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I am 61. and feel dreadful - depression, anxiety, flashbacks etc. Mild PTSD after a mugging, about 40 years ago, but this had settled, with only occasional flashbacks. On Thursday I was jostled and taunted by a group of young teenagers, and it has not only brought back memories of the mugging, but especially of childhood bullying - primarily verbal. I just cannot get myself out of this feeling of hyper-arousal, anxiety and depression and am finding it hard to work. I feel totally fragmented. I do not wish to be alive. I do not intend to take my life, but wish I could sleep and not wake up. I am on long-term trazodone and fluanxol for dysthymia/depression. Can childhood bullying be involved in PTSD?
Here is a poem I wrote.
The voices – Clamouring voices;
You’re not normal. Funny face. Scaredy-cat. You talk funny. You can’t climb.
You have two left feet. We don’t want you on our team. Go away.
Most of all We don’t want you. You’re a misfit.
They press in. They stifle me. They frighten me.
We don’t want you as a friend. Your Mum shakes. You’re weird. Teacher’s pet.
Voices from the playground deafen me.
Then the footsteps – Quickening. Hands reaching out; A knee in the back; A knife at the throat,
Knee removed. Did I fall, or was I pushed? Is all the police want to know.
Waiting in that pub – Unwanted again; Unhelpful police; Endless questions; Endless pictures;
The long walk home Alone In the dark.
Then those children – Jostling, Taunting. Old lady.Yet my name, too;
They bring it all back. I’m scared. I’m terrified. I’m that lonely child In the corner of the playground.
I’m walking along that road In Hackney.
I’m alone, Enveloped in fear And the flashbacks come Together And I feel paralysed, Despairing;
Terrified of meeting a child – Any child.
Your poem tells it all...the bitter, painful memories of childhood sit in our minds, never fully vanquished, and can be recruited by any similar-enough stimulus to set them off again. I would recommend a period of counseling during which you could go over these past memories with full and articulate consciousness. The reason is this; the only way to stop these memories from having such a harmful effect on you now is to see them as memories. Right now they are not memories in your mind, they are your current reality, with all the fears attached to them. When you talk to another person about them in real time, you put them back in their place, and deal with them again as memories.
Your Poem hit home as I was abused by classmates in the 7th grade and it was so horrible I fell into a huge depression for years. I'll never forget coming home from that first day of school damaged and my mom asking at the dinner table, "How was your first day of school?" and I burst into tears. Instantly my dad yelled quiet! Since then, I've been dealing with Anxiety, Depression, worthlessness, etc all my life. We are fragile and some of us who are more sensitive extra fragile. I have fallen back into a pit of depression because I wanted to "get off meds" so now I'm am a victim of withdrawals... Well your story hit a nerve with me. I'm sure you see a Therapist if not give one a try. Best of luck.
I see a counsellor once a month, but have not yet gone into detail about this with her. I may send her a copy of the poem before our next session and say that's what I want to talk about. We had been looking at anger, but recently there have only been two major occurrences of anger - and one was at those young people. The other was at the stupidity of a hospital which can put a voice recognition system on the phone of their dental department - especially when you wish to speak to 'the secretary of Mr Saravanamuttu!'
My other major problem is that I have let housework get on top of me in the 3½ years since my mother died.
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