June is PTSD awareness month and this is the second half of a two part special about the complex truth of life after trauma. If you missed part one, please take a moment to read it first. This guest post by writer Genelle Chaconas examines the vast complexity of life after trauma, including the facts that not everyone with PTSD symptoms necessarily gets a PTSD diagnosis or clinical treatment, that those with PTSD can sometimes be abusive, that blame is a nebulous and overwhelming component of traumatic experience, and that healing can found in unique and unconventional formats. Part 1, “Down The Rabbit Holes,” was under the “Tales From The Other Side” header, because it focused on the effects of one man’s mental illness on his child. Part 2 is under “Healing Words,” and you will have to read it to see why.
I don’t want to take over Genelle’s post or introduction. I think this half is perhaps even more beautiful that the first with its candor and lyricism; however, I want to address one thing from my own life. A sneak peak into Wednesday’s upcoming post, I suppose. I am going through an emotionally trying time for a variety of reasons. I asked for support via inclusion in week 4 of my blog-share, “TRIGGERED.” Some people have joined now (and it’s still open if you would like to), a couple did notably respond, but for several days my request for support was widely ignored.
I’m not talking about the people who just didn’t see it. I’m not talking about anyone who said no. The people who hurt me are the ones who saw my request for support, or at least an invitation to join, and maybe “liked” it on social media, or re-shared it, but didn’t add anything and didn’t say anything. The people who hurt me are the ones who let me know they saw my request, but didn’t actually address it. Being ignored is one of my triggers. When people ignore me, I instantly revert to the “I’m worthless” line of thinking. I get hurt by rejection; I get hurt by being told no. But I get triggered by being ignored. Maybe the people who ignored me didn’t want to hurt me. Maybe they just have problems saying no, or something. But they did; I got immensely triggered, which was of course compounded by the fact that I was asking for a self esteem boost because I needed it. So I just wanted to say that. I get triggered by being ignored. If you need to decline an invitation or a request from me, please do so directly. I would far rather face the reasonable hurt of rejection than the unreasonable and unanswerable hurt of being ignored. I can control many of my trigger reactions now, but this one, this one I cannot. If I ask you or invite you do to something, and you just totally ignore me, I will flip out and turn that anger inward in a really harmful way. So if you care about me on even the most basic level, please just have the basic respect to respond.
Okay! Glad to get that off my chest. Now, let’s continue with Genelle’s incredible story of abuse and recovery.
Genelle Chaconas is genderfluid, queer, feminist, over 30, underemployed, an abuse survivor, and proud of it. They earned their BA in Creative Writing from California State University Sacramento (2009), and their MFA in Writing and Poetics, graduate of Naropa University (2015). Their first chapbook is Fallout, Saints and Dirty Pictures (little m Press, 2011), and they are currently at work on a new chapbook. Their work has been accepted in over 50 publications. They are currently at work on their first full length work. They are a volunteer submission reader at Tule review, and they hosted Red Night Poetry. They plan to run their own literary publication in the future.