Navigating life is hard. But navigating life as a 30-something divorcée, with general anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress, all while working a full time job, and trying to maintain a somewhat normal social life, during a global pandemic makes it a little bit harder.
I have spent the last two years trying to work through and get a better understanding of the traumas I endured, and better understand my anxiety disorder, and the effects of post-traumatic stress.
When I started my journey, my biggest issue was not knowing who to talk to. Who else could understand the manipulative and abusive tendencies of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)? Don’t get me wrong... I had an amazing support system behind me helping me along every step of the way. But what I was truly missing, was someone who had been through it, dealt with the trauma, and was able to come out the other side saying: “See! It does get better!”
Like I said, I had family and friends helping me every step of the way. They did as well as they could to try and understand the torment I went through, but unless you’ve been through it, you can only understand on a surface level. What I longed for was someone to talk to, that understood what it truly felt like to live and breathe it. Someone who did the work to deal with it, understand it, and could then look at life a little smarter, a little wiser, and see it as a blessing in disguise.
I found groups... Oh how I hoped I would find some peace of mind with those other ladies. We all had a common enemy, and in turn a common goal.
The enemy: the ex with NPD
The goal: heal from the trauma, move on and live our best lives.
What did I find?
A bunch of bitter women who praised each other, but spent more time complaining and bitching about the men who wronged them, rather than talking about what they were doing, and how they were doing in their process of healing.
I found those groups to be so negative... They fed off of the negativity. They hated their ex’s. Don’t get me wrong, I was unhappy that I had been through something so horrible, and I had a very deep seeded anger that I had to deal with. But I didn’t want to hate anyone. I didn’t want to be a negative person. I didn’t want to be angry anymore. It’s not in my nature to be that kind of person. So I left those groups. I left those angry women behind, and started on my own journey.
Oh. How did that go?
I ended up suppressing it. A common thing that I have done in my life when I don’t want to deal with the hard stuff. I had already suppressed it before, so why would it be any different now? I disassociated myself from my trauma... again.
Trauma is kind of funny in a way. You can suppress it as much as you want. But eventually its going to bubble to the surface. Then if you start to suppress more trauma on top of it ? Man, oh man, we’re talking Mount St. Helen’s type of eruption of emotion.
It was bad.
I’m a cryer. I cry at everything. Sappy song on the radio? Yup, I’m crying. Happy ending to a movie? I’m crying. Cute video of puppies finding a forever home after being abandoned on the side of the road? I’m crying. Someone hurts me or someone close to me? I’m crying.
You would think with all the crying I have done in my life, that I would be used to it by now. But when everything bubbled to the surface, and I erupted? It was years of suppressed sadness, depression and anger that came out. It was trauma I forgot about. It was recent trauma. It was grief of my failed marriage at the age of 30. It was grief of my failed relationship with someone I thought was going to be “the one” after the divorce. It was all the anxiety, negative self talk, self doubt, pain, anger, sadness, a cluster-fuck of emotions if you will, all flowing at once.
It was in that moment... the switch flipped.
I hated this. I never wanted to hate anyone, but I hated myself in that moment for allowing myself to get as bad as I did.
My unresolved trauma, came to the surface in anxiety, insomnia, and migraines. I was allowing my past to trigger my anxiety for no reason, which then caused me to be a rude and horrible person to anyone trying to help me. I allowed my anxiety and post-traumatic stress run my life. I allowed them to ruin my life.
I finally hit that rock bottom point: I can’t live like this anymore. I don’t want to live like this anymore.
That was that. From that moment on, I dove in head first to try and understand what trauma does to the brain, what manipulation, gaslighting, and verbal domestic abuse does to the brain. How can I heal myself from that? How can I retain my brain to not allow this to get that bad?
That is what this blog is going to talk about.
I have a chance to share my knowledge and my story, in hopes, that it will help at least one person see that there is a beautiful tomorrow at the end of everyday. In hopes that people can see that it is possible to live a happy life after trauma. I hope that one person finds this, reads it, and sees that, these things do not define you unless you allow them that power. I want to be that person that I hoped to find on my journey to at least one person.
Just to be clear: I am not a psychiatrist. I am not a psychologist, or a psychotherapist. I do not have a degree of any kind. I am a 31 year old woman who has been through the ringer, and come out the other side. I struggle on the daily to keep my mental health in check. I am just a young woman who has had a lot of life experience in my short amount of time on this planet.
So please, indulge me, and allow me to introduce myself.
Hi everyone. My name is Hillary, and I am a survivor of domestic violence.