In a frugal age where we are fighting for job security and the government claims to be spending money on mental health but those dealing with mental health like myself with PTSD, sometimes we must be resilient and find a way to overcome this trauma alone. I have been on a waiting list for two years now and still have not heard a peep from any care provider. On one of my videos I discuss why I never tell my family or friends about what happened to me and with that being the case it means I am pretty much self-reliant in terms of overcoming the trauma I experienced.
It took me a year to recollect my traumatic experience, which I have learned is quite a normal reaction, especially so since I underwent brain surgery the week following the rape (unrelated). But when I started having flashbacks it was the scariest time I had ever experienced. Devastated by it all I spoke to friends who all turned their backs on me, and a family member, a hard-core leftie also used the knowledge to make threats toward me, “I will call social services on you and have your son removed if you say racist things like migrants should speak English again. You’re a racist and you will bring up a racist!” were typically the threats I received from that person, leaving me feeling untrusting of, well pretty much anyone and everyone.
Inevitably, with having no one close to rely on I had to heal inwardly and to do this I started writing. I had no idea I could write like I was doing. Not that the writing was particularly good, it wasn’t but I wrote vast amounts. I clearly had a lot of pain inside (and still do) and I needed to divulge it somehow. So, I sat at my laptop and typed away. I didn’t really have any objectives at first within my writing. There was no purpose to it, no story to tell, no information to provide. I just wrote for the sake of removing the awful toxicity I felt within.
I would often just write a thousand words or so and save the pieces as short stories until eventually the short stories became longer. I had started critically analysing a lot of information I was reading also to the point where I became suspicious of everyone in authority. Well why shouldn’t I? They had let me down along with some many people. Really is any government reliable? I guess you would call me a suspicious conspiracy theorist, only I don’t believe those people deserve the harsh tag they receive.
As I started researching a lot of past issues clicked into place. Despite my rape being by a migrant, the Jimmy Savile incident along with the omission by the BBC really hit me hard. I was only a child but able to understand. Why on earth would a British Institute support the likes of Jimmy Savile, I remember wondering in those early years. And these large corporations have always left me feeling uneasy ever since. However, at that time Rotherham grooming gangs had just been reported and I had become suspicious of the authorities. My research took me back to the sixties for institutional child abuse and beyond.
So along with my own trauma I was learning about the trauma millions of other people had suffered through the neglect and omissions of our governments, authorities and institutions. I was displeased, to put it mildly. This displeasure was often what I wrote into the short stories. Perhaps it was my way of writing my own experience and trying to find a happy ending for it. Who knows? Perhaps it was just my way of trying to understand what was appearing to be a very wicked world.
One day I wrote a simple sentence. It read “Why would they do that?” and at that point my mind started working overtime. It was difficult for me to get to sleep that night as I just couldn’t understand why the people had acted the way they had, with the information I told them. The following day I wrote for four hours and the same the following day and the day after. This continued for six weeks and by the end of those six weeks I had written a 90,000-word fictitious story. Pretty impressive having not long undergone brain surgery.
Although I wrote a novel sized story, I have never looked at it properly. I know what it is about. It is a story of excuses. Words explaining why people treated me the way they did and my own mind trying to place these people in a positive light, and play tricks on me. Every person who ever hurt me was written into the story with a positive sometimes heroic reflection. And all those who had been kind or unknowing were painted as the bad people within the story. I was clearly gaslit by my own understandings of the world and society. I’m not sure what that says about me at the time from a psychological point of view, probably brainwashed and indoctrinated, but what I do know is that I felt much better for writing it.
I improved both emotionally, psychologically and I felt great pride. I had just written a novel length story in six weeks. That was something I had never thought to do in my life but here I was having achieved something I had never expected. Yes, I felt complete and utter pride. I’m not sure I would like to read the story now. It is so personal and written from a very harmed mind. I know it is a very dark satire story of underground crime. I know the thoughts and emotions behind it. But I suspect now that I have managed to remove that toxicity on to print, there is now no good reason for me to revisit it.
But that is my short story about how writing helped me get through trauma. Have you ever achieved something you never thought possible as a coping mechanism for trauma or depression?