Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is something that many people have heard of but most do not understand it. It is a past traumatic event that can affect a personÂ’s day to day life.
Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is something that many people have heard of but most do not understand it. It is a past traumatic event that can affect a person’s day to day life. Parts of it are dormant and are only triggered by a sound, a touch, or a smell. Other parts of it live on with everything you do.
I suffer from PTSD. It has caused me to put up a big wall and isolate myself and my emotions as best as I can. It has caused me to drink excessively at a young age. So much that if I did need help my family and friends would not know what to do or how to help.
Unlike most woman sex is not an emotional connection from me. It is a way to relieve some stress and enjoy the physical touch of another person. Sex is something that I have to control. Relationships are open with the understanding of no strings attached, no commitment, straight forward and direct communications. This person has to be able to communicate and accept the honest truth “don’t ask the question if you do not want to hear the answer”. What I can never seem to find is the one person who understands and has the ability to protect me.
What has been a sore spot for me is when something touches the front of my neck. I don’t want to be touched there by a person or an article of clothing or I loose it; I am uncomfortable, and at times the tears will flow and it is not something that I can immediately explain. I get very quiet and with drawn. I internalize but still function if there are people present because I do not want them to see my fear, my anxiety or my weakness. I don’t like for people to play with knives, switch blades around me. This is something that I respond to immediately with some of the same emotions as when something touches my neck. Anyone watching me for the first time will immediately see the fear with in my eyes and the way I won’t take my eyes off the knife, even after it is put away, my eyes never leave that location.
I am usually pretty good at deciphering the PTSD when it hits me but this last few times it has hit me hard and I have not been able to get past one episode before another one comes on. I was in a car accident in April 2007 I was transported to the hospital by ambulance and they had to put a neck collar on me. While the EMT’s were talking to me I was able to focus. But as soon as it got quiet and the ambulance started moving the tears just began to flow, I started to hyperventilate and wanted the collar off so fast. The EMT noticed my distress and thought it was from the car accident. I told him the collar was triggering some past trauma. He talked to me the whole way and guided my breathing. Once we arrived at the hospital I was on my own again.
The nurse and the doctors were not as supportive as the EMT. The doctor did get the collar off as soon as possible, but it did not calm me any time soon. I text my sister and told her what was going on. Not that she could do anything but maybe come keep me company at the hospital. It was like my telling her meant nothing because for her to consider that I may have wanted her company would have been like her performing brain surgery, she didn’t even offer. So, I did what I always do, I got threw it on my own. I was glad I just left work because I had my MP3 player on me, and we all know music can be a great distraction and comfort.
Now I am back to the slightest touch to my neck makes me uncomfortable, even the simplest t-shirt causes me to feel uneasy. The trauma, work, my kids, my mother, volunteering at the school, the finances and a new tenants/no tenants have me stressed. Not to mention the tension that goes along with my kid’s father.
My troubles began at age 9 with the boy down stairs. At first it was innocent curiosity, but he was 2 years my junior, and after a while there was not stopping him. He was my best friend and we hung together all the time. My grandmother did not like or trust him, she knew what was going on. It was touching and exploring and then it turned into him coming to my bed when I would stay the night with his sister. He would grab my breast when no one was looking, reaching under my pajamas when we were playing video games. School vacations became a drag because he would pin me up against the wall, the couch or pull me into a room so our sisters could not see us. Good thing they were busy bodies and we were never alone long enough.
He never penetrated me, I had thick thighs and he didn’t realize that he was not in the right spot. Fear of being caught also made it possible for me to manipulate the situation, I would kick which ever sibling was sleeping next to me, although I knew it would not wake them they would stir and he would get up and leave. I finally got the courage after years of trying to protect my virginity. On morning during school Vacation I was doing the dishes when he came up behind me and grabbed my breast with both hands. I had enough I pulled a knife out of the sink and told him “don’t ever touch me again.” I began to avoid him after that and made excuses why I didn’t want to stay the night down stairs any more. I even spent the whole summer at my grandmothers. I am not 100% sure but I believe this is when I started drinking and put it all out of my mind.
Until my first boyfriend came along, around the 8th grade, things were good and I was a budding teenager. I was more curious and he came to the house one after noon. When he touched my breast from behind I freaked out. I was shaking and crying. I was shocked and scared and did not know why right away. Then it hit me. All I could see and feel was the boy downstairs hands all over me. I explained the situation to my boyfriend and he seemed to understand. I thought this conversation was between us. I trusted yet another male.
The next day in school there were the general whispers and gossip but I didn’t think anything of it. I was still getting over the emotional tortures of the day before and trying to erase the experiences with that boy from my head again. That did not happen, I was forced to discuss it and bring it out into the open, because when I got home that day. My mother and his mother were in the back bed room, they had been crying, Women! A rumor spread around the school that the boy down stairs raped me and his sister goes to the school with me heard this and told her mother. I had to come clean. I told my mother that I put it all behind me and was moving on but that was not enough for her.
The hardest part with all this was when we went out to speak with my father; he was unemotional and did not say anything. I felt so small that night and pushed away. Did I do something wrong? Why wasn’t my father protecting me. He did not get angry. He just sat in his recliner and continued watching TV. I had therapy for a few sessions but I did not like the lady and felt there was really nothing for me to talk about. I ended it.
This was junior High and I was already going through enough with the jealous girls, friends coming and going and then there was the drama with my parents. Good thing my father was a drinker and liked to show off for his friends, family and acquaintances because there was beer and alcohol no matter where I turned. My best friend and I could manipulate most of the guys and of course a cousin of mine to get us what we wanted. A shot of vodka and a beer was how my 8th grade days went. Then I was introduced to marijuana – a “shot gun” was my first attempt at smoking, and I liked it. I built up a tolerance for the alcohol quickly, considering I always took a sip of my father’s when ever I mixed a drink for him. But the alcohol and the weed whoa that hit me good one day that I feel asleep as soon as I got to school.
But, I was a “good kid” so my teacher believed I was sick and when I was ready to go home there were no questions asked and a bus was called to take me to my grandmothers. I slept off my hang over and then went and started it all over again. If you ever seen me with a bottle of Pepsi best believe it was loaded with Vodka. No one in my house knew and not even my grandmother, I had enough to keep away the pain. I was loved by every one in the neighborhood and I still wasn’t putting myself out there. At that age the thing to do was “hump” although some of my friends and girls in the neighborhood were not virgins I was not ready.
Mat would have been my first. He was older. My first real love, we became “secret lovers” even though we were not having sex. Hell, it hurt when we tried and I was so scared that we would get caught. My girl’s father was ruthless and he would have hurt Matt. My father, please to me he was no existent because he was never there for me. I didn’t feel protected by him, I felt enslaved. It was always his way or no way. He started noticing his alcohol was missing but there was my older brother and the boy down stairs so I was not suspected as the drinker.
I continued drinking 9th, 10th and 11th grade. I was in High school and still a “good kid” I got my work done and did not cause problems. I was shy yet direct if you can make any sense of that. I had crushes on guys but the ones I liked didn’t seem to give me the time of day because I was not going to give up my virginity. The guys that had crushes on me were not really in my sight, not attracted but were definitely friends, one of them is still around today. As I pass old class mates here and there I find those who were interested but said they were afraid to approach me. Funny, men still feel that way today. Any ways I had a few boyfriends but there was an older guy from college who came to urban scholars. We connected quickly and he was the one.
I talked to my mother about sex and that I was ready and she was very open and took me to get the pill. Now of course she didn’t know when or where this was going to happen. Neither did I. It was suppose to be something special, because I wasn’t just jumping into it. I played hooky from school that day and he came to the house. He decided that he didn’t want to ruin me. I didn’t understand what he meant by that and I still am not sure to this day, because I gave it up to the next guy that came along. It’s not to say that this guy was a bad person or bad choice he just wasn’t my first choice. I was 17 when it happened. Yes, I played hooky and he came to my house. It got so that I couldn’t get enough. The drinking and no the physical touch of a man, I felt loved.
I thought live so many girls that he loves me because when it is all over he holds me and wrap his arms around me and sometime we sleep. As I got older I realized that it was a game and that the only reason they hold you is so you will have sex with them. Now, I can’t say every guy is like that but when you are young that is what it’s about. When you are a woman, you crave love. Especially, if you feel let down at home by the men in your life, from your father down to your brother, these are the men who are suppose to protect and love you. It got to a point were despite protection I thought I was pregnant a couple of times and looked forward to the prospect – a baby meant “unconditional love”. What I almost forgot was a baby meant great responsibility. I am grateful it did not happen while I was still in High School.
By my Junior year things were really a mess at home and I stayed out as late as I could and when I was home I was in my room Isolated. My best friend, for three years, was acting funny. My knew friend was cool but equally manipulative. Old friends became knew again. And my boyfriend was so fine, umm. For me he was all about the sex. I did want to hang out and do other thing but mostly we wanted to fuck. One day I gave his cousin a ride home and we all went into the house. That day we had sex in his cousin’s room with his cousin and my little sister there. We were in the dark and I did not think what this one experience would change.
I should have known because just speaking of sex and being experience had caused issues with a relative in the past. One day we were all at my house old and new friends, even the best friend A from 9th grade who had been acting funny. My boyfriend M came over and another cousin G, he introduced us. Well, my best friend A was going to her mothers in another town so the guys agreed to ride with us. We got my cousin to hook us up with a pack of coolers and we were off. Everything appeared to be cool. Well a few days later, I was going to see my boyfriend before I picked my brother up from work. M asked me to stop by G’s and pick something up. So I did. This cousin that I met before was there and asked if I could give him a ride home. I didn’t see a problem with it so I said sure. While we were driving he told me that M was going to meet up with a friend of mines and that he thought we should have sex. I told him that I wasn’t going to do that that if M was going to cheat on me that was his deal.
When we got to the house I pulled over and put the car in park so his cousin could get out. Again it was just me and his cousin and he reached over and turned the car off and ran off with my keys so fast. The only thing I could do was go get my keys. So I went to the back of the house where he left the door open. I made my way up to his room and he threw me on the bed. I pleaded and fought with him. He didn’t hit me put pinned me down. He then grabbed a knife from the floor and put it to my neck. The tears just streaked down my check and I begged him “if you are going to rape me can you put on a condom”. He said “don’t worry you won’t get pregnant, I’m fixed. I can’t have kids”. I said “I was not worried about being pregnant that I did not want to catch anything. The tears continued to roll down my face as he ripped my stockings and pulled at my underwear still with the knife to my neck. I asked again, “if you are going to rape me can you please put on a condom” I just kept saying it.
He wouldn’t put on a condom. He took the knife from my neck and pulled off his pants. I still repeated, “Please, can you put on a condom” as I tried to scoot up on the bed away from him. He put the knife back to my throat and proceeded to get on top of me. The tears continued. He looked my in the eyes and all of a sudden he lost his erection. Got up and threw my keys on the bed. I curled up afraid he was going to come back. After what felt like an hour which was only moments, I got up and left. I went to M’s house and went to the bathroom. I didn’t say anything to him. I asked him if he wanted to go for the ride to pick up my brother. When my brother came out to the car I told him what happened. My brother wanted to beat up my boyfriend as if it were his fault. My brother did not offer any real solace. He did not speak to anyone to figure out what he could do to help me. He didn’t say show me where he lives nor did he suggest we go to the police.
M was told but I don’t recall the conversation. What I recall are the phone calls after from the three of them making threats to kill my family if I spoke. Shango said he was already wanted for murder down south and it would not make any difference to him. I went to school after this. I was numb and distracted. My wrists hurt and there were black and blue marks. I was in chemistry with A. She sat right in front of me. She seen me rubbing my wrist and asked what was wrong. As I began to tell her what Shango said to me about a friend hooking up with my boyfriend? She admitted that she was going to met him that day after school. The tears streamed down my face and she said “see that is why I didn’t want to tell you.” I replied, “I was nearly raped because of you” and walked out of the class room.
Drinking was still an issue with me but my kid’s father came back into my life some time after. He was there when I graduated and we became a good couple, but he began to act jealous, possessive somewhat and did not trust me because of the way my girl was. So what if she fucked two of his friends that had nothing to do with me and who I was. I went away for the summer to work but I didn’t stay. I faked an anxiety attack and pretty much quit the first week because I didn’t trust being away from him. Especially, since I would be leaving for College in September. There were a lot of struggles between up and many times the attempted rape would come back and haunt me. I didn’t like anything against my neck and still don’t. My first semester away I got pregnant, because I came home every weekend, I told mom on her birthday November 24th 1992.
I promised to finish my education. I was successful in keeping that promise, but things were constantly on again and off again with me and my son’s father. Something began to die in me. I already had issues with trusting men and he started turning into someone I could not trust, but worse of it he tried to turn everything on me. I told him over and over again. “If you are going to cheat on me go ahead, if I don’t know about it, it won’t kill me but if I catch something from it, it just might” He was good to his son, but a family man he was not. He made excuses why he couldn’t cook, clean and many other things. It was over for a while but when my grandmother passed away it all changed for me. My son needed his father and I needed my best friend back. Although things were different I was willing, but he was manipulative and it was my mistake to think we could do this again.
I got pregnant with our daughter and there was a minute possibility that she was not his. It wasn’t until my daughter was a two years old that I allowed another man to come around my children. I decided if I was going to get involved with any man it would be on my terms and that is when I decided I would live with open relationships. No commitment and no strings attached. However, he had a 16 year old child who was as homeless as he was. Yeah, he had a place to stay his cousin’s couch. I took them into my home with the understanding that he could do who and what he wanted as long as he took care of home first. And he did. But he became attached to me and wanted to control things. He did not like the idea of me fucking other men. Yet, he was fucking other woman and lying about it. That was not a big issue. I was the big issue and with out communicating anything beyond the attachment and control I pushed him away.
He was too good to be true. He moved into my home and treated it like it was his home. There was nothing he would not do for me and my children. The house stayed clean, he cooked, and he pampered me. We took a family vacation. He reached out to my children and my family as if we belonged to him. He was the only true father in every sense of the word and I did not know how to embrace of except that. To me it was doomed from the start he would want what I couldn’t give or he would try to change me. I needed him to be at arms length. I needed this to fall into play naturally if it was to go any where. I put a second bed in my room and told him that was his bed and he could do what he wanted and could have company as long as the children were not around.
With all that said and done I sill did my thing. I was seeing someone from my job that came around often, but I was also seeing someone from the music studio. Now, just incase I didn’t say it before, due to the sexual abuse sex no longer became a committed act for me or an emotional connection. Sex was purely for my enjoyment and as a stress reliever. But nothing ever took place with out a condom. Any way this one night changed everything for the worse with me and Zae. I went out this night with Naz. I met him at a bar in Mattapan and we watched the red sox play, they lost. He came back to my place with me and I thought about bringing him into my room but Zae was sleeping and all of a sudden I didn’t want him there but I took him to the back room any how.
Again, not a great idea, yes it was the boys room but the bed was my old bed so having sex in the bed itself didn’t bother me. It was the fact that this guy thought I was going to cuddle with him and let him stay the night. And this was after he freaked of over sex, because he accidentally fucked me in the ass. I was annoyed and wanted him to leave and he just didn’t get the picture. I got Zae’s attention, he went to the bathroom next to the room and questioned if there was a problem. I was then able to convince Naz to leave. I showered and went to my room. Zae asked me if I was okay and I wasn’t I wanted Zae to hold me like he did so many nights before. I knew it was not fair to ask him this because he wanted me and I kept refusing him. I told him no and started to go to sleep. I recall the moaning and the feel good sensation and then I freaked, I awoke to Zae being inside of me and I yelled at him that he raped me. I went the bathroom and climbed over him and curled up in the corner.
The rest of that night my body layed in the corner and he laid there asleep. I watched this from outside my body. When his alarm went off everything was just like another day for him. I couldn’t understand what happened and why. I was beyond making any sense of it all. When my younger sister came to the house and mind you I don’t remember letting her in, but I remember looking at her, emotionless and told her Zae raped me, that I woke up with him inside of me. She did not say anything. My co-worker I was dating did not say anything; he stayed with me so I would not be alone with Zae. I didn’t know what to do but I wrote Zae and questioned it but there was not conversation. After a week he was getting out of my apartment, I convinced mom to let him rent out Al’s room. Then it went to him moving in with Al. Al knew nothing of what happened. It wasn’t until I told my kids father who was being civil for a change that more people was told, he told me to go to the police.
I did not want to and I dragged my feet. I was enraged and all I wanted to do was hit him again and again. I was angry because not only did he violate me but because he was gone. Every thing changed. Mom lost her job. Eventually I was fired from mine –that is another story. All the work we did on the apartment and no I had to move back upstairs because we needed the rental income. Which took my brother 2 years to fix up an apartment that had nothing wrong with it, there were two rooms left to do. Okay, the kid’s rooms had to be repainted because my sons were painted like a tree house and my daughter’s was purple.
Any how years have past. 2007 and my son is about to graduate. Lots of bullshit still going on with his father and lack of devotion to his kids, he is not working and is said to doing crack. During the years the kids would run into Zae but I guess he was really in the neighborhood because my sister came to me and asked can she ask him to be her daughter’s God father again. I didn’t care I got over it all for the most part. At least, that is what I thought until she told me what he said to my daughter, that he still loved her and would always be there for her. That hit me like a ton of bricks.