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Feeling So Down, Feel Like Raving For a While - My Trauma

Discussion in 'General' started by erin, Aug 7, 2006.

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  1. erin

    erin New Member

    Hi all,

    not really sure where to begin, as I feel I've been telling the same sad old story for so many years now. I'm glad this forum exists, as it gives me hope that one day I might be able to find the answers I've been looking for about getting better. I feel like I know all there is to know about PTSD (I have Complex PTSD unfortunately), but then every so often the rug picks itself up from under my feet and surprises me. I recently had an auditory hallucination, and with a schizophrenic mother that is a pretty scary thing to go through. I never realised people with PTSD could hallucinate, but like I said, PTSD is full of lovely surpises.
    My partner Nathan (Nafe on the messageboard) posted some of my history on the spouse board, but it prompted me to maybe tell my story a little more indepth, in the hope that a complete stranger may be able to give me some insight that I haven't heard before.
    My mum is Australian and my dad is Irish. They met while my Mum was travelling overseas, and subsequently Mum got pregnant within the first two days of knowing him. Being an Irish-Catholic, Mum pretty much insisted that Dad marry her, so they married, as Dad saw Mum as a meal ticket and a free plane ride to distant Australia. As you can probably imagine, there was no love lost when they seperated two years later.

    Dad had been cheating on Mum, and Mum had a breakdown when they split. Dad went back to Ireland, and Mum and I moved in with my grandparents. Mum told me Dad had been killed in a car accident, and I couldn't remember any differently. Granny and Pop were possibly the worst people Mum could have looked for support from, as they are the most bitter, twisted, selfish people I have ever met. They blamed her for her emerging schizophrenic symptoms, and in turn took their frustration with her out on me. Dad came back from Ireland when I was about 4, and I answered the door to him, and ever since I have stuttered badly on and off (one of the reasons it is great to write all this down). Dad had met an ex-prostitute with two kids, and he shacked up with her. He then started taking action against my Mum in court because he wanted more access, but really all he wanted was to make life even harder for her. Mum kept winning in court because the judges could all smell the alcohol on my Dad's breath every time he took the witness stand, but then things changed when my Mum was institutionalised when I was 6.

    Dad took me for access the day before it happened, and once he found out, he kept me at his place and wouldn't give me up. No one would tell me where my Mum was, and I figured maybe this time she'd been killed in a car accident or something worse. Dad was just a selfish prick. He spent all his time drinking and smoking pot and taking other various assortments of drugs, and doing dodgy deals with dodgy people. His partner was no better. They fought and fought until one of them would end up unconcious or bleeding all over the house, and I would run out of the house in the middle of the night to hide in the bushes at the end of the street. Dad would inevitably come to find me, but only because the police had been called and he didn't want to have to answer any questions about custody and the like. There was never any food, my school uniforms were never washed and I never got new shoes when my feet outgrew the old ones. The longest time I kept wearing the same shoes was about four or five years. My feet were bent in at the toes until only recently.

    My Dad left me in before school care, after school care and would leave me until an hour or two after all the other kids had gone home, and the carers would just get angry with me because they couldn't go home themselves. He would then take me to the pub until it closed, and the process would be repeated again the next day. When Mum finally was released from hospital, and won custody back, I had lost a great deal of weight, and my friends that knew me before didn't recognise me anymore. I had to keep going back on access to my Dad, but now that he had lost custody of me, he became not just neglectful but bitter towards me. He accused me of conspiring with my Mum (who was in no fit shape to be conspiring about anybody - I had become her mother at about 8, the time that all this happened) and questioned me relentlessly - hitting me if he didn't like my answers. I also faced the same kind of questioning when I went home again to Mum and Granny and Pop, and faced the same kind of accusations about how Dad had known such and such in court, and how could he have gotten that information.. it was pretty draining to say the least. Especially when all my other friends just went to and from school and played Nintendo and built cubby houses and the like.

    After three years of it, at the age of 11, I couldn't take it anymore. After a particularly bad access visit with my Dad, I told Mum that he had been sexually abusing me. He had been physically and emotionally abusing me, but I knew that it wouldn't be enough to stop access altogether - I had seen how easily he had gotten away with everything in the past and I knew that I had to get away from him. His drinking and drug taking was getting worse and worse, and he was becoming more and more violent and aggressive. Mum, of course, called the police and DOCS and everybody else, and I had to make statement after statement. It was so hard to remember the lies, and luckily, there were so many holes in my story that he was never formally charged but there was enough suspicion to stop access. I thought it was all over finally, but there was more trouble ahead, Mum took one of the policemen to court for corruption (I still don't know the full story about this), and so the court cases and stress just dragged on and on for years. Altogether, Mum and Dad and the police were in court for 11 years of my life.

    We continued living in the same community, but it was closeknit and people stopped speaking to us. Mum thought that the police were following her (which is possible, I'm not sure if it was true or was her paranoia). The stress on our family made my grandparents sell their house, and they asked Mum to move out and find somewhere else to live when I was 14. We moved to a totally different area of NSW, no friends or family, and Mum had an absolute total and utter breakdown. She was absolutely impossible to talk to or reason with, and became very violent and aggressive. None of my family would have anything to do with her, and none of them would let me come and live with them.

    Mum was receiving a pension, but because we were paying rent it was just about all gone. What little money we had left, I had to try and budget. I was trying to get through year 9 at a new school, and people picked on me relentlessly because I'm sure my depression and symptoms of PTSD had started to crack through my big act of everything being okay. Having been an excellent student previously, I started to hate school and fell behind considerably. I got picked on all day at school (people threw things at me and spat on me), and then went home to my deranged Mum at night. I took to hiding in the laundry and in cupboards and things just to get away from it all sometimes. Mum pestered me relentlessly, as I think it released some of the tension she was obviously experiencing in her head. She vented everything on me, and hit and kicked me whenever she got worked up (which was every ten minutes).

    I made a friend in an older man, he was a neighbour, and took me under his wing a little bit. He picked me up from school (I had started taking an evening class to catch up on one of my subjects) and made me dinner when we didn't have anything to eat. As soon as I got comfortable around him, he had a heart attack and died. He was the only father figure I've ever had, and he died within a year of knowing me. I began to crack under the pressure myself and started to get suicidal, and decided that the only course of action I had was to move out and start afresh.

    I moved out of home at nearly 17, and within the a month of moving out, my mum called to tell me she had a week to live after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. I felt so guilty for having left her on her own, and raced back to be with her, but I was in year 12 at this time and fell so far behind after all the work I'd done to catch up that I had to put half of my subjects off until the next year. Mum recovered from her brain tumour, but she became an empty shell of herself as it was a frontal lobe tumour (which pretty much means she had a lobotomy) and the care I felt towards her soon wore off. I had had a gutful of her, and felt so drained whenever I was around her. I had taken care of her for so many years, and who was taking care of me?

    I finished that year at school and went to do my second year of year 12, when I met a boy and of course fell in love with him because he was the first person ever to just be nice to me. I got pregnant to him within a couple of weeks, and he went overseas just before I found out. He kept promising to come back, but put it off for so long that eventually I had to make an appointment to have an abortion. He came back in the nick of time, and I went ahead with the termination, but I felt so terrible about it that I couldn't stop crying, although I feel like I was crying for so many deaths and so much more grief than just that. He began to hit me, and it became addictive. It hurt so much when he was mean to me, but it felt so good when we made up and he would be nice to me for a short while. It lasted nearly two years, and I was a blubbering mess when we broke up. I hadn't spoken to my mum in a year or more, and I had isolated myself from any friends I had before I met him. We ended up in court for an AVO etc, and haven't spoken since just after.

    After this, I moved about 40 odd times because I kept ending up in bad situations, dodgy flatmates and nowhere stable to go. I ended up smoking pot every day, and had on and off love affairs with alcohol. I moved to Tasmania after a while, because I had become involved in a long distance relationship, but when I arrived in Tasmania with all my belongings the guy had been cheating on me the whole time and never cared about me one bit, had just used me for free trips to Sydney (I still can't believe I was stupid enough to pay). He made my life hell, told everyone he knew that I was a psycho and not to socialise with me, and was just an absolute mean bastard.

    I tried to go to uni there, I had been accepted into arts/law, but however hard I tried I just couldn't focus. I handed in two assignments and got distinctions for both, but even so it wasn't enough to convince me that I was able to get through it. I just buckled. At around the time uni started I had met Nath, and he was the most kind, considerate, loving person I had ever met. I hated him! I stayed with him at first because he offered me the stability that I had been missing, but I still dealing with alcoholism and thought I was wasting my time with just this one guy. I have had over 40 different sexual partners over my short life, and barely any of them have been because I was actually interested in them. It was just risky and fun and made me feel better about myself. But as I got to know Nathan, and began to relax into the relationship, I began to lose the plot even further. I became terribly suicidal, gained so much weight I was considered obese (having been underweight before this), and detached myself from everybody and everything. I got help in the form of a psychiatrist, and she was wonderful at actually diagnosing me for the first time ever and getting me through the crisis period.. but once I began to make progress she hinted that I might not need therapy anymore until I hit another bad patch. I am still stunned that she did not see the danger in that.

    We have just moved back to Sydney, and I have hit another low patch. I met my dad again for the first time in 14 years recently, and he is just a disgusting, despicable pig. He didn't want to know anything about me, just talked and laughed about all his fun adventures - he showed no real remorse for how my life has been. He has supported his girlfriend (the ex-prostitute) and her two kids for all these years, though.

    Mum is still the same, she rings me every day or every other day, just to chit chat and for me to console her about her rocky relationship with her mother. She doesn't seem to realise what I am going through - a few years ago when faced with me having a meltdown in front of her (actually trying to slit my wrists in front of her) and the rest of my family, everyone basically told me I was acting out and to shut up. I got myself together after a huge long cry, and made a doctor's appointment. My aunt had decided to go out for cake and coffee (no one was interested in what was happening with me), and when faced with the decision of whether to come with me to the doctor's or go out with my aunt, she chose to go out with my aunt, saying she hadn't had cake and coffee in a couple of days.

    My friends are no better, none of them are interested. I am a bridesmaid for my best friend at the end of the year, and when I saw her for the first time and she saw how much weight I'd put on, I told her it was from depression. She just acted like I hadn't said anything and asked me something about whether I liked her shoes or not.

    Nathan is the only person in my life who has ever tried to help me, and not make me feel like either a crybaby or a burden. I feel bad for caring so much about my stupid past - I know people have been through rapes and fires and war and horrible things that are just undeniably terrible - but no one seems to care about what's happened to me, and I can't seem to get over it. There is only one word for it - neglect. I wish I was stronger, I used to be able to deal with everything all at once, but now I can't even get myself something to eat though the day. I feel so tired and numb and .. well, crazy. I try to remember things, names, places, people, and I just can't. I used to have such a good memory. I am hallucinating before I go to sleep at night that there is an evil presence in the room about to hurt me, or worse, kill me. My life flashes before my eyes. I hear a car go really fast outside my house late at night and I think the sky is tearing open and the world is about to end. I cannot tolerate my dogs barking. I can't believe Nathan goes to work every day when I feel I need him at home with me to help me dress and eat and make me feel safe. I'm so tired.. just so tired.

    I'm sorry for babbling on for so long, it just feels a little less heavy when I can say all this. I don't feel better for writing all this down, and there are so many gaps in this where I can't even begin to explain some things, but it's a start. I would like to write a book one day, I would love to help even just one person, but I can't find the motivation to write anything. This is the first thing I've written in years, and it's just flowing out. I'm not even trying to get it to make sense or sound good or flow evenly. I just need to open the floodgates, I think.

    Thanks for listening (reading..), I hope I haven't angered anybody out there who has had terrible stuff to go through and can't believe I'm writing this down like it matters.

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  3. secretstars

    secretstars New Member

    I don't know what to say, but I just wanted to tell you that I read everything you wrote and it is horrible and completely worth writing down because it does matter. You were abused and neglected and otherwise lead a horribly stressful life regardless. And I'm very sorry that happened to you. I hope you get the support you need to get better here.

    -- Lorelei
  4. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Hi Erin,

    Erin... welcome to the forum, and welcome to a community that does understand, and we do know what your feeling, because we with PTSD feel the same effects, from the same symptoms. Your not alone, and in all honesty Erin, without even knowing you, I do care what has happened to you, and I do care to help you get better, just as most here do. Maybe you just stumbled upon a home away from home!!!

    Erin, I am a pretty blunt person, so when I say, holy crap, you have been through worse than what war often is, I mean it. You see, war is a short term, high intensity event, your life as you have described it, is a long term, high intensity event. Seeing the picture here. Erin, you have been truly fu*ked over in your life, and that is absolute crap to happen to any human being, let alone from your own parents, the people who's job it is to love, care and nurture you through life, so you don't come out as an adult with PTSD, as you have. Your parents have done everything wrong with you, none of which should be condoned to be quite honest. I am certainly not blaming anyone, but just more my perception from what you have written.

    Its just another one of those cases that establish parents should need to get licenses before having children, just like you do to drive a car, because some people are not meant to drive on public roads, just as some are not meant to be given the responsibility of children.

    By the way Erin, no need to ever apologise here for long posts, venting, etc etc... its what the forum is about. We all suffer the same symptoms, the only difference we have, is how we got the symptoms, but we all suffer the same, so I do understand what you are feeling, I do understand what you are going through, as I have walked the path myself, and a pretty shitty path that was let me say, but here I am today, for the most part, on the other side of PTSD whilst I control my surroundings and life. If I don't control things, then my PTSD does come out to play and make me suffer for my mistakes. Your doing great Erin, and I'm glad your here. Nafe is nothing short of a miracle for you to have, as he has portrayed himself here as nothing more than just wanting to love you, care for you, and try and understand what occurs with you to help support you. I think that is great, and I have a pretty good partner myself now... which certainly helps us during our rough patches.

    Things get better Erin, never think otherwise, because there are plenty of us who are past the worst of PTSD, and control it within reason to live a fairly normal life. Its not out of reach of any sufferer, just a little work and effort to achieve it, nothing more, nothing less. There certainly is no one magic solution to our problem though... but I wish there was. Some exceptional doctors are working on the problem, but it takes time.
  5. goingonhope

    goingonhope Member Premium Member

    Erin, I do hope you're safe and healing.

    Erin, I just completely read what you wrote, and was more than listening to every word. It's going to take some time to digest. I'm mostly speechless. I am so so sorry, Erin. I know you haven't been on the forum lately, I do hope you're safe and healing. You expressed yourself so well, and thank you so much for sharing part of your life and experience with us.

    Erin, as far as feeling angry, I'm now having emotions so far from anger, having read what you've shared. I feel all empathy and love toward you and we don't even know each other. I wish you were here to hug. And, I do hope you stop by back into the forum again soon, if only just to say hi to us, all.

    ......sincerely, goingonhope
  6. wildcritter44

    wildcritter44 Active Member


    I read your post. You have been through the grinder so to speak.

    Look at the positive things you have done for yourself. You went to school and received an education. That alone says a lot for you. You are obviously a strong person to have survived all those things that happened.
    Give yourself credit where it is due. You have had to be a "grown-up" and never had a childhood.

    The best thing I can say -- is try to enjoy the things you do, the places you go, etc. You found a good person to be there for you. He sees someone special and you are special. Don't let others take that from you.
    Knowledge is power and you are obviously very smart. :thumbs-up

    Hugs to you and I will say a prayer for you.

    Take Care

    D (wildcritter)
  7. bob

    bob Member

    Hey Erin

    I read your post all the way through. Thanks for sharing all that. One thing that struck me is that you are very articulate and a good writer.

    I also have similar problems and some of your experiences remind me of my own, e.g. the neglect, the bullying, looking after your sick mother, your friends and family appearing not to care what you are going through.

    I hope you can find ways to feel better.

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