I got a poem today. It was sent over email. It is a punch. Healing and sad. Both.
I got it from someone I went to high school with. We sat in class together sometimes. It was not a big school.
I had no idea. Not then. Not in the decades since. Not ever.
This person who chooses to be anonymous, to protect family members, wrote:
Do you remember me from High School?
What was I like,
way back then?
Was I quiet,
the smart girl,
all the time?
Or was I crazy,
on the edge,
or just weird?
Did you know that
I had a secret,
something I could–
should never tell?
That I was damaged–
on the inside,
of broken glass.
‘Cause there was a monster
in my bedroom.
He’d sneak in there
middle of the night.
It was my fault–
I could have stopped him.
I must have wanted it,
or so he said.
Could you see it–
see through to me,
to the little girl
Do you remember me
from High School?
Or is it how I thought, about you?
How I had
I want to cry and vomit and talk on the phone with this writer. It’s hard to make people understand.
I mean, there are plenty of people who cringe at the personal, the confessional, the stuff on Facebook. The stuff I post. The things others post that I share. It’s make people uncomfortable. It seems too private or too much or too often.
I get that. I do.
I don’t always love the issues, sports, photos or interests others share. Tom Brady or the climate going to catastrophe or the things I deem superficial or meaningless when I’m feeling judgy.
We can use or not use, like or not like whatever the heck we want on our own pages. But why I share, despite the not always positive feedback, is because of this.
We sat together, in class, growing up and were silent. Silence then. Silent since. For decades!
Maybe people think there are other good places to share for survivors. About PTSD or sexual abuse. About trauma or violence or suffering. Like maybe there are special cocktail parties or groups at work or clubs or Meet Up groups?
Nope. There aren’t. Not really.
Often, only therapy or support groups or whispered in private or on blogs. People often think their trauma symptoms are a personality issue, a flaw or a weakness and not a trauma or a violence or social wrong.
That’s why I am in this campaign.
That’s why I speak so often about trauma, adversity and abuse.
Some of us say to silence – enough. We are tired of you. You haven’t been our friend. You keep us from finding one another and from protecting ourselves and others.
You have been the instrument of those who hurt us.
Some of us say enough caring if truth makes others uncomfortable. What’s the alternative to create change and prevent suffering? Isn’t a little discomfort o.k., tolerable and welcome even if it helps prevent violence and protects people?
But it’s more than that. There are plenty who don’t like or need a campaign like this. They can ignore it. That’s fine.
It’s for the others.
Because we know, so many of us know, these campaigns are for the people who thought they were monsters or alone or crazy and damaged. And never were.
The people who today maybe think this very thing.
These campaigns make us know we aren’t and never were alone. Even if we were left alone to deal, cope or survive.
They do good because most of us have battled in isolation for so long.
These campaigns make us bond and join and ask what needs to change the silence and the culture so that we know more and earlier and even prevent or support one another earlier.
It’s why, for me, the #FacesOfPTSD is important. Even if it’s kind of personal. Because it’s personal, in one sense, and it’s also not.
10% of women will get PTSD. 1 in 10.
And we are invisible to one another and each other. In high school decades ago and today, still, on Google.
And we need each other.
There are wars at home. In homes.
Battles on all kinds of battlefields.
Some still being fought.
Join us if you wish. #FacesOfPTSD
You Matter Mantras
- Trauma sucks. You don't.
- Write to express not to impress.
- It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors.
- Breathing isn't optional.