This post is by Caitlin of My Lust for Life.
The most traumatised patient
I would like to start this off with a disclaimer that I’m not trying to buy into the warped competitiveness that sometimes arises when people talk about their trauma. I’m not trying to ‘outdo’ anyone. Quite the opposite, in fact. I would love to have a mundane existence that no one raised an eyebrow at. That hasn’t always been my experience though. And it certainly wasn’t my experience sitting in my psychiatrist’s office a few weeks ago.
I wasn’t sure what he meant to achieve by saying this to me. Maybe it was to underline the gravity of my situation in a new way to me, to make me see things in a way I hadn’t seen them before. But calling me the most traumatised patient he had ever seen? In almost forty years of him practicing psychiatry? Surely somebody else was worthy of that title. What I had been through couldn’t be that bad. Surely.
And that’s when it hit me. That’s what my entire reality depended on me believing. That it wasn’t that bad. That it could have been worse. And of course, it could have been worse. But the point that my mind is trying to escape from is that it was bad. It is a coping mechanism, used to shove down the emotions the arise from such unspeakable trauma, the need to believe that other people have it worse so what are you complaining about? It’s not the end of the world. Some days it feels like the end of the world.
Hearing these words come out of his mouth made me face the truth. All of the events I experienced came out from deep within me to the forefront of my mind, a loud explosion set off within me. I did in fact suffer severe trauma. I have been running from that fact my entire life. It’s a dangerous thing, forcing someone with a history of trauma to look it squarely in the eye. From repressed memories, to dissociating my way through life, I did everything in my power to keep the trauma out of sight, of out (conscious) mind. And I just don’t know if I’m ready to face it.
I still don’t think him telling me this piece of information was particularly helpful. I don’t think you can compare people’s traumas like that and say who has been more affected than others, it doesn’t really work like that. Because trauma takes so many different forms. The knowledge that he feels that way about me makes me feel damaged and broken, and like my problems might be outside of his professional capacity.
But I don’t hold it against him. I think he is a little scared of my trauma just like I am scared of my traumas. Scared of its magnitude, scared of how to approach it, scared of staring it in the face and seeing it for what it really is. And I certainly can’t blame him, or any human, for that.
Drop by and visit Caitlin on her blog My Lust for Life.