Thursday, April 3, 2014

Not All People Heal Like You

I've started this particular blog post several times. I've wondered what it'd do to my career or what it would do to my personal life. However, I just read a blog that made me so angry. I will not call out names, I don't much care to start web drama; plus, I respect the person who wrote it. I just disagree. Sort of.

Her rant was about how "awareness" campaigns where people attempt to garnish attention for causes are stupid and that apparently we already know about them plenty. She said that people posting about how hard it is to [insert dealing with a specific diagnosis here] are not heroes. Well... I beg to differ. Hardly enough people know about my kind of disorder or all the things that people with different disorders suffer. Also, I think the attitude of her kind of post is what makes me so afraid to say what I've always wanted to say.

The "Post" I've Been Afraid to Post
I was raised by a very strong mother, controlling, but strong. She surrounded herself with strong women. These women were so strong it seemed they were more like steel, cut with edges that you didn't want to come too close to for fear of being sliced in two. I was pinballed around by these women, never quite getting a hang of their language, but adapting their mannerisms with near perfection. I was taught to own up and take responsibility of all my actions. To my detriment, at first I didn't take responsibility. Then finally, also to my own detriment, I did.

I was "rebellious" and "bossy."
I had "an attitude."
I was manic depressive, I was borderline personality disorder, I was "difficult."
I was labeled.
I was none of these things.

After years of being told how I was not forming the way I should, how I was failing as an adult (18 is a fully prepared for the world adult, right?), I started to chastise myself for my "rebellious" ways. I thought that the way to "fix" me was by owning up to every mistake I ever made. I took everything I did and tore it apart looking for a way to do better, to be better, to be more acceptable. Acceptable was just something I never really achieved, and now I was seeking it with a vengeance.

But, in taking responsibility for all the things I did wrong, I also started taking responsibility for things that were not my fault. Things like being abused as a child. I literally had an adult tell me when I was a child of 9 that I "should have known better." The abuse was not my fault. Also, my mother's controlling nature, which is entirely contradictory to a person with PTSD's issues, was not my fault.

Did I forget to mention I have PTSD?

And herein lies the rub. I am still met with these strong people (like the one who posted the blog that got me to writing this) who say I have to take responsibility for my actions. They're the people who say "the past is the past," "I was abused, but you don't see me [insert some socially unacceptable behavior]", or "I have [insert another issue/disorder] but you don't see me using it as an excuse."

All I really want to do is say, "Congratu-fucking-lations! Aren't you just amazing? No, really, good for you." Seriously, whatever works for them is great, but please for the love of all things holy, not all people heal like you. 

The world is so full of people lacking compassion, and in all honesty, I'm pretty sure that no amount of therapy will completely heal the hurts I've faced. Because of this, I am openly admitting that I want what some people label "special treatment" for my disorder... I call it grace.
IS THAT SO TERRIBLE? How does that make me a lesser person because I admit that there are areas where I need more grace because I haven't figured out how to navigate that without somehow screwing it up?

I don't want to wear the label "I have PTSD" on my forehead, but on the same hand, I think it'd probably be awfully helpful when trying to explain to someone why it takes a lot of work on my part to ride in the passenger seat with pretty much anyone other than my significant other (who I've been with for 8 years). I usually refuse. Or how about how I don't pick up on social cues or fit in with normal society because I have a habit of saying things that make others uncomfortable? Or how about how paranoid I get after I see someone because I don't know if I did something wrong?

Some might say it's not the PTSD. I'll tell you what is then: the anxiety, the nervousness, the paranoia. These things all make me react a specific way. I have a tendency to want to control situations. Remember the "rebellious" child from above? That was me trying to take control of my situation because I had been robbed of control and was desperately seeking it back. I still seek it. I'm controlling because I am seeking safety. I highly doubt everyone knows about that. I don't think it hurts to continue awareness campaigns. Hell, if more people were aware of PTSD, especially the fact that it doesn't just come from battle situations, then my life would be easier. I wouldn't be so embarrassed by it. I wouldn't feel like I was having to explain my issues so much.
Maybe, I'd feel like -- for once -- it was okay to heal in my time, not in theirs.

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