As I child and adolescent I was abused. I was bullied in school, at home and at church. There were always many reasons given for the pain others inflicted on me, whether it was emotional, physical or sexual. However, they were not good reasons and there is no excuse. At one time as a young adolescent, I believed that everyone who was hurting me was right, so I began agreeing with them when they would ridicule and scorn me. This seemed to make things worse.
As the years progressed, I built a fortress around my heart. I would not readily let people in. Certain triggers were established to protect me as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) grew with every blow, every hurtful word, every disparaging look.
Most people do not understand my disdain for Elvis Presley’s music. My main tormentor loved his music and my brain associates the music with the abuse – trigger. It often frustrates people I have introduced myself to as Debbie, when they decide I should be called Deborah and I correct them. Three of my abusers called me by this name – trigger.
I have written poems and blog posts about bullying and the use of words. This is not, however, what this post is about.
Five little letters – T R U S T.
As a writer, I use letters and words all the time. I love words and prefer them over numbers any day of the week, and twice on Shabbat. 😉 This one little word, however, could cause me to panic if I needed to actually use it in real life application.
Many people with PTSD and many with chronic illnesses find it very difficult to trust others. I have both. Just when I was getting to where I could start to open up to other people, a dragon called Ménières Disease entered my life. I watched as this beast took a firmer hold of my life and those I was beginning to trust slowly disappeared. This did nothing more than reinforce the fortress around my heart which was, once again, an open, bleeding wound.
Since 2006, I have gone through the various stages of grief. I doubt I will ever fully accept having a chronic illness, however, I have come to terms.
In an attempt to get out of the downward spiral I was in due to the chronic illness bringing back to front-and-center the PTSD, I tried many things. It was during this time of experimentation that I began researching meditation. After a few years, I found the right mix for me and began healing emotionally. It did not happen all at once. It was, in fact, so gradual that I did not even notice it until one day, I found myself using two words I had banned from my usage – LOVE and FRIEND.
It took forty some years, abuse from three primary caregivers, bullying in school and church, chronic pain which led to a deep depression and finally a chronic illness to fortify the walls around my heart and shut down the part of me that would trust. However, it took about three years, newfound meditation practices and a few wonderful souls to start to break down the barricade into my heart.
There are still many long roads I must travel in order to get to where I am going. I do not need a destination at this time. All I need to do is focus on the moment, the here and the now. My past, brutal as it may have been, is in the past. However, I must respect history if I am to learn from it. I am who I am at this moment in time because of everything I have experienced since birth. It will always be there, however, the bags are no longer as full and heavy as they once were.
The time has come that I find it easier to express love for my friends and actually call them ‘my friend’. I can also aver, “I trust you” and mean it from my uttermost depths.