What PTSD Means for Me as Someone Who Experienced Childhood Abuse

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Every day there’s that worry; that today, I’m going to see or hear something that will stick me in a dark corner of my memory — something that will have me trembling in fear for seemingly no good reason.

It’s not normally something big; it’s the little things, a raised hand, a raised voice. Sometimes it’s just people with blonde hair or with visible symptoms of illicit drug use. Sometimes the look in a person’s eye makes me cross the street to avoid them because they look like “her” eyes and that terrifies me.

Today a raised voice brought tears to my eyes. I, who views my own crying in public as a great shame, fought back those tears with everything I had, only to fail and have my employer mention it later. This raised voice pointing out mistakes, failures — mymistakes and failures. Unacceptable things — things that make me furious at myself in place of the expected pain I would once receive both mentally and physically from “her.”

I message to my girlfriend, telling her about it, the feeling of shame then met by calming, caring responses. Every time something is hard, I am so glad I bring myself to reach out and there is a hand there for me to hold. I’m so glad I don’t have to sit there anymore, going over and over and over and over in my mind how things should have been so I could have avoided the problem — how I should have been in order to be “perfect.”

Some days I worry it’s a hassle for her, to have someone who has been shattered at a young age, trying to hold the pieces together with glue that gets weak when touched by tears. To have someone who tries to add new pieces and sometimes struggles, who sometimes needs help. She is so caring though, I don’t think she realizes how amazing she is.

I worry it could be viewed as “co-dependency,” or unhealthy, to require someone else to be OK sometimes.

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