When No One Cares Anymore: What It’s Like To Still Be Traumatized 10 Years Later

Find out what it's like to remain traumatized ten years after the event, when no one cares anymore-on bettysbattleground.com

A special post for PTSD Awareness Month

June is PTSD Awareness Month, and yesterday, June 27th, was PTSD Awareness Day. Although I feel annoyed that awareness months only last for one month a year; afterall, those of us with PTSD have to be aware of it nonstop, day-in day-out, I am also grateful that more people are taking the time to learn about the disorder. Combat trauma has headlined the PTSD discussion for years. Physical and sexual assault are finally getting some attention, with natural disasters and emergency workers beginning to get a share of notice as well. We are, however, still in somewhat of a dark age when it comes to emotional factors in PTSD. Earlier this week I posted a two part true story by Genelle Chaconas about how they overcame emotional abuse. Today, I want to discuss post traumatic emotional neglect, and my experiences with it.

We often think of emotional neglect as something which occurs between parents and children, or within marriages, but it can occur within any relationship in which emotional bonding and attention is reasonably expected. For those of us living with PTSD, support is crucial to recovery. When we don’t get the support we need, when we experience post traumatic emotional neglect, we suffer very serious consequences.

Often, emotional neglect is unintended. People are busy. Everyone, mentally ill or not, traumatized or not, experiences stress and disappointment. Although we take pride, as a species, in our empathic abilities, humans are also inherently selfish. It’s part of our survival mechanism. Sometimes emotional neglect is an intended tactic used by abusers, but often it just happens. Friends forget to reach out. Family members get overwhelmed by their disappointed expectations. Stigma takes over. And those of us living with a trauma history fall to the wayside.

This post isn’t about placing blame on anyone. It certainly isn’t about calling out my friends for not “being there” enough for me. I am as much to blame-if not more-for the distance between my friends and I. Even if you see yourself reflected within it, it’s not about being passive aggressive or calling you out. It’s about my feelings, and how emotional neglect and rejection exacerbate trauma symptoms.

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Rape, Trauma, Money: The Economics of my Mental Illness

www.bettysbattleground.com-I will not be silenced anymore.

How surviving rape and developing PTSD has kept me poor-bettysbattleground.com

Even if I don’t exactly remember the day, my mother has told the story enough times to imprint what looks like a memory into my mind. We’re at my elementary school playground. It’s a mild, overcast day, because it’s Seattle, and yet everything seems to glow, as if drenched in sunlight, because it’s a memory of my childhood. I am seven…no: eight years old. My hair is still blonde, my eyes a grey-blue that will turn hazel brown within a year or two. In my story-memory, I am wearing a frilly white dress; pleated skirt, pink and yellow tulips stitched across my chest. In reality, I was probably wearing something more like pink sweat pants and a green sweatshirt with some kind of smiling cartoonish animal printed across it.

I run over to my mom from the playground, cheeks ruddy from play, eyes glittering. I have something to tell her, something important. I wait a moment, pause to catch my breath, then lean toward her, voice low and conspiratorial, and confess, “Mom, I think I’m going to be famous.”

Kids are notorious wild fantasizers. Hearing a child declare her future fame is not uncommon or particularly noteworthy, but when I said it, I really meant it. I believed in my future fame. It wasn’t completely unfounded. I had my first poem published when I was eight, in The Sow’s Ear Poetry Reviewa magazine to which established poets aspire for publication. I made my first $100 off writing that same year, and for several years I was the chronic first place winner at the Mercer Island Books youth poetry contest. I’m not telling you all this just to brag. I’m telling you this because I was not born a failure. I had every reason to believe that I would grow to be, if not actually famous, a successful writer. Or at the very least, not poor.

My mother, who once loved to recollect the story of my self-predicted fame, has stopped telling it. Last week, I missed therapy because I had to go to the Department of Human and Health Services to apply for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Otherwise known as Food Stamps. I hold two writing degrees, and still receive compliments and offers for publication, but I am also unemployed, my credit is an abyss I will never crawl out of in this lifetime, and I struggle to maintain tenancy in a roach-infested rundown apartment owned by Seattle’s most notorious slumlord.

Why? Why does someone who once held so much promise, whose claims to future fame were believed not only by herself but everyone else too, who could incite middle school kids to forgo recess to rehearse in the plays she had written; why is she living chronically poor on the brink of homelessness?

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