The words that people have said to me hurt and continue to affect me, some years after they had been said. They are like scars that seem to never heal. This one person, who also shared some of these scarring comments, was also abusive towards me. Add both together led me to needing trauma therapy and I was told I matched the condition C-PTSD. C-PTSD stands for Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it often develops after experiencing traumatic events. In my case, having faced abuse.
The struggle even today, is still real. I want to give an example where I felt I couldn’t live my life because of this person’s words.
There is a place (a town I won’t name), where this person lives/lived. Although I can go to that place, I’m accompanied with symptoms such as flashbacks, severe anxiety/panic attacks, and the fear of wanting to run away. Because of my fear, I’ve struggled to visit this place in a very long time. But back in July, I was taken to this area by someone I know, just simply to pick someone up.
We weren’t staying in this area, and I was in a car. But as soon as I saw a sign with the place name, I was blinded by flashbacks, having severe panic attacks/anxiety, hearing voices, feeling sick and more. The closer and closer we got to the centre to this town, the worse my mental health got, and I was slowly shuffling down in my seat, hiding out of the way of the window whilst trying to make it not seem obvious to others in the vehicle. I tried my trauma therapy taught techniques, but they didn’t work that time round. In the end, I felt like I was laying down in this car. In my head I was waiting for this person to chase me down.
When we finally started leaving the town, I slowly felt myself sitting back up in the car seat. I wiped my tears (trying to keep my emotions secret to others in the car) and tried to do my techniques again. This time they worked, even though slowly. For the rest of the journey, I was still a bit tense.
Finally, we arrived at the final location we were meant to go to. I saw some people I knew, and without them knowing about my situation, they kept me calm. Their kindness meant a lot to me that day. It took me out of the hole I felt like I was in.
When I saw my partner, I told him about my day. He hugged me and even congratulating me for managing to go all the way to the “scary town.” And we celebrated because I achieved something massive! This trip doesn’t mean I’m “cured” of going to that town again. I’m still extremely anxious about the thought of that town, and this person’s comments still haunt me now.
But I’m proud of myself for going to the scary town. Proud that on this occasion, that this person’s comments didn’t stop me from going out.
My message to you is this - remember to be kind both in actions and in words. Because words and actions really do impact people, even after all this time. So please think about what you say or do before you act on it.