Hi. It’s been awhile. But I have a story to tell you, one that takes guts and bravery beyond today. In fact, it’s taken me a while to write this out.
Today is my 42nd birthday, but in some ways, it almost feels like my first. I have spent the past 41 years trapped in fear, worthlessness, and self-hatred. A few years ago, I walked away from this site and told you I would go away for a while to deal with depression and anxiety. I knew then the truth. While I was dealing with depression and anxiety, they were just symptoms of a more significant issue. In truth, I knew then that I had Complex PTSD.
If you’re wondering what Complex PTSD is, it’s a more severe form of PTSD caused by prolonged trauma. People get PTSD from singular events such as a car accident, a horrific event that they lived through, or a life-threatening battle in war. Complex PTSD is caused by trauma that lasts for a long period of time, such as long-term life-threatening medical issues, being a prisoner of war, or abuse.
Mine is from abuse. I’m not ready to share all of my story yet but four years ago, I had horrific memories resurface of childhood abuse. They would show up in the middle of the day while I was loading groceries into my van at Aldi’s or while sitting in church on Sunday morning. Nights were the worst because of the fear of the nightmares that plagued me. It became hard to go out in public because of the anxiety that someone would know something was wrong with me. Little by little, I withdrew further and further into myself.
I stopped working and started surviving. All I did day in and day out was survive another day. There are no words to express the horror that I relived and lived with each and every day. I lost the church that I had been at for a long time, and my only support system, because they didn’t want to stand with me during that time. A dear friend who did walk with me, and is still with me today, told me that during that time my eyes only showed death.
My life was one that I wouldn’t ask anyone else to live. Multiple times a week I drove across town and collapsed on my therapist’s couch. On other days I would meet one of the two friends I had left for coffee only because it would get worse when I started isolating myself. Our family tried to join another church that claimed they were there for people struggling with hard things. But I was ignored no matter how much help I asked them for.
Eventually, even though I was getting a little better, I plateaued. I stopped improving and started going backwards again because there was something that I was terrified to face. There were words I had been scared to say for years because I thought the day I said those words might be the day I died. Finally I reached the point where I could no longer keep them inside myself.
“You’re abusive,” I said to my spouse after a therapy session that he had attended with me that he had left screaming. I had played through that day in my head for years but instead of flying off the handle, he coldly and calmly replied, “I know”.
Slowly after that day I started reclaiming a power that I never knew I had.
Slowly I’ve learned who I am.
Slowly I’ve learned what I am worth.
Slowly I’ve learned that I am not a disaster or a mistake.
I am not weak. I was not made to be a servant to someone who treats me with evil and hatred. I am who God made me to be and also a tad bit feminist and a newly leaning left moderate. I want to care for others and will do everything I can to reach back to those still in abuse.
I am also divorced. And broke.
The church never helped me, and they never questioned the person who hurt me or held them accountable. A church also never held my other abuser accountable. To say I have negative feelings about the church in America is an understatement.
But… I do know who God is, and I’ve seen him go down into the pit of darkness with me and never leave my side. I’ve gone through hell and back, guided by God.
I know who I am, or at least I’m figuring it out.
Most importantly, I’m no longer afraid of every single day.
Happy Birthday. To me. For the first time, ever.
I’ve hated my birthday for my entire life. It’s always a brutally hard day. But today, I’m going to try to be OK. I’m going to try to look at it in new ways, no longer as someone who is worthless and undeserving of celebration.
I need to start blogging again because I love to create and also for income. But I still struggle with some symptoms of CPTSD. I always will, but it means I get tired quickly and get overwhelmed even easier.
I do want to come back. I’m going to try.
However, in the midst of the darkness, I did create a gratitude journal for those who are struggling. It’s really hard to be bubbly and grateful when things suck. So I made a Simple but Sarcastic Gratitude Journal.
If you want to support me by donating, you can do that here.
My comments are turned off and my social media is set to private but if you would like to share your own story or tell me anything at all, you can do that here.
Thank you for sticking by me for years and years. I truly appreciate you all.