Updated: Jun 18, 2022
This is important. The post above is something that I wanted to share with you all. Because this was something that I didn't understand myself until 4 years ago when Dr. Richardson trapped me in my examination room and forced me to get help.
It was March 2018, and I thought that I was going in to see my primary care provider for my 6-week follow-up for my Diabetes. It was in this appointment that he started asking questions that he had never asked before.
I don't know if these questions were because of "off-the-record conversations" that he had previously had with my half-sister that had worked with him or not. And to be honest, I don't know that she would ever tell me what she had told him, if anything.
But these specific questions were ones that during this appointment, I could no longer lie about, or choose to not answer. And to be honest - I'll admit it. All my life prior to this appointment, I had either lied or chose not to answer any questions about my stress level, pain (either physical or emotional), or previous abuse (again, either physical or emotional). For some reason, on this specific day, I ended up breaking down and balling in the examination room while attempting to express all my past hurts and hang ups.
I'm not just talking about a few tears. Or even just a little stream of tears. I am talking all out rivers of tears, and there may or may not have been some blubbering involved. Granted, even a polyglot (person that knows many languages) wouldn't have even been able to understand anything that I was saying at that moment. Between the fact that I was speaking about 5000 words a minute, not making any sense, and all while blubbering and coming down with the worst case of hiccups.
It didn't seem to matter. Because with this breakdown, in combination with some of his observations of my physical health deteriorating, Dr. Richardson was worried enough to call in the staff psychologist for an emergency evaluation. At the time, I hated him. I'll admit it. I did!! And I don't usually use that word. I have even called Banner Healthcare and had complained about him. I wrote letters and answered surveys about him blowing things out of proportion, and making mountains out of mole hills.
So, let me interject here. This was a defense mechanism. "Defense mechanisms are automatic psychological processes. They protect you from anxiety and the perception of internal/external dangers or stressors. Defense mechanisms are the intermediary between the individual response to emotional conflict and internal and external stressors." (exploringyourmind.com) This is something that I didn't realize that I was doing at the time.
But, 4 years of intense therapy later... I can tell you that Dr. Richardson was one of the best doctors that I have ever had. And he probably saved my life. I wish that there was a way that I could thank him now.
"Why a wheelchair" you ask?
Because this is where you too will be headed if you have un-dealt with trauma.
I didn't see it at the time. And if I am being honest, it's still something that I don't completely understand now. Being someone that has been abused their entire life, it is something that still takes me by surprise when someone outside of my daily life tells me that I am strong. I do realize now while going through my therapy that I am stronger than I give myself credit sometimes. But it is during this time that I am realizing that I have always been strong. And I am not strong because of enduring the abuse.
So, remember my friend, you have endured your trauma because you had within you the strength to get through it. I personally believe, that for me - it was because of God the Father holding me, and the Holy Spirit guiding me. Because I honestly believe that it was the Holy Spirit guiding me on this particular day in March 2018 that started my journey.
Because amid me sitting in my examination room, blubbering, and hiccupping - that Dr. Richardson excused himself and told me that he had to go get more tissues, and that he would be back.
I started to feel like I had been forgotten because he was gone from the room for almost an hour. I was just about to get up to find someone to make sure that I hadn't been forgotten about - when he came back into the room with a petite but astute woman.
This woman was the on staff clinical psychologist. The two of them asked me some more questions. But I already had my walls up again. During the almost hour of being in the examination room by myself, I had carefully recrafted my wall, and had frantically reinforced it.
This new doctor was able to see right through it. She had gently spoken with me and was crafty enough to convince me to meet with her in a couple of days. I left with 3 sessions booked with her within the next week.
Afterwards when I was driving back to work that day, is when I started having flash backs of when I was in 5th grade. And meeting with another gently spoken, but assertive woman. This was during a time of my life that the start of what I believe now to be - the starting point of my mountain of trauma.
Between 3rd and 5th grade were turning points in my life, as it is for most people. "Around the age of seven, give or take a year, children enter a developmental phase known as the age of reason. “The age of reason refers to the developmental cognitive, emotional, and moral stage in which children become more capable of rational thought, have internalized a conscience, and have better capacity to control impulses (than in previous stages),” explains Dana Dorfman, PhD, psychotherapist, and co-host of the podcast 2 Moms on the Couch." (Age of reason) And, it is normal for children that had been emotionally abused, to develop socially and emotionally a little later than the average child.
It was during this time that I finally started to understand what being adopted at birth really meant. And, at the same time - finally taking in all the different stories and lines that I had been fed and starting to analyze what that really meant. I also started to assess my own feelings about these stories and lines that I was being fed and found that it wasn't safe to go through all of this at home.
I learned that my (adoptive) mother wasn't the one to go to for help with the building anxiety. I started to have anxiety come up because of some of the stories that I was being told. And that she was definitely not my safe place to voice these concerns. Especially when it came to attempting to deal with the abandonment issues that I was having; because, she was the person that was telling me time and time again that I was given up for adoption because my birth parents couldn't and wouldn't take care of me. And was always reminding me that I was blessed to have a family that could take care of me, and did. This followed up with many stories about my what kind of life that I had been saved from. With explicit stories that I could, and did visualize.
I was told about how my birthfather was a punk that was heavy into drugs, and desperate to get into the Hell's Angels bike club. And that he was always picking fights with other kids at school and was always being picked up by the police for fights, stealing, raping teen age girls, or dealing drugs. These are all stories (whether they were true or not) that should not have been shared with a 7- to 9-year-old child. And sometimes, her stories were so graphic that it made it too easy for a pre-teen mind to be able to take hold, and imagine it happening.
I was told about how my birthmother was a weak young woman that had been stolen away from the Lord and led away to do drugs and became a whore. Stories about her walking away from her beliefs and being led to do things that she normally wouldn't have - but because of sin and the desire to fulfill her boyfriend’s wants and desires was led away of who she could have become. And this included shoplifting, petty theft, doing or dealing drugs, and selling herself for money. Again, these stories were just as graphic and was made too easy for a pre-teen mind to be able to imagine and visualize it.
These stories always preceded whatever physical or emotional abuse that was on tap that day. Most of the time this story time was followed up with statements like, "Which of our bloodlines will you be following? Huh? Are you going to be a spawn of evil? Someone that is an angry bully or a whore?" And then on some days, was followed up with a whipping while she was screaming that no child of hers was going to be a whore or a bully. That her child would only be a God-fearing woman of strength.
Little did she know... that these actions created and solidified a God-fearing woman of strength - with anxiety issues and PTSD.
Friends, I wish that I could tell you that I have found what it means to be in safe, healthy relationships. And although I believe that I am starting to... it isn't an easy thing for me. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of courage and over-coming my anxiety and stopping my defense mechanisms from kicking in every time that my phones rings, or I get a text. Every time I get an invitation to meet for coffee. And every time a stranger smile in my direction.
Making friends is hard for me. Don't get me wrong. I want friends. I want to go out for coffee. I want and desire to have close relationships. It is the anxiety and the years of abuse that sometimes is hard to drown out.
But the one thing that I have been focused on, and I hope that you do too while reading and thinking on this post:
Everyone has their own demons, struggles, and trauma. So - be kind.