This is a repost of the story of a trauma victim that crossed my path on Facebook. I wanted to save it for reference. Because I understand this. And I've never seen anything like it before. What it is like, recovering one's self from trauma. Especially regarding the flashbacks that happen, and OMG, the dissociation and difficulty functioning within the scope of what is considered normal. Be forewarned, it is graphic. R rated from here.
I posted an article called, 'The Secret' a few months ago. Where I (began to) talk about such things from my own life. When I wrote that article I had been experiencing flashbacks from a rape that occurred (against me) over 19 years ago. I had been recovering memories of the event since Summer 2016. They came in slowly at first. Over about the last six months the intensity and frequency of flashbacks has hit me pretty hard. I had already known that I was dealing with early life brain trauma, for years now in my healing process. Call it causal. To everything. About two months ago I experienced a series of shocking flashbacks that ... well. I have found myself coping with epileptic seizure episodes on a daily basis and an unpredictable speech impediment. This is something entirely new to me. And a look at how intensely people can be affected by violence that isn't even present in the current moment.
What surprised me was, that when I began processing those memories, I started to recall early life incidents of trauma that seemed to be parallels. Processing the rape memories led me to early life sexual trauma and abuse memories. I was recently part of a women's support group for victims of intimate domestic violence and abuse which taught me a lot, including the recognition of how common this is ... the recovery of memories when dealing with trauma or injury or sickness where the abuse is causal to the illness or injury. Call it validation. But the medical establishment on all fronts, not just the status quo, but also ... the alternatives: Holistic and Naturopathic medicine. They ALL need to catch up to the information that ... psychological and mental health organizations know all too well and SHARE THIS INFORMATION. About how this all works and the need for healing. This matter has become an epidemic in our society and the issue seriously needs attention.
Here's that Facebook post from this morning:
"I have never issued a TRIGGER WARNING before but this is definitely the proper context.
- Priest Abuse Very in depth / detailed description
PLEASE SHARE AS WIDELY AS POSSIBLE
I just wrote this letter to the catholic church survivor "outreach" person in my dioceses and thought I would share here. They said they would help me afford therapy and getting my flashback damaged teeth fixed back in October of last year and have been stringing me along ever since with their "investigation" of 3 dead priests.. This is my letter concerning one of those incidents... Please be prepared if you choose to read this...
Tooth pain is directly responsible, a trigger if you will, for a flashback for me when something hits it just right. A flashback is a profound and complete becoming of my six year old self as that man entered me. I was small for my age. The entire present does not exist . I am a six year old boy having no idea why my but hole is on fire and tearing I could hear thru its vibrations in my body. His thumb shoved into my shoulder blade as he squeezed my shoulder pulling me towards him and the pain in my back and shoulder blade. My entire insides exploding in pain i could have imagined exited. Sexuality was not yet a pat of me so I could not imagine what was happening to me. There was no motivation to think of something like that. It is only my adult brain that can recognize the feeling of his penis as it was first pressed against my anus.. I imagined a squishy finger missing its fingernail somehow at the time. . that was actually my last lucid thought.... FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE SO FAR. The pain that followed was all that existed after that. I Know I started screaming and that brought someone but I was almost completely disassociated. The rest of the memory is and always will be very spotty. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the face I see is Fr. Joseph Malloy. I am also certain it did not happen again... with his body touching mine.
Now let me explain the present time. I just was again a six year old boy , AS I experienced my anus ripping, I again clinched my jaw on already shattered teeth and was again physically assaulted by that man. The pain of flexing sections of teeth on the nerve is exquisite. a AND IT LASTS. He has been dead for I can't remember how many years and I don't care. A half century after he touched me in the real world, he just assaulted and physically injured me for the 2 millionth time.. I don't care to do the math. 3 to six times a day for just under 50 years if you care. I don't know if i have endured that few moments of my last fully conscious thought in entire life hundreds of thousands of times or millions to be honest. I do know that I have not had a day yet in my life that I have not experienced it at least once.
I really couldn't say how many times I have suffered physical injury to those flashbacks either. I have found myself on the ground any number of times with bumps bruises or needing stitches .. I have had thousands of stitches. I once convinced a Doctor to let me take a stitch in my own left hand it.. was such a routine and common occurrence during certain times of my life.. I generally had no idea how those things happened so I made up plausible stories to tell the ER Doctor. They always bought the stories so there is no way to tell which are the real story and which are to cover my inability to come to terms with what I know now is memory problems caused by disassociation. My brain has been at full speed preventing my conscious mind from knowing anything related to that inexplicable event ever since... even while I am asleep. I would be in a fog as all my power for thought was diverted to preventing me from even remembering that I had had a flashback... In retrospect there are thousands of times where I just faded back closer to the present rubbing my sore jaw and wondering why that hurts. I feel psychosomatic pain in my back exactly as it felt as his thumb dug into my shoulder blade when he pulled himself into me. I would really love to get a professional massage right now to relieve knot of muscle that recreates the event like a pain photograph or tattoo emblazoned on that spot... but that's $150 I do not have.. So I sit here, as I type this, having to lean away from the heating pad I have been leaning on in some pretty real present day agony for the past three days as this memory has been bubbling the rest of the way to the surface. That ball of muscle sometimes catches a nerve bundle as it snaps into a tightly clenched fist-like structure and I get painful pins and needles in what ever spots the individual nerve that got grabbed connects to. That could be any place or area of my left arm, shoulder, spots on my neck and/or fingers. That's a special kind of annoying pain that will not be ignored. It all but takes over thought if enough nerve fibers get pinched. Even if I got a massage tomorrow it would still ache for a few days because it snaps so violently it gets some small bruises and tears in the tissue and it clenches so tight it starts to starve for oxygen after a while .. That is a sickening kind of pain that has a nausea component to it.
The pain in my anus as well is physical in the present day as well. There is a twisting/snapping motion that recreates the exact feeling of ripping flesh like a photocopy made of pain. It lingers for hours sometimes in present day and sometimes comes alone just out of the blue.. or did I just wake up from a flashback?
You have to understand that I had absolutely no clue that I was ever sexually assaulted until only a year ago or so. I honestly had no hint of anything like that. I have told probably 40 therapists that there was no sexual abuse in my past and I was being 100% honest with them. It did not exist in my memory as I was able to access it at those times. If I ever had a clue that it had happened to me there is no way I would have been at a time I could tell someone. Admitting it to my self was impossible .. allowing anyone else to find out was literally not thinkable. My brain entered an endless loop of circular thinking on some bizarre subject matter I couldn't explain if I tried, I do not know how to use language to explain that further. The point is, my brain protected itself from consciously seeing something that broke the whole mess so it created an illusion of reality for me to wait in while it figured out what had happened. The problem is no new information could be associated or evaluated against those memories , they were walled off and emblazoned in my long term memory with the full detail of the memory you just created in this instant. I hear every sound, smell every smell, feel every texture, Feel all the terror, taste every taste ans see every sight in full detail color just like a snapshot of the current memory experience you have at any instant in the present. It is a screenshot of that instant of my life saved at great expense to my brain to evaluate what had happened in a desperate attempt to find a way to prevent it from happening again.
This is just all the normal human trauma response. I am not special and I am FAR from the worst affected. Trauma changes physical brain structure to help in these tasks of maintaining a bubble of normalcy for the conscious mind to live in while it figures out how to send this information back to the consciousness mind without causing another overload. Another aspect is that there is finite amount of brain that can be involved in the constant reprocessing of the trauma so try and figure out the overload problem. The functional areas of the brain that can process the trauma and are least needed for survival also process the expression of personality. Personality is not needed for survival and my brain has cared about nothing else except how to survive since the "incident" . My personality IS me . Ii is my very soul so it is not figurative to say that he took my soul from me. It is physical, literal and spiritual.
I am flashing in and out as I write this and now my entire jaw is nothing but what I would describe as a throbbing pain ball.
This has been my life up until now .. floating in a prison inside my own mind. I did accomplish some things along the way and helped a lot of other people along the way too. I am proud of what I accomplished with so little of myself able to be expressed and thru so much pain. 22 years of military service which only got VA to tell me that 8 years of therapy notes with continuous tracking of my symptoms was not enough proof that I have PTSD... nor was my social security for PTSD. I was denied treatment coverage unless.. I can make myself not have symptoms that will let me comply with their rules. You are doing the same exact thing to me. Asking me to go thru your self serving attempt to evaluate the legal threat I can pose to you while I suffer., begging you for humanitarian help. It is so how I was taught to be Christ-like. At least I got the right message no matter what the people teaching think it is. Yes I am angry. It is your responsibility to understand the damage that is done to each child and the help they need. You need to realize that the Men who molest children are not morally corrupt, they are themselves trauma victims. Brains that have had more trauma than mine MUST attempt to recreate that trauma physically in order to evaluate it. I did it is symbolic ways myself, It is only the amount of trauma I received that prevented me from passing it on. it is a survival imperative and I was not seen as a child, I was a prop in his recreation.. My screaming made him face his own daemons at a time when someone came to the door and his rage at being forced to witness his own dark event, he slammed me into the sofa I was on with my face in the cushions, my neck bent severely and he was pounding on my back with his palms trying to push my face into something that could quiet me. It was and is not personal, it is a normal response to a higher level of trauma than I received...thankfully.
I can't hold off or even predict the next time I clinch and there is still a crack that rubs the nerve in that tooth and I either become present because of the searing pain or drift back to presence with a throbbing ache. Never know when, never know how bad it can suddenly be. The other cracked teeth , 4 of them are always throbbing... again it is probably because of a bit less motion but different pieces rubbing the nerve.
If you can read this and again tell me I have to wait to see my dentist, I have pity on your soul.
Not sure what else to say. I write about these and other subjects because it is the best therapy I know of. I hope all of this speaks volumes and I hope the right 'someones' out there, hear it.
Image courtesy of Google Images.