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Stacestrong! (Staceys story)

Posted on August 06 2015

Stacestrong! (Staceys story)
I'm Stacey. I'm a wife. I'm a mother. I'm a friend. I'm a daughter. I'm a survivor.
I'm not used to telling my story. In fact I don't know if I ever really have completely.
Perhaps I've always been too concerned whether people would approve of it or validate it.
But it's not their reality or story to do anything with. It's mine.
I'm a survivor of extensive, prolonged and familial abuse. I'll add for those who know me or
my family....don't assume its parents who are always the guilty. I was 4 when it began and it didn't
stop until I was 12. But then it never really stopped. See that's what ptsd is. It isn't even really an illness.
It's an injury. How many people have ever heard let alone understand that ptsd isn't just someone
who keeps remembering...someone who chooses to keep thinking about what happened to them.
It's a brain injury. It literally changes a persons wiring. Especially for children who haven't even started
kindergarten yet, let alone had the chance for their brains to develop normally. Severe trauma surges
the brain with chemicals. That's what that survival instinct is that everyone has. That flight or fight
thing everyone who takes any basic psychology class, or even a biology class in high school, learns
about. Well it gets stuck. But what happens when a person can't fight....and they can't flee? When trauma
doesn't stop, those neurochemicals don't stop. Too much of them actually destroy brain circuitry.
But I'm not supposed to be giving you a science lesson. I'm supposed to tell my story.
What I lived through was real. It wasn't really ever dealt with. And I never learned
how to put events with emotions, nor how to deal with either. People like me with CPTSD, we hear things
differently. We see things differently. We feel things differently, and sometimes not at all.
I have issues with dissociation. I have deep depression sometimes that swallows me. I have
serious issues with trust and needs and dependence. I was a grown adult before I began any
real attempt at therapy. I always felt like everyone else does....if I ignored it it would go away. If I
chose to, I could just move on. If I decided to get over it, I would. If I wanted to see myself as strong
and mature and independent, I could believe that it didn't really effect me. I figured if I stopped feeling
sorry for myself (something my abuser always told me) and put on my big girl panties as so many have
told me to do, that I would move on, suck it up and thrive. But all of those things are
lies. Lies that most of society will tell people with ptsd every day. They don't mean to lie to
survivors. They don't know. But the trouble is, much of the time survivors don't know any better either,
and they believe those lies. And it just makes everything so much worse. Even today, in the
21st Century US, there still survives so much deep seated stigma over any and all mental 'illnesses'.
It does nothing but harm those who suffer from it, the societies they live in, and the people who hold
those stigmas. If you would not tell a cancer patient to 'get over it', it is just as appalling to
tell a person who has already suffered years of severe and unspeakable trauma, to 'get over it'.
If you wouldn't think it was appropriate to tell a person with diabetes to just stop feeling sorry
for themselves, then don't tell someone with a mental illness that either. Newsflash: The BRAIN IS
part of the body, and it can be SICK or dysfunctional like any other part or system of the body! Does
it make sense that everyone accepts that the heart or the lungs or the liver can be sick or dysfunctional
but not the brain? The brain is the mother board!
But then theres more science for you. Sorry. :)
My story can't really be told completely, because it is not yet complete.
Life stories move and live, and hopefully change. Most people who know me don't know my story.
Most who read this will be surprised. So this is taking more risk or courage than you can ever guess.
Yes....I have survived something most people cannot begin to imagine. Yes...there are many others
out there like me. PTSD is not just something that veterans suffer. And there IS more than one
kind of it. I have Complex PTSD. Go ahead and care enough, especially if you do know me,
to look it up and learn about it. Because unless and until you do, you won't really know me at all,
no matter how much I write here.
I'll probably edit this over and over. Take things out, put things in, smooth it out. But what won't change is
that I struggle every single day with the consequences of CPTSD. It is real. It can be relentless, cruel,
dark, dead, numb, terrifying, confusing, LOUD (if your ptsd has let other people move into
your head), or utterly silent.... I created the page for ISTSS because I can't possibly tell you
what it's like all on my own to live with CPTSD. But ISTSS is committed to learning
what it is like, communicating that to others, especially professionals whose job it is to help
people like me, like your local veteran that just came home from Iraq or Afghanistan, like the Fireman or woman
who had to go in and get one or five too many children, like the cop who has seen more violence
than you somehow stomach watching NCIS or some other fabricated unreality, like the human
sex trafficked teens, like refugees from a war ravaged world. See my story and their story are somewhat
the same. Everyones is unique, but the common denominator is that we were really victims, we didn't imagine it.
We really were seriously wounded, and no.....time does NOT heal all wounds. Not alone it doesn't.
We need more than time. We need the expertise of people who study trauma and its effects, what
treatments work best with what people or type of survivor, what medications work or don't, how to
make the best treatment available to the millions of people who desperately need it, and how on
earth to get first clinical, then general society educated about those millions living among them.
I am only one.

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