Abuse Survivor Fights PTSD and Depression And Wins

I had to learn to self-care for PTSD and depression caused by domestic abuse. It's been a long haul, but I'm doing well. Read this.Today is rough. I looked back on my life to see how my mental illnesses affect my relationships with others (Is PTSD from Domestic Abuse Causing Your Distress?). This is hard to do because I didn’t ask for these mental illnesses; I wasn’t born with PTSD or depression! I never asked for the car accident with my mum, and I definitely never asked for what those schoolboys gave me in the ballpark. Yet those incidents caused the mental illnesses that almost destroyed me in my late teens and early twenties. I lost relationships because of them.

It wasn’t that those people didn’t love me, but more that they struggled with my depression and the pain it caused them.

Then I married a man who saw all the weaknesses in me. He manipulated me, but I believed he loved me. Yes, he married me but I will admit it was only because we had a baby. There was pressure from his family and he didn’t want to lose face in front of them. Deep down though, he hated me. The manipulation turned to abuse, and like many of you, I found myself caught in the cycle of violence.

Then one day I was free of him! I was so happy, thrilled, ecstatic! I could live again.

PTSD and Depression In My New Life

Unfortunately, soon after, the depression came back and brought with it all sorts of other new symptoms like

  • night terrors,
  • horrific flashbacks,
  • irrational angry outbursts,
  • lack of focus.

I had to learn to self-care for PTSD and depression caused by domestic abuse. It's been a long haul, but I'm doing well. Read this.Doctors diagnosed me with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I got help and I tried hard everyday to make myself better. But at times, the PTSD wins. I had to leave financial security behind when I left the career I’d worked hard to build. They told me, “We don’t know what type of work you’ll ever be able to do.”

I felt defeated. I railed against my ex in my mind and cursed him for doing this to me!

I never gave up. I kept picking myself up off the floor. I found what my calling is; to help other women who have been where I have been. I’m feeling confident in my work knowing that doctors’ comments are not going to keep me down. I will have a career again, just different from before. Change is good though because I am not who I was before either.

Self-Care for PTSD and Depression

I still fight the PTSD demon. When that monster awakens, my world goes all over the place. It can be hard for those around me, which makes me sad. I never asked for this. I never wanted this. I would trade PTSD away in a second if I could, but I cannot.

I see how my mental illnesses, all caused by outside forces, still affect my relationships today and my heart breaks. I try hard every day not to let either illness/disorder get the better of me. I take a “mental health nap” each afternoon to let my brain recharge. I avoid movies of high action and violence as they only trigger me. I have adjusted my life to try to keep these monsters at bay (Self-Care Activities for Domestic Abuse Survivors to Help You Feel Better Fast).

For the future, I hope to have more days of peace than feelings of terror. I pray to feel safe and confident again. I wish for a career where I can continue to help others. Sometimes though the depression and PTSD take over and I crumble again. If I had a choice, I never would have been in that car or in that ball diamond or married to a double-faced monster.

That is what life gave me though, so I pick myself up and keep moving forward.

Look for Janet at her Freedom From Within Facebook Page and Freedom From Within Website. She also manages our Survivors’ Mentors and answers questions and posts information on the Verbal Abuse Journals Facebook Page.

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About Janet

Janet supervises our survivor mentors team. Her dedication to our clients as a mentor, mentor supervisor, group moderator and manager of our Facebook page shows her great empathy and commitment.

Janet is a survivor of domestic violence. She stayed with her abuser for 15 years and has three children with him. Fortunately, she has custody of her children.

Doctors diagnose 1 in 10 women abused by her partner with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In 2011, doctors diagnosed Janet with PTSD due to the trauma in her marriage. She experienced nightmares and flashbacks due to PTSD and has since learned many ways to cope with the disorder. Janet looks forward to sharing what she has learned and helping others on their journey.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your story! Now, as a survivor, you’re helping others who may be in similar circumstances.

    • Janet Brownlee says:

      You’re welcome Don. You are right sharing my story does help others and that makes me happy. That is also why I Mentor here at Verbal Abuse Journals.

  2. cannot even describe how it feels to read a parallel to my own life… 20 yrs of hell.. No kids… he took that opportunity away through violent attack.
    I escaped had grad degree seemed perfect from the outside…. til alone not knowing how to just ‘be’… PS, startle reflex.. the works… I have a story to tell I know would help others and I’m a good public speaker.. just being diagnosed w MS and still… life is beautiful.. but woould love to learn how to teach young bright girls not to be Svengalied by predators to the naive… namaste…. D

    • Janet Brownlee says:

      Debra telling your story is very brave and therapuetic. I encourage you to follow your want/dream to enlighten young girls. I am taking part in a teen violence awareness day at my local highschool at the end of the month. I really believe educating teens about healthy and non healthy relationships is so important as this is when they learn what to expect in a relationship and will take that into adulthood. I admire your positive outlook on life as well. Way to go! 🙂

  3. I was diagnozed with depression at age 13 and its only at the age of 22 that I believed I would feel better when I met a guy I thought loved me. He was abusive since day one. I was OK with that because I thought once we get married he will change. ^ years after we met, we got married. The verbal and emotional abuse became violence. He almost killed me more than once. I escaped 18 months ago with my 3 kids. I thought I will be happy and free and learn to enjoy life, but its not the case. Nightmares, flash backs and depression. No motivation, tears and pain, that’s all i got. I guess if I was to comment on another day, i would say it differently, but tonight that is how i feel.

    • Janet Brownlee says:

      Hi Nikky

      Thank you for sharing. Leaving an abusive relationship, I find, is only part of the battle. Once you have left there is so much aftermath to deal with. I have been seperated from my ex for almost four years now and my children and I have no contact with him yet daily we still deal with the effects of what his abuse did. None of this is fair and I empathise with you. Have you been able to see a professional about the symptoms you are experiencing? If not I encourage you too as they may be able to offer some relief or ways to manage everything.

  4. Reading these stories and seeing what abusers typically say to their partners was enlightening. I have had nearly 37 of 39 years of an abusive relationship and marriage mainly verbal but some physical . Definitely have been afraid for my life at times when there have been threats and intimidations through violent confrontations and out bursts. I always blamed drugs or alcohol for his actions but now I know it is much deeper then that. My grown children have and continue to show signs of this abuse going down further generations. My daughter got out of her abusive relationship but my son is still abusive in his at times. I feel like I am looking in a mirror and not sure how I can help my children / grandchildren not allow this to continue on further. I am looking into covering costs for counseling for my grandchildren but so hard to approach without over stepping my boundaries. I am currently trying to find a way out myself, and have been separated for a few days, not the first time. I am more concerned what I have done to my family and future generations. I need to find a way to stop this madness and I figure it starts with me making a change.

    • SW I am sorry that I am only answering now. I was not alerted to your comment and hadn’t checked this writing in awhile. How are you doing now? Have you been able to completely separate? I know how hard it is. I am here if you need to talk to someone.

      As for your grandchildren, how old are they? It is hard to break the cycle, but it can be done. It takes a lot of perseverance and support. In all honesty the main reason I left was for my kids so I understand the desire to break the cycle. I could see what the ongoing abuse was doing to them. My oldest was 9yrs old when I left. She was the most conditioned and even with counselling it has been a tough road with her, but I refuse to give up.

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