Last week my younger sister was put on a Ventilator, along with Chest Tubes and Feeding Tube. She is in her 50’s and has been a smoker her whole life. She did not take care of herself, hadn’t seen a doctor in decades, didn’t eat properly and self medicated for years. At this stage of her lung disease, her prognosis is poor. What makes this worse, is It hasn’t even been a year since the death of another younger sibling. Of my remaining family, I see have one sibling struggling with Mental Illness, one who almost died from a Hypertensive Crisis due to untreated High Blood Pressure and another who was born with severe scoliosis as well as many features akin to Achondroplasia.
The differences in the manifestations of our CPTSD are as varied as the differences in how we learned to cope/survive as children and ultimately as adults.
So little is written about the history of our lives, from a family system perspective.
How so many of the choices we made, were not from a thoughtful place (Frontal Cortex) but, from the Amygdala, a place of “fight or flight.”
How a childhood history of violence and abuse can result in life limiting diseases.
Some literature speaks to how people who have experienced trauma as a child, are more at risk for Heart Disease, Diabetes, additions…etc. However, these studies do not reflect the whole picture, that involves the family. Studies do not address the feelings of sadness and helplessness, that come from witnessing a sibling’s struggles, chronic illness and death. How sometimes being around each other in our attempt to comfort and support can be triggering because of the shared experiences as children.
My heartache is tinged with anger that my beautiful siblings, the ones I love so, the ones I tried to protect as children, when I was a child myself, didn’t have the lives they deserved. No one truly understands how difficult it is to caste off the shroud of abuse. To be free of shame, fear and self doubt…unless you’ve been there yourself.
I know I’m at a dark place right now. One filled with anticipatory grief and anger. It is a place I worked so hard to reconcile through out the years but, it is where I know I need to be and not where I will stay.
There needs to be more written about our roles within the family as well as the family’s role in us. Especially, as it pertains to a family history of violence and abuse. This too pertains to whether you were an only child or one of several.
I can’t help wonder how many of you have faced or are facing the same losses or challenges.
Before I finish, thank you for giving me this opportunity to share and process further. If I’ve said or shared anything that can lead to misunderstanding, I am sorry. This is what’s true for me, or where I am at in my pain, just at this moment.