June is PTSD Awareness Month
I have been sharing a lot of stories about PTSD this month on my blog. I shared a couple posts about my abusive relationship; one on forgiveness, and the other on what it was like to date a sociopath. This month’s Parenting with Mental Illness interviewee is a mother living with PTSD from years of complex abuse. And the current “Book of the Weeks” is a memoir written by Rebecca Lombardo, who lives with PTSD and BPAD. If you haven’t read that post yet, it includes an exclusive author interview, so check it out!
Today, I will be sharing a very special piece for PTSD Awareness Month. This is the two part story of one person’s struggle to escape, cope. and come to terms with childhood emotional abuse. In this piece, they clearly state that their diagnosis is depression; they’ve never been diagnosed with PTSD. I think it’s important to highlight the fact that all of our statistics and various numerations and labels can never fully encompass all of the people who live in the aftermath of trauma, or who deal with PTSD symptoms.
Emotional abuse doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. It can come in the form of emotional neglect, verbal abuse, gaslighting, manipulation, cloaked insults, outright insults, financial or other control, and aggressive unfounded accusations. Basically, there are a lot of ways to emotionally abuse someone without ever laying a hand on them. Because emotional abuse is often intangible, it can be hard to recognize. Many times, people relegate it as “less important” than outright physical abuse. As we will see in this account, however, emotional abuse often escalates into physical abuse. Even if it doesn’t, the damage is still enormous. Sometimes moreso than physical abuse because survivors are less likely to get the attention and support they deserve
Genelle’s essay also grapples with the phenomenon of abused abusers, and the ways that certain types of people can manipulate their own victimization into an excuse. This is how the piece fits into the “Tales From the Other Side” narrative; it’s the true story about how one father’s mental illness affects his child. It is easy to say trauma survivors deserve uniform compassion; it would be simpler to only talk about sympathetic victims. But we need to honestly address the complexity of trauma, and the various ways it factors into our world. Genelle’s essay does just that, and that is why I have chosen to present it as part of a PTSD Awareness special. This is a two part series, so hang on for the ride; it’s well worth it.
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.