There Is A Difference

ptsd-means-abuse-is-never-in-the-past

I get that everyone experiences fear
that everyone has nightmares
and that love is a risk for us all

But not everyone
lives constantly in fear
or has nightmares that are real
not everyone
from childhood
has been unloved
abandoned
and abused

There is a difference
between experiencing fear
from time to time
and being terrorized
in such a way that leaves you
living in continual fear

There is a difference
between having nightmares
and having to relive your own past
through your nightmares

There is a difference
between risking for love
and even losing in love
than having everyone
who should have loved you
risking you instead

There is a difference
between being afraid
and living in fear everyday

Don’t mistake
the smile on my face
the laugh
I laugh with you
for a life untortured

There is a reason
I wear this smile
and laugh with you

When I speak my truth
no one really understands
no one really hears me
no one really listens
or gets it
without comparing me
to everyone else
either minimizing my pain
or diminishing it

Why would I ever
risk my truth

When it is so hard to say
“I can’t get dressed
in the morning
I have no delight
in life
I struggle to find joy
in simple pleasures
and that
I punish myself
for all these things”

I fake it
I pretend
while I cry silently inside
tears you will never see
cries you will never hear

Because I knew
that you would never
truly understand

I hide
my deepest secrets
inside of me

My instincts were correct
I am all alone in the light of day
and throughout the dark of night

For, so far
everyone
has proven me right!

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13 thoughts on “There Is A Difference

  1. I can relate a lot to this. Childhood abuse doesn’t end with childhood, it has lifelong repercussions and while the abusers go their merry way looking for fresh excitement their child victims are often condemned to a lifetime of loneliness and mental health problems. Most people would react with horror at seeing an abused child in the news and would want to protect and support them but I don’t think people realise that a high proportion of adults with long term mental illness were abused or neglected in childhood and were never seen or protected as children.

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    1. And this is all very sad! We would have to not be human in order to go unaffected by abuse… and yet I think that is what we often try so hard to do. I don’t know how much this even contributes to our own confusion over how much we struggle. It is like losing a leg but trying to walk around as if it were still there… it doesn’t work.

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  2. I have now given up the struggle to be “normal” and I am much more contented. I have accepted that I was damaged by my experiences and some of that damage is permanent. I am looking now to my strengths and talents and the fact that my past makes me a better writer/photographer because I can use those to express myself.

    I think it’s ok to admit that we are hurt and need help but it’s a hard journey to reach that point and let go of trying to be what everyone else wants us to be.

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    1. It sounds like you have come a long way then. Trying not to be normal is an interesting concept because not feeling normal makes me hide. It is something to think about. Maybe what is hard for me is feeling as though I am expected to be normal when nothing feels normal. That is hard to shake.

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  3. The strongest thought or emotion I am feeling lately is that no one understands. Even I don’t understand myself sometimes because I’ve never felt feelings before. I find the most understanding here online. And that helps. But sometimes I wish I had it in real life in real face to face relationships. But then, I hide from the relationships too for fear of driving people away from the “drama” of it all so I create my own storm, I guess. Our fear is so real and so intense and for me feels never ending…even when I try to stuff it away and do “normal” it’s there and lurking beneath the surface. I hope this changes someday. Terror is the perfect description of these present experiences we are reliving. I believe it becomes terror because we can now understand the reality of what has happened. We have the wisdom and knowledge to know it wasn’t right. We didn’t have that insight and wisdom as children (and into adulthood). It was vile and oppressive and horrifying but we didn’t know how to understand that. So we feel vile and oppressed and horrified now as we go through it and reprocess it. I can so relate to the faking and pretending. I numb it all. I do that because I feel as you, who would understand? And I am ashamed and humiliated and feel damaged and broken. I have so many secrets hiding inside of me still. I want you to know though, that as you have shared, you have helped. You were the first person that put words to my experiences and I’m sure many others are benefitting from your story and sharing. Thank you for being vulnerable and being willing to put yourself out here. I understand you, I hear you, and am so thankful you speak.

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    1. I am beyond touched! Your words are so timely. I feel withdrawn and silent inside, and I don’t exactly know why. This all means a lot to me. I do understand everything that you shared here. I am sorry that you are struggling so much. Sometimes I wonder if you are struggling with a lot of confusion because you are still living in the abuse. You are very brave. I look back and think that the only way I survived was not seeing or admitting what was actually happening to me, to the point of losing my memories and pretending everything was good. I think I would have come completely undone if I had tried to face it while living it. I don’t think I could have done what you are trying to do. I don’t know if you can find clarity in the midst of what you are currently living. I say all of this to encourage you to not be too hard on yourself. You are still living in survival mode. And that means it may be impossible to face the depth of your reality. That is not a bad thing. It doesn’t make you crazy. It is called survival. It is what we all did to survive. I am not saying it won’t be painful if and when you can get free, I am just saying that your brain may then let you process it and face it. In some ways you are probably fighting against your own survival instincts. But YOU are NOT crazy. Thank you for sharing so openly and for your encouragement.

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