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How Reclaiming My Anger Helps Me Heal From Trauma

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It took me a long time to recognize and admit that I was traumatized and abused by several doctors who treated me during my stays in psychiatric hospitals. I survived and healed from my trauma in stages.

• What is PTSD?

First came the dissociation. I learned to separate my emotions from my body as a tool of escape. The only way out was to be discharged by my abusers, so I stopped feeling all together and worked double time to appear healthy. Even after my discharge from a horrific three month psychiatric stay, the disconnect continued. I needed to cement my place as a sane girl in the outside world to be assured I would never be sent to a place like that ever again.

And eventually, after many months, my subconscious decided it was safe to come out. My protective, dissociative barrier broke and I was flooded with the pain, panic and fear I wasn’t allowed to feel within the hospital walls. Especially the fear. I still have flashbacks of the hospitals, and everything that happened in them, which drag me forcibly through my memories and old feelings.

I’m still processing the trauma I endured. I’m still learning to navigate and cope with my complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). The leftover fear and panic still comes to me when I least want or expect it, but just recently I’ve begun to feel more than just debilitating fear.

It happened one night in the middle of another flashback. I couldn’t breathe, I was sobbing, and running through my head on a hellish loop were my old memories being vividly relived. I kept seeing the faces of those who had hurt me and, before I even realized, my fear of them had transformed into red hot hatred for them. In the middle of my sobbing and choking, I started to scream. I was suddenly so angry with the world for letting these monsters hurt me, for letting them hurt a child. It’s not my fault, what they did to me was wrong, and they of all people should have known better!

I am reclaiming my anger, because I didn’t deserve it.

And neither did you.

Getty image by Sky_melody

Originally published: February 22, 2020
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