Saturday, September 6, 2014

Who Am I? Why Should I See Justice? Why Have I Worn A Mask for So Long?

I think we all have been made aware that people perceive us, in our varying roles, differently.
We act and react to stimulus within those roles, accordingly to what we perceive is expected of us, as individuals.    We are all perceived both by our peers, as well as we carry an image of whom we wish to portray, within our roles.   Are those images wrong, or are we merely being judged by those around us?

Is it fair? or is their judgment of us aligned with our perception. of who we are trying to portray, as well as the role we wish were trying to portray?  What ever the answers to the previous questions are, I am sure that your taking the time to answer them, is or will be thought provoking and somewhat valuable to you, during your day.   I know, it seems like I have just made the proverbial cat chase her tail. and maybe I have.  But, in my defense, there is a reason, why I put you through the thought process, which will help you better relate to the remainder of this post.  On many occasions, I have been subjected to what other's perceived me as, and who they perceived me as; and having the information they shared, helped me realize who well PTSD sufferers and MST survivors hide who they truly are. I was astonished, to find a huge disparity between who I am, and who I the images that my employer has held for such a long time.  I then started seeing that the images which were held by neighbors and associates, whom I associate with, had of me; and which did not align with myself perceptions.

Now, I am finding out that all of them have ranged from being "sugar-coated" down to out-right wrong, including the images I have held of myself outwardly.  All of which had some common elements, but core elements of "who I am, were all way different.          It was a warm evening, just a few months ago, and I had spent most of my scheduled day for work, used up running medical and mental health appointments. I was supposed to have been back at work at 11:00am, at the latest, but my appointments had taken to around or near to 5:00pm, when I am normally off regular shift work and go on call, for the company I work for.  Due to the confusion of things that were going on at my Doctor appointments, I was unable to call and inform the boss, of my impending tardiness and evidently the requests for the nurses to do so, when unanswered and unperformed.  Either way, It all ended with a huge "blow out" between my boss and I.
 I had previously worked for this employer several years ago, and had recently returned to work for him again, and he had brought up my personality and my lack of showing any signs of having PTSD, or any needs for any psychological assistance.. His comments of which included; "You never shown signs of these issues, when you worked for me previously, and now all of the sudden it's in the open and you are out being seen by mental health professionals with a whole lot of issues, popping up; maybe we need to make changes."  After showing him several instances, where I had faltered in hiding my PTSD, and other symptoms, which he had not been paying attention, brought about some really deep discussions and revelations to him; that his lack of seeing the signs was not only the lack of his paying attention; but also his lack of caring about the results of those instances.

 However, despite my seeing that he had not been able to recall those instances, really helped me realize how well I was able to don a mask, and hide my pain.  IT also allowed me to operate in life, without questions which would have been embarrassing and humiliating to say the least; regarding my PTSD and my being a MST Survivor.  Now, in further discussion after the day, where my boss and I had sat down for the previously described discussion, I have had other discussions regarding PTSD, with my boss and with other people whom have been in my life, recently.  Each of them, had no clue that PTSD, was a disability or could be debilitating.  None of them knew or realized that PTSD falls within the Federal Disabilities Act, nor the State Disabilities Act.  But it does.  .

I was amazed on how people and myself were perceived when we brought up the fact that we were PTSD diagnosed.  Most of those who are ignorant of this fact, are unaware that the sufferers of PTSD, are doing anything  more than just making up excuses for doing nor not doing given things that are normally accepted, in society.

Is it fair?  Nope!  IS it discriminating?  Yes, it is; and it lends to those of us whom are suffering from mild to complex PTSD, to being discriminated against.

Put together, the average idea's of "Joe Public" in with MST, or Sexual Assault; which is suffered while in the military, and then on top of that throw in the idea of a male being a victim of Sexual Assault (whether male on male, or male on female, or even female on male) and you have a whole picture of why victims of MST, remain silent and try so hard to hide their suffering.  IN fact, a male MST survivor whom suffers from any form of PTSD, which stems from that sexual assault quickly becomes a "Master of  Disguise."     Hiding from the truth of their pain, and the truth of their suffering; becomes a pool of life long lies, to cover the fact that they were victimized.  It usually is easier, in my estimation if the silence was brought about by physical, psychological threats, or even the sufferance of career ending or life ending consequences; should they discuss or reveal the events or accuse anyone of committing such horrific and devastating act.

Over time, the systematic results of life and reality takes over and the assault and the excuses not to come out and wage such an accusation against someone, especially in the military, becomes all too scary and threatening.   Again, I ask; Is It Fair?  NO, it is not and it is also nothing which can be merely "swept under the carpet" as even the silence is more devastating than the actual immediate consequences.

Had I known, or realized, that the aftermath of my Sexual Assault would have came back on me, much later in life (as it has), I would have gladly weighted out the differences and went outside of my "Military Chain of Command," and told that Psychologist whom I was seeing for my Anger Management treatment; after my rape, what actually had happened. Why? Because it would have had possibly less of an impact, long term wise, than what the immediate consequences would have brought to bare.    The Scales of Justice, can not take away the pain, nor can it replace the innocence of which was so pure, prior to the Sexual Trauma.  In fact, there seems to be no real remedy for the act, which can put someone who has suffered and lost so much, through the acts of Sexual Assault or Rape, or even unwanted Sexual Contact. 

No amount of money, no amount of apology, and definitely no amount of justice, will replace what was lost; especially when it is kept quietly hidden under layers of lies and other trauma, which soon follows; later in life.  There is no way to weight or balance, the actions of those who commit those crimes against us, and others.  There is no amount of years behind bars or being tortured that can be imposed, to allow us to put aside the guilt, the shame, the embarrassment, the masks we wear, and the load of other negative emotions we, as Rape or Sexual Assault victims must bear.

I am a Sexual Assault Victim, who is moving towards becoming a Survivor.  AS one person has put it; "Every day my eyes open; I spit in the face of my attackers!,"  With every breath I take, I spite in the eyes of my Rapists!", With every wish, I spit in the eyes of those whom refused me justice." and with every moment of laughter, no matter it's origin, I not only spit but I Crap in their Lives!"
That is the only justice I can see, and the only comfort I can take with me.

Final Words:
If you suspect something is wrong, with a family member, research and find out if they have been possibly hiding symptoms of PTSD. If you think or have a story, which might include trauma, go seek help! If you find that the origin of that trauma is from Sexual Assault, Rape, Unwanted Physical Sexual Contact; Please seek out resources to get help, to bring your family member, or yourself the peace of knowing that justice is within your grasp.

If you find yourself being threatened; spit in the face of that threat! By doing so, will save you years of anguish; only to come to the conclusion I did; that the immediate consequences of reporting the incident, is far less than the consequences of hiding it and trying to live with the assault or trauma by yourself for years (like I did.)
Listen and do not judge someone, who claims they have been sexually assaulted.  Then give them support to find the needed resources to cope with it.  If you see signs of a loved one, who is being over protective of their bodies; for no apparent reason, be compassionate to their need for space; and let them know that when they are ready, you will be there to support them in finding help, and getting through the darkness.  But most of all; do not give them any message that once they embark on such a journey, that you will leave them alone.  They will be automatically looking for that.  Just love them and love their pain, and help them love themselves.

Be Blessed and Believe help is out there.  All you have to do, is look and ask for it.  From my heart, I wish you and your loved ones a blessed recovery.