Drowning in Traumatic Waters

ErinArt Month, Symptoms and Side-Effects13 Comments

I am almost drowning in traumatic memories right now. That’s why I’ve been so depressed lately. Here’s a bit of the back-story:

I was traumatized within an inch of my life as a child. I had repressed my abuse memories until I was twenty-five and then the memories started to surface in recognizable chunks. It took me two years before I had the courage to speak up. This past September I went to the police about it as a way to prevent my abuser from hurting anyone else.

Before going to the police I thought I had dealt with the bulk of my trauma-related memories and feelings but I had not. Now, I keep feeling like I am four years old again and that the world is crashing around me. I feel scared and out of control and like my life is in danger, even though it isn’t. It is hell.

I keep thinking back to my early years of swimming lessons, when I learned that if someone is drowning and you don’t have a ‘life saving device’ to throw to them, it’s better if you don’t jump in the water for them at all. In their desperation to be saved, the drowning person can pull you under, causing two deaths instead of one. I feel like if I reach out for help I am going to drown someone with me.

And it’s so backwards because these overwhelming feelings of mine are from childhood. I’m twenty-seven and scared to be alone in my own apartment. I feel like I am being abused right here and now when I am not. Yet it is so real I swear it’s as close as anyone ever gets to time travel. It is so real I can taste it and feel it and smell it. I feel like I’m going crazy.

I am so tired of this fight that lately I’ve been cursing my strength to keep going. Yet I must. I’m trying my best not to self-destruct though that’s where I automatically turn when things get hard. I need to remember that any kind of self-destruction equals more pain. Self-harm, eating disorder behaviours, getting drunk, all of that kind of stuff just turns into me abusing myself. I don’t need more abuse.

So I’m staying safe by trying to do things that I usually enjoy, because I know that when enjoyment does come back into my life, it’s most likely to resurface when I’m making art or writing or playing with my dog.

My art is bleak but it does make me feel a little better to express myself creatively. Here’s some of my recent writing snippets:

I sought solace in hands but when anyone tries to cup water, carrying their hands to their mouth, water always seeps through fingers. There is never enough to quench. Eventually we stop trying. I am the woman dying of dehydration who lies down in the rain, too exhausted to bring a glass to her lips.

I swallow the word ‘hospital’, it too is too large to chew. You ask lungs or heart, I tell suffocation and shards unmendable. To try to fix me is to be blinded.

Don’t tell me my story is too sad. This I know. My winter is imprinted with fear.

In an effort to get myself through this brutal time, I’m making December ART MONTH here at Daisies and Bruises. My blog’s subtitle is The Art of Living With Depression, so it’s only natural for me to take you on my artistic journey over the next few weeks. I’ll post drawings and collages and some of my craft projects and trying to work some artistic adventures into my days.

Alongside these intense trauma feelings, my art is probably going to be pretty dark at times. Most likely it will be similar to my other pieces in the Art Section (which is going to grow!) if you haven’t seen those pieces yet. I’ll also be expanding the Art Section this month, posting some of my older works.

So if you too have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or if you want to learn more about it, my art over the next while may reflect my symptoms. I’m going to try my hardest to keep posting here, even though it may feel overwhelming sometimes. I need to stay tethered to the real world so my bad memories don’t take over. Stay tuned. ♥

ErinDrowning in Traumatic Waters

13 Comments on “Drowning in Traumatic Waters”

  1. Kendra

    Aw Erin, I do hope you feel better soon. I’ve been lucky that my PTSD hasn’t been too bad lately, although I was feeling like you are just a few months ago. Keep up with the art and you’ll be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. Jan

    I understand this pain I have thinking about you I send you Peace comfort and understanding courage for the jounery to better times

  3. Andrea

    Amazing that you are writing and making art and expressing yourself here. It’s not an easy story to tell, but I hope telling it brings you some sense of relief. Brave girl! Baby “M” sends baby snuggles and wonders when you’ll come back again to see her.

  4. destroythequeen

    Typically, victims of abuse wind up either abusing themselves or someone else. It’s the cycle of abuse and very difficult to break.

    I don’t remember the majority of my abuse, except for a few small fleeting flesh memories and one major one I’ve only recently been able to talk about. At times the flashbacks can get so bad it feels like you’re still there and still in that place. I completely understand your distress, I still have night terrors.

    I wish I knew the secret to getting over this stuff. Or at least to get through it. All I can recommend is doing what you’re already doing, distracting yourself with art and the like.

    All the love darling.

  5. Diana

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having such a hard time Erin. You’re doing really well by expressing yourself through writing and art. And your strength is really evident throughout your writing. I can tell you have such a strong will to get through this. I hope that one day, all those memories will be released, freeing you with nothing left but yourself, without those dark moments and times in the background. Let them all out, with the support of your therapist and friends to help you through it. It will all be ok… xoxoxo

  6. kinnery

    My dearest Erin, you are so very brave. You are honestly my inspiration, not because you’re perfect, but because you can pick yourself up and carry on even when things seem impossible. I’m here for you all the time, no matter what. I’ll be glad to see more of your INCREDIBLE art (maybe you could send me a print of one of your pieces for Christmas so I can decorate my room more? :P) and read more of your AWE-INSPIRING writing.

    Please don’t let yourself drown in this. Remember the quote you sent to me. You were right, we are strong swimmers. We can do this.

  7. Jan

    Erin,I am glad you’re here like yor blog and posts be kind to yourself hope Digby is giving you comfort this of year is not the easiest season for many of us we care about you wheather you be in shadows or sunshine .Jan

  8. Roma

    I’m sorry to hear about your rough time lately. I hope you get through it alright. If you need to talk, I can listen

  9. Anonymous

    I posted an anonymous comment last week regarding Homewood, I am curious as to why you deleted it, were you contacted by someone to remove it?, or was it your decision alone. Thank you.

    1. daisiesandbruises

      I didn’t delete the comment! I actually replied to it! I don’t know what happened – I’ll have to look into it. Sometimes the spam filter catches anonymous comments and waits for me to approve them, so that could be what happened.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *