I'm writing this for someone I know in real life; someone who reads this blog and comments profusely. This person lives across the street. I'm not usually this obvious in calling people out, but in this case I need to be. You still wouldn't be able to google her and have this pop up, so I feel her identity is adequately protected. I am writing this because I don't know what else to do. Repeated conversations over several months have not worked. Maybe a blog post will? I can't say you haven't gotten the hint because I haven't been hinting. I've been straight up. [BTW, I welcome comments from anyone]
I am going to say this for hopefully the last time, because I'm getting very frustrated--
I DO NOT HAVE A TRAUMA BACKGROUND.
Period. The end. I spent most of my last therapy appointment discussing this (you're not the only one who has mentioned trauma in relation to me) and
I DO NOT HAVE A TRAUMA BACKGROUND.
Ok, so that wasn't the last time I said that because I just said it again... but hopefully now it is.
My shrink (who I have been seeing faithfully for the last 3.5 years) said that she has actually been quite surprised that I don't have a trauma background given everything that has happened in my life (both disability and non-disability related). I've got a long list of things that could have had a lasting traumatic imprint on my soul that haven't. I guess you could say I'm rather resilient, which is not a word I would have ever thought to pair up with Cheryl until just now. Not a part of my identity at all. She said
"It's not something that's ever entered my mind with you."
This however has not been enough to end the incessant badgering. It's where I'm at a complete loss now. Because when I asked my shrink what I needed to say to this person, she said "Tell her I've had extensive trauma training and it's not something that's ever entered my mind with you."
I know, I keep repeating myself, but maybe if it doesn't sink in the first time, it'll sink in the 3rd? She got it the first time by text immediately following my appt while I was waiting on paratransit. That first time I (we?) was (were?) immediately invalidated, and that's something you just don't do to me. It's one of, if not my biggest pet peeve, invalidating me, what I feel, what I experience, how I perceive things. If you want to talk trauma, this is my trauma. And this. This too (the first paragraph only) is all connected. Same person involved. These are the incidences that have led to panic attacks and nightmares.
I've thought about this continuously over the preceding 8hrs before starting to write this. Maybe I have experienced trauma. Fine. I give up. I'll tell you what you want to hear if it'll make you stop. Being brushed off for seven years, when I knew I needed more extensive and/or differently tailored psychiatric treatment caused trauma. This woman above caused trauma. Maybe the physical therapist who dismissed my pain (that was bad enough to make me cry) as me wanting to get out of therapy, when I actually had a post surgical complication caused trauma. She got fired FYI. Oh yeah, there was that 5th grade art teacher too (I needed a hell of a lot of psychotherapy to deal with him)... But it's not the forced therapy or sending me to the vice principal that caused trauma, it's the dismissiveness. If you can't see it, it's not there. NOT TRUE!
My friend, not wanting to listen to me, seems to want to think that having a physical disability, and everything that comes along with it, is deeply traumatic in and of itself. NOT TRUE EITHER! How do I explain this? It took me another 4hrs after my appt to come up with it.
Saying that experiences directly related to cerebral palsy -- PT, surgery etc -- are inherently traumatic is like saying experiences directly related to being black -- learning how to style black hair (which I hear is difficult), having someone cross the street when they see you coming their way on the sidewalk -- is traumatic. Now, I am clearly not black, so correct me if I'm wrong, but in relation to the CP stuff, my shrink and I said the same exact thing at the same time (that's a first for that)
These things weren't traumatic, they were MY NORMAL.
Having twice weekly physical therapy starting at 6mos old, needing to be taught how to roll over and sit up and walk up and down stairs wasn't traumatic, not unless you count having to go to hebrew school on Sunday mornings as "traumatic." Or having to do the dishes, or sitting through 10th grade geometry class as "traumatic." All kids have to do things they don't want to do. Heck, all adults have to do things they don't want to do. It's just the way life is. It's not "trauma." This is trauma.
And no, I am not diminishing my trauma. Hell, why would I do something that is my own pet peeve? Don't you do that to me. PLEASE!!! Would you tell a black person that the fact that they are black means that they experienced trauma? Would you tell a proud black person, who cherishes their identity and culture that they are denying their trauma? Then why do you continue to disbelieve me?