Have you ever passed through an unlit street in the middle of the night?
Remember how it felt?
If you have been in the same situation mentioned, then you certainly know what I am talking about.
Given the chance that there is another way that leads to the same direction, would it not be the sane thing to avoid the same path on your way?
This is how PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder feels like.
In a nutshell, it simply means not wanting to be in the same situation again because somehow, your safety was challenged in the past.
Feeling safe is a requirement for one to remain sane and capable of deciding on matters more effectively. Being safe feels like being inside a protective shell that keeps you away from being harmed- promising you that you can do what you need to do without worrying what might happen next, or what possible harm could befall you.
However, in reality, life is not safe.
Imagine a young boy who was born into a community where his mother and father has built around him a house with a white-fence back yard. He is allowed to go outside, sometimes even outside the fences to play with his friends from the neighborhood.
Life was easy, life was free. With his friends and family around him, life was safe. He had nothing to worry about but the next game he was going to play with his friends or the next place he was going to travel with his family.
Then as he grew older he learned that this is not all that life is all about.
He is invited to serve in the military. With high hopes of serving as one of the country’s most celebrated heroes, he signs up and trains.
As he qualifies and gets sent to his assignment, everything changes.
In this picture, discomfort comes in; but then again the young man come into terms with the changes because he believes it will bring about a better name, a better reputation and possibly a better future for him and his family.
However, as he sees the realities of war, his picture of truth changes. The comfort goes away and the secure feeling which became the zone of his comfort for many years begins to fade away.
This is where the breakage of sanity comes in. The human mind has not been prepared to see too much chaos nor is it designed to see too much violence as the ones happening at war.
In the same manner, the human brain is never prepared to face a distinct course of ill actions taken against an individual. Processing such events that go beyond the ideals of comfort often challenges the mind to deal with unnecessary matters that are happening to a person.
While the war is a more direct visualization of danger and discomfort, it is not only the veterans that experience this feeling of being challenged with their safety and sanity.
The sad truth is, the most common source of such disheartening conditions come from within the boundaries of home. In a place where it is supposed to be safe, a course of violence exists. An even more challenging fact? The home is where most abusers find comfort.
Because the society has a distinct form of hierarchy, putting authority in the hands of those who are dominant- the vulnerable are left with no choice but to not speak. Because of fear of being shunned or the idea of not being believed, those receiving the abuse are most often than not pushed to just keep themselves silent.
The fear of not being believed and being judged as liars is stereotype hoped to be avoided by those who are stuck in such households. They are not weak- they are scared. They simply cannot say a word, because they would rather keep the secret safe than to bring the reputation of the family off from the pedestal they would likely want to be known for.
They think more of the protection their abusers deserve than the escape they want for themselves. They think more of the possible pain that voicing out their situation could create for those whom they love than they think of their own pain.
They keep themselves silent and put up a fake facade just so to keep the show going.
But reality catches up later on and breaks the sanity of one who has kept silent for so long.
Questions arise and yet they are afraid to face the answers; because they know it would prompt them to make some changes they may not be ready to make- or adjustments they are just not ready to take on. Again, they are scared; because the only security they know is being crushed by the fact that it is also the hell they want to run away from.
The reality of the abuse is too daunting- but they’d rather run away from it because it does not fit their idea of what a real home is about. They continue believing in an illusion even though it means breaking their sanity.
Trauma from any form of violence and abuse [verbal or non verbal] breaks the security and protection a person is supposed to feel. When the abuse happens at home, the victim may feel the need to keep it, not merely for themselves but for the sake of the whole family’s peace.
This is more daunting than any kind of trauma- because it breaks the sanity from within and the victim is compelled to pretend and smile for a very long time, just so to survive and hopefully let everything pass by smoothly.
The sad truth is, such passing on does not really happen.
The pain just grows and instills a mark in one’s being. The personality that this cover up develops is one apart from the real individual- a process of subconsciously ruining one’s self just to save face and to avoid any more questions from outside- because believe it or not, explaining the trauma is even harder than simply keeping quiet about it and pretending that nothing happened.
So with this, to those who speak out and to those who dare share their story, thank you for your courage.