“You think you’re so f*****g hard done to. Only soldiers get PTSD – “Shell shock” ?! Attention seeking slut.”

THAT quote was my good morning email by some delightful anonymous stranger.
I snorted. I could have probably felt anger but in all honesty, I’d only just woken up, and had a face full of pollen already…and quite frankly didn’t have the energy to get angry at some ignorant stranger. The sun is shining, and I had a cup of tea calling to me. Life is good.

No…I just snorted. Read the message again, shook my head exasperatedly, and thought that it was probably high-time his mummy changed his nappy, because he’d evidently been toddling around throwing tantrums for too long.

But anyway. Dear Mr Delightfully Ignorant Person (Mr DIP. Let’s nickname him ‘Dippy’) thank you for providing me with an area of discussion for today. I hope it enlightens you further, and if you care to respond…please try not to swear. It’s unnecessary and if it’s supposed to intimidate or show aggression, it doesn’t. You sound about 3.

But anyway! As I say, *thank you* for providing me an area for discussion. I am really, so so grateful.

*clears throat*
Can only soldiers from war experience PTSD?
Well. Let’s look at what wars involve, shall we?

A typical soldier at war will experience fear, stress, tension. Injuries. Fighting against an enemy. Having to learn very fast how to adapt to frightening and intense situations. Fighting for what they believe is right. May well cry at night-time. Dreams of another world where there is no fear and hurt. Is brave. Is strong. Is courageous. Understands the complexities of life. Compassionate to their friends’ needs. Doesn’t know if they’ll survive the next day.

A typical abuse victim will experience fear, stress, tension. Injuries. Fighting against an enemy. Having to learn very fast how to adapt to frightening and intense situations. Fighting for what they believe is right. May well cry at night-time. Dreams of another world where there is no fear and hurt. Is brave. Is strong. Is courageous. Understands the complexities of life. Compassionate to their friends’ needs. Doesn’t know if they’ll survive the next day.

Are we aware, therefore, that the two above scenarios are at face-value very similar? (The same). Without the ins and outs of what each scenario involves, the basic principles are there.

I was abused my entire life. I was beaten, raped, tortured. I had to keep fighting for what was right. I repeatedly watched my whole world destroyed in half a second in front of me. I often didn’t know if I’d make it through the next day; would my body simply just give up? I experience nightmares and flashbacks. Loud noises frighten me. Quiet noises with no explanation frighten me. I repeatedly have to remind myself that my friends are not children (actually most are older than me) and that it is not my duty to lay my life on the line for their every moment, and that actually as adults they are more able to protect themselves. I’m not used to this. I’m used to being the one protecting the younger and more vulnerables ones. I don’t understand this world. I often dreamt of this world but it’s so alien to me that I don’t understand it, and as much as I despise my past, I felt more sure of myself there. I know extreme pain, and extreme horror, and just had to keep fighting.

That, to me, was war. My own war. With many many different battles going on throughout it. There were two sides: the victims and the abusers.

So, my good friend Mr DIP. No I’m not a soldier (although did used to want to join the army as an army nurse, who knew?!) and no I haven’t served in Iraq or any other war ground. I absolutely completely admire the soldiers that go to war; they are my biggest role models because I watch their courage and strength, and remember what mental stamina it takes to stay so strong and brave. I watch them fight for what is right, even when the odds are stacked against them, and then I watch them re-adjust to normal life. They are truly inspirational.

But I was a soldier in my own right. Like normal soldiers, I have done stuff I’m not proud of, and seen unimaginable horrors. Unlike some soldiers, I had zero say in the situation I was in, (didn’t join “Abuse victim” as a job) and just had to make the best of it.

So..no, I don’t think I’m so hard done to. At all, actually. There are people currently going through far worse than I ever have done. And it was all I knew anyway. I never try to, or wish to, compare my life to those around me – everyone’s life is so unique, and what throws one person is the starting block for another. It was just my world, and that’s the simple truth.

But I do have PTSD, just like many soldiers sadly do. If you’d like further information on how this is possible in people other than just soldiers, please read more on the following website: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/pages/introduction.aspx

Again, thank you. And good day.

J

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