I didn’t want to write this. I didn’t want to admit it to the world. I didn’t want to be one of those people who seem to have a barely disguised compulsion to tell the world all their nasty bits, a bit like an emotional, online version of Embarrassing Bodies. I also didn’t want to be a mess or a failure or anything like that.
I wanted to be the fixed one. The one that in spite of the things done to me, conquered it all and was okay, always okay. I felt a pressure to be okay, to represent all those who have experienced abuse, to show the world we’re not stupid or miserable or mad. We’re just people, regular normal people.
Yet, a month ago I watched a scene on a TV programme and my brain broke. Since then I’ve been broken and messed up. I’ve stopped being able to talk much, or think much or feel anything. I have occasions where I become unable to move or speak, where I can’t be touched and I feel a darkness in my head that is pure hopelessness. I can’t pray, or spend time with God because I can’t feel anything or think straight.
Google told me the proper name for my brain breaking is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and yet I can’t have a broken brain, because I have to be okay, because that’s what I am, a broken person, made good and just like everybody else.
Then God introduced me to an amazing woman called Jenny Edwards. She told me how the horror, terror and trauma of what I experienced has got stuck in the animal part of my brain, which isn’t capable of higher thinking. While it’s stuck in that part of my brain the trauma isn’t considered a historical memory, my brain thinks the trauma is continuously happening to me, to which my body and mind are responding to accordingly. She explained that there are some therapeutic processes which will allow the trauma to move from the animal part of my brain to the human part and that they are easy to do.
It turns out my brain isn’t broken, it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.
You may be wondering why I’ve written this, if I didn’t want to. I’ve written it because I realised that if I am willing to share my story, I need to be honest about what it’s like to be here. To tell the world that when someone chooses to abuse another person, the consequences will last a lifetime. Not in some emotional feeling, but in very real, neuro-scientific ways. To empower those who are hurting with the knowledge that these symptoms are not something we imagine or can just get over, but a very real problem with the brain. And that help is out there.
So while I work with specialists to get back to being healthy, I want to be honest and acknowledge that who I am will be always be marred by the abuse perpetrated against me, and that being healed is not about denying that, but owning it. That forgiving the perpetrators doesn’t happen in the same measure as I feel fixed and normal, but that forgiveness for the perpetrators is offered regardless of damage I continue to live with. Just like if someone had cut off my legs, I would continue to disabled, the abuse perpetrated against me means I am likely to have debilitating episodes for the rest of my life, and telling the world that is okay. It doesn’t reduce me, it doesn’t define me, but it is who I am. And that’s okay.