PTSD Walking Wounded

Drawing of four people PTSD walking woundedI learned how to take a hit before I ever landed a punch. None of the many hits that landed ever left a mark. I am one of the many PTSD walking wounded.

We walk amongst you, and you have no idea that we are slowly bleeding out. You will never see blood on us; you will never see us cringe in pain. You will never see the wounds that threaten to pull us down under their weight.

If you are lucky, you will never understand what it is like to be walking wounded. To have a black hole inside of yourself that threatens to pull you in, destroying you. It takes every ounce of strength not to get drawn into that black vortex. Because you know that once you get sucked in, there is no way out.

There are more of us than you would ever think. Probably more than you want to believe exists. We are out there, and we need you to see us.

Invisible Abuse

Oh, how I used to wish that all of my wounds would suddenly be visible from the outside. If people could only see how much I was hurting, perhaps I would get the help I was so desperate for. But that is wishful thinking. That isn’t how emotional abuse works.

Emotional abuse is invisible abuse. There are no external wounds, no bruises, no old scars to be seen. And therefore, help never arrives. Instead, the verbal lashes keep coming, digging deeper and deeper into previous wounds. The pain is unbearable at times. And yet, no one sees.

Invisible Wounds

That invisible abuse leaves wounds so deep that it takes a lifetime to heal. And that is only once you start addressing those wounds. I didn’t know until recently. I was walking wounded, and I was a mess. I was barely holding myself together.

On average, 11% of the population under eighteen years of age has had some experience with abuse. That percentage is low because not all abuse is reported. Child protective services investigate less than half of the abuses reported. (data sources below)

I know why I hurt. I know I have old programming ingrained within myself from years and years of verbal abuse. I spent most of my adolescence being angry at everyone and everything around me.

I would lash out at people for perceived slights. I was jealous of other kids with good parents, good homes, etc., All of those things that I was so desperate to have but know I would never. 

Not much of that anger dissipated as an adult. So I drank to deaden it, to make it go away because I wasn’t ready to face it.

Walking with Invisible Wounds

That 11% of the population who has experienced abuse equates to millions of people in the United States, they don’t know why they hurt. They only know that they are in pain, and it hurts so bad and that pain has to be released somehow. So they sit within their pain, keeping the wounds fresh.  

Is it no wonder that there are so many people walking around with hidden wounds from trauma? So many may not have memories of that trauma. They don’t know that they are carrying it with them. Some know it, but they don’t know what to do to get help. 

I think most people are not getting the help they need. There are many reasons why that may be the situation. Without getting the support, they need they end up like me. An adult trying to work through the things that happened a long time ago still affects us. Abuse is the gift that keeps on giving unless you can seek out support and assistance.

PTSD Walking Wounded

I think trauma creates energy within us. That energy has to go somewhere. People who have experienced trauma are practically vibrating with it. If you take a moment and observe those around you, you will see it. It is almost like they vibrate with the pain and the fear. 

I used to think I like being alone because I am an introvert, but maybe it’s because I can see those walking wounded. To me, it’s like a zombie apocalypse out there in the world. 

It isn’t just when I walk around; I see it in the news, too. Those walking wounded, I think it’s the people that refuse to wear masks, who argue and fight when asked to do so. And yes, unfortunately, it can play out in more violent ways because they don’t know how to deal with that anger, that energy. So it has to go someplace, preferably outside of themselves.

What’s Wrong with Them/Me?

What’s wrong with those people? What is wrong with me? It’s a question we all ask ourselves. Well, those of us who are the walking wounded. I have been reading in What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Healing, and Resilience Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Bruce D. Perry What I learned is that I have been asking the wrong question.

How I (and everyone) perceives the world results from what happened to me (to everyone) as a child. It makes sense to me. I grew up in an abusive environment, and so to me, the world is a dangerous, abusive place. Logically, I know that is not true. But that old survival mode programming is still with me.

I will spend the rest of my life trying to heal those wounds. So instead of berating myself with the question of what’s wrong with me, I will now ask, what happened to me that I think or react that way? 

Until then, I will walk, with those wounds open, hurting, but invisible.

Quote from the book What Happened to Your?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing by Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce D. Perry

 

Drawing of a brain point to a chalk board with https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse-statistics/

6.6 million reports were made. 3.2 million reports of child abuse were investigated

In 2014 state agencies found over 702,000 victims of child maltreatment (note the year on this data)

 

https://americanspcc.org/child-abuse-statistics/

7.9 million children involved in child abuse reports 7,900,000

 

https://www.statista.com/statistics/457786/number-of-children-in-the-us-by-age/#:~:text=In%202019%2C%20there%20were%20about,aged%20zero%20to%20five%20years.

 

There are about 23.6 million children in the US aged zero to five – 23,600,000

 

Total population in 2019 was 328,239,523, population less than 18 years of age 73,039,150

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