CPTSD – The demons put there by others………. The substances that help them disappear if only for a while…………
I fumbled out of my house at the age of 16, already been through an incredible amount of trauma, but I was told that it was all my fault somehow. The self-esteem that teachers and people talked about was a fairy-tale story to me………what is self-esteem and how do you get some. Was it even real?
I was told there was something very wrong with me, that I was broken and unfixable so what did my brain do… it decided that it wanted to learn all it could once I was free into the world. As a child, I would escape into books, my imaginary world, the safe world of books, the hours I would spend reading so that I would go unnoticed. To be noticed in my family was not a good thing, that’s for another time maybe.
Having been thrown out at 16 for wanting to finish school, yes, the irony I know, how dare I want to finish school, ‘you’re not very smart to remember’ you are quite stupid, these words echoed through my mind, but I defiantly refused to work full time at KFC and my punishment was to find somewhere else to live. I did.
I had watched addiction in my teens with other people, I would watch people very intently, observe their behaviour so I would know how to either go unnoticed or be noticed and go to the safest people I could find. I lived with my boyfriend and his parents. I started to smoke cigarettes my greatest addiction for another 20 years. I would smoke weed but hated how it made me feel so I observed others. The thing with drugs and alcohol that saved me was I always like to observe others first. I was smart like that, oh the irony again.
My first boyfriend was addicted to weed and got drunk every weekend, my second boyfriend was addicted to weed and did nothing but smoke it and cheat on me. My third boyfriend again was also addicted to weed.
All these men had something in common other than their weed addictions through……. they ALL had safe families, their parents treated me well and I felt like I was part of a safe family regardless of the behaviours of these boyfriends I accepted it, I wanted to be part of the safety provided by their families.
The biggest issues came for me once I had children it highlighted my childhood again, as I gazed into my son’s eyes, I couldn’t comprehend how people could hurt children. Once I had my daughters I was triggered hugely, now it cut deeper, the love I have for my daughters as their mother is indescribable. Oh, how I suffered on the inside, the headaches started, the chronic pain started
I couldn’t get these headaches to go away, no matter what I did, I finally was told to go to the dentist, that day was a defining moment, Valium was prescribed to me, but also a diagnosis of TMJ – basically when you clench your teeth so hard it causes extreme headaches, in my case so bad it moved my teeth, I had braces for 9months to straighten them back out.
I came home and took a 5mg Valium and my body immediately started to relax the tension in my neck, jaw, head, back was melting away. I couldn’t believe this feeling I had, I was relaxing, I was really relaxing, I went to sleep and woke up like I was a new person……
The problem with Valium is that is short-lived, and you need another and another to maintain relaxation.
I was 32 and had finally found something that would help me, yet they would not keep prescribing it to me, so I was forced to look at alternative therapies for my pain, acupuncture, Bowen therapy, counselling, exercise, yoga, meditation,…………………….some of it worked, but every time I could get a script for Valium I would and I would revel in the relaxation the feeling of peace and calm it would give me, if only for that short time.
Just as life seemed to be plodding along at a steady, bearable pace, still not fitting in, still feeling wrong and worthless, a tragedy hit my life, my baby was not well 22 weeks into my pregnancy, I was thrown into chaos. Another time my family had abandoned me, my baby had died, and my sisters and my mother did nothing.
Deep in grief, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t like alcohol, so to the doctors for Valium, this time it brought me no peace and relaxation in only brought me a numbness, but I liked that, to feel numb was better than to feel this pain. I only got one prescription and that was it no more was given, they offered anti-depressants and I said no. 8 months later I lost another baby this time at 14weeks. I was a mess. I started smoking again – and was in a deep depression the only part of life keeping me there my son and my daughter, I lived every moment for them and no one else. Mummy was going to be alright I told them, that I was sad, and they knew why, but I was always there for them no matter what.
Counselling starting again and glimpses of my childhood were coming back, and I was not capable in dealing with that, I focused on nature, the butterflies I watched, the dragonflies… especially the pretty red ones. My days went on like this, work, kids and staring into nothingness. Friends drifting away, family…what even is that I thought. More alone now… than I was that kid with her books sitting in the Willow Tree. Now I was not only worthless and sad, but no one knew what to say to me, I mean what do you say to someone whose baby has died. So people did the worst thing they could do………nothing.
I do not give up though, just like that little kid, I would stand back up again and stare defiantly into life’s face and keep on keeping on…. So that is what I did. Until a call one Sunday morning 2 months after losing another baby, … the voice was my Mother, I could not understand her and she never calls anyway what is this, what is happening I said………An ambulance officer was put on the phone to me and I was told my brother was dead, he had died of an accidental drug overdose.
I fell to my knees, the next few weeks and months a blur. I couldn’t comprehend this life and all the horrors in it. I really couldn’t.
There’s was no Valium to numb my pain this time, for I was pregnant, and this was not planned, and I did not want to be….now I look back my daughter saved my life. I believe to this day my brother had sent my daughters soul to me as one of the first things he did when he crossed over. I truly do.
Life went on, I was accepted back into this dysfunction of a family and I felt finally I would be loved and cared for by them… ahhhh the things you do when you behave like a dog so very loyal and for no reason other than that they are your family, and you love them.
I started to realise I was there to help everyone else. My husband had had an affair by now and was living with this woman and I was a single mother of three children living in Brisbane and trying to do everything.
I lost so much weight, I was so exhausted no one helped me though, they liked to talk about me, put me down, ask me to do things for them, but never helped me.
To the doctors I went, how can I help you………….
I would like some Valium I have chronic pain from clenching my teeth at night and that’s all that works, it was the truth, but still feels like a lie as I want to say ‘I would like some Valium as it’s the only thing that helps me feel at peace with myself it calms me so I don’t feel like I will die or have a panic attack in front of people especially at work’.
I walked out of the doctors with my script and some pain killers, what are these ones I thought, Oh, very strong ones.
For two years I numbed my pain with Valium and pain killers. I would work, look after my children and when they went to their fathers, I would take Valium and pain killers and spend it by myself. My family only a few streets away oblivious to the pain I was in, too busy putting me down for being too skinny. I don’t allow myself to get fat, it gets you in trouble, it makes you even worse, my Dads voice ringing loudly through my head. Don’t be a fat fucking slob then you will be even worse.
Didn’t help that my stress response was not to eat. So, let them berate me for being too skinny they would be talking behind my back if I was too fat, just like they do to my sister and her children.
I slowly watch my family pick up drink after drink, my father an alcho, my sister one too, my late brother was one too, it’s everywhere. So, I just watched them all and decided enough was enough
I walked away.
I walked away from it all, from all of them. I still get a script for Valium when I genuinely am suffering from panic attacks, but I have learnt to deal with them
Once I walked away, I found the job of my dreams, the man of my dreams, the friends that are awesome, my children don’t need to know that toxic drama and I wake up each day, this same person with oh so much trauma behind these eyes, so very much, yet these eyes that have seen so much turned and looked in the mirror and saw a woman that needed love not from anyone else but from herself.
To learn to love yourself as you would your children is what saved me from a lifetime of suffering. A lifetime of being the scapegoat for a family so dysfunctional it still couldn’t come together after my brother died.
I walked away, I know my weakness for Valium, it’s the drug that let me feel some peace in my body, the body that held so much pain and trauma. The body I disassociated from so many times, the body that was touched unwantedly, the body whose legs for forced open and held down, the body that was beaten so often the body that was cold and hungry so much as a child. I looked at this person…me and this persons body…mine and I said………
Thank you and I am sorry I treated you with such disdain like all those others, how dare I treat you the same as others have treated you. It will never happen again.
Born in 1980 in Australia
Facebook: Journey Beyond You
Facebook: The Intuitive Healer Doula
Survivor of extensive childhood abuse, and now live with C-PTSD
I am a Community Worker, Trauma Informed Doula, Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher, Child Educator and work intensively with neurodivergent Children and survivors of abuse
I am a keen social advocate and really believe in kindness.
Kindness can change a life it really can