Sufferer Thinking of addressing my past trauma head-on

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Dailyshifts

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Recover first

Then send it into the world
Because sending it now, before you are done with therapy and stable enough to handle the rejection you may get from those you want to change is a huge risk. Your ptsd comes from public communication and rejection. What will you do if they take what you write and use it against you in a public forum simply to humiliate you again?

Ya...people are evil. If they did it once they will do it again
It might be better to be sure you have all the coping skills you will need in place before going down that road. Then when you do you can be confident that you are doing it for the right reasons no matter what the outcome.

op here. Thanks for the reply. I agree.

It is complex through. I actually think my instability from this trauma endures in large part because the truth never came out and I never got a sense of justice. That justice doesn’t mean the abuser admits to wrongdoing. For me, that justice comes from me telling the truth and them hearing it, even if they don’t accept it. Can you relate to that?

A relative who works as a licensed social worker and my psychologist both have told me that for some people, telling the truth and confronting your abuser is a key to begin the healing process. They agreed with me that there are risks as well. My relative told me it’s also common for people with chronic PTSD to focus on the worst case outcomes of confronting their abusers and going public.

I don’t have a clear answer for what’s best for me right now but these points are worth discussing.

My relative, the social worker, who knows me almost as well as my psychologist, said she believed full disclosure was the best thing for me. She said my worries of being abused online were reasonable but she also agreed with me when I said my brain is my adversary, not external forces.

I also spoke to an old professor about it. He never knew the truth until now and he was shocked. He has his own experience with behavioral health, and his view was ‘get the story out, turn it into a book, and name everyone of your abusers.’

I spoke with my psychologist about it again yesterday and he and I agreed we still don’t know what the best move is here. I’m moving forward with EMDR and I’ve found that talking about my trauma with my relative and my old professor made me feel relief, self-worth, and strength, though I did wake up today thinking of the trauma and feeling deflated. That has happened every morning for a few months.

It’s interesting, and it’s on me to decide in the end.
 
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Dailyshifts

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Op again. Tried to edit my last post but this platform only gives you 5min. Timed out and lost the opportunity. Very strange time limit. No bueno.

Some additional context:

In practical terms, the likelihood of my abusers further hammering me privately or publicly is very slim especially in today’s climate. They will be on the defensive immediately, and a great portion of the general public who read this story would be highly critical of what they did. The abusers’ actions, by the way, are pertinent to many of their actual jobs today.

The threat of further abuse by people uninvolved is far stronger. While many in our country are speaking out against abuse of power, others are speaking out against the oppressed. Mentally ill are not often in today’s dialogue but we all know how much stigma, hate, fear, misunderstanding, etc exist even today. I represent perhaps some of the worst in those people’s minds. I have over 10 mental health diagnoses, many of which are classified as permanent disabilities. I’m also very high functioning and successful, and so I have the ability to challenge people’s viewpoints, and entertain them along the way.

There is plenty in public dialogue around COVID and BLM that shows how much hate is in the air. And if anyone reading this doesn’t appreciate my knowingly simplistic summary of that hateful dialogue, please refrain from making this a political discussion. It is not, and I don’t have the space in my brain or heart for a lot of what I see on social media platforms these days.

I told my psychologist that I feared I wouldn’t get job opportunities if I disclosed publicly. He asked if I would want to work for a company that didn’t want to hire me because of my illnesses. My answer was No. Still, this rejection would be very difficult. That said, I’ve worked for 16 years and don’t need a lot of new income. I’m a saver and due to my health, I don’t plan on having children so my costs are not extraordinary.

My doc also asked me how I’d feel if I told my story but diluted it such as by omitting certain info on my health. He said how would you feel if later the story was published and there were many reactions good and bad and I knew I hadn’t told the full story. I paused and then said I’d be frustrated with myself and would probably regret it.

I don’t know if I said this earlier in the thread but I’m autistic, among other things. I didn’t even know I was autistic until this year when I did research on it and brought it to several doctors.

Honesty is wired to my brain. One of the only times I lied about something important in my life was when I didn’t tell the truth about my health to the people who abused me. It wasn’t a safe space and the risks were extraordinary. If anything, my health status could have ended up in the newspapers, and then I definitely wouldn’t have survived. People love to talk. We crave other people’s struggles. Many of us love to hate. The likelihood of my health issues being spread far and wide was real, and it’s still real. There’s just something different about it when you, the one who is sick, are making the disclosure vs someone else.
 

mumstheword

MyPTSD Pro
Op again. Tried to edit my last post but this platform only gives you 5min. Timed out and lost the opportunity. Very strange time limit. No bueno.

Some additional context:

In practical terms, the likelihood of my abusers further hammering me privately or publicly is very slim especially in today’s climate. They will be on the defensive immediately, and a great portion of the general public who read this story would be highly critical of what they did. The abusers’ actions, by the way, are pertinent to many of their actual jobs today.

The threat of further abuse by people uninvolved is far stronger. While many in our country are speaking out against abuse of power, others are speaking out against the oppressed. Mentally ill are not often in today’s dialogue but we all know how much stigma, hate, fear, misunderstanding, etc exist even today. I represent perhaps some of the worst in those people’s minds. I have over 10 mental health diagnoses, many of which are classified as permanent disabilities. I’m also very high functioning and successful, and so I have the ability to challenge people’s viewpoints, and entertain them along the way.

There is plenty in public dialogue around COVID and BLM that shows how much hate is in the air. And if anyone reading this doesn’t appreciate my knowingly simplistic summary of that hateful dialogue, please refrain from making this a political discussion. It is not, and I don’t have the space in my brain or heart for a lot of what I see on social media platforms these days.

I told my psychologist that I feared I wouldn’t get job opportunities if I disclosed publicly. He asked if I would want to work for a company that didn’t want to hire me because of my illnesses. My answer was No. Still, this rejection would be very difficult. That said, I’ve worked for 16 years and don’t need a lot of new income. I’m a saver and due to my health, I don’t plan on having children so my costs are not extraordinary.

My doc also asked me how I’d feel if I told my story but diluted it such as by omitting certain info on my health. He said how would you feel if later the story was published and there were many reactions good and bad and I knew I hadn’t told the full story. I paused and then said I’d be frustrated and not fully satisfied that I’d told the full story.

I don’t know if I said this earlier in the thread but I’m autistic among other things. Honesty is wired to my brain. One of the only times I lied about something important in my life was when I didn’t tell the truth about my health to the people who then abused me. It wasn’t a safe space and the risks were extraordinary.

I'm autistic, as in Aspergers type autism, too.

I can relate to what you said about honesty.


I hope it goes well for you.

You've got me curious about your story.

Perhaps you could share some of it on this forum?

There are sub sections for what is called Trauma journaling. Both private, for members only and public, but anonymous, of course.

A lot of us find it beneficial just journaling here, with the added safety of anonymity.

Of course you must do what feel right and makes best sense for you.

I think it would be a very brave thing to go public or to communicate with who hurt you so deeply. I, myself, could not do that, with any sense of safety.

But different circumstances call for different approaches, so, only you know, ultimately, what is best for you.

Best of luck to you @Dailyshifts. I hope whatever you choose to do brings you peace and wellbeing.
 

Freida

Sponsor
There is plenty in public dialogue around COVID and BLM that shows how much hate is in the
Mentally ill are not often in today’s dialogue but we all know how much stigma, hate, fear, misunderstanding, etc exist even today
Ya....this is the part that would concern me just because people can be so brutal these days and once you go public they feel they have the right to comment, sometimes hatefully, which risks completely derailing your goal of calling your abusers out. So it might be worth some preparation with your docs on how that might affect your healing process before you go forward.
 

Dailyshifts

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Ya....this is the part that would concern me just because people can be so brutal these days and once you go public they feel they have the right to comment, sometimes hatefully, which risks completely derailing your goal of calling your abusers out. So it might be worth some preparation with your docs on how that might affect your healing process before you go forward.

For sure. I got called a Nazi the other day by a stranger because I said we should all wear masks. Another guy told me wearing a mask is useless since viruses can be contracted through the eyes. He compared us wearing masks to wearing a mask into the gas chambers because an SS guard told you to.

Disclosing mental health issues is a very serious decision and I would need to be ready for anything. But the reality is, unless your story is very popular, the risk of mass abuse online is lower, and if your story is popular, with hate comes support.

Since I’m my own worst enemy, I can handle haters.

I don’t think I’d share more about my story here or elsewhere. It’s a story to be told in a bigger forum, and to share an early draft here would not satisfy me. But if and when I decide to do something with it, I’ll post a link. :)
 

Dailyshifts

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I like cliffhangers so I think it’s worth mentioning my abusers include some powerful people—the wife of a man who ran for governor, the head of a large university, a few top professors, reporters at a couple major papers, and a major national professional society. This isn’t a story of a an everyday Joe abuser, and that’s one of several reasons it could actually have influence, and also lead to me needing to watch my back.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Hello, JMHO so may not be useful as you have to live from your viewpoint and character and realities:

- Everyone needs to be heard, and disclosing may be your attempt to do so.
- There is no guarantee you will feel like you are heard, even if they (anyone) accepts culpability
- They have likely led their own lives and do not or have not thought (or continued to think through the years) from your perspective
- Even if it has been a terrible injustice (and I am sure it has been/ was), the negative impact continues for you, but you must choose your own thoughts. And those choices will influence your quality of life
- Much as I think mental illness is misunderstood (I am old enough to remember when anxiety and depression were not even thought to be included), it does still also take a great amount of education to inform another person, or the public, most of the time.
- It is commonly indicated that mental 'health' involves less rigidity, more flexibility, and increased resilience and acceptance (not minimizing, but rather internally acknowledging the pain and processing and going forward), but it's interior work more than reliant on other outside people/ sources.
-Stigma can be increased when people feel what they are seeing or reading supports their ignorant (as in uniformed, not meant pejoratively) views or experience, which may include thinking mental illness is extreme, angry, violent, retributive and distorted (if there's only one side to a story). My analogy would be journaling or overhearing an argument: taken on it's own one conclusion might be drawn, taken in context it may be viewed very differently. For example, 2 people overheard violently arguing gives one screen shot or impression, but a lifelong video of loving actions and support for one another gives something else. Different again if there was just a death in the family, or one is ill, etc.
- Right now it sounds like your focus is on the screenshot, but you hope to educate (and be heard) in a more all-inclusive way. JMHO But I think like @Freida said:
Recover first

Then send it into the world

You may even want to send out something else then, quite a bit different.

Best wishes to you.

(ETA, Being in a heightened state of trauma (which includes being triggered or reliving the past- and also, even re-enacting your trauma) often comes with a sense of 'do something'- fight or flee). I would also say, it definitely can leave a person feeling way more reactive than they would be if more healing has occurred. And time passed, means nothing, processing is the dirty work and harder to go through than even the event(s) was/were. )
 
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Dailyshifts

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Hello, JMHO so may not be useful as you have to live from your viewpoint and character and realities:

- Everyone needs to be heard, and disclosing may be your attempt to do so.
- There is no guarantee you will feel like you are heard, even if they (anyone) accepts culpability
- They have likely led their own lives and do not or have not thought (or continued to think through the years) from your perspective
- Even if it has been a terrible injustice (and I am sure it has been/ was), the negative impact continues for you, but you must choose your own thoughts. And those choices will influence your quality of life
- Much as I think mental illness is misunderstood (I am old enough to remember when anxiety and depression were not even thought to be included), it does still also take a great amount of education to inform another person, or the public, most of the time.
- It is commonly indicated that mental 'health' involves less rigidity, more flexibility, and increased resilience and acceptance (not minimizing, but rather internally acknowledging the pain and processing and going forward), but it's interior work more than reliant on other outside people/ sources.
-Stigma can be increased when people feel what they are seeing or reading supports their ignorant (as in uniformed, not meant pejoratively) views or experience, which may include thinking mental illness is extreme, angry, violent, retributive and distorted (if there's only one side to a story). My analogy would be journaling or overhearing an argument: taken on it's own one conclusion might be drawn, taken in context it may be viewed very differently. For example, 2 people overheard violently arguing gives one screen shot or impression, but a lifelong video of loving actions and support for one another gives something else. Different again if there was just a death in the family, or one is ill, etc.
- Right now it sounds like your focus is on the screenshot, but you hope to educate (and be heard) in a more all-inclusive way. JMHO But I think like @Freida said:


You may even want to send out something else then, quite a bit different.

Best wishes to you.

(ETA, Being in a heightened state of trauma (which includes being triggered or reliving the past- and also, even re-enacting your trauma) often comes with a sense of 'do something'- fight or flee). I would also say, it definitely can leave a person feeling way more reactive than they would be if more healing has occurred. And time passed, means nothing, processing is the dirty work and harder to go through than even the event(s) was/were. )


Thanks @insignificant, excellent input.

What is your take when you've been processing something with doctors for 16 years? Identifying a point in which one is 'ready' or 'healed enough' is in itself very complex. I will say the one certainty in my life, and anyone's, is death, and the notion of dying without telling the truth is not something I can accept.

My ability to discuss my experience in a balanced way is strong. I see the reasons for their decisions and actions. I understand them well. And I understand why I believe they were wrong, both in subjective terms and in many objective ways, too.

As for fight or flight, I will always experience this, and not just due to PTSD. I have a chronic anxiety disorder which I've had for most of my life, long before this trauma occurred. These conditions do not go away, ever. But they can be mitigated, and I'm able to watch myself struggle in the moment and know it will pass, and come again.

I don't know if many of you who have PTSD have a multitude of pre-existing mental health conditions, but it distinguishes folks like me from a 'healthy person' who gets PTSD at some point in life. It isn't harder or easier per se, but it is different, like each of our experiences is different.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
What is your take when you've been processing something with doctors for 16 years?
How very frustrating and disheartening when you have to keep trying and digging deeper. :( Yes, have been at it myself for 37 years, and in earnest for about 30.
Identifying a point in which one is 'ready' or 'healed enough' is in itself very complex.
Just my guess, but I think one sign of it is that it feels things don't "need" to be done or said, as much as choosing to.
the notion of dying without telling the truth is not something I can accept.
Can you ask yourself why you feel like this ^^ What do you feel if you imagine you didn't? Can you imagine a time or specific event as a child when you felt the same?
These conditions do not go away, ever.
One never knows what will be found in the future.

I know I can remember being extremely anxious since a small child. I had an ulcer (I hid and it was found out), at about 5 yrs old.

I think trauma processing is like peeling an onion (and feels like trying to get to the end of the internet. :rolleyes: )
 

Dailyshifts

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How very frustrating and disheartening when you have to keep trying and digging deeper. :( Yes, have been at it myself for 37 years, and in earnest for about 30.

Just my guess, but I think one sign of it is that it feels things don't "need" to be done or said, as much as choosing to.

Can you ask yourself why you feel like this ^^ What do you feel if you imagine you didn't? Can you imagine a time or specific event as a child when you felt the same?

One never knows what will be found in the future.

I know I can remember being extremely anxious since a small child. I had an ulcer (I hid and it was found out), at about 5 yrs old.

I think trauma processing is like peeling an onion (and feels like trying to get to the end of the internet. :rolleyes: )

I think my conviction around telling the truth before I die is simple:

- I care more about the truth than anything else
- I have always opposed authority figures and people who abuse their power
- I see a great deal of value and lessons in my story
- My self-worth and identity were shattered as a result of consequences determined by people for a mistake I made while I was severely ill with illness that is stigmatized by most people, and those who abused me have no idea what they've done and did it in the name of a code of ethics

I've never felt as much conviction about telling the truth as I do about this.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I have no doubt about your conviction.

Respectfully though, that is intelectualizing, how would you feel if you couldn't? And do ever remember feeling that way as a child, and why? (You don't have to say of course, not inferring that, that is, just for yourself).

Do you have other passions/ goals/ dreams/ likes, that bring you comfort and joy?
 

Dailyshifts

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I have no doubt about your conviction.

Respectfully though, that is intelectualizing, how would you feel if you couldn't? And do ever remember feeling that way as a child, and why? (You don't have to say of course, not inferring that, that is, just for yourself).

Do you have other passions/ goals/ dreams/ likes, that bring you comfort and joy?

How would I feel if I didn’t tell the truth before I died? The thought of it makes me feel regretful. Regret is perhaps the most devastating emotion. My father died with immense regret over mistakes he made during severe bouts of mental illness.

I’ve dealt with regret on and off throughout parts of my life. As far as feeling this way about another aspect of my life, no, I haven’t. No other trauma has affected me like this.

Yes, plenty of things give me joy, especially my friends and family, movies, music, etc.
 
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