Surviving Abuse and PTSD
Posted on 9th May 2017 at 11:39
This blog is dedicated to the thoughts of a woman who survived abuse and PTSD. It is very difficult to stand up, and the author hopes that this will reveal some of the hidden thoughts that goes with dealing with abuse and consequently PTSD. If you are, or think you may be suffering with abuse, or PTSD, please do reach out to someone, even if it’s not us!
Helpline numbers are at the bottom of this blog post.
Surviving Abuse and PTSD
I once remember reading “no one said that life was going to be fair”, it was one of the most useful phrases I could ever equip myself with, for me it meant that life is a journey and it would be an extremely turbulent one at times, but it would be one that would shape me, empower me and at times nearly break me, it would also be filled with new beginnings and at this point a very long awaited ending.
The Olive Tree
A deep breath in and then a long liberating breath out. It felt like my entire body was using every single muscle, fibre and last piece of energy that it had left in it, a body and mind that felt so overwhelmed it spasmed with the pain, the hurt and the memories.
As I sat utterly exhausted in front of a beautiful little olive tree I noticed how it stood delicately, yet so firmly rooted into its base, I felt some resonance to it, I too felt delicate, but throughout the past few years I had always remained grounded, feet firmly on the floor, unless of course the force that was physically far stronger than I was had knocked, pushed or threw me to the ground, I guess those times were similar to the weather that the olive tree was subjected to at times, storms being pelted at it and having to hold on with all its might. The olive tree looked on to the most magnificent scenes, the sea glistening in the midday sun with mountains encompassing it, and a mist that gently drifted over. Often in my mind I chose to escape my reality, when times were too disturbing and unsettling to live fully presently I pictured calm, blissful scenes, those pleasant thoughts made truly horrific times just about bearable.
Finally, I had escaped, I was so close to being completely free! Yet I sobbed, surrounded the beauty I had often dreamt so hard about, I still sobbed, so many things were finally being freed out of me, relief, anxiety, pain, joy, love, hate, grief…everything. The release was immense, it felt amazing to finally exhale, removing the backlog of emotions and turmoil, tears flowed harder than I had ever known, they poured, they drained my done-in mind, body and soul, they kept streaming until my chest and throat ached, blood rushed to my head, and I knew that this spell of unleashed emotion would leave me feeling lighter…if only for a little while, it was good to not have to hold it inside anymore.
My utterly worn out body was still healing, before I wouldn’t allow myself to look at the wounds and scars that kept appearing, I couldn’t have coped for so long if I had, they made me feel sad and sick, the bruises and other physical damage would fade over time, I could cover them with clothes and painkillers, the memories were a little harder to leave behind although I tried. It felt bizarre at times when I tried to eventually tell people that the mental abuse was harder than the physical abuse, mental abuse so like mental illness was nowhere to be seen, perhaps sometimes friends could tell from my eyes and how I held myself, but generally no one could see it and it continued, that abuse never stopped, there was no break, it was relentless. The physical abuse however, when the outbreak was over it stopped for a few days, sometimes weeks and occasionally months. In the last few months my living hell grew into genuine fear, sheer terror, do I fall asleep? Will something terrible happen to me whilst I sleep next to the monster I had chosen to marry? How do I look after my family and pets when I’m gone? I had done a will and written a letter to the courts in readiness to ensure that my possessions would go to where they belonged. I didn’t even think of how absurd it was to be planning this kind of thing, I just wanted to get through and to be where I needed to be, with enough financial backing and a fresh career to move forward with. I knew I would make it but even my strong mind was starting to get worn down and began to think how much exactly are you going to have to endure, when will this end and will I survive?
My fears and memories would come to me in my sleep, my living hell expanded to my sleeping hell. Flashbacks, anxiety, panic and a heightened state of alertness, completely unable to switch off. So determined that this other being was not going to reduce me to medication I chose to fight it, not that I had anything against medication, but for me this was a personal battle, I did not want him to win, I did not want to look at the anti-depressants every day and know that they were because of him.
Initially my recovery was hard. I didn’t know where to begin. I had complete head fog, I had to dig deep, deeper than I’d ever done before, I gritted my teeth, exhaled and thought how the hell do I do this?!
I started to slow my mind down and began going to a Buddhist centre to practice mediation and mindfulness, it’s something that I now use as part of my everyday practice, it helped me immensely and continues to do so.
I was professionally assessed for PTSD, anxiety and depression, I was diagnosed with all three, anxiety and depression being at the highest level that they could be, so was swiftly treated with cognitive behavioural therapy in the form of counselling and hypnotherapy. Fitness and a healthy diet were vital to give me the best chance of recovery, slowly but surely it all started to work, sometimes I would be elated that I had conquered PTSD and survived an abusive relationship, other times I would have dark days, now they are more of a light grey and few and far between, for me that’s okay, it’s normal and I will occasionally have a storm to tackle, that’s okay too.
My advice to anyone who is going through this, is to get help! Reach out to someone, a friend, a professional, a stranger even. Don’t deal with this alone, there are people out there who can help, protect and support you.
My choice was to refuse to be a victim of this man. I chose to be a survivor, I chose to rise, I chose to be strength for others, I chose to smile as brightly as I possible could, I chose to shine and I chose to never ever let anyone treat me in this way ever again. I am happier than I have ever been and completely in love with my life.
“A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks that others have thrown at her.”
Authors details on request.
If you can relate to this author, please reach out to us. We offer a completely confidential service, and our friendly team will be able to help you find the support that you need, to help you through this difficult time in your life. If you know of anyone who you think may be going through a similar situation to the author, please share this with them so they know they aren’t alone!
More information about our PTSD treatments can be found by clicking on the following link: https://www.snowdrophouse.co.uk/hypnotherapy/ptsd-and-trauma/
Helplines and contact details
Domestic abuse or violence is a crime and should be reported to the police - there are also other organisations who can offer you help and support.
Call 999 if it’s an emergency or you’re in immediate danger.
The police take domestic violence seriously and will be able to help and protect you.
Contact your local neighbourhood policing team if it’s not an emergency.
24-hour National Domestic Violence (Refuge and Women’s Aid) Freephone Helpline - English National Domestic Violence Helpline
0808 2000 247
Galop (for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people)
0800 999 5428
Men’s Advice Line
0808 801 0327
National Centre for Domestic Violence
0844 8044 999
Scottish Women’s Aid
0800 027 1234
Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline
0808 80 10 800
Women’s Aid Federation (Northern Ireland)
0800 917 1414
Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, commonly referred to as Clare's Law aims to provide a formal mechanism for you to make inquiries about your partner if you are worried that they may have been abusive in the past.
If you wish to make an application under the Scheme:
• visit a police station
• phone 101 - the non-emergency number for the police
• speak to a member of the police on the street
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