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

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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.

• What is PTSD?

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.

Thinkstock photo via DeepGreen

Originally published: October 18, 2017
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