I cried when I read the pychologists report which said; Ms Cheyne clearly satisfies the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Ms Cheyne’s symptomology is highly unlikely to resolve without extensive psychotherapy over a number of years. Ms Cheyne is an excelent candidate for therapy. Nevertheless, even with intensive therapy she will continue to experience some degree of symptomology throught her life. ” To me this felt like a life sentance. My life living with these sypmtoms was not a life that I wanted.
However, along with feeling hopeless something woke up inside me. I knew what I was expeiencing was what I called rape aftermath. Before the horendous experience my son and I had been through, I was your adverage,dsyfunctional, functioning mother and woman.
I agreed with some of the symptoms listed that made up the diagnosis.However, I could also add to the list.P.T.S.D originates from Shell Shock. This was the diagnosis given to soldiers returing from war. This diagnosis intiled them to insurance and some form of treatment in the U.S.A. There are connections to rape aftermath but also differences.
Rape aftermath carries a social stigma. No Anzac days, no hero’s welcome. The comparison I found was to Vietnam soldiers. They still struggle today, to be regonised. A woman who has been raped lives with shame,quilt,silence and many other unique symptoms. I was told by someone the pack rape that I experience, had something to do with my life style. I found some family and friends withdrew from me. I experienced a lot of alienation. Now given a mental illness, I had a double barrelled stigma to carry. My sufferring was even used against me in the family court. During that time, I feared losing the care of my children.
I experienced a lot of pain, anger, at times suicidal thoughts and other symptoms that were very hard to live with. The opinion that I might not be fit to parent my children was awful. I know they suffered at times from the aftermath I was experiencing and my son had his own aftermath. There was little help or understanding.
However, I was doing Women’s Studies and my feminist understanding was growing along with my determination to recover and prove “them” wrong. When I was twelve a teacher told me I was a determined little girl but he was a determined man, so he said. We were locked in a battle of wills. There was always a core inside me that knew the truth and could could stand firm and never give up.
I was in recovery from a severe attack on my person and spirit which had triggered other trauma stories I carried silently inside me.It was this knowing that sent me on a search for inner peace. In 2000 I found it, this was a year I hit rock bottom for many reasons.However, I have had no symptoms for sixteen years. I now frame the trauma’s in my past as part of my personal, rich, tapesty , this is a part of who I am.
I am a human being and life brings change this is not always comfortable and can be confronting. I had burried past traumas’ very deeply, they continue to surface at times. However, I am aware, I even welcome them, so I can let them go and grow. I recieve them as compost which feeds my inner peace my compassion.
I found Aikido, I found N.L.P./ self hypnosis, meditation, gardening all ways that help me return to my center. I live with my flight/fight response reset like a perfectly tuned smoke alarm. Only there when needed, not going off when the toast is burning. My relaxation reponse is alive and well.
I understand that human beings have a knowing deep inside them, a knowing which is their own personal, pathway, to inner peace.This pathway takes some training but it takes one to full awareness which continues to grow and enhance inner peace.