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Saturday, March 15, 2008

coming out of the dark

i realized today that i have been experiencing some ptsd. when i was 10 or so i became sexually active with a couple of boys in my neighborhood. i dare not say molested because they were only a couple of years older than me. after the 1st experience with them, they proceeded to tell everyone in school i was a queer- a faggot- and that i had done things to them. i could hear people talking about me many times which would then shush when i came into view. this scenario was repeated when i was a freshman in high school after we had moved to a chicago suburb. these life altering experiences terrorized me and tormented me for several years to follow. (now mind you, i had been molested before these incidents, too. i am told that these later behaviors that i speak of are classic ptsd symptoms- a person who experience traumas oftentimes engages in activities that set them up to be re- victimized and experience additional traumas. this could help explain why i sought refuge in drug use.)

when i read that depraved note, i went into that dark space i have been in so many times before in my mind. i couldn't think straight. i was silently screaming my brains out. i drifted in and out of paranoia and couldn't trust anyone. it has been so challenging for me these last few days. luckily i have done some work on myself with a therapist in that area and now can remember that i am no longer that humiliated little boy being called "faggot" in earshot of so many with nowhere to run and no one to comfort me. i have grown and can get through this. it does take time though. time and purposed effort.

i feel safer today. thank heaven for that... i bought myself roses and put them on my desk at work. they did make me feel like someone loved me.

here are 3 symptoms of ptsd according to seeking safety:
Symptoms fall within three categories:


Intrusion symptoms are vivid episodic "flashbacks" or memories of the trauma. They reoccur unexpectedly and are often accompanied by painful emotions that may take over a person's attention, sometimes to the point where the person feels as though they are reliving the event or experience.


Avoidance symptoms generally affect relationships with others as the traumatized person may feel “numb” or have diminished emotions. The person may also avoid close personal ties with family, friends and colleagues.


Hyperarousal symptoms cause sudden emotional outbursts, even when unprovoked. People with hyperarousal may have a constant feeling that danger is near, causing an exaggerated startle response. They may also experience trouble concentrating or remembering current information, have terrifying nightmares, or may develop insomnia

if you want to learn more about pstd please click here

once again i say i'm so thankful it's progress not perfection...understanding all this takes time and patience. i am exhausted today from cycling through all this. i am humiliated, i am humbled, i am somewhat frightened, i am unsteady. but i am also relieved that the light at the end of this particular tunnel is in view. i am also somewhat skeptical about posting this, but i know my intention is to share my experience in order that it may assist another in some way.

i almost opted for "i'm only human" by the human league today, but opted for this choice for the vid. this is crossposted at queer deviations


Java said...

Interesting information about ptsd in this post. Thanks for that.
Somebody tried to trip you this week. You seem to have stumbled a bit. That happens. I see you working to regain your footing. Quickly. You haven't allowed yourself to stay in the dark place. I know for me, sometimes when I drift (or fall, or run screaming headlong)into my dark spaces it is hard to reach up, to reach out, to make the small step toward the light of healthy and "normal."
You have the tools. You know what you need to do. Yes, in the darkness we don't think clearly. Friends and loved ones can help remind us and encourage us to take those positive steps. Isn't that wonderful? I need my friends.
I'm rambling here; my brain is a bit bruised from some radical emotional flame-ups this week. What I want to say is that I am proud of you for working FOR YOU! After all is said and done, you are a good man.

Marc said...

This leading-the-examined-life business is exhausting, ain't it?
I must say, I feel very lucky. I realize what a completely untraumatic childhood I had. Though that also behooves me to realize I don't always understand what other people are going through. I do intellectually, but emotionally, I need to accept that I don't really KNOW, and watch my tendency to minimize, or say in my head "get over it!"

Anonymous said...

Well, you know that I can so relate! I have to admit that sometimes I get infuriated with people who not only don't understand PTSD, but go out of their way to be cruel about someone living with it. I know it's wrong but sometimes I've thought, "I wish they'd experience a trauma and live with this illness. It would serve them right!" Anyhow, I've always loved this song!

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