Falling Through the Cracks


Three’s a lot of data/support out there for abused spouses. I’m not.

There’s a lot of data/support out there for PTSD victims who’re vets. I’m not.

There’s a lot of data/support out there for children being abused. I’m not.

There’s a lot of PTSD studies for people who have PTSD and have never had a TBI (traumatic brain injury). I have.

There’s a lot of data/support for rape victims, but I was raped over 50 years ago.

And it goes on and on. I don’t fit.

I’m not being stalked or abused by my husband. My abuse happened when I was a kid. I’m not a vet and have never been to war. I have PTSD but I grew up with it and so many of the issues related to dealing with it I’ve done, decades ago.

I AM the walking wounded, but I’m functional. I DO hurt from PTSD, but I learned long ago to mostly set it aside. I DO have repercussions from being raped when I was a teenager.

I keep coming back to this. For those of us who’ve learned to cope with (whatever) it is in many ways the worst possible scenario. We cope, mostly. So others don’t understand when or where we can’t. (Their coping mechanisms don’t work all the time, why should mine?) And, there’s next to no support available for those of us who’ve managed to not become so debilitated we’re institutionalized, whether in a hospital or a jail or ?

I didn’t become a homicidal maniac, have multiple marriages, get addicted to something, have fits of rage or pain, or . . . . Somehow the fact that I refuse to apologize, ignore or “forget” the PTSD as a MAJOR part of my life means that I’m less.

I guess it’s that I make others uncomfortable. Long ago I got that I was wounded, and would always be such. People who say things like, “Well, you don’t have to dwell on it.” or “Just give it to God.” or “You can be happy if you try.” or a 1,000 different variations of those are actually reacting out of their own discomfort. They want the world to be a happy place or at least don’t want to deal with the pain I carry.

Somehow I come out of these encounters, whether they are with my oldest friends or someone I just met, feeling like I’ve just admitted that I’m “less” because the wounding still matters and I talk about it. Part of that is social stigma, yes. Part of it is the abuse/brainwashing, “No one of any value will want to have anything to do with you.” my abuser says in my head.

I’ve been battering at that wall my whole life. When I was a kid it was because I was hurting so badly I needed a vent, any vent, or I might just have gone off the deep end. When I became an adult the wounding was/is such a large part of my life that to deny it is to deny a fundamentally HUGE piece of who I am, because it’s wounded. (I don’t remember more than a few days, maybe 3, before I started hurting.)

That’s like asking a paraplegic to not ever talk about how they lost the limb, the pain associated with it, the training they had to do to learn to cope, learning to use the crutch/chair they use or even admitting that they’re in a wheelchair. But maybe that’s an idea?

Maybe I should go find out how folks who lose limbs, etc. deal with the lack of real empathy around them. Still it’s different, but maybe there’s something I can use there.

I don’t know.

Why should it matter if my wheelchair is invisible?

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