Living With PTSD: Three Biggest Fears - Part 2
The second fear I want to delve into is intimacy. Something I learned over the past year in therapy is that babies subconsciously develop an emotional attachment with their caregivers. Based on what I’ve learned, this is something that happens automatically and can’t be stopped. As sad as it is to say, this emotional bond can be severed. For me, it was when my parents started making those types of comments and expressing their views. I don’t remember the exact age it was when this began to happen but I do remember in 2nd grade was when I began to act out in school and started to have other behavioral problems so I believe it was around then. When an emotional bond like that is severed with the people you expected to give you security and emotional affection, it can be very traumatic and cause a lot of problems.
When that bond was severed, I subconsciously put up extremely thick walls around myself. Most of my youth and teenage years, I was fascinated on how easily other people made friends and I had no understanding of why it was so hard for me. I couldn’t have articulated this back then but now I realize that I was intentionally keeping other people at a distance because I thought anyone that would get close to me would put me through that devastating pain and I couldn’t go through that again. To this day, I still get a little apprehensive when opening up to friends and it can still be difficult to let my guard down completely. I still think of what bad things could happen but thanks to multiple friends of mine that have been very patient and understanding with me, intimacy is not as terrifying and impossible as it used to be.
The third and final fear I want to delve into is healing. Earlier this year, for the first time, at age 25, I started seeing a therapist that specialized in deep rooted trauma. Having spent more than 15 years in confusion, invalidation, solitude and turmoil, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. My therapist helped me learn that the only way to heal is to think directly about the things that traumatized me and caused me pain, acknowledge the feelings that go along with them and establishing them as things of the past. This. Is. Petrifying. Not only it is dreadful digging up old wounds, it’s horrifying just to think about changing the feelings that I’ve lived with for well over a decade.
Change is uncomfortable and can be terrifying even if it is for the good. Becoming and getting used to something unfamiliar is a daunting task. This can even tie into my previous fear, intimacy. Allowing myself to be vulnerable and open up to other people to good results is still terrifying because even though it’s causing improvements in my life, it’s not what I’m used to. The transition is just as uneasy as moving or changing jobs would be.
I probably couldn’t have articulated any of this before the past year nor did I have the strength to face any of these 3 fears. The therapist I’ve been seeing for 9 months has helped me find things within myself I didn’t know I was capable of. But facing my fears and being able to talk about them has given me the ability to make these positive changes and overcome the fears that have haunted me for so long. To an extent, I’m still scared of these 3 things but thanks to my therapist, my friends, and myself, they don’t control me the way they used to.
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