pm

I have PTSD and have been dealing w it for a while. Its tough. I was goin thru the worst parts of hell and I went to the dr. I complained of difficulty concentrating. I ended up w a rx combo of anti anxiety/anti depressants. The side effects caused two seperate incidents causing me to miss work. The last one I have no memory and ended up over dosing and in ICU. Ive been called stupid, immature, irresponsible, needy, crazy and I still am trying. My work firedme and HR actually told me I needed to stop using depression as an excuse!!!!!! She had no idea who I am or what its like being abused. I am now losing my home. PTSD is real and unless someone really could feel ur pain they are quick to judge! I am not gonna give up and each day I remind myself of the strength and joy I will feel by not giving up and getting up again!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

barb
January, 16 2016 at 6:36 am

I can feel your frustration ! Being sick with a mental illness , like PTSD, Depression, Anxiety that I have since I was very young. My friends and family do not understand how SERIOUS this kind of illness is for me and others. I too get very sad, frustrated , lonely around the people I care about because they lack the knowledge or understanding that I so dearly need from them. I have not worked in over 20 years because of this , and suffer every day with symtoms ! They also say it's self made by me , or 'get over it already' or many other ways to minimize , trivialize , or just make me feel even worse about myself . It has made me want to isolate more , or don't talk to anyone . I do get help , go to counselling . The only place I get validation and the kind of support I need . Sometimes , family cannot help because they are in denial about the family history of abuse , alcoholism , emotional neglect. I am looking for more support from women's groups around these issues !

Max Bell
August, 27 2014 at 12:26 am

the definition of trauma as "an event or experience that changes your vision of yourself and your place in the world" is the most profoundly useful one i have read regarding ptsd and it explains mine so extremely well. thank you very much!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Caroline R
March, 22 2019 at 1:43 am

Yes,
Life becomes a question of "who am I now? What do I have to bring to a relationship and life now? How can I move on from this? What are the goal posts? Is it worth it?"
Add chronic pain to that and it becomes a search for significance.

Samantha Ueno
October, 28 2014 at 8:20 pm

What a nice, accessible article for people who see a PTSD diagnosis as shocking and assume you must have been in some kind of giant Titanic-esque tragedy...when the reality is that PTSD can be caused by different kinds of verbal and emotional abuse in childhood.

Camille
November, 4 2014 at 9:50 am

All I can say is.......... you hit the nail right on the head. Thank you.

Bob Bray
May, 2 2016 at 2:38 pm

It is always interesting to see the methods which other people use to explain what it is they are going through in regards to PTSD. Having been in the military and also the police department for much of my life I witnessed first hand how many times people simply shrugged off PTSD and those who suffered from it as a weakness. Slowly we are beginning to open people's eyes to what PTSD is and what people suffering from PTSD are going through in their lives. Great article, I look forward to reading many more from you!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Caroline R
March, 22 2019 at 2:00 am

In the military and the police force too Bob?
You're one of my heroes.
I'd imagine that most of your police force colleagues have some form of PTSD after some years of service.

PTSDmoreCommonINnonmil
August, 24 2016 at 12:29 am

People can be so ignorant. I am supposed to (and I have) show respect and compassion to those who have PTSD as a result of trauma experienced during military service. But God forbid I recieve the same conpassion and/or respect from some of those same men and women.
We are supposed to look the other way when the military frequents establishments that offer up women for sale? How is that not traumatizing those women and young girls? If you truly admitted what happens to get them to the position of that bed in that massage parlor you'd arm those women.
I often think I would have been better off in a war zone with a weapon in my hand than as a child brutally raped, trafficked, drugged and beat. At least I could have fought back.
I didn't enlist into a career where it would be likely I'd experience trauma. I didn't get that choice. Because I would not have made it.
I would not have chosen to have doctors and police fail to report the abuse. I would not have chosen to have police join in with the abusers and terrorize and abuse me.
At least the military receive respect from the police and don't have to live in fear of the very people that are supposed to protect them.
I can't even sit in a vehicle next to a police vehicle without trembling.
Some of those same men and women have further victimized me by belittling me. They have called me horrible things. Made things unbearable to the point of me wanting to die.
Well, this crazy woman has done more for others than you realize. I fought for the rights of the disabled. I fed and clothed your homeless veteran brothers. I went without so someone else would not. I spoke up, though trembling with fear, against the criminals wearing badges here at home. That's alot more courageous than picking up arms against others in order to line your pockets. You didn't do it for free, you got your 30 pieces of silver.
Ignorance is abundant in this world. My only consolation is that one day they will be judged as they have judged me. Until then i get to live this daily hell. My mistakes, being born and ever daring to have hope.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cushela Robson
July, 24 2017 at 1:19 am

Yes it's so very hard. I learned to pour my energy into myself ,love myself ,know it's ok to feel tender at the hurting places, and to be tender with those who respect softness. Warm thoughts from Cushela.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Rita
March, 10 2018 at 5:41 pm

Your article touched me.. I so feel you.. Every word.. Attitude.. Expression.. Om... I have the hardest time expressing myself in writing. I never talked always wrote. Got awards in school, always giving pointers on others book reports.. Smh.. And then..
The traumatic events began n lasted 3 years.. Dad, uncle, cousin.. I ran away at 12. I had 1 thgt in my head.. I didn't care what happened to me out in tje world, it cld not possibly be worse than what happens to me here, everyday, at home w my family. I nvr went back. I don't want to look back. Outta the blue I find myself there.
A cigarette passed to close in the dark.. And I'm in the 9th circle of hell.. Everyone around me is still kewl.. I struggle not to react to my situation.. Talk myself down.. Murmur comfort words, self soothe..controlled breathing, quitely.. Above all don't freak out.. Afterwards I feel like I've ran a marathon. Completely depleted, shaky, clamy.. Thank God it was dark or I'd been busted... A few years after running away I get pinched n put in foster care. Counseling and group therapy
I cldnt talk.. Tell total strangers.. No.. I was goin to
Flunk group and spend 16 more weeks in the chair.. I was given the choice to write it out
I thgt it was perfect solution
I cldnt write a word... My whole body shook so hard i thgt i was havin a seizure.. 16 more weeks.... Still haven't written anything directly about it.. I said I didn't remember much.. So the enlightened ones felt I had to remember to come to terms n move on.. Who's idea was this?? The mind goes blank for a reason.. It was worse then for a long time.. I was placed in a suburban development, in a split level, with solid middle class folks
The foster dad was same as mine.. All that to end up exactly where I began, only in a nicer house.. My son is his.. The state took my baby, said I was an underage, promiscuous, unwed, unfit mother didn't even investigate him.. 17and 1/2 years later he goes down as a sex offender.. I'm only a biological mother to my son.. I can't bridge the gap no matter what.. I've tried endlessly.. Its a daily struggle. I don't want it to be. I can't get away from it.. Going to the bathroom the damage done is such I can't ignore it.. Bam.. There i am, instantly teleported to when and how that happened.. From that moment on, I struggle to get it back in the box, keep it there, I've never once succeeded in getting it off my mind..
Over time I was able to pinpoint some triggers. Others still hit me out of the blue. I tried to make a way in the world.. I jus don't fit in it anywhere.. I try to help others, hopefully I have.. Some at least.. They say I'm compassionate n a good listener..they thank me for walking back to good with them... How I wish I could be them and find my way to good.. I'm a loner cause its jus easier.. How can one get something like that across to Joe n Jane Normal?? Anytime I've tried has become an extension of my hell.. I come away beating myself up for even thinking telling anyone was a good idea
I loose them from my life when I was trying to bring them closer.. I'm 51 now alone and terminal..by the time i got to this point, i had visions of looking back on a life i was thankful for... In reality I'm Thankful the struggle is about over..

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Caroline R
March, 22 2019 at 2:25 am

Rita,
I just want you to know that I admire your courage for sharing your experience here with us, and it's clear that you've only skimmed the surface of it all.
I would come and sit with you. We could talk if you wanted. I would just listen, and give you a safe place to process and feel accepted. We could sit in silence, and just be. You'd have someone on your side.
I very much wish that I could make it right for you, and I'm sorry that you went through any of it.
You are a woman of great courage and resilience, and you are a precious person who should ALWAYS have been treated with respect & love. You deserved to be protected, and not predated on.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Caroline R
March, 22 2019 at 2:45 am

PTSDmorecommonnonmil
Thank you for sharing your excruciatingly painful experiences with us, and giving us a glimpse into the gross injustice and violations involved in human trafficking, and the deep pain of your life.
It is pain that is close to my heart, and to many others who are fighting to end human trafficking.
It is utterly abhorrent.
You are a precious person, and deserved to be treated with respect, dignity and love.
You deserved to be protected.
Your anger is totally justified.
You can let it out here.
You're amongst friends, and we are listening.

helen davison
August, 27 2016 at 8:25 pm

I understand your feelings, having experienced my own serious abuse and resulting PTSD. You help me to see that I was further traumatized due to lack of understanding of PTSD and the ignorance of police. I did not bother to report assaults as i knew i would be castigated by their ignorant attitudes. PTSD sufferers often suffer from painful isolation and loneliness throughout life due to a residue of low self worth, distrust, fear and hopelessness. I am open to on-going communication.
Blessings to you.....
Helen

Derrick Goodwin
July, 30 2017 at 11:53 pm

The ignorance and lack of education....seem to be the worst part of it all. Although im not a vet it would seem my ptsd is often diminished in others eyes due to that fact.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 16 2017 at 3:48 pm

Even though I am quite outgoing and open about my PTSD there are still some people I don't discuss it with directly because o can tell from their body language and reactions that they truly dismiss it or think less of me on some level. Needless to say, they are not exactly my closest comrades.

Ken
September, 14 2017 at 4:33 pm

I tell people who don't understand the saying "walk a mile in my shoes" but I tell them if they "could spend 30 sec. in my head they would come out in tears"...and your so right about body language we learned to assess situations so quickly and read people's expressions for us it's survival we are survivors it's a struggle everyday but we get through it....be strong but mostly be gentle to yourself

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dave Hamilton
November, 16 2017 at 10:36 am

Most people would be repulsed by the memories we carry in our heads.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Tanya Pye
December, 16 2017 at 8:26 am

Hi Dave. That is partly what I'm afraid of. I have PTSD and recently decided to try going off my medication. Where I was living before I felt safer to do so. I returned to the area where so much happened. I find it so hard to talk to anyone about it. I often feel like it would be a huge burden to unload - especially when talking about what happened. When I do (which is so rare), I have witnessed and experienced so many different kinds of hurtful reactions. Everything from leaving me feeling guilty that I feel the way I do to feeling awful that someone else now has to have those horrible pictures in their head. It's so hard to avoid situations where you don't have to explain at least in part what is going on. I try to prepare myself beforehand. Other times I just want to get it out. I find hiking helps release some of that energy. I also find it helpful to engage in as many grounding activities as possible - finding as many ways to stay mindful and in the "now". I wish I could say it always works but it's a start. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. Ken is right. Go gentle on yourself. You didn't put those memories there.

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