I began psychotherapy when I was twenty-three years and have had a number of other treatments for dissociative disorder and PTSD including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, Neuro-feedback through an EEG, childhood regression therapy, CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, DBT: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy plus mindfulness and other bits and pieces of schematic therapy over the years) So I definitely had all the odds against me but held onto hope.
In 2014 when I got clean after two years in the addiction game I hit the ground running determined to clean my life up prior to pregnancy and do whatever I could to be a good enough parent. In my previous career life I had cared for my mother and other family members twelve years prior to meeting my then fiancé at 28 years old and I was determined not to go back to a lifestyle that served me no purpose.
I spent one of the best Christmases and my 30th birthday in a ten week rehabilitation facility in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. There I was stretched like never before and learnt about myself in ways that I hadn't had the opportunity to learn outside the four walls of a therapy room. I had no idea what a value system was and I was explained that for the first time in a way that I understood. I was in a safe enough place to finally see my defects and accept that my overtones of niceness were excessively damaging me, rather than helping me (I felt I had no back bone nor skill set to set my own boundaries or to protect my myself). Essentially my niceness was a form of manipulation in order to mostly protect myself from daily beatings for what ended up being twenty-four years of family domestic violence. My entire sense of agency nor identity had never been created as an adult. As far as I was concerned, I was still a little girl in an adult's body.
I never fit in with the kids at school. Since having been abused from the age of two and packing on the weight at six to protect myself from the hordes of sexual and physical abuse (because I knew I was a "pretty little girl"), putting on weight was a protection mechanism as much as it was an addiction to food. Food also gave me a sense of comfort. I had no friends, battled with depression and various co-morbid disorders as a child, food felt comforting. Coupled with growing up in an ethnic family where my grandparents who migrated to Australia after having been prisoners of war, I was born into a traumatized family of three generations. Seeing abuse was the norm. Looking back my Babba (nana) was the only one that tried her best as she understood, to protect me the best way she knew how.
Babba would stock up on food for fear that we would not have any. Carbohydrates were a huge part of our staple diet. Basically anything she could store for extended periods of time whilst living off the land they bought in the 50's in the west of Sydney. This was a set up for obesity and essentially long-term doom in combination with the abuse I was enduring in such a patriarchy household.
Fast forward to turning thirty I experienced a pinnacle point in my life. It was the first time I realized I had control over my thoughts, my desires, my decisions and my life. I had been out of family domestic violence for four years by then but went straight into the old familiar domestic violence partner relationships. I honestly knew no other way than my survival instincts and had no concept of what it meant to being treated well.
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