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Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

Domestic violence, noun

“violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner” ~ Oxford Dictionary love, forgiveness, hope

Until you are there, until you are the one who is lying on the floor being beaten, being kicked, being degraded. Until you are the one who sits while tears flow down his cheeks as he begs for your forgiveness and explains how sorry he is, how much pain he is in and how it will never happen again. Until you are the one who truly believes that you can help, that you can heal this person if you just knew how. Until you have walked in those shoes, be careful not to judge us, be careful not to criticise us.

Rather ~ give love, allow forgiveness and offer hope.

So often you hear of people who are in relationships where domestic violence occurs, this can be physical, mental, emotional or simply neglect and so often you hear people say, why doesn’t he/she leave? Why do they put up with it? I agree, on the face of it, it doesn’t make sense, there’s nothing logical about allowing someone to hit you, swear at you, demean you but yet, so many of us do. You see, it’s just not that simple.

The healthy man does not torture others. Generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers. – Carl Jung

I have been beaten, I have been neglected and I have been mentally and emotionally abused and I stayed. I would describe myself as a strong, intelligent independent women. I know right from wrong, I understand what self-respect is and I know that no-one has the right to harm me, no-one has the right to abuse me, be it physical or mental, but again, I stayed. At the time I believed the stories, I believed that I had provoked the situation, it was my fault. I was strong and independent, I was intelligent and knew my own mind, somehow I made him feel small and insignificant and this was his way of dealing with it. I can’t honestly tell you how many times it happened, it wasn’t more than a handful and I remember always being clear that I needed to make sure he never hit my face (or at least I thought it was me making sure), that way “we” could deal with it in private, “we” could work through it together, no-one would understand – or so I thought. I believed that he was “tortured” and that was why he behaved the way he did. I believed that I could make him “healthy” and in doing so, I could stop the abuse, I could make him a better man. Well, I didn’t’ and in reality, I couldn’t.

I wish I could say I made the decision, I walked away, I was strong enough to say no, but even though I believe I would have reached that point at some stage – it wasn’t how it ended. I had suspected there was someone else, I had a sense that he was cheating on me, but I could never be sure. This carried on for a while and then one evening we all went out, he was drinking, he was drinking Rum & Coke, a drink I now associate with violence and aggression. When we got home, we got into an argument, it ended up with me on the floor and him kicking me, over and over again. At some point it stopped.

The following morning, I had a call from a close friend, she wanted to talk, I knew then that he had been cheating and that it was with my friend. I made the decision to tell her what he had done, I wore clothing so that she could see the angry bruises forming on my body, so that she could see what he had done. She told me she loved him, she told me it was just our relationship. I warned her, but she, like me, felt it would be different for them – she could make him “healthy”. It wasn’t different, it was the same. He beat her as he had beaten me and she married him, she knew and she stayed. It didn’t’ last but I don’t know how it ended, I can only hope that she has found her value, understood her worth and realised her importance.

So yes, he may have been a “tortured” man, he may have had his own demons that led him to be the abusive human being he was, but he had no right to do what he did to me or anyone of the other women in his life, regardless of his pain or unhappiness. And I was wrong to believe I could help him, make him “healthy” or make him “happy”. Regardless of how much a man or woman is tortured, they have no right to torture another.

Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.  ~ Soren Kierkegaard

I have come to understand that I expected relationships to be bad and so I “chose” to have someone in my life that would affirm that for me, I did this twice and then I gave up. I decided I would rather be alone than be disappointed or be right about how I believed all of my relationships would end up. This wasn’t because I hated myself or because I was weak or unable to believe that I deserved more. It was simply because I didn’t know any better at the time. I think that this is very common in all relationships,often friends and lovers are chosen to meet a need, to fill a void we feel – somehow to make us whole.

But every now and then the universe doesn’t grant our wish and someone comes into our life who doesn’t fit the mould, who is willing to take a risk and share their honesty, who doesn’t tell us what “we want to hear”, someone who will share their love – someone who will stay no matter how much you push them away.  I have been in my current relationship for 17+ years, we have had highs and lows like any other healthy relationship. Over the years and as time goes on we learn more about each other and we work at making our relationship even “healthier” and happier. I believe there is no perfect formula, it is simply trial and error.

What I have learnt: I do know better. I know that a relationship is based on mutual respect, it is based on friendship and acceptance, it is based on love and support, it is based on compromise and negotiation, it requires communication and commitment and it requires a lot of looking after from both sides. I have learnt that no-one has the right to cause me harm, be it physical or mental and I have learnt to trust more deeply, hope more openly and love more freely. But most importantly, I have learnt that I have a voice and I have choice.

Footnote: Making the decision to write and share this post did not come easily. I have two daughters who I am trying to raise into two strong, stable, happy human beings. Every time I share my experiences I stand back and measure the impact that they may or may not have on my daughters. I am proud of the woman I have become, my past has moulded me but it does not define me, it has guided me but it no longer controls me. I believe these are lessons worth sharing with my daughters.

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Be at peace
Be still
Be one with the world
Be one with your fellow man
Love overwhelmingly
Love everything
Forgive instantly
Let go, Let God
Don’t question nature
Embrace it
Celebrate life
Set your soul on fire
Find fulfilment
Find joy, find happiness
Find the wonder that is you
Protect the weak
Guide the lost
Love the lonely
Be at peace
Be still

By Barbara Thompson

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If making love is the small death
then I now believe the betrayal
by ones emotions is the big one
To find out someone you have adored
for years has feet of clay
To perceive them in what must be the reality like the shattering of glass
To watch someone who always
seemed larger than life
shrink before your eyes, to regress
to crass emotions and endeavours
This is the the ultimate betrayal
This is that loss of love

There is nothing new under the sun
Life is a dress rehearsal
Dream your dream, it can be done
It’s all there for your perusal
One night, the stars dress up for you
Next day a tempest rages
and there’s nothing you can say or do
To turn, torn and dirty pages
This, to shall pass, wise men say
There’s no pain that you can’t bear
It looks, like life is just a cliche
The cloth you cut, is what you’ll wear
Why was I for, what am I living
Cries the heart thats badly broken
What happened to the world forgiving
Has my life been just a forgotten token

I remember so clearly the day I was
Abused
I remember the man, dark hair, moustache
Brown shirt, yellow tie and shiny knife
Seven other children watched in shock
No-one tried to move, scream or help
I remember the police and they scared
Me as much as the man
I remember being seven and I remember
The feeling of being absolutely and totally alone
There were no conversations about it
No-one explained, there was no help
I had nightmares for years
Only in the last years have I
Managed to confront it – The reaction
Was the same, so what, who cares
And I remember, the fear and the
Old guilt that somehow it was my
Own fault
Do we ever get rid of the old shadows
in our lives?
Are we allowed to dine in peace?
The books and and Know-it-alls say yes
But is it really true?

By Barbara Thompson

Footnote: This is the most I have ever heard about the abuse my mother endured, she never spoke of it. I knew something had happened when she was a young girl, but I never knew her age, I never truly knew her pain.  

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When God made me

When God made me he must have laughed
Him, and the angels too
He made me short and rather plain
not lamb, but mutton stew
But he gave me brains and intellect
and a strange bouquet of talent
Blonde hair, blue eyes an upturned nose
and a temper, sometimes violent
He put me on a rocky road, swirling in a storm
but he gave me love and hope and joy
that today still keeps me warm
I realise now, that this small life
has really been a test
to find my faults, my fears, the ways
that I can do my best
So don’t despair, take heed of me
and put your soul to rest
I’m living proof, that when he laughed, he laughed at me, and got it off His chest

By Barbara Thompson

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Some people flash through our lives
Like a gleaming comet
A glorious presence
The most beautiful sonnet
They walk in grace
And their song is glory
The perfect end to every story
To know them,
Brings us joy and laughter
They’re sealed in our hearts
Forever after
And do I hear you,
Ute, asking who?
It’s you, my dear friend
Yes, it’s you

By Barbara Thompson

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Decision, noun

“a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration” Oxford Dictionary

One of the hardest decision I made was to start taking antidepressants.

The logic behind this was not necessarily sound, but then again, neither was my mind. It took me many years to get to the diagnosis of depression, I suppose the idea of not being able to deal with something as “simple” as feeling a blue on my own left me with a sense of failure. I was one of those people who thought, even if I didn’t necessarily say it, “come on, there are people out there with problems so much bigger than yours and mine, get over it, pick yourself up and deal with it”…. little did I know back then.

The reality is that sometimes when you are in those dark places, the places where every step seems insurmountable, every action feels like a challenge and the simple task of remaining functional is all you can do, those were the times when I realised that depression was not simply a choice you make but much more complex and much more physical than I had ever thought.

I got to the stage where I knew I had to do something, I had a choice you see, I could continue on the way I was or I could decide that there was another solution, be it short or long term. So I decided, I went to visit my GP. I had to fill in a form about my state of mind answering questions etc and when I was “officially” told “you have depression” and “you are very high on the scale” and that the best thing would be to get myself balanced again and in order to do that, I should take antidepressants – I discussed my aversion to them at length but the advice I received was “if you had a heart problem or any other disease would you question taking meds for it?” my answer to this was no. If truth be told, It didn’t make the decision to take them any easier, I felt weak and defeated but I was too exhausted to not do anything so, I did it. I hated the fact that I was taking them– BUT, I am so pleased I did it, at the time, it was the best decision for me, it helped me through the roughest panic attacks, anxiety and depression and slowly I started to accept being on them, but always knew I would come off them at some point.

They made me feel tired, dull and non-responsive. My spark all but disappeared and I had very little in the way of emotional engagement but I was sane and stable and simply more settled. It felt good from where I had been. I had been on them for a couple of years when I realised that I was not necessarily getting better but not getting any worse, I was existing and that wasn’t good enough anymore. Again, I knew I had choice. Last year April I found the most incredilble therapist who neither negated or promoted antidepressants but simply helped me get to the stage that I could feel “safe” enough to stop taking them……for now.

After many months of therapy and lots of thought, I made the decision, I was going to stop taking the antidepressants. I had never really come to a easy acceptance of them and so I decided that I would give it a go. If I had not been in therapy with the support that I had at the time, I don’t think I would have done it. By the time I decided to stop taking them I was on a fairly low dose, so after talking to my GP I halved the dose on the advice that the impact would not be significant, it wasn’t. I then went off completely without any weening (not having sought advice) – I entered an awful physical, mental, emotional rollercoaster that lasted for what felt like absolute ages! I felt sick, light headed, anxious, shakey, scared, unbalanced – I suppose I went through withdrawel and it was awful but I knew that it was what I wanted and I knew I was ready, so the time was right for me and I had a good support network to do it safely.

I have been off antidepressants for about 8 months now. I do take a natural supplement which was recommend by my naturopath and so I can’t say I am completely drug free (even if it’s natural it still has implications) but atleast with this when I don’t take them I don’t have any withdrawel. I make sure I exercise regularly, the healing I have found front the simple action of exercise has been incredible. I am not naturally an exercise enthusiast, I would rather read a good book, drink cups of tea and curl up on the couch but I cannot deny the incredible difference exercise makes and that it is immediate!

I cannot say I will never go back on antidepressants, I honestly hope that the journey I am on will lead me to a place that I don’t need them but I will always be grateful that science is able to help and that if I go to that dark place again, there is a someone who has found a way to help us through until we strong enough to do it on our own again if we choose. There is a place for everything.

I do not advocate or negate the use of antidepressants, this is simply my experience.

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Julie wrote the following as a comment to “There are no picket fences” I have shared her comments as her story.

Thank you Julie for your courage and bravery in sharing your story.

This is Julie’s story.

What a heartfelt topic to read and share. I lived with a unspoken sadness and emptiness for many years once. Only those very close to me understood it and could see me in a place that wasn’t healthy for me. Many would have thought I had a wonderful life. Free of stress, harsh words, impressionable behavior. I had a wonderful home, children, usually a stable family income and even the odd overseas holiday. For a long time I convinced myself it wasn’t really that bad and even made excuses for my life and the events that unfolded. I thought I should be strong and not show any vulnerability.

As you mentioned in your story of hiding behind picket fences, I may have been similar to the woman who is missing. Didn’t want to bother people in my community with my drama’s, the unhappiness below the surface and felt a great deal of shame and embarrassment for why I had put up with certain aspects of my family life. A mothers job is not quantifiable. Most people don’t notice the effort that always goes into it. We need a village to help raise children, not just mum and dad, and not just one of those on their own.

Thanks to listening to my ‘gut feeling’ I eventually changed my life and had some wonderful people who helped me get through. There ARE people who will be there for us when we are vulnerable and falling into a hole. We just need to choose the right ones, trust that they will listen, care, and offer their loving friendship when we need it most. No one is perfect and no one know’s exactly how to get through life unscathed. If they did, life in many aspects would not be experienced fully and we would not grow as spiritual beings.

My life is different now. I faced the fear with every ounce of strength I had, but it still scared the shit out of me. The experience has given my life more depth and encourage me to make more choices based on what feels right. I hope the woman who is missing is found and if she is, I hope, if she needs to, she also finds herself. Maybe, like many people, she’s too proud to say she needs help and is just trying to fumble her way through life the bast she can. I hope her children get their mother back soon and they all receive the love and support they need. Sending love and blessings to her family and close friends through the community. Tracey you are an inspiration for many to write about a topic that some will just push aside.
Take care
Julie

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