Circling the Drain
“Even in times of trauma, we try to maintain a sense of normality until we no longer can. That, my friends, is called surviving. Not healing. We never become whole again … we are survivors. If you are here today… you are a survivor. But those of us who have made it thru hell and are still standing? We bare a different name: warriors.”
― Lori Goodwin
The behavior they see is but a snowcap on top of a huge mountain of anguish. They refuse to see the truth even when it’s partially revealed because it’s much easier to sift through and pick out the nicer parts of the story. To most people, we should be walking around thanking God for such a beautiful day to experience life. But to us…..it’s all about survival. It always has been. They ask us to see things through their eyes but refuse to even glance through ours. Hell, the truth is that OUR truth would have most people retching at the sugar coated version. Now, imagine living in it day after day…. Oh to outsiders, we should be so happy and grateful that we have a loving spouse, beautiful and healthy children. To us….it’s still about survival.
Many times we have heard, “Dana, all that happened a long time ago and it’s just water under the bridge. Be thankful for what you do have because it could’ve been so much worse.” “Oh, her father was mean like that to her too.” And to those that say that, I pity their ignorance. If trauma was that easy to get over, therapists would be out of jobs. The analogy about not being able to unbreak a plate couldn’t be any closer to the truth. Some have also said, “Oh well I went through much worse than that and nothing’s wrong with me.” My thoughts are, “Congrats have fun with that bucket of denial that nothing’s wrong.” Some have even said, “Well, you’ve survived and aren’t living in it now. So, now you can move on and enjoy your life.” Let’s see…even if I make my pros and cons list about how grateful I am for things in my life I still have an overwhelming fear of food, active eating disorder, social anxiety, PTSD, stomach problems, digestive problems, suicidal/homicidal ideations almost daily, a 6 year degree that I can’t use, no memory, rage issues, problems driving, active self harm issues, a non-existent sex life, frequent switching all of which I cannot control and the biggest complaint I get is my attitude.
You see, when everyone is getting dressed for work, we get ready to battle our demons alone yet another day. To the average person this looks like a lazy person who just doesn’t want to work and is another cause for the ever increasing issues of being a drain on society. Truth is, they would have the barrel in their mouths much sooner. When I was asked one time about having PTSD if I had served our country as a soldier in the war I simply replied, “I didn’t serve our country, but I’ve been fighting a war all of my life.” People usually do the typical double take and look away. Now, if just that made them uncomfortable what do you think they would do with the gory details or god forbid had to live it? Guess what? I relive each and every detail every day and night that I take a breath. At times the memories have me hugging the toilet while waiting for the next wave of vomit to come rushing out of my mouth from the increasing anxiety that has my body feeling like it’s being ripped apart. I would just like to state that any vomiting is not from my eating disorder as I despise the act. The migraine is pounding so hard that a sledgehammer is a welcoming thought. The tears flow a constant stream as the voices scream their demeaning insults from as few as 10 years ago to as far back as 35 years ago. All I want is for someone to come help rescue me but again it’s the familiar feel of having to fight on my own yet again with no guide. Where is everyone?! I panic but I shouldn’t because I’ve been here many times. I just want someone to make it STOP!!!! And then another wave of vomit, that I had been anxiously awaiting, arrived. I lay my head on the seat of the toilet and just begin sobbing and thinking, “When is enough, enough?”