Everyone has fears. That’s part of being human. Some people’s fear may seem more extreme or irrational to others. A point could be made that our fears stem from past experiences. People with more intense experiences in their past could have fears that don’t make sense to people who haven’t has as much to deal with in their lives. As someone who has lived with PTSD since being a young kid, I’ve dealt with fears that have caused me to be misunderstood and ridiculed by people who, we could just say, don’t have PTSD. I’ve spent a lot of time dwelling on my biggest fears and how to overcome them.
I’ve recently learned that the only way to overcome these fears is dealing with the incidents that caused them. I’ve also learned that for me, talking openly is an effective way of keeping your fears from having any more power over you than they need to. So I’m going to delve into my biggest fears that I have as someone living with PTSD and they are all things that contributed to my PTSD. They are homophobia, intimacy and healing.
The first fear I want to delve into, homophobia, is definitely something that, for me, stems from past experience. Being born and growing up gay in an intensely strict Catholic household is not an ideal situation for anyone. Not only did my parents explicitly state that homosexuality was wrong and immoral on multiple occasions, it was evident how disgusted they were homosexual people. I constantly had to bite my tongue when they made condescending comments about people who “play for the other team” and how they are disordered. These comments even went to the extent of “the day you turn out to be gay is the day I disown you.” I also remember thinking no one would want to hug or touch me if they knew I was gay although I don’t remember the specific comment that made me think that.
Their comments and perspectives not only took away the freedom for me to accept myself but also made me believe I couldn’t possibly be loved for who I really was. These viewpoints were much more prevalent in my dad which had a severe impact on my ability to relate to guys. Growing up, it was always easier for me to make friends with girls because I thought all guys would view a gay guy similarly to the way my dad did. I’m 25 now and with my new therapist, I’ve been talking about these things and not only has he been shocked, I remember him telling me “Guys who are comfortable in their own skin won’t have a problem with it.” I found that statement to be MIND-BLOWING. At first, I thought it was great news realizing that I wouldn’t have to be so cautious with guys. However, I was saddened to realize I had spent 15 plus years thinking and fearing something I didn’t need to be all because of some unhealthy attitudes from a person who didn’t truly understand the nature of a homosexual human being.
Homophobia definitely still exists and I still struggle with doubt and fear regarding friendships with males but thanks to a few good and loving male friends, I have made a lot of progress with this fear.
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