Before I read what Shaun Groves wrote in this post, I had no intention of writing this, but… here goes:
I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I struggle with nightmares and flashbacks and – frankly – with living, as in not jumping off a nearby bridge. I’ve had thoughts of ‘ending it all’ for as long as I can remember. I have never mentioned it before, not even to my husband. The thoughts aren’t exactly about death, they’re more along the lines of ‘I’ve had enough’ and needing oblivion. No, that’s not true. Sometimes, I wish it was all over and I could just go and be with God because the world seems unrelentingly wicked and horrible. But suicide is devastating for those left behind, and I have children who need a mother, and I still, even after all this, have the tiniest glimmer of a flicker called ‘hope’, which is why I have never gone beyond thoughts, and will always pull myself back and seek another solution. Serving is helpful – as I bless others through my volunteer roles, so I am blessed. Balm for the soul.
Daily, lately, the nightmares and the anxiety and all the ghosts from the past leap up at me and I drag them around as I go about my life, like a prisoner drags a ball and chain. The trouble is, other people have no idea I am dragging these chains, and they have no clue how it affects me.
Such things are taboo. Shhhh!
It’s not just that; I am a private person by nature. Childhood sexual abuse teaches you to keep your feelings hidden. It is how you survive. Later I was taught for a decade, by the one person who vowed to cherish me, that my feelings didn’t matter. This teaching was cemented by fists, and equally stinging, ugly words. So I’m still learning that a) it’s ok to feel what I feel and b) I need to be able to share who I am. Given that it is all taboo, this is a quandary. It makes me melancholy.
People seem to shy away when they do find out. The ones who don’t are oh-so-precious! Thank you, if that is you x Maybe those who shy away don’t realise how it affects people like me. I sometimes wonder if I had a physical illness, maybe they’d know what to do a bit more and would offer help or something. I don’t know. That sounds like being envious of illness, which is stupid and I don’t mean that. Yet sometimes I’ve envied the ‘acceptability’ of illness. We always pray for the sick in church. We don’t pray for the wounded, not in the same way. I know I’ve mentioned this before.
Well, I’m still here… Also, there are some Christians who see people like me as somehow ‘different’ or ‘other’. This is ironic because Jesus spent His time loving those who were ‘different’ and ‘other’, indeed, He even called them blessed (Matthew 5:1-12). Christ turns everything upside down and still even His followers don’t ‘get it’!
I’ve been judged by some of these Christians for making choices when, given the circumstances, the ‘choices’ were either because I was damaged, or were for reasons that that person could never possibly comprehend, because they’ve never had to stare down daily demons like I have (with Christ by my side, flaming and strong while I am weak). Ach! I don’t know how to explain this stuff. It is so hard. And so taboo.
But here I am talking about it. And if you’re reading it – thank you.
I have booked myself an appointment with my GP, because I have been reliably informed that there is a specialist in PTSD treatment at our local hospital. This same person warned me that because it is expensive, it is often not authorised on the NHS, but I can’t carry on like this. I just want to live a normal life. I don’t want to be crushed any more.
If you’re of a mind to pray, please pray for my messed up head. Already, thanks only to the grace of God, I am not as screwed up as might be reasonably expected. I look at myself and think it’s a wonder that not only am I still standing, I am a loving mother, in a stable, loving relationship, trying to make the most of the remnants of this life, to turn them, through grace, into the great tapestry of the Christ-follower. That’s why I am studying with the OU, and writing stories, and trying to be the best mum that I can be. So, really and truly, I’m doing great, all things considered!
But it is not enough. If there is a chance for me to live a life free of these chains, I want to run with it. I have enough courage for a small army, so facing my fears is not a barrier. I have already overcome. I am desperate to overcome more, but maybe I need specialist help. Please pray.
It would be my privilege to pray for you too, if you would like to email me, or write your prayer request in the comments section below.
If you are going through similar, be encouraged. You are not alone. Why should we be silenced?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:3 (NIVUK)