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I was just told I have PTSD


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Hi, I'm 42 and was just told I have PTSD from years of being bullied as a child.

 

This information has begun to allow me to understand myself in a new way.

 

Beginning in third grade and continuing through eighth grade, I was bullied nearly every day.  It was horrendous.  Horrific.  I attempted to kill myself in eighth grade by slitting open my wrists.  At school, afterward, one of the bullies saw the gash, and asked me if I had tried to kill myself.  I couldn't say anything in reply.  He exclaimed in front of everyone, "Too bad it didn't work loser!" and they all laughed.

 

Someone scratched "LOSER!" into my locker in giant letters for everyone to see.  On the bus, the entire busload of kids chanted, "We hate #My Name#!!  We hate #My Name#!!" over and over and over.  I had to listen to that.  I had to sit through that.  The driver did nothing.  It never occurred to me that she should.  I assumed everyone hated me.

 

I was left out.  Picked last.  Not invited.  Ostracized.  I cried hysterically almost every day...for years.  One time, I was in such a panic about having to go to school and face the kids that blood vessels all over my face burst producing red dots and I bled from my face.

 

I hated recess.  It was supposed to be "fun".  It was never fun for me.  It was simply a time to be left out, to be pointed out how inept I was and how much of a total "geek" I was.  I learned to hate "fun".  I learned to avoid "fun".  I still can barely stand to have "fun" today.

 

I could go on and on.  I'm sure others had it worse.  But I had it bad.  This was not one or two or ten or a hundred or even a thousand incidents.  Much more.  This was every day, many times a day, for six years, as  a child.  I wasn't equipped to handle it.  I didn't know what to do.  I didn't know to how to process it or how to understand it.  I learned to hate myself and my life.  I learned to be terrified of people and relationships.

 

When I heard about Columbine, which occurred about 15 years after the worst of my nightmare ended for me after eighth grade, a part of me actually cheered.  Someone had stood up to the bullies.  I had actually plotted things like that out in my head as a child but never had the courage to act on them.  Obviously, I can't condone what happened there, but if you, like me, have been the target of sustained bullying, then you probably get what I'm saying.

 

Years later, I served in the military flying combat missions in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  What I did in combat was nowhere near as traumatic as what the Army and Marine guys on the ground had to endure.  I have the utmost respect for them.  But I was shot at and that was sort of scary.  I had to fly missions into some areas that were pretty dangerous.  That was kind of scary.  However, I would take ANY day, ANY situation, ANY time that I experienced in combat over my best day during my six years of being bullied as a child.  There is no comparison.  Being bullied as a child is far more traumatic and far scarier by many, many orders of magnitude than anything I experienced in combat.

 

I didn't really understand what was wrong with me.  I thought I was fundamentally flawed or truly a loser as had been told to me so many thousands of times.  I thought I might have Asperger's Syndrome.  I thought I might have Borderline Personality Disorder or depression.  I thought I might have social anxiety disorder.  I was so confused.  I thought I would never be able to connect with people.  More than anything, I desperately craved the connection with people that I had never really had.

 

It was really difficult for me to relate to people.  I had trouble maintaining eye contact.  I was married twice to women who hated me.  I became highly anxious around people, especially groups, and especially if those people seemed "popular".  I had learned to hate "popular" people because they were the ones who had done the bullying.  I avoided parties and all kinds of social gatherings.  My self-talk was terrible.  I constantly told myself that I was a "pussy" or a "loser" or not good enough.

 

Now, I have now begun to learn about PTSD.  I have begun to have hope.  I have begun to see a way out.  A couple of weeks ago, the Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded to an Army guy for his actions in Afghanistan.  He suffers from PTSD.  His remarks really hit home with me.  He said that PTSD should be called PTS (Post-Traumatic Stress) instead of PTSD because to call it a disorder implies that there's something wrong with you.  There's not.  "PTS" is the body's natural way of reacting to traumatic events.  Just about anybody who experienced what you experienced would also experience the same symptoms as a result.

 

This was a major epiphany for me.  There was never anything wrong with me.  I was just a quiet little kid who liked art and airplanes instead of sports.  That made me a little different (but in a beautiful way) but not wrong.  I was never wrong.  I was never flawed.  

 

Anybody who experienced what I did for six years a a child would today be experiencing very similar PTS symptoms as I am now.  Of course I get nervous around groups of people if they seem "popular".  You would too if you had the same experiences I did.  Of course, I have terrible self talk.  You would too if  you went through what I did.  Of course I have trouble connecting with people.  You would too if you had gone through what I did.  And that makes me NORMAL. 

 

I'm not weird or f-ed up.  I'm not a loser.  I'm not a geek.  I'm normal.  I'm experiencing a normal reaction to highly traumatic events during a crucial period of my development.  Now my job is to work through recovering from PTSD knowing that I'm not f-ed up and I never was f-ed up.  

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I also found it really helpful to consider that my responses were an understandable physiological response to an abnormal situation. I'm not sure I quite agree with dropping the "disorder", only because not all people who experience a traumatic stressor develop ongoing difficulties and we need to make sure the people (like you and me) who need treatment are identified and helped. I hope that's not invalidating - I certainly don't think it's a personal weakness to have PTSD.

 

I'm so sorry for what you experienced as a child. Somebody close to me was bullied in a similar manner to you and I often want to weep for what they experienced and how to affects their daily life. *I* want to hurt their perpetrators so I certainly don't judge you for the revenge fantasies.  Like you they have found hope, and they are beginning to heal. 

 

Welcome to crazyboards. I really hope that we can support you. We have blogs and chat if you'd like to check those out as well. 

Let me or another moderator know if you have questions or need help with anything. 

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I hope that this is the start of a healing for you and that you begin to define yourself in the terms that feel right for you, not in the past frame of bullies. I too was bullied as child and attempted suicide, my attempt was discovered and the school/my parents had to be involved, it was a very difficult experience. My heart hurt to read what you have endured but I do admire your spirit.

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Oh, hey. We can swear here :) It's nice to call a fucked up situation just that. 

Also, hello.

I got bullied a lot as a kid, too. It certainly did not help me out all that much. It sounds as though it didn't really do you any favours either.

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I'm not weird or f-ed up.  I'm not a loser.  I'm not a geek.  I'm normal.  I'm experiencing a normal reaction to highly traumatic events during a crucial period of my development.  Now my job is to work through recovering from PTSD knowing that I'm not f-ed up and I never was f-ed up.  

 

You have been through so much, but ^this^ is truly one of the most amazing mind sets I have ever encountered. I am glad you have found an answer, and I hope you continue to have a positive attitude through your journey to recovery.

 

This was a major epiphany for me.  There was never anything wrong with me.  I was just a quiet little kid who liked art and airplanes instead of sports.  That made me a little different (but in a beautiful way) but not wrong.  I was never wrong.  I was never flawed. 

 

And ^this^ is absolutely beautiful.

 

Congratulations :)

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Welcome to CB.

 

I am truly sorry for your suffering... that NONE of the adults around you took the initiative to offer you a safe harbor or protection.

 

You speak eloquently of your challenges, and with heart.

 

And I adore this:

 

 

This was a major epiphany for me.  There was never anything wrong with me.  I was just a quiet little kid who liked art and airplanes instead of sports.  That made me a little different (but in a beautiful way) but not wrong.  I was never wrong.  I was never flawed. 
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  • 1 month later...

I'm so sorry you went through this. I can understand your reaction to Columbine, I think a lot of bullied kids probably felt the same way.

I just watched this documentary called Bullied (it might be to triggering for you), but it was excellent and really helped me understand what a bullied kid goes through. I think it should be required for kids to watch in school.

I hope with your diagnoses, you can finally start to feel better because that is what you deserve.

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