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Nam (Glad to Find This Forum) - Childhood Trauma

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Nam, Jun 16, 2006.

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  1. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    Hello everyone. I was diagnosed back in July of 2004 for trauma that happened before I was four. I thought I had PPD (post-partum depression) since my second daughter was born four months before.. I was amazed that within thirty minutes my therapist knew exactly what I had. She said was a textbook case of Delayed Onset of PTSD. The funny thing is that the first memory came to me in the form of pain. No visions, no panic, just pain. I thought I should go see a doctor, something was seriously, physically wrong with me! The mind is an incredible organ. That was the day that my little girl and I became one and got to know each other. It wasn't an easy journey and I'm still trying to recover. I was and am so fortunate to have a husband that thinks I'm brave to be alive, and two girls that I absolutely love. I hope that this forum is an oulet for me and also a way I can help others.

    Nam
     
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  3. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Hi Nam,

    Welcome to the forum. :hello:

    Glad that you found the place, and very good to have you here. I understand what your saying about your children, cause I love mine to bits and pieces myself. Actually, they really are my miracles for helping me get past PTSD, to a side that I am now fairly normal once again for the most part of daily life... providing no stress is implemented upon me.

    Trauma before you where four... WOW... I'm actually surprised just how far the brain can make us relive memories within our lives. Most don't remember much back that far... but then again, trauma is generally a significant event, so I suppose that would be the answer ha!

    What happened too you, if you don't mind me asking?
     
  4. YoungAndAngry

    YoungAndAngry Well-Known Member

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    Welcome Nam :)
     
  5. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    While I was growing up in the midwest, I did not have much memories of life before my adoption. I was adopted when I was five years old along with my biological sister. My adoptive family felt uncomfortable talking about my "previous life" and when you are thrust into a new family, you just listen and obey. I actually began to forget. I remember at the age of eight maybe?, laying in bed and trying to remember my birth mom's face and I couldn't remember. I don't really know what my father looked like, but I remember how secure I felt when I was with him. Strange, uh? I do distinctly remember loving our younger brother. My sister would hold him on her hip (at the age of six) and hold my hand as we crossed the street. What were we doing across the street? Looking in the junk yard for stuff. One of my strongest memories that I had never forgotten was getting run over by a motorcycle. Broke my leg, but I don't remember the pain of that, I only remember the fear that I'd get beaten because I peed my pants. Some of the most secure memories were helping my dad in his shop with my leg in a cast.

    My father died in a fishing accident when I was four. I'm not sure if this a correct memory, but I think I remember sitting on the bank and looking at the sky while he fished. I was mad because I couldn't go with him. Well, he couldn't swim. If I couldn't swim, I wouldn't let my children in the boat either. I don't remember exactly what happened but I do remember not knowing what to do when I didn't see him. And I knew that I'd get a beating when I got home.

    My mother gave up her children to the orphange later that year. Orphanage life is hard. Of course, I was a bit lively. I tried to find my brother upstairs where they kept the babies but I couldn't find him. It wasn't until years later that I began to put the pieces together.

    Then we were adopted and life got better. We were loved in a quiet, soft way. It was never spoken. Life went on. I fought with my american brother, went to gymnastics, and played sports.

    During my high school years, I think I was depressed but wasn't diagnosed. I tried to convince my dad that I needed to see someone, but he wouldn't hear of it. That was the first time that I thought I'd rather be dead. I curled up on the kitchen floor (Everyone left to go to brother's game) holding a long kitchen knife. After I had no more tears and my stomach hurt from crying so hard, I put back the knife. Later that night, my dad asked if I felt better. I nodded, but I was deeply hurt. I struggled through school and met my future husband and went to college because he was. Life was getting better.

    My birth mom decided she wanted to be in my life again when I was 20. I was newly married and going to college. I felt rage. I was angry. I would go to sleep hating her and wake up hating her. She should have no right to give us up and then barge right back into my life whenever she chose. I felt like my foundation was crumbing. It took two months to come to terms with what was happening and finally signed the affidavit that allowed communication between us. She was so sorry. I was hating her more. She wrote that she remarried about a year after we were given up and went on to have a family and another child. Screw her!!! While I struggled with my new adopted family and life as an American, she was living fine....and with my younger brother. She kept him! Why??!! Why us and not him!!! Damn her, damn him, and damn everyone else.

    The first time I thought maybe we were abused was my sister and I talked on a long car ride. I think I was 23. I distictly remember her saying that aborting a child that is for sure going to be molested is a good thing, so therefore she was prochoice, and I was prolife. (Just a little riff there) I flat out asked her if she remembers anything about our history and she only said that she knows that something terrible, horrible happened to us. She would not elaborate. I was in tears by the time the car ride ended.

    During college ( and thereafter), I worked at a hospital helping doctors deliver babies. It was a great position and a lot of fun. I had a keen interest in this arena of medicine, almost an obsession. During one delivery in July of 2004, a woman gave birth naturally to a boy. I was attending and for some reason, I had sharp pains in my private area during the delivery, like I was having the baby....what was going on? I had just had a baby about four months before so I thought I should go see my doctor. Everyone at work noticed that I couldn't even walk straight. I was hunched over and even my thighs hurt.

    The next morning was my first memory. It was very clear. I had an elbow on my back, hand grabbing my hair, and my hands held down. I was on my stomach and I was in terrible pain. I tried so hard to keep my legs together, but he was so strong. The man had on a black shirt, and jeans that would make that zip noise when he zipped up his pants. I remember a threat....but I don't remember the words. I'm sure words were exchanged, but having no memory of my previous language erased that from the memory. I knew who he was instantly. He was my father's brother, my uncle. He was also the man that ran me over with the motorcycle...coincidence? I think not. That was it. Short, but intense. I think it was like ten seconds long. I thought I was going CRAZY.

    I kept this to myself for about three days then I finally came out and told my husband. Remarkably, he was not surprised. At this point I felt terrible. I couldnt' sleep, but I wasn't awake either, and I was really heading down hill fast. When my heart started to race and I thought I was going to die because I couldn't get enough air, I finally got through to a doctor friend. She set me up for an appointment with a therapist in TWO WEEKS. I thought for sure I was going to be dead by then. I don't think I can handle another memory!! But more kept coming.

    There has been about a dozen so far. Most are beatings, some are just pain, a couple are horrible.....

    I went to see the therapist who told me I had PTSD. I'm like, "I'm not a war veteran." When I got home that night, I studied. Apparently my case is somewhat controversial. Some people don't think the memories have any merit...because how can you forget something like that? I kind of agree. If I had a proper, adult, coherent mind, I probably wouldn't forget. But as a three to five year old? Besides, my therapist never "suggested" I was abused, I came to her telling her my memory. I struggled with the reality of the memory. Did it happen? or am I just being Drama Queen like my family used to call me, (and still do.) I still struggle with that because there is no way to validate. By this time, my birth mom and I had dropped communication. I don't think she would ever tell me anyway. Korean culture is much different.

    One thing is for sure. I know now why my birth mom decided to give my sister and I up for adoption. We were vunerable against my uncle after my father died. Women don't have the same rights there as they do here. I feel that she thought that was the only option. She kept my brother because he was not harmed. So....she knew it was happening and didn't do anything....or did she and she was abused too? I don't know. I do know this for sure....she sacrificed her life as a mother to her precious girls so that they can live without ever being abused by "him" again. I have two little girls....I can't imagine what that would be like, walking away from the orphanage and letting fate take over.....(shivers up my spine, and a tear in my eye)

    I was put on drugs to sedate me. And boy was I sedated. I couldn't do anything but sleep. And if I slept, I'd have nightmares. I was a horrible mother....and not much of a wife either. I couldn't do anything.

    I tried to stay at my job, but it was getting difficult. I didn't enjoy it anymore. Life was altered, my axis changed, I was violated. I'd hide in a corner to try to "ground" myself when I thought for sure my heart was going to stop. If I heard one woman groan in pain from childbirth, I felt like I had to run to save my life. I couldn't stand it. So I quit a few months later and tried to heal.

    I'm a take charge kind of person, so I wanted a quick recovery. F**K the six years to recover or never recover and just live with it. I was going to recover!! I was never hospitalized, but I should have been. Having sedation pills right there, although that wasn't how I envisioned my suicide. I wanted to bleed...cause I deserve it. Slow death, flowing blood. The only reason I am still here on this earth is because when I got those feelings, I would remember my children. I couldn't do that to them. My husband was wonderful although he missed the absence of a sex life. I was fearful of the next memory. I had no control over it. My daughter would clap her hands and I would have a memory of being beaten. I logged all my memories in a diary. I haven't opened it in a long time. I lived life that way. In fear. I felt like I was a failure. And life was so good before this happened!! I was happy. Precisely. I was stable for the first time in my life and my mind decided now was the time. That SUCKS. So whenever I felt a little bit better, I'd have another memory. I thought for sure the cloud would never lift.

    My therapist began to tell me the pattern it took for me to get to this point. The fact that I was "rejected" as a child and thrust into a family I didn't know. My family didn't want me to have counseling, and they couldn't love me the way I wanted to be loved (secondary wounding). They never said so. I felt that my sister was miss perfect, and my brother, well he's their blood born son, that explains alot. All of that coupled with bad sex experiences in high school (date raped during my sophomore year, but I feel like it was no big deal), I was not getting what I needed and getting what I didn't need. I was set up to have PTSD.

    To this day, I still struggle. I still cry, and I'm still on meds. I'm obsessed about natural childbirth. It's like if I can conquer the pain of childbirth, then I can beat him! HA! That didn't hurt!! Because I'm strong!! How crooked. With both of my children I tried to go naturally but failed both times. And I'm sure with the next one, when ever that will be, I will try again. But this time, I know why I'm doing it....not just some hidden force that was willing me to be in pain and to endure it. Still a little crooked...uh?

    So that's my story. Right now, I am feeling way good. I'm taking a different med after I tried to quit previous meds but relapsed into depression a few months later. (So don't quit!) Life is good. I'm a stay at home mom now, I finally quit my job..., and I'm renovating my house and having fun. It's weird. Sometimes I'll wake up in the morning with motivation to be up and doing things. I'm thinking, "This is what normal people feel like." It's so much easier to live life when you have energy and drive to do so. BTW, my sex life is better than ever. There are so many good things that came out of the ugly beast (PTSD), but that is one that I really enjoy! (my hubby too.) :smile:

    I'm slowly learning how to love and trust. My children have a better mother and my husband has a better wife, and my friends have a better friend. First you cope, then heal, then conquer. I believe I'm nearing that conquer stage. During the worst part of PTSD is horrible...but hang in there, the rewards can be great.

    I shared this story today so that it may help others...and in return, it helps me too. It's a win, win. I sympathize, and empathize those that are going through the the depths of hell....keep talking, keep going, it does get better....

    Nam
     
  6. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Wow Nam... it just never fails me to know the constant crap the life thrusts upon people unknowingly. Yes, my PTSD is from war, and I am past it now to a point of pretty much normality again, though I cannot have undue stressors put upon me, or I do fall down again, and all unmedicated, so pretty normal whilst stress is kept at bay.

    What I really think that sucks in this world, is exactly what has happened too you, and others here, in regard to being abused as a child. It is the worst kind of abuse in the sense that a child cannot even gain a chance to defend themselves, nor do they understand what has happened, or how to seek help. Atleast an adult, whilst still brutal, has the thoughts of knowing what is happening, and that they do need to seek help. Though that's another story I guess...

    Thank you Nam for posting your story, along with everyone else's, because I am in total agreeance with you in that regard, that our stories might just help someone else, and that has already proven true here time and time again from other members who state those exact words... your story hit a part of me, that helped me get through the struggle of PTSD, and such statements like that.

    You are one hell of a strong person Nam to get through what you have suffered and endured... congratulations, and its very promising that you are pretty much on the other side of PTSD. I can completely understand what you say about now being a better wife, better mother, better friend, because I feel the same now the hard stuff is behind me, to be a better father, better husband and better friend. Well said.
     
  7. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for telling us your story Nam. You are an example of how ptsd can be lived with, not just coped with.
     
  8. wildfirewildone

    wildfirewildone Well-Known Member

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    Right back at you....

    Hi there!!!! I fairly new to the forum myself!!:rolleyes: I have learned a lot about PTSD over the three years since my diagnosis....I'm willing to share the knowledge that I've learned and researched...Feel free to "pick-my-brain" !!! I was abused for 20 years....now I'm almost 52 and it was only 3 years ago that I got my diagnosis....I thought that I was going "CRAZY" for so many years!!! I am glad to hear that you have your husband's understanding and support...That is so IMPORTANT!!!!! I know how the brain and the damage that ensues from Trauma can fire off the nervous system to the point that one feels PAIN even though no body area is sending messages to the brain that it is damaged or injured:eek: OOOOUUUUCH!!!!! I read that you are in the midwest...Is that an area of the USA?? I am from OHIO and that is often considered to be part of the midwest.....I will be posting on the PTSD area and the area listed as Chat....look for me there...:crazy-eye :thumbs-up I hope to hear from you again!!!!
     
  9. wildfirewildone

    wildfirewildone Well-Known Member

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    I was moved by your story

    I am sooooo glad you shared your story...That was so very BRAVE of you!!!! :claps: i felt so very sad when I read of your abuse...Someone once told me that the best revenge [on our abusers] was to live well!! I try to remember that when I get triggered.... The end of this past May while I was in a hospital....I was switched to Remeron and I started feeling better than I had for so long....other people even noticed the difference which delighted me!!! Then 2 weeks ago a big guy got on the elevator [in my building] and when the doors shut he leaned over me and rubbed my arm from elbow to wrist....Now I'm back in HELL again!!! SHIT!!!...nightmares flashbacks disasocciations terrified... I did manage on that day to say to him not to touch me in a week meely voice...he stood back up and says to me'"I know you love me" :cussing: Bastard!!!! I did write up a report of the incident and gave it to the manager....she said she'ld take care of it....4 days later I went in to tell her about what crap that guy said to me just the day before...then I asked her point blank what did she do "take care of" that dude and his actions....well I could send him a letter [thus she had done nothing so far!] but you'll have to tell him to stop when he talks that way to you on the elevator....If sh'ld have KICKED HIS ASS out of here I wouldn't be concerned with what he crap he said....and...I wouldn't have been triggered again which has added to the symptoms that I stated before.....:angry-fla [Is there a wall somewhere that I could bounce my head on???] I did get lots of laughs today!!!...Anthony started a thread on humor with a posting...I believe it was on General Chat area...You just would get a HUGE laugh!!! I am going to post aone or two jokes on that thread tomorrow!!! I say that God gave me a sense of humor when I was born because He knew what a SHITTY life I was going to have!!!!
     
  10. nml

    nml Active Member

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    Thank you Nam for posting your story. When flashbacks started for me of stuff I apparently stuffed, I thought perhaps my mind was playing tricks. Though when I settled down after the anxiety attack and getting home safely as I was driving when one in particurlar threw me for a loop, I can see how some areas of my behaviors told my story. I was diagnosed with PTSD at the end of last year and have been struggling in the acceptance area which the more I dont accept it, the worse I get. Im tired of loosing days and being disoriented. Im tired of not being able to pick myself up & brush myself off. Its just not that easy anymore. I hadnt forgotten a lot of things as far as abuse before flashbacks of other traumas came one after another. I have accepted the traumas have happened, its the feelings, emotions and physical reactions I have a hard time dealing with. It seems they have a life of the thier own.

    Thanks again for sharing your experience, strength and hope.

    Nancy
     
  11. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    nancy, I want you to know that it does get better. I guess I'm lucky in a way that I have such fragmented memories. I don't know if they will all surface. I think that can be good although Anthony here will say that I need to get it all out. I don't know if it's possible. I'll deal with what I get and hope that over time, I'll be able to cope really well, dealing with all the emotions that come with it. I just had a memory recently and it's been the first time ever that I've been able to function afterward...kinda weird actually.

    I've never had one driving, although I had one in the car. It's a weird feeling. My husband said that I was "gone" for a good ten minutes. How in the world did you pull over? I'm glad you are still here with us!

    I still struggle with the reality of it all. I still don't know for sure it even happened. My husband is totally convinced since the physical aspects of ptsd are so hard to fake (impossible, I think). I shook like crazy, I got really pale, I would vomit, I would go somewhere other than reality, I would panic. I don't think anyone here would even wish this upon the worst of people. I think it's the most difficult "illness" to recover from. There were times I would rather had cancer. I'd rather welcome the physical hurt than the emotional hurt that was killing me from the inside out.

    I wish I had someone from my childhood past be able to tell me whether or not it happened. My only other person that could is my sister which it is buried deep in her mind. I don't think it'll surface any time soon. She has lived her whole life only living on the surface and I think that is one of her coping mechanisims and it helps keeping it all buried. I don't wish for her to remember either.

    So basically it comes down to whether or not I believe. I'm glad that you are over that and have accepted your past. You make it sound easy but I know that it is not. The emotional hurt that comes from the flashbacks can be devestating. Right afterward, I always felt like ending it, because I didn't think I could handle another. That one more flashback (memory) was going to kill me, so might as well not suffer. I'm glad I didn't follow through on that. This forum has helped me tremendously. These people here will ask the right questions, unlike people that have never been through it. They can also suggest things that helped them and in turn helps us. I think that this place helped me able to put my most recent memory in it's place, nothing more, nothing less. It is what it is.

    I'm excited to see your journey through this, because I believe that you are strong and that you will be stronger still.
     
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