My Newest Diagnosis & How it came to be
Earlier this month, May 10th, 2017, my therapist diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after I finally opened up about certain events in my life. I always thought I had some sort of trauma in my life but I never truly believed it since I never got to process it. I always pushed down some of the things that have happened to me in my life. I had also developed a dissociative disorder and certain addictions so pushing things down and away was fairly easy for me.
I got clean on April 8th, 2017 as of 11 pm so I no longer have drugs and alcohol to help suppress my emotions anymore. Therefore, emotions and memories have been flooding back to me unexpectedly. I still deal with my dissociative disorder though, so I feel like some things will never come back to me. I can’t be too sure though because, at this point, anything is possible.
I will get a certain flooding of emotions, feelings, flashbacks with hard and disturbing thoughts. Things will seem and feel like they happened just a few moments ago or just yesterday instead of years ago. The memories will become so vivid like they are happening all over again and I will be able to recall such great detail. It can get so painful at times having to relive certain situations again and again.
My step dad, now my mom’s ex, was very emotionally, mentally, and physically abusive to my sister, my mom, my two brothers and myself. His name was Pete, and he was my little sister’s dad. He had no relation to my brothers or I. He was an alcoholic/addict. He was always high on something. He would get extremely violent and physically abuse my mom and brothers. There was even a time when he threw me down a flight of steps and told me to go to the middle of the woods and kill myself so no one would be able to find me. When my one brother, let’s call him Joe, was ten years he told me that he wanted to kill himself because of Pete. He was only ten! Pete would pick on him the most and he would try to strangle him on multiple occasions as well. I would usher Joe to my bedroom and lock him in there with me to try to protect him. I felt like I needed to protect everyone from Pete, all the time. My sleep was constantly disrupted and still is, because I would have to make sure I could wake up quick if I heard yelling, hitting, throwing or anything else. I felt it was my job to protect them. I was six years older than my brothers and five years older than my sister.
I had to start dealing with Pete at the tender age of three or four before my sister was even born. Pete was the reason that I even start self-injuring in the first place. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was 12 years old and I heard my mom screaming behind her locked bedroom door, begging him to stop hitting her. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I don’t know why, because I had never heard about it at the time or even seen it on TV, but I took a knife from the kitchen and locked myself in the bathroom and drug the knife across the untouched pale, white flesh of my forearm. Cutting became an addiction for me after that. A way to relieve the pressure I was feeling inside.
Growing up, my siblings and I were so depressed and unhappy because of Pete. And my mom was too scared of him to leave him. Pete’s household slogan was, “What happens here stays here.” We weren’t allowed to talk about what went down at home out of fear of being punished. I was the only one not scared of talking back to him. I didn’t care what he did to me. Besides, I was already suicidal by that point in my life—my early teens.
He treated my sister the best out of everyone though, that was probably only because she was his own flesh and blood. My sister hates him, even to this day. Pete also treated my other brother, Jake, decent as well. It was like Jake was under some sort of mind control. He would do whatever Pete said pretty much most of the time.
I remember this one time, Pete could not find his Methadone, he was a heroin addict as well, and he woke everyone in the house up at 5 am and started throwing things, yelling, flipping tables over, threatening us, he even made everyone go through the disgusting garbage to look for the Methadone bottle! It was completely ridiculous! And stuff like that happened all of the time too, and sometimes much worse happened. I also pulled a knife on him and tried going after him a few times while I was trying to protect my family from him. I had dissociated during a few of those knife episodes as well. There is so much more that he has done to my family and I that I could write an extensive novel.
Another big life altering event that caused my PTSD was the fact that I was raped, more than once. The first time, I was attacked by a stranger when I was about 14 years old and then any self-respect I had for myself went out the window. I didn’t care about anything anymore. I tried whatever I could to numb the pain that was so deep inside of me. The next time it happened, I was 18 years old, and the even worse part was that it was directly on my 18th birthday. I had gone somewhere with a friend and I had gotten trashed. I had laid down and a couch and this guy that I met a few times climbed on top if me and wouldn’t get off of me. I tried to fight but I was too messed up. I tried to scream and yell but nothing came out. I had also been taken advantage of in relationships because some of the guys I dated thought that since I was their girlfriend that they could have sex with me whenever they pleased even if I said no.
Abuse comes in many different forms and I have also been mentally and emotionally abused my whole life by many different people, too many people to name actually. I’ve been told I’m worthless, fat, ugly, dumb, no good, stupid, lazy, and unlovable and anything else negative that you could possibly think of. I’ve been made to feel all those things about myself as well. I don’t love myself, I don’t even like myself! I feel like everything that has happened to me is all my fault and that I am always the one to blame for everything.
I am slowly working on myself though. It is a process. It will take time. I might not feel like I am totally worth anything yet but I try to tell myself positive affirmations every day. One day I will start to believe the things I tell myself. It just takes time. Everything in life just takes time.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.