First, I want to be clear in the fact that I am not going to go into significant detail with my personal trauma story, however, please be considerate about whether or not this is a post that is safe for you to read. Take care of yourself and your own triggers 🙂
*Potential sexual assault TW*
This post is a challenge to write. I have come to a point where I am comfortable with discussing my eating disorder. This subject is more difficult to acknowledge. Trauma is certainly something that an individual wants to run away from…I know that I do. For me, right now, this is not about sharing my story of what happened. I am not going to go into detail and I probably never will on my blog. Trauma is so deeply personal and my biggest motivation for not sharing is that I want my blog to be a safe place for people to read. I am choosing to share about my struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because this blog is part of my personal journey towards healing and my eating disorder is not the only thing I am in recovery from. It is important for my personal growth in recovery. When I first shared about my eating disorder I felt shame and guilt around the topic, now I do not. My hope is that the same thing can occur with my other struggles.
When I was 20 years old I was raped. I was raped on campus at my former college. My perpetrator was someone that I trusted. At 21 years old I was raped a second time by a stranger. That is all the details I will include. A while after my first trauma I was given the diagnosis of PTSD. PTSD has significantly changed my life in so many ways.
I have always struggled with anxiety, but following my diagnosis I experienced an intense amount of anxiety. I began to have panic attacks daily. I barely left my house because my fear was too great. Flashbacks have changed my life. Different people experience flashbacks in different ways. For me, I do not know where I am. I am transported back to the moment of my trauma. I experience somatic responses and it is like my skin physically feels the touch of my abuser. I struggle to breathe and am flooded with terror. Basically, it is really damn scary.
I am not intending to share this for pity. I hope that can come across in my writing but it is hard to do in writing versus in person. My reason for sharing is that I desire to open the conversation about PTSD. So many people live with PTSD daily and it is more common than some people think. It happens in a variety of situations not just in veterans. Now that I have discussed my personal story I will be writing more about awareness and other PTSD topics.
Right now, I am in much better “control” of my symptoms. My panic attacks and flashbacks have decreased significantly. Most days I can live a “normal” life. However, I still live with this condition. Some days, I will go out somewhere and become suddenly filled with fear from triggers that remind me of what happened. It is not easy.
That is the point I wish to convey to others. This is not easy. To my fellow fighters, I am proud of you. I promise that what happened is NEVER your fault. Ever. Please, continue to fight because the pain does not always go away, but you can still learn to live. To others, please listen to us survivors. Please do not judge us but try to understand. We already live in shame…so please help that be lifted.