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It has a name

by Erika Torres 3 months ago in ptsd

Triggers and therapy

It has a name
Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

I have been MIA. Things have been busy, I have been working which is awesome, dealing with virtual schooling (not so awesome) and of course therapy. I have continued with that and have been making progress. It's weird that every time I share something from my childhood that deals with trauma, my therapist says "you are doing great!" It's weird because never did I think that sharing this kind of stuff would be good.

I think because they way I grew up, therapy was not an option. Going to mass and praying for your sins and asking for forgiveness was way better than seeing a mental health professional. My mom thought that if I changed my attitude maybe I would finally have some friends. None of this helped and god forbid people outside of the home find out you even wanted to see one! oh the rumors they would share. My mother preferred people not be in our business unless she invited them.

If my mother were a live today she would be very upset. Knowing that I was talking to a complete stranger, Ay Dios mio! She would tell me to go talk to a priest. Get some spiritual guidance and just stop being a bitch. Change my attitude, stop telling strangers this story and perhaps take some responsibility for lying about what happened. Yep, she would tell me it was all a lie; mainly because she never liked knowing that it happened to me and there was nothing she could do. She brushed it under the rug like it was dust, never to be seen, never to be acknowledged again. The thought of that would make her sick and me sicker. To know that I was violated and hurt and left with the blame. It was easier for her to ignore rather than fight. It wasn't on purpose, it was what she was use to. Ever since she was young, it was all she could do to move on and live her life. A life that wasn't easy, a life that was tough.

She grew up in a country that was under turmoil. Her story is cut up into pieces, with some of those pieces missing. She rarely shared what she went through or what had happened. But when she shared something sad; the anger in her voice was cold, tears would stream down her face as if she were reliving it. Those were the moments where I knew what she was going through. The heartache, the disappoint, the loss of self.

Her story of Christmas, she had to live with her maternal grandparents, her mother and father had died (still unsure how). She remembered when everyone else were receiving presents, all she got were caramelos she said. That was all she got, her voice stiff. I could feel her hot tears, she was angry that she was not liked in her family. She was a burden, an unwanted person. It made me angry at them, for treating my mother so poorly. I also felt sorry, while I didn't have the best, she loved me. In her own way she cared for me. When she told me that story, I got angry at the way they tossed her aside. They treated my mother more like servant than their granddaughter. That is why when I had my first child she was all in. She doted on my son her grandson. It didn't matter, she watched him, hugged him, kissed him, watched over him. She loved that title of grandmother and wore it as if she were the recipient of the Medal of Honor. She carried it on her chest and sang loudly the love she had for my son.

In sharing this with my therapist and continuing to find the question why did it happen and why to me. I now know that I suffer from PTSD and I am sure my mother did too. As a military spouse I know what PTSD is and can look like but I never thought that I would present with it. When my therapist told me what I had, I was in shock! Part of me didn't believe it because I never went to war. I didn't worry about a potential enemy coming up from behind or hid when fireworks went off. The other part, wanted to scream! The triggers that brought me back to that moment of trauma and hurt. Caramelos were my mother's trigger. I see myself a little in my mother, the way she did not like the outside to see us behind closed doors, I in way do that too. "People can't know our business!" A phrase I heard growing up, regurgitated to my own children. My life is not perfect, but it is better without the pain of hurt. Having a name to what it is has eased my mind, but now I need to take of the other things that are going on in my head. But I have a name! I know what I have! Is it relieving yes, but also scary. More work.

I don't take this lightly, tomorrow I have a therapy session, today was not a good day. Anxiety and depression got the best of me. I know I have work to do. And that is okay by me.

Erika Torres
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Erika Torres
See all posts by Erika Torres

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