Too often I was told how I should feel, how long I should hurt, and ridiculed if I cried. I learned to stuff how I felt, no longer acknowledged my pain, and didn’t cry. I was emotionally self destructing. I spent 3 years almost completely bed ridden. I could be up about 20 minutes a day. My life was totally out of control. We moved around a lot and my DH worked on the road. I didn’t have anyone to turn to. My life totally spiraled down to a dark space that I didn’t understand and didn’t know how to get out. I was told I was being difficult and unreasonable. I started to fight for my life a bit at a time.
“I want to make it clear that you cannot define pain by time, or what happened, it’s how the experience affects the person. It’s how it impacted them. Whether you’re held captive for four days or abused by somebody you love for years, or molested for 15 seconds on a bus, it’s your experience and your pain that defines it, not the length of time and not what actually occurred.”
~ Alicia Kozakiewicz
I finally started counseling 15 years later. The load of relief I felt the first time my counselor told me, “I believe you.” I spent 7 years talking to this counselor once or twice a week. I started out not remembering anything before high school and not much during high school. I joked that my memory was like a sieve….nothing stayed in. When I started remembering, I thought they were just horrific nightmares. I tumbled into a new kind of hell when I realized those nightmares were memories from events in my childhood. Having someone believe me, believe what I remembered, didn’t tell me how to feel, allowed me to cry was difficult and amazing all at the same time. He let me own how I felt. I found a mentor that helped me learn about setting boundaries, speaking my truth, and generally taught me to live. I am thankful and feel blessed that I found a counselor that understands PTSD. He knew what I needed to do which was tear out everything I learned as a child and rebuild my life foundation. I compared this process to changing a car engine while driving on a free way. Counseling changed my life for the better. He started by letting me share my pain, my memories, and my experience without telling me what I should feel.