Monday, November 2, 2015

Trauma flashbacks

I don't talk very much about my BPD, and some of what lead to me developing this illness.

I decided to post about it a little today. I had some very disturbing trauma flashback dreams last night, and I'm hoping that maybe this helps me work through it.

As a child I suffered complex trauma. Complex trauma, as supposed to other trauma, is when an individual is subject to a traumatic situation over a long period of time. It often occurs to children, and thus affects their development. Examples of complex trauma include living in an unsafe environment, constant moving, regular physical or emotional abuse or neglect.

I didn't go through anything like that as a child, and often feel guilty for even saying I went through trauma in my life, because I feel as though I'm over reacting, or trying to make others feel bad for me when I say I suffered trauma. However, whatever I call it, I did go through some quite difficult things as a child.

I moved quite a bit as a child, and my parents got divorced when I was quite young. When I was about six, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He spent many many months going through a variety of treatments, including radiation therapy and chemo. While he was in treatment, he met a lovely woman, and fell in love. Cindy had breast cancer.

I spent a lot of the next couple years of my life in the hospital with my dad and Cindy. My dad got better relatively quickly, and had the energy to be my dad. However, Cindy didn't. She was often admitted to hospital, and even when she was home, she was often stuck in her bed. I really liked Cindy. Many children of divorce struggle to connect with their parents' new partners, and I did have a hard time connecting to my step father. However, Cindy and I clicked. We had very similar interests, she was quite outgoing, and truly believed in me.

Shortly before I turned eight, my dad and Cindy got married. It was a beautiful ceremony. Cindy's cancer was causing blood flow out of her arm to be cut off, so her right arm was quite swollen. They wrapped it up beautifully with white fabric that matched her dress, she wore a curly dirty blonde wig, and looked like a princess. When I left my dad near the end of the summer to go back to my mom's (where I lived during the year), Cindy was doing better. We all had hope.

Unfortunately, I got a phone call about a month later, with my dad telling me he had bad news. He had this voice and my heart sunk. I immediately knew it was bad news. I had this feeling that she had died, but I didn't want to say anything. After he told me, I tried to pretend it wasn't true. I told my dad some good news that I had. But it came back to her. I asked what had happened, and got factual responses. She had died in her bed.

Dealing with this at eight years old, when you don't fully understand, is quite difficult. It was never really talked about afterwards. I went back to school in September, and never went to the funeral. It was quite far away, and my parents were worried it would be too much.

I don't blame my mom and dad for how they dealt with the situation. How do you talk to your eight year old daughter about how your wife had a terrible illness and had died. That you had the same illness (however a different type), and could have died as well, however was lucky enough to survive? Cindy was in my life, and then all of a sudden, she was no longer in my life. That chapter was over, and rarely spoken about. I didn't see a grief counselor, or really talked to anyone about it. It was just something that had happened.

Those couple years of my life really affected who I am as a person today. In many ways, it has made me wiser, however it has definitely hurt me in other ways.

I guess the reason I'm sharing this today, is because I had some really bad dreams last night. Dreams of my dad's cancer re-occurring, even though he's been clean for so long that it would be a new cancer if he did develop cancer again. Cindy struggling for air while connected to oxygen tubes. They were such bright images, and I haven't had those dreams in quite some time. I'm taking today to myself, but really struggling with lots of negative and destructive thoughts today.

I really hope that you're all having a better Monday than I am,


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