SURVIVOR - Nikki's Story
Yesterday I had to go to a new doctor. As always, she asked about my PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which is related to the first 9 years of my life. Like a rubbernecker at a huge accident, she had to delve into the ugly little details of my life. I don't know that my mind will let me assemble reflections in an understandable manner, but I will give it a try. It's a good thing you are doing!
I have non-combat related PTSD, which is chronic and severe, and comes with dissociative behavior. At 52, my bones are disintegrating due to malnutrition as a child. Yes, I struggle each and every day. But I am not a victim, I am a SURVIVOR!. I am not "damaged goods", just heavily scarred. I define myself, rejecting the labels that others try to give me. The labels always sound harsh and ugly, and that is not what am, it's just something that was done to me.
I guess the most important thing would be for people to understand that there is no book and no pills that can fix this. One can only learn how to survive it and live with it. The spirit is damaged, some worse than others. So the survivor must come to understand what the spirit needs to thrive. The victory comes when we accept the fact that no one can make us a victim, if we learn to become a survivor.
There is a great deal of chaos in my mind when it comes to this topic. My mother "sold" me to men from about the age of 6 to 9. As a result, I have so many "black out" spaces in my memory, that it is nearly impossible to assemble much that makes sense, but I will try.
For many years, my mother sold me for cheap whiskey and cigarettes. She starved me and beat me and locked me away in the cellar, until I could be of some use to her. Her sickness allowed great evil to enter our home. Together, they stole my birth right, love, safety and a childhood of joy. All I had left was my spirit, which I held close, though they came close to destroying it. Damaged and injured, I pulled myself from the ashes of my life and made a better place for myself. Perhaps I will have to drive the shadows back every day until the end of my days. Perhaps one day I will completely heal. Either way, all of this took place over 40 years ago, and I have 40 years of winning.
I was studied for many years by Phds, who wanted to figure out how I survived. But in the end, all I could really tell them was that I am the only one that HAS to live with me. And so I have to do whatever is necessary, to be able to like the person that I see in the mirror every morning.
There is a sadness that I carry within me, hidden in the shadows of a bright spirit. Not a day passes by that I do not look into those shadows and find the pain from my mother's great betrayal, the anger over the loss of a childhood I never had, the horror of what was allowed to be done to me, and the sadness of it all. I know that if I allow the shadows to grow, I will drown in the darkness. So, each day, I build a place with light around it. The small and simple joys of planting flowers, watching the birds that come to my feeders each day to eat, my beads that sing a soft song of color and light. But most of all, the beauty of being able to feel such joy, and smile in spite of all of their attempts to leave me in darkness. After I build the lights around my dark shadow, I can go out into the world with pride, because I won again for at least one more day.
Some days I am not so strong and my shadow grows larger. Some days I am not so brave and the shadow frightens me. But that's okay, it's just a reminder from Creator that I am not perfect. And a reminder that I must struggle on, for I have value, or He would not have given me life. Each person, each spirit is different, and so each person reacts in a different way.
Many have said that my early years were the worst they have ever heard about. No scale of 1 to 10 can describe how "bad" the abuse was. But I would say there are others out there that endured more than I did.
The only thing that really matters is finding your way of dealing with whatever life gives you to survive, to fight and smile for just one more day. We are strong, far stronger than we think. We have to tap into that strength and use it to heal ourselves.
I do not claim to carry a great power, I have the same power that is given to all at birth. I do not claim to be a pillar of strength, I am in fact weak and have only enough strength to hold myself up and carry on. I have no great wisdom, still I pray that something can be learned from my words. I am only one small person, doing the best I can, with what life has given me, and refusing to surrender to the ugly parts of my life.
The only crime greater than the intentional infliction of harm to ones spirit, is to allow that evil to win. The Creator teaches us that we must reach out our hand to assist those that are on the path behind us, this is how we help our brothers and sisters along. That's enough for now : )
(This post was edited for spelling & readability, and approved by contributor before publishing)