11 Years Later I Know I’m OK, but My Trauma Tells Me Otherwise

Today I’m 18 again. I know I’ve been on this earth for 29 years now, but it doesn’t feel like it. Today I need help. Because, even though I’m not in a dangerous situation anymore, my 18-year-old self doesn’t know that. So I’m at work, or walking down the street, or cooking, but I’m constantly busy suppressing the need to ask for someone to help me. Not because I’m sad and I want people to comfort me, and not because of memories resurfacing. I want to ask for help because I need someone to save me. At the same time, I know I don’t need saving. I see potential saviors all around me. But I can’t do anything with it.

Today I’m helpless again. I know I’m not really helpless. I know I’m strong. But I feel helpless. Someone is abusing me and nobody knows. I want to shout it out. I want to collapse, I want to give up. I want to finally react appropriately to what’s happening to me. I couldn’t seem to do that 11 years ago. I want to catch up, I want to show people. I want them to know how serious of a situation I’m in. I want to empower myself to leave, to ask for help.

Today I’m confused again. About what I want and don’t want. About being forced and not being forced. About wanting to be hurt and wanting it to stop. I see potential abusers around me. And I don’t even know if I want them to abuse me or not. I feel like the only way I can exist, the only way I can count, the only way I’m worthy, is if someone wants to abuse me.

Today I want things to stop. I mean, someone b  is hurting me, can’t you see? I can’t go to work or buy groceries. I can’t just be responsible and live my life. I’m in an acute situation and I need to escape. Today I want to go somewhere where no one I know can find me, somewhere where I’ll be safe. There, I want to lie in bed and I want all those normal daily things to stop. I want no responsibilities. I want to put my life on hold and just lie under the blankets and disappear.

Today will pass, I know that. I’ll soon feel like I’m 29 again, ready to take on the world. But today, it feels like this is how I’m going to be the rest of my life. In a perpetual state of emergency, in need of saving, but nothing or no one to save me.

This piece originally appeared at The Unspoken Spoken

If you or a loved one is affected by domestic violence or emotional abuse and need help, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via DeepGreen

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

upset woman lying in long grass with hand to chest

What It's Like to Live With PTSD: A Poem

Like so many others who live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other chronic illness, people often ask, “what does it feel like?” I wrote this poem to explain what it feels like for me to live with PTSD. My PTSD It doesn’t matter if it’s cold, hot, sunny, snowing, or raining There is no telling [...]
young young surrounded by leaves

The Mixed Feelings That Come With a PTSD Diagnosis

I remember exactly where I was when my previous therapist sent me information about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I was at a train station and read the information immediately. After that, I started crying. For the first time in nine years, I thought, “So I do have it?” Although things suddenly made a lot of [...]
woman face

7 Ways to Help Someone Experiencing Dissociation

Our bodies seem to want to protect us when our environments — or even our own heads — feel too scary to sit with. I believe this is why dissociation occurs. Dissociation is a protective measure. It is a way of disconnecting ourselves from the triggers that are making us feel unsafe or out of [...]
abigail breslin

Abigail Breslin Shares Photo of What Life After Domestic Violence Can Look Like

Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced domestic violence or sexual assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline online by clicking “chat now” or calling  1-800-799-7233. You can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. On Sunday, Abigail Breslin posted on Instagram in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The [...]