It’s easy to know what I’m feeling at nearly any given moment, because most of the time what I’m feeling is anger. The intensity of that anger varies, sure, but it’s always there–with few exceptions. Post traumatic stress disorder is often associated with anger; talk to anyone with PTSD who’s willing to be honest about her experiences, and she’ll tell you about her anger. But looking back, the anger inside of me dates back farther than the domestic violence. I wonder if continuing in that relationship was a subconscious way to justify all that rage within.
It took me years to finally realize how much sibling abuse and parental neglect affected me. It took me years to realize I’d experienced those things. Yes, I grew up hearing my brother tell me I was a mistake who should never have been born, and I watched my father spend more time at his typewriter failing to publish than with me. Yes, my teenage years were marred by a mother who refused to hear me, but when I was younger, I thought all of that was normal. You hear that line a lot too, when you talk to people who came from abusive or neglectful households. We all thought that was just the way life was.
Today’s guest post on social systems and PTSD comes from a freelance writer covering some of the ways in which our society worsens the experience of trauma survivors, even while trying to help them. This is an issue near and dear to my heart, which I feel embroiled in personally myself (and have for a while). I have been covering related issues about addiction, and I grateful to guest writer Avery T. Philips for taking on–at least in part–the enormous issue of society’s failing treatment of those with PTSD.
Once you’re done reading this essay, don’t forget to read my exclusive and super honest interview with author Amy Dresner–you can even enter to win a free copy of her book and all you have to do is like, go to Facebook or send a tweet. Seriously. It’s that easy…so do it.
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.”
The memory that haunts me most is not being strangled until my body gave way to seizure. Nor is it the three days I spent being beaten in a motel by my lover. It’s not the day he raped me on the bed next to our three-month-old son, or the time he punched my head again and again into the cement floor of a garage until I had to prop myself against him, his arms wrapped around my waist, just to get home. These memories hold their share of terror, but the one that haunts me most begins with a bicycle.