…with or without a name. From the age of 5 to 45 I had no name for the physical, emotional, and spiritual response that I had to living. My nightmares were dismissed as childish. My memories disappeared completely by the time I was in high school. Physical symptoms were disregarded as ‘you’re a teenager,’ ‘you’re pregnant,’ ‘you’re nursing,’ ‘you’re exaggerating,’ or ‘you’re just over anxious.’ When the doctor told me after many tests that it was all in my head, I asked him, “If it is all in my head, why does my body hurt so much?” He didn’t have an answer for me. The first time I went for counseling was for marriage counseling. I had NO clue about any problems with me. I figured I just need to learn how to communicate. I became puzzled when the counselor started focusing on me during the sessions. Without memories, he had little to go on. He had me read books and tell him my reaction. The first book was A Child Called IT by Dave Pelzer. http://www.davepelzer.com/books/childcalledit.html This was just the beginning. 3 more books followed each one a more brutal example of human abuse. Each time I brought back the book and asked, “So bad things happen, what do you want me to learn from this?” The final book was Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. http://worldtracker.org/media/library/Psychology/Man%27s%20Search%20For%20Meaning%20-%20Viktor%20E.%20Frankl.pdf This time I said, “What do you want me to learn from this is NOT the right answer.” When I finally saw my diagnosis, I reread and reread the paper 10 times, trying to wrap my mind around the fact that this diagnosis was talking about me, PTSD with dissociation at a severe level. Armed with this information I started work on changing my world and changing how I lived.
The symptoms of PTSD can mascaraed as several different physical or emotional problems. An accurate diagnosis is vital for finding the best way to improve life responses. Unfortunately, for children there are so many things that can be misinterpreted. I recommend an ethical, knowledgeable counselor that understands the complexity of PTSD and will believe the child when they tell their truth. Rarely are children considered for PTSD since after all they are just children, what could possibly happen to a child? Unfortunately, the child doesn’t even understand the abuse they are suffering is anything but normal. Childhood abuse victims quite often never get help until they are adults. Just getting the proper diagnosis can be a daunting task. However, there is hope for healing. Many of the coping ideas will work for people that are not diagnosed with PTSD. Start with what helps.
A few links to check out: