PTSD. It sucks. I mean, it really does. Last night, it decided to give a visit once again.
It doesn’t matter how long it is since the trauma happened, it comes back. It’s been 6 years since I escaped it, with Jack, and it was thanks to Jack that I did. For years I subjected myself to it, but I just couldn’t let it happen to him.
My ex-wife was an abuser. She was one of those ones that starts by isolating you from friends and family. Then she made me feel like I couldn’t survive without her (even though I was doing EVERYTHING to actually look after her, in reality, she couldn’t survive without me). Then she started on the bringing me down, the making me feel completely worthless crap. It just went on and on. Then, it became physical. I NEVER retaliated, because that’s how they really get you, you retaliate in self defence, and then get labelled the abuser, instead of the real abuser. I have plenty of physical scars. Loads of mental ones.
When Jack was on the way, it all stopped, and for the first 12 months after he was born, it was pretty good too. Then it all started, but not a gradual easing back into the abuse, it just happened one day, like a switch was flicked. Continual yelling at me for no reason, making me do everything and then telling me I did nothing. I would be up from 4.30am in the morning, doing washing, changing nappies, getting breakfast for everyone, folding washing once it was dry, making lunch for everyone, cleaning the house, making dinner, whilst changing ALL the nappies, bathing Jack, and eventually crashing in bed at 9 or 10 pm. Then I would hardly sleep because I was worried what she might do to me, or worse, Jack, in our sleep. This fear was warranted, as she had previously tried to suffocate me while I was a sleep, once with her hands, and once with a pillow.
Anyhow, we got away from that. But it visits from time to time. I can’t stand people yelling. It all comes back. Arguments do it too. Then I also get panic attacks, I’ve had a couple now, where it just feels like everything is too much and I feel like I am losing my mind. It usually happens in noisy, busy places, so I avoid places like that as much as possible.
Then, like last night, there are nightmares. Nightmares so vivid that quite often, once they wake me, I can’t go back to sleep. Jack gets them too. Jack’s are quite often things that he actually witnessed his mother do to me, which is so much fun to re-live when he tells me what happened in his bad dream. Mine tend to be a mix, some are just carbon copies of things I’ve tried to forget, some are based on my fears of what she might do if she ever got a chance to do it again.
It’s just a complete headache. You feel like you are doing well, you go months and months with nothing, then all of the sudden it starts up again. It stresses me out, which then has the flow on effect of flaring up my Fibromyalgia. It really sucks.
I guess this is one of the things people don’t talk about when it comes to the effects of Domestic Violence. It’s the aftermath, the things that are permanent damage. Physical scars, sure, they remain, but eventually fade. The emotional and mental stuff, the stuff people don’t usually talk about, is the real damage. It effects your health for the rest of your life. Even though the exact causes and mechanisms behind Fibromyalgia aren’t known, traumatic experiences are thought to be a major trigger to set the wheels in motion. Then you have the whole rebuilding of your confidence, and all the other associated stuff that comes from having yourself torn to pieces mentally. I also suffer from obesity and high blood pressure, both of which I didn’t suffer from before I met my ex. I used to run cross country, was an exponent of Judo, and a whole lot of other things that meant I was slim, muscular and healthy, I even used to border on having too low blood pressure. Now I am fat, flabby and am in a constant battle to keep my health.
I must just add here at this point, I am losing weight and working on the fitness, I have always eaten healthy, which is why it baffles me why I became so big, I mean, I was 165kg’s at my biggest, I am now significantly smaller than I was 3 years ago, but still have a bit to go. Put it this way, I can now go to a regular department store and buy clothes, before I had to go to the specialist “Big Men” stores to get anything to wear. As many big mean and women would know, there aren’t too many options in clothing when you are big. Now, I have a lot more freedom in clothing.
Talking about clothing, that’s one thing I noticed not long after I left my ex wife. Before I met her, I was colourful. I would deliberately find the brightest, most colourful clothing I could. When I left her, all my clothes were grey, black, brown and blue. All dark colours. They reflected the way I felt. As soon as I realised it was the case, I went out of the way to try and get a colourful wardrobe. These days, I refuse to buy anything unless totally necessary, in those dark, depressed colours.
Other things happened too. I was unable to watch anything I wanted to on TV, and forget about movies, from about the year 2002, until 2013, I pretty much missed anything that came out. She was paranoid that the people on TV could see her and knew what she was thinking. For the last 6 years I’ve been catching up on all the movies everyone raves about from that decade I lost. It’s quite strange turning on a TV and watching whatever the hell you want to.
I now read again, I used to be a veracious reader, but that too stopped. I stopped playing and writing music, something that was virtually my life before I met her. I played with numerous bands and did live gigs all the time, even playing with well know Australian bands and artists. I haven’t got back into the scene as I was before, and it is taking time for me to get back into the groove so to speak, when you haven’t played an instrument (or the 3 or 4 I did before I met the ex), for a while, it takes a lot to get back to the sort of condition you need to be in to get back into the music scene.
Well, I might leave this for now, I am tired, my son is tired and hassling me, and even though tomorrow is not such an early start, I need sleep. Goodnight.