I Am Worthy Of Healing, And So Are You!
by Kayla Mason
| PTSD: My Story Project #006
I’ve chosen to participate in the PTSD: My Story Project to spread awareness about complex PTSD and bring hope and inspiration to individuals dealing with PTSD daily.
It was as I sat in my new therapist’s office in 2019 when she first told me she believed that I had gone through a traumatic childhood and adolescence and suffered complex posttraumatic stress disorder (c-ptsd).
I struggled and resisted the idea that someone telling me that my childhood was traumatic and I had PTSD. I had and have an intense love for those in my family – I don’t want to think that my mom or anyone did anything bad to me on purpose. Plus, I had never heard about PTSD in a case other than veterans in the military.
Read also ‘Your Story Does Not Define You by Emily Natani‘
My therapist then explained more about generational trauma. Intergenerational trauma (sometimes referred to as trans- or multigenerational trauma) is defined as trauma that is passed down from those who directly experience an incident to subsequent generations.
Talking to my therapist about generational trauma and complex trauma allowed me to understand different parts of myself.
After working with this therapist for half of a year, we both decided that my progress had stalled and my alcohol intake was increasing steadily. I was transferred to work with the substance abuse team. Talking about my past traumas (emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect) in childhood and early adulthood ramped up my usage of substances, as I did not have the skills or understanding to cope.
Understanding the major events that lead me to where I am now is essential in my healing.
I remember being very functional in high school. I had an immense amount of pressure to get all A’s and be a perfect student, whatever that means. I know that the reason my mom put so much pressure on me was that she wanted me to have a good life – and this is the only way she knew how to push me to my full potential.
Sadly, that full potential had a lot of drawbacks. I was restricting my food intake, bingeing, and abusing laxatives. I was extremely insecure in my relationship with my boyfriend at the time. Because of my past abandonment issues, I always thought he would leave me for someone better. I wasn’t sleeping more than a few hours a night, and my relationship with my mom was terrible.
At the end of my relationship, three years later, when I was 20, my gut instinct was validated. He was with another woman the weekend after he abruptly left me. This action in itself validated all of the abused parts of me that believed no one could be trusted and no one would ever stay.
This breakup sparked many of my mental health conditions to come out of the woodwork. I was hospitalized in the summer of 2011 after having suicidal thoughts and plans. After this treatment, I would see therapists on and off but didn’t receive the treatment I should have. I wanted to pretend everything was fine – I didn’t need to address anything. That was too uncomfortable. So let’s just pretend.
Fast forward to 2018. My mom, who was a source of my emotional abuse and neglect as a child and who was a loving and caring parent, was sick.
She was always ill. That was how I knew her growing up. However, this time it was different, it was life or death. She had a stroke and had miraculously come out of it okay. So it seemed to be.
My family was at her side always during these few weeks in the hospital where she was ventilated. Unfortunately, when she was back to her old self, she wasn’t pleasant. She didn’t believe we were there for her. She fought with us. A lot of tears were shed.
Back then, I saw her behavior as her not caring for us and her being who she was. Now, I can see and understand what traumatic experience she went through, and like me, she did not have the skills to cope.
She slowly deteriorated from 2018 on. Putting her in assisted living and eventually, a nursing home was incredibly painful for all involved.
My mom died in April of 2020. I saw her slowly pass over a few days and saw her lifeless after she transitioned to another place.
Since then, I’ve been having PTSD nightmares during sleep and flashbacks during the day. In my dreams, mom is always dying or passed away. Interestingly, another subject of my dreams is my first breakup. It happens all over again. In my dreams, I am being ignored and replaced by all of those that I loved.
The theme here is hopelessness and helplessness. I am unable to change what happened, and it hurts me – I feel stuck. Each day I feel stuck, guilty, and fearful that another distressing or traumatic event will send me off the edge.
Yet – every day I am hopeful. How can I be hopeful you ask?
Through these two distressing and traumatic events, I have grown substantially as a woman, as a girlfriend, as a friend, and as a daughter.
I now know what I am dealing with (complex trauma) and what needs to be done to heal.
I now know that I am worth more than what I look like.
I now know that two things can be true at once.
I now know that I am resilient enough to fight future battles.
I now know that I am worthy of healing.
And so are you!
Kayla Mason is a mental health advocate and blogger who recently graduated with a Bachelor in Child Psychology degree from Bay Path University. She believes that through advocacy, connection, and education, we can grow together to achieve and maintain an understanding of mental health and its effect on society and individuals.
Read some more real-life stories from trauma survivors here: ‘PTSD: My Story Project‘.
Do you have experience with PTSD, or do you take care of / live with someone who has? Would you like to share your story in a guest blog post?
I’m not an expert or a health professional, so the aim of this project isn’t to offer professional advice. Neither is it to pity those who experience PTSD. That’s not what I want. My aim is to raise awareness of PTSD. By sharing your story, you can inspire and empower others. You can highlight the methods that helped you. This way, you can encourage others to reach out for help.
And it may help you as well. Perhaps it’s something you feel like you’re not able to talk about within your closest circle and would like to connect with others in a similar situation. It’s nothing more than bearing an untold story inside you. The fact is that our society still lacks an understanding of mental health. Therefore, I’ve decided to share my story and invite others to join me in this project and write a blog post about their experience. By working together, we can help destigmatise mental health problems and promote wellbeing.
To be featured
If you would like to join in and share your story on my blog but don’t have the experience of writing a blog post, this isn’t a problem. You can still contact me, and I’d be happy to assist you with the writing. And you can use a pseudonym if you wish to stay anonymous. You can share as much of your story as you want in a way you feel comfortable with.
The only thing I ask is that you mention ‘PTSD: My story project’ in your post and briefly state why you have chosen to take part in it. You will be allowed to approve the post before publishing it, should it be edited.Follow Journeyofsmiley on WordPress.com