by Neal Fowler via Flickr Creative Commons

by Neal Fowler via Flickr Creative Commons

I don’t know if this is the next step, but right now I’m feeling a lot of anger. Especially towards my ex, but also just in general feeling angry about any situation where I was expected to be able to regulate my emotions in a neurotypical way.

Because I’ve been living in this stark contrast between where I was and where I am now, I see that what they were expecting of me was impossible. I literally could not do it.

And in some ways, it’s not their fault. It isn’t as if we are all educated about trauma by default. Quite the contrary. But I had none of the tools to do what they were asking, so it was not fair of them to ask. It’s like handing someone a plastic spoon and asking them to pound in some nails with it. Not going to work.

I wasn’t going to be able to get myself to a neutral body for acting if trauma was still stored in mine.

I wasn’t going to be able to not cry when I felt overwhelmed, because I was actually triggered and didn’t have a word for it then. I was triggered over and over and over again but it just felt normal to me. I just thought that was what life was. I thought everyone felt that way and other people just controlled it better. But they had no fucking clue what was actually going on inside of me and neither did I.

And I get it. They didn’t know how to deal with me. They didn’t have the tools or the vocabulary I needed. They did the best they could to help.

But I’m still angry.

Still angry at the thought of how many other people are out there struggling that way.

Angry that I had no word for it for most of my life. That I didn’t even have the word anxiety until the age of 26. And that I didn’t have the word PTSD until a year or two after that. And I didn’t have the term complex trauma until a few weeks ago.

I am angry about how much time I spent feeling broken and out of control and couldn’t¬†understand why. Angry thinking about all the people out there who¬†are so easily overcome with emotion and couldn’t control it if they wanted to, and don’t have a name for it.

I feel like it’s a miracle I’ve gotten as far as I did doing what I did.

Theatre saved me. BDSM saved me. They were just therapeutic enough to help me make do until I could get help from actual mental health professionals.

I was never allowed to be angry growing up, and so I’ve never known how to be. If depression is anger turned inward, maybe turning it back outward is the next step of healing. Maybe I just need to feel it before I can let it go.

But goddamn, why is mental health so stigmatized in our culture? So stigmatized people can’t even have the words to describe their experience? Are denied the tools that would help them to heal and to not just function, but thrive?

All that’s standing between me and giving those tools to everyone I can is money. But hopefully now that I understand what I have to give, I will be able to find other people who see its worth.

But I’m still angry. Angry that people expected things of me they had no right to expect. Angry that I felt like a failure for not being able to do the things that in retrospect, I was never going to be able to do.

And I also feel like now the channel is unblocked. It’s like when a drain is plugged. If you pull out the biggest piece, then the force of the water flowing will knock the rest of the bits loose. I can feel some of the bits that need to be worked on next.

More proof that the body wants to heal. You just have to tell it how.

I’m 29 years old. And the best birthday present I’ve ever received was finally understanding that I can be healed. That I’m not irreparably broken. That all these feelings have a name and a cause and there’s actually something I can do about them. That I can control them, rather than them controlling me.

Better late than never, as they say.

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