PTSD after abuse – a poem

Of course traumatic events would tie themselves into mental health challenges, and while talking about domestic violence and emotional abuse deserves its own blog entirely, the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is something I’m only starting to come to terms with over a year having passed since concluding all that traumatic business with abusive men. While I’ve alluded to my history with abusive relationships occasionally, it is sometimes very relevant in talking about my mental health.

I’m not sure how to even talk about PTSD yet.

In light of a serious nightmare disorder sparking my search for professional help on this, I’ve only just started to exit the denial part of my journey, but sorting through messy stuff has always started with horrible, confusing poetry for me, so, perhaps sharing this one addressed to the disorder itself is selfish of me because I’m not convinced it’ll be any good to read (I apologize in advance).

But, I would like to share some semblance of an explanation of my experiences grappling with PTSD post-abuse in the safe space of this blog, and perhaps something will resonate with others who struggle with this too. If you relate to my experiences, please feel free to let me know a little bit about how you’ve learned to cope.

Dear trauma,

I’m not tired anymore;
I’m not even afraid
Of your insidious whispering-
Working it’s way into the tapestry
Of thoughts that hold my heart,
And all those dear to me,
So that I think I think
That they don’t want to hear from me;
That my laugh is too loud
And my smile is too big
And my happiness is undeserved
And that I am my antagonist-
The villain in my own memories.
You sound just like him,
That man I loved-
Both of them.
I crumpled to the floor
Like a used tissue,
Thrown at the bin in a half hearted attempt
At disposal but not-
Quite enough,
And I fell to the bottom
Of tears I didn’t know I still had,
And he told me-
They both did;
That it was me,
Who made them angry;
That it was me
Who struck first
With words that shatter people.
How do you unshatter a heart?
Before it all, I used to dream
Every night of a man
In a coat,
And I ran and felt afraid
Because I didn’t want to die;
And the doctors said
It was the stress,
But I think it was because
Now I only dream of the men I loved
And I run and I feel afraid,
Because I don’t want to die-
And I don’t know if the dreams will stop;
Perhaps they’re interwoven with my soul,
And I’ll carry that moment
Of being crumpled by men I love
Until the day I really die;
Because when I see their faces in crowds,
Or hear their voice echoing behind me
In busy hallways,
I run and feel afraid;
Because they exist outside my dreams.

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11 Replies to “PTSD after abuse – a poem”

  1. Wow. Really breathtaking poem which expresses so many aspects and stages of Pete (what I “lovingly” call my PTSD). I am touched by how personal this is. I have been battling with writing about it but it feels like the natural thing to do and I am encouraged by seeing someone else share thoughts about their condition in this way.
    Keep fighting the eternal fight. May your good days outweigh the bad and the whispers stay quiet.

  2. This poem is so very real and captures the essence of what’s left. There is hope that you will find positive, life-giving love one day, that does not hurt ever and only heals. Thanks for having the courage to share.

  3. You have beautifully converted your agony, fear, stress into poetry. It is extremely well captured your emotions. Yes, they are there outside your dream but through their actions they invade the space of dreams too. I wish and pray that you will fight it out and come out even stronger. Take care and keep on writing

    1. Thank you! I can’t explain how much that means to me, and I’m so happy to know that I made sense of all of it in a way that others can understand. Thank you x

  4. Take time to journey through each emotion and stage of healing. Writing is a great way to unload and even better way to see how far you have walked.

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