How Sharing My Traumatic Stories Helps Me Heal

How Sharing My Traumatic Stories Helps Me Heal

I never realized I was struggling with mental illness until I started having panic attacks. A month passed before I realized these were panic attacks. At first, I thought I had anxiety, and the stress from my job made it worse. I was a bouncer at a nightclub surrounded by drunken fools, many of which used alcohol to overcome their own anxieties. I removed myself from that situation and eliminated many other stresses in my life. I felt I was improving but still had a long journey ahead. I felt good and optimistic until the repressed memories resurfaced.

I hadn’t fully looked at the trauma from my childhood. It was worse than I remembered and what I remembered was worse than I thought. The only true memory I have of the trauma was the first incident. I was 4, my father was drunk and beat my mother. I have no memories before this and only a few spotty memories shortly after. I thought lack of childhood memories was normal, but most of mine are repressed. The epiphany came when my sister shared her memories. She is 4 years older, and her memories from that long ago are clearer.

She told me about a time when she was 10. She sat on the couch watching cartoons as our mother sat next to her reading. Our father came home and started screaming at our mother. She screamed back. My sister turned up the volume on the TV and continued watching cartoons. Our father sat on the other side of my sister, and our parents continued screaming at each other. The argument became so heated, our father put his arm in front of my sister to choke our mother. My sister sat up a little more to look over his arm so she could continue watching cartoons.

This is a perfect example of how common violence was growing up in our home. My own memories returning and hearing my sister’s memories created an existential crisis. Everything about my personality I felt made me unique and set me apart from everyone else were only symptoms. Most of my personality traits were caused by Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I’ve had to search for new ways to identify myself. I didn’t know who I was for a brief time. I’m doing better, but I’m still re-establishing my personal identity.

This can make it difficult to make connections with other people when I’m still trying to reconnect with myself. When I do make connections, I fear they’ll leave like so many others have. I fear they’ll push me away or I’ll push them away. Talking about and writing about my experiences helps me reclaim ownership and identity. Some people don’t like talking about their trauma, and that’s okay too. I need to tell people about my trauma, or I’ll feel I have no purpose. I write to have a purpose. I write to feel I belong. I write to be identified. Everyone’s healing process is different.

By James Pack

Photo Credit: Elijah O’Donell

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7 Replies to “How Sharing My Traumatic Stories Helps Me Heal”

  1. More power to you ❤ Some people will judge you but those people who judge are not really your friends! But there will be people out there who will understand you and will be there for you! Find out those people. You will feel good. There was a time i felt so so alone and depressed i always use to wonder why? Why can't i have someone that i can share my problems with but i realized that i never trusted people i knew that there's a risk involved in being vulnerable but that will eventually be a blessing in pointing out those people who truly love you and will be there for you no matter what<3 I hope you find true friends ❤ God bless you

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It is my belief that we are only as sick as our secrets. I realize that we have an entire group of victims who would die of shame if they were to publicly admit to childhood abuse, past or present. I understand that feeling as I used to bare the burden of guilt and shame. When we come to the conclusion that the burden is not ours to carry. After turning it over to God, I would suggest writing about your story. I write my journal entries to Jesus, and the key here is to not only unburden yourself, but to be validated, loved and redeemed. Blessings~

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I am glad that you use writing as a tool to heal, as I do as well. The topic on connections resonated with me a lot. I tend to push others a way when I feel stressed or anxious. I am working on that for now.

    Have a good day,
    Ernesto

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I understand you need to share. Sometimes I look back on my blog posts and and scare myself by what I have written, other times I look back and feel as though I really held back on what I was really feeling when I wrote it. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

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