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So, I know that I have been open about some of my trauma and my mental health. However, a question was brought up to me that I have been pondering about for a long time. The question was, “Would you talk to your child about your trauma and your past?” After a while of thinking about my answer, I decided that I will talk to my child about my trauma. It’s not about getting pity, it’s not about traumatizing my child, rather it’s about being open about my experiences in hopes to show my child that while mommy is a superhero, she is also human. It’s about opening up and letting my child know that it’s okay to speak up, it’s okay to come to your parents, and it’s okay to ask for help.
You see, I grew up in the South, and it is a tradition or it is taught in you to keep everything to yourself. You cannot speak about your troubles because it will fall back onto your family, you are mental and crazy, and that something is really wrong with you if you are troubled. It is taught that you have to keep all your feelings in, look happy, and move forward. At least, that is how it was for me.
For me, I have had trauma that I have experienced. I never thought it was traumatic or I never thought it was bad enough to where I deserved therapy. But, I was wrong. You see, I have suffered anxiety since I was a little child. The first traumatic experience I can remember is my sibling being a undiagnosed bipolar where my sibling and my parents would get into horrible fights to the point where my sibling would threaten suicide. My sibling also bullied me, but it was about the stuff that I loved doing such as singing, so I never sang again, in front of people. The next thing I remember is my dad, being in the military, and dropping him off at the airport to go to Kuwait after September 11th. Now, as a child witnessing this, I thought he was going into danger. However, as an adult, I know that he was not in any danger. Still, it was traumatic. I remember the car ride and the song that was playing vividly. The song was, “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.” This is where I developed separation anxiety from my parents. It would get so bad where if my mom went to a school conference or something, I would have a severe panic attack where my whole body was shaking, tensed up, and I would be hyperventilating.
Then, in my teenage/high school years, I was raped/molested. Now, these actions were done by two different people, but they were supposed to be people that I should have trusted. I also got diagnosed with fibromyalgia that I am still suffering from today. And, I also went through a traumatic event that wasn’t my decision, which was an abortion. Finally, in my college years, I started living with my boyfriend, who is my husband now, and suffered from a miscarriage.
With these experiences of mine, I totally lost myself in the process. I clammed up and stopped talking. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I felt worthless…I felt hopeless…I felt that I was never good enough.
I know what you all are thinking, which is, “my god, did you call the police?” Well, yes…the police did get involved. And, that is some of the reason that I stopped talking. You see, in the South, families are very close knitted. If you go after one, then you get the wrath of the whole family. That’s what happened to me. My parents and I got so much backlash from trying to speak up about the truth that we were getting labels as a bad family…my parents were bad parents…and that my sibling and I were horrible people. I was labeled a slut and that I probably brought it on myself and that nobody believes me. But, I will say this before moving forward that everything in this has been confirmed by doctors and therapists and on the record.
Anyway, this is why I stopped talking…this is why I stopped enjoying life…this is why my self-esteem and body image went out the door…this is why I became suicidal.
However, my parents are the opposite of bad parents…they were the most amazing parents that a girl could ask for. They were my rocks and my solid foundation through it all. I resented them…yes I did…for making me do things I didn’t want to do and for being parents, but looking back on it now…I appreciate everything that they did. They believed me, they didn’t give up on me or my sibling, they were there for me, and they gave me a future. They gave me and my sibling a future and a life. They did everything and anything that they could for us within their means. I never realized this until I was an adult going through therapy, but they are amazing parents and I am amazed at their strength and that they went through all of it for us.
Also, as I said earlier, remember when I said that your family will get backlash and my parents did. Yeah, my parents got visits and messages about how horribly my family and parents were. I got messages that I was horrible and I should die or I should just run away. I thought about it, but I didn’t want anything bad to happen to my family. I wanted to protect my family at all costs. I mean, I have watched my dad get punched by a significant other of my sibling in front of me. I also saw my mom defend me in one of those visits. After all that, I promised myself that I will protect my family no matter what. I will never put my family in that situation again.
So, I didn’t speak. I didn’t speak to anyone. I didn’t trust anyone. I never talked or hung out with friends again. Therefore, I lost most of my friends that were dear to me. I also lost everything that I ever loved, which was dancing, singing, and theatre. I didn’t think I was good enough for anyone’s time and that I was worthless, so I stopped auditioning for dance, theatre, and choir. I lost so much time during that time. I lost the time that I could have had a great year with friends, with choir, and with dance, but I felt worthless. Again, I didn’t want to do anything…I didn’t want to enjoy life…I didn’t want to go to a college campus. I wanted to stay alone, in the dark, and not meet anyone. Throughout that time as well, my boyfriend, now husband, broke up many times where that separation anxiety would kick on and the self-worth would diminish.
But, I didn’t want anyone to see me weak…I wanted to appear strong to family members, to friends, and to the world. So, I dealt with it on my own, moved forward in silence, and kept a smile on my face. The other reason that I didn’t want to speak up about my experiences was because I didn’t want my grandparents to find out. I didn’t want them to get any backlash and I didn’t want them to think less of me. Heck, through all this, I didn’t want my boyfriend, now husband, my husband’s family, friends, or parents to think less of me.
So, now you can see why I am a quiet person, why I don’t speak up much. Therefore, I became a shell of who I once was. A smiling, funny, talented, kind person…at least I thought. I pretty much lost the most important person…me. I thought that this was the way to deal with things. I was always in the fight or flight mode ALL the time and it got worse when I birthed my child.
Even before all that, I had to apologize to one of my attackers where there are no repercussions today. This is also where my fight or flight mode comes in. But, I have to see this as keeping the peace where my therapist has said over and over again that if it was confirmed, then that is a big no-no. However, it is so common with victims having to do this and then having to their attackers over and over again.
So, these are one of the things I still have to deal with.
Now, in my adult years, I am going through therapy. It wasn’t always like this though. I always that therapy were for messed up people. I thought that I couldn’t ask for help because if I did share my story, then the police would get involved again or that my family would get backlash from it. So, I never asked for help. However, about 4 years ago, my parents told me, their adult daughter, that I needed to go see a therapist. They could physically see my anxiety and depression.
So, I did. I asked for help and I have been diagnosed with severe anxiety, driving anxiety, social anxiety, severe depression, and PTSD. I have been on medication and it has been working. I am also working on getting my dog trained as my service dog, so it will be easier for me to be outside. In addition to this, I am working on getting myself back. I am getting who I was, who I am, and who I want to be back. It will take time, but I will do it. I will work through this trauma and not let it hold me down.
I may be nerdy (maybe not as much as some), I may be quirky, I may be an introvert, a homebody, and I may be a mom who doesn’t do all the cool things or do all the things with my child, which in turn, could have people call me not a cool mom or not a good mom.
Finally, to bring this full circle, I believe that it is the utmost important to share your story with your child. I believe that it will most definitely benefit them to know you as a human and as mom and dad. I want to show my child that it is okay to ask for help and to speak up.
Throughout my therapy, I realized that my mom is going through therapy for anxiety and depression. I wished I realized this sooner or that my mom could have shared her story with me. We could have a closer relationship where I could have known sooner to speak up and to ask for help. I mean, I could get backlash from this post, but this is my platform to share my story.
Therefore, that is the reason why I will talk to my child about traumas, about my traumas, and my story. I want to share with my child my story in hopes that they will know the effects of trauma, the symptoms of trauma, being trauma sensitive, and the signs of upcoming trauma. I want to show my child that they need to believe in themselves and to never let anyone take your sparkle away. I want to teach my child that there are benefits of sharing your story, which is having a support system, getting the word out there, and to shine. Never lose yourself because it is hard to get yourself back. Ask for therapy, that is why it exists…to help people through their experiences. Feelings are valid. Experiences are valid. Trauma is valid. YOU are valid.
I hope you all have a fantastic Friday! We are in the Spring and it’s time for sunshine! As always, I hope you all enjoyed reading and I will see you in the next post!
As a note, if you have anything negative to say, please be kind. This is my platform and this is my way of sharing my story.
Another note, this post has been heavily influenced by one of my classes, which is my Critical Theories in Education class. We had an assignment for this movie called, “The Bad Kids.” This movie talks about the mentality, but there was one that I related to and it got me really thinking about this topic.