“Trauma survivors have symptoms instead of memories.” – Mary R. Harvey (1996). An ecological view of psychological trauma and trauma recovery. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9:1, 3-23. (Read the abstract and download the PDF.)
I think one of the greatest mistakes many victims make is denying we have a problem until it’s too late. We tend to be ignorant of what trauma looks and feels like.
I’m the first to admit that I failed myself REPEATEDLY, because I ignored the signs and thought I could fix my own issues despite repeated failures to do so.
Before I accepted I was a victim and that there was absolutely NOTHING I could do to change what happened, I could check off all 18 of the below signs. All severe and intense.
3. Loss of interest
5. Decreased concentration
7. Emotionally overwhelmed
8. Loss of the sense of the future – Hopelessness
9. Shame and worthlessness
10. Little or no memories
11. Nightmares and flashbacks
12. Hyper-vigilance and mistrust
13. Generalized anxiety – panic attacks
14. Chronic pain and headaches
15. Substance abuse and/or eating disorders
16. Feeling unreal or out of body
17. Self-destructive behavior
18. Loss of sense of “Who I am”
Today, my abuser might be walking around free to prey on his next victims, but justice has been served in my life, because none of the 18 signs listed above control or negatively affect my life anymore.
I am free for the first time in many, many years.
No more shaming and blaming yourself. No more ignoring the signs. No more hiding behind your need to be perfect. No more thinking you’ll be a burden if you reach out and ask for help.
Take the first step toward your freedom today!