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Where do I go with this? Do I just have to live to the end of my days with the feelings I have?

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philthespark

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Hi everyone, I,m sorry if this isn't the right place to put this but I just want to see if anyone can help me, however it's probably best if I tell you my story in its entirety so you have the complete picture. Once again I appologise if this is in the wrong place.

Like I said in my introductory post 'I'm male, age 57 and from the UK, during the 1970's I went to this junior school, I think I was about 8 at the time, anyway the headmaster a local magistrate was an absolute terror. His solution to everything was a severe and brutal beating, now at this point I need to point out that despite being a well behaved child I was at a disadvantage from the moment I first set foot in his school, why, you may well ask, well its simple, I was left handed!

Now a lot of you may wonder why this was such an issue, well let me explain, hundreds of years ago being left handed was considered a sign of being a witch, or at the very least not normal, sadly in later so called more enlightened times although they no longer burned you at the stake for being left handed in a lot of schools there was still a belief that you could be 'cured' by having it beaten out of you!

At this school the headmaster took each class for handwriting lessons twice a week, his other passion was dancing, something else we had to learn, something that wasnt taught in other schools. Now I vividly remember the first time he saw me using my left hand to write with, how he took the pen out of my hand, placed it in my right and told me I wasn't doing it correctly. Try as I might the pen felt alien in my right hand, it didn't belong there so I moved back to using me left, at first this just earned me a screaming at, however after realising this wasnt having the desired effect he began to hit me accross the knuckles with the edge of a wooden ruler, boy did that hurt, but I still couldnt get used to using my right hand. This cycle of beatings and swapping hands continued for the two years I was at the school, that however was only the begining of the horrors I was to experience.

Dancing was his other passion and quite complicated dances they were too yet despite our young age we were expected to become perfect in each one after only a couple of lessons. Beatings were handed out with relish to anyone making a mistake, if I close my eyes I can still se him stood there, his almost bald head glowing red with rage as he flew into some kind of appoplectic fit, after much bellowing the unfortunate victim would be placed over his knee, shorts dragged up over one thigh almost tearing them and a severe beating administered.

This happened in almost every lesson and I remember being beaten once for something that I hadn't even done, the boy who'd done it was called Stephen Prowse, yet I got the beating, it shows something of the effect that around fifty years later I can still vividly remember the names of people involved.

Now I assume some of you will have heard of Pavlov, the man who rang a bell each time he fed his dog, in the end the dog would salivate on hearing a bell in anticipation of being fed, well I also witnessed a more sad version of this at that school, and it happened like this. In my mixed class of boys and girls there was one girl, I'll refer to her by her initials, MH, now like most of use she tried her best but there was something about her that made the head single her out for frequent beatings, over his knee, skirt up and beaten over her knickers.

At every lesson he found an excuse to punish MH and one day as we were sat in class the writing class and everyone was trying to keep under the radar when I heard a pitter pattering sound and glancing around I noticed that MH who was sitting behind me had wet herself and a puddle was forming under her chair. She was dragged to the front of the class and her skirt lifted before she was severely spanked over her wet panties, while this was occurring he was telling her how she was a dirty cow and how she should have used the toilet before the lesson or at least asked to be excused. The thing was as anyone knows, sometimes the need to urinate comes on suddenly and as regards asking to go he'd not have allowed it and would have enjoyed waiting for the inevitable wetting.

After that MH was another on his list of people to hate and it got to the point where the mere sight of him entering a classroom would cause the poor girl to instantly urinate in her knickers, this of course would incur a beating. He never asked any of the other teachers if the girl wet herself in their classes (she didn't) he just beat her for doing it!

The dining room was another flashpoint, you were given a meal and ate it, it didn't matter wether you simply didnt like something on the plate or were allergic to it, if it was on the plate you had to eat it. I never liked vegetables now at home it wasnt a problem, however at school you were force fed them. One incident sticks in my memory vividly, one lunchtime there were chips (fries) fish fingers and peas, now I did actually quite enjoy this, the thing i hated however was the odd looking orange coloured sauce that was poured liberally over the whole plate. I politely told the dinner lady that I didnt want any sauce, but got it anyway, I sat in dismay knwoing there was no way I could eat this, it didnt go un-noticed, first i was told to eat it, then screamed at, finally i was force fed it, of course then i vomited! I was beaten twice, once for not eating it when told and again for vomiting afterwards, you couldnt win!

So this was my lot for the next two years and when I left that school I couln't have been happier if I had won the lottery, however for the rest of my time at chool I kept my head down, if I'd learned one valuable thing from that school it was ' dont draw attention to yourself'.

My parents noticed I was quiet and took me to see a doctor, I didnt like this woman and so didnt open up to her, she decided I wasn't ill and I wasn't stupid, I was just ' difficult '. In high school it quickly became apparent that I was actually a lot more intelligent than my peers, my marks were consistently higher and I only had to be told something once and I had it sorted, the only subjects I didnt excell in were Maths and English, nobody worked out that the subject teachers were the two most terrifying in the whole school! I tried to keep my head down as far as possible, however this lead to me being bullied by certain people in school, finally at fifteen I snapped and when one particularly nasty bully began hitting me yet again I snapped, the resulting visit to the local hospital was more than enough to convince him to find another victim and leave me alone!

I was only small in stature but that day I learned an important lesson, one that at the time seemed more valuable than all the academic lessons, 'terminate with extreme predjudice' , any attack on me by any other pupil would end with them being severely beaten up, it worked, in a few month I was the one you didn't look at in case I reacted and you didnt want to be around when I did.

The culmination of this was a rather spectacular even in full view of one of the teachers, I'd been absent for a week and during this week my best freind had tragically passed away in an accident, something I had not heard about, so when this particular lad kept mentioning it I warned him if he carried on saying things that weren't true I'd deal with him, well he carried on and the inevitable happened, I exploded! I leapt up in class, swung around and smashed him as hard as I could square in the face, there was a sickening squelch followed by a horrible scream, then I felt someone grab me, the teacher. The lad, quite a big lad stood there in shock, his top lip had split and his nose was spread all over his face, it looked like he'd been hit by Tyson.

He was taken away and I explained why I'd done what I had, then I was told the awful truth about my mate dying, I was distraught, not only because of him but because of what I'd done, however it was all hushed up because nobody had told me about my mate, and the fact that this lad was a bully, it was just like 'well what goes around comes around' . I left school with some decent exam results and eventually became an electrician, all through my late teens and twenties I continued to fight, I wasnt a bully, but I wasnt going to be picked on, neither was anyone else if I happened to be around, I'm ashamed to say it now but at the time I was well known for carrying a small axe or a machete, and it wasnt even considered trendy back then.

I went on through the years, I lost jobs through my behaviour, the most spectacular being when I punched a manager through a glass door for having a go at me, how I stayed out of jail is beyond me, relationships failed, I wasnt violent towards my partners, I've only ever hit one woman in my life, andto be fair she was trying to stab me at the time, they just couldnt put up with my keep losing jobs, and my volatility! I'm happily married now, I have been for almost 24 years, but in truth the only reason I got involved with her was she was being bullied and beaten by her ex and the police were doing nothing, well I could, and did. It's suprising how a 'hard man' will suddenly stop bullying a woman when a bloke with an axe is stalking him!

I had a couple of breakdowns and a couple of suicide attempts and was eventually diagnosed with BiPolar, only back then it was Manic Depression, and an underlying personality disorder and put on medication, but to paraphrase a well known song, 'the drugs didn't work' more misery!

I didn't have a job and I soon realised that I didn't enjoy being an electrician anyway, one day I saw an ad for volunteers for the incident support team with my local fire service, wow, I'm having that I thought, so I applied and got in, it was done on a rota so nobody had to do more calls than they wanted, I did more in that year than anyone else, the buzz of driving at speed to incidents and helping people at their worst point was fantastic, better than fighting any day, in fact I'd go so far as to say it was better than sex. I could hardly wait until I was on call, if the pager went at 3am I'd be up, in uniform and halfway down the road before my wife had even woke up, life was fantastic, however all good things come to an end and a year later it was all over, back to square one.

One day I was visiting my elderly father and we were moving some stuff when he picked up an old wooden ruler, like the ones from school and inadvertantly pointed it in my direction, for a few milliseconds I was ready to attack him, this couldnt go on yet still nobody was aware of my past. Then one day my wife who happens to work in a hospital asked me to go and see a colleague of hers, some kind of counsellor, well ok I went, just to keep the wife happy.

It was the weirdest thing ever, all she did was chat with me about my past, no probing, we just chatted, it was almost like being on a date and I found myself opening up in a way I'd never done before even about what happened at school. She listened and about two hours later said that she couldnt help me, I was gutted! However it turned out that it wasnt her job to help people, merely to listen, diagnose and direct you to someone who could help, and she did. There were a few hiccups on the way, like when I went to a therapy session only to find out it was a group thing (I dont do groups) eventually I got teamed up with a therapist named Joan Crawford, now theres a name to remember.

She was fantastic, no bullshit, no judgement she just listened then asked me to take a computer test, she thought I had PTSD, I was sceptical because like a lot of people I thought PTSD was a military thing. Anyway I did the computer test and the results came in, my score was the highest they'd ever seen in someone outside the military and it wasnt too far from being right at the top, clearly not something to be proud of.

I went through therapy and when I was recovered she did warn me that having PTSD is a bit like being an alcoholic, you cant be cured and you will almost certainly have relapses, which I have had over time, I still make use of the 'toolbox' as she termed the list of tips and tricks I was taught to help me get through and have even helped others, but its getting worse recently and I'm very unhappy.

I'm 58 this year and am out of work, in part due to my PTSD and also due to me having a couple of other health conditions, severe arthritis in both knees being one, my wife is working to support us and we live in a council house. Its much too big for us and my wife has health problems too, what we really want is a bungalow but the council want to shove us in a flat, or appartment as they now call them, something neither of us want. We know its going to be a struggle when she retires, it's tough now and its only going to get worse, I wont bore you with all the problems but looking back they're all attributable to what happened all those years ago at that damned junior school, if I hadn't been bullied by that teacher, I'd not have turned out like I did, I'd probably have held down a good job and bought my own house instead of being in my present position.

Many years ago I came across this headmaster in town, he was old then, I on the other hand was in my peak of fitness and in my mid twenties, he knew who I was I could see the fear in his eyes, I so wanted to destroy him there and then, instead I walked away, on hearing this my therapist said it was a good thing, it would have been me that would have gone to prison, me who'd have had my life ruined, I had , she insisted, made the right choice and walked away. Somehow though as I look back now I wish I'd reacted differently, that so and so totally trashed my life!

I appologise for the length of this post, I guess I just needed to open up to someone, my question is, where do I go from here, or do I just have to live to the end of my days with the feelings I have, I'm trying my best but dont feel like I'm getting anywhere, Ive spoken to my doctor and several others but the only drug that helps is Diazepam and because there's a lot of drug abuse in my area they wont prescribe any for me.

Any help would be greatfully received, many thanks and once again, sorry for the long post.
 
Hello

What a bloody terrible, terrible headteacher. Unbelievably cruel. I'm not surprised you wanted to exact some revenge on him.
I don't know whether you might be able access further support from here?

Good luck and hope you find some support from these forums.
 
my question is, where do I go from here, or do I just have to live to the end of my days with the feelings I have,
Personally? I’d be going back to therapy. To get some help processing all those painful memories so that they aren’t dictating the way you feel about life here and now.
 
my question is, where do I go from here, or do I just have to live to the end of my days with the feelings I have, I'm trying my best but dont feel like I'm getting anywhere,
A lot of disorders are static… The symptoms you have you will always have, and it’s a question of learning how to deal with & manage those symptoms.

PTSD is NOT STATIC. It’s both cyclical and reactive and the point of trauma therapy is getting symptoms down to as close to nill as possible. The numbers are hugely in your favor. Even without treatment roughly half of people manage to become asymptomatic, and with treatment over 90% of people do. It’s only the teeny tiny minority who will be dealing with symptoms forever, and even then? It can be as little as a few nightmares a year or difficulty around certain anniversaries or stressors.

So, nope. It’s highly unlikely this is a “how it’s always going to be” thing, because that’s simply not how this disorder works. It’s too reactive to remain static. It’s always going to be getting better/worse. Good trauma therapy can teach you to push it in the direction you want.

Try starting here >>> The ptsd cup explanation >>> And play around with how much better/worse “simple” <cough-bullshit-cough> stress management makes things. (Simple things are always the hardest to master.)
 
is it progress that here in the u.s. it has been at least 3 generations since headmasters have routinely beaten students for being left-handed? employers can no longer openly deny employment to left-handers. according to my husband (a lefty), we can thank baseball and boxing for that evolution. being a "southpaw" is a good thing in both those sports. alas, while we no longer practice the discrimination, we remember all the myths and stigmas assigned to leftys. especially me. i STILL don't like my left-handed sister. she's what gives left-handers a bad reputation. . . i'll blame burning her at the stake on her being left-handed if it keeps the powers that be from prosecuting me for the act.

i don't share the lefty experience, but i'll second @Friday 's note that ptsd is NOT a static disorder. for both better and worse, my feelings attached to my bygone traumas change continually. sharing about them openly ups my odds of those feelings changing for the better. repressing and/or denying those feelings almost guarantees they'll change for the worse.

steadying support while you work your way through to where to go next. hope healing happens here. rambling allowed.
 
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