“It’s not your fault.”
This is a sentence I find myself saying all too much to those who know me intimately – and that’s not sexual. I say it to my friends in a reassuring way. To make them feel better.
To make them feel better about what? Me. Of course.
Most days I have absolutely no problem functioning like a normal human being. I can blend into society like there is nothing wrong with me. But that’s a bold faced lie. There’s this big thing that is so completely detrimental to my life and it is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly known as PTSD. I have it. Pretty bad. I have had years of coping and healing and living with it. I have spent years building up walls to keep myself as sane as possible. I have spent years learning what my triggers are. I have spent years knowing how to avoid triggers. I have spent years learning how to struggle through my episodes. And I have spent years learning how to make people comfortable with my PTSD.
I have PTSD. Most days I am an active and productive participant in society. There are days when I’m more vulnerable to a break down than other days. I don’t know why; it just is. I have spent six years becoming the person I am today. I have spent six years learning the ins and the outs of what I can tolerate and what I cannot. I have spent six years building up a resistance. I have built up thick walls that allow me to work, to love, to live, to function. When I am vulnerable, the best way I can explain it, in a flash my walls collapse. Every touch, every encounter, every word, every look, every moment feels like it could be an assault. On these days I flinch at a touch and scare at a breeze. On these days when the wall breaks I am transported back six years.
I have spent six years coming into myself. I have spent six years becoming a vibrant, tangible person. And on my vulnerable days, all my work is erased. I become the scared girl of six years ago. I’m a version that is so broken there is no saving. My past is no longer reality, but in those moments it is real to me. In those moments I am trapped in a prison time has not yet erased.
I was recently told by someone very close to me that my eyes become hollow and lose color when I have one of those days. My eyes show what I will never be able to say in those moments. I am hollow. I am empty. I am colorless.
I can’t be fixed. I’m too broken.
In my darkest moments, I have found myself comforting others. Saying: “It’s not your fault,” “You didn’t do anything,” “You can’t make it better,” “It happens,” or “I’m ok; I’m just broken.” I’m not lying. All of these things are true. Why am I the one comforting when I am the one crumbling?
For years it has been easier for me to say “It’s not your fault.” What has taken me years and years to finally say is that “It is not my fault.” I didn’t ask for these things to happen to me. I didn’t do anything to deserve it. I didn’t dress a certain way or act a certain way or say a certain thing. I just was. I existed and lived my life. People surrounding me made decisions. I forced into reactions. I have reacted to and coped with other’s decisions. It isn’t my fault.
What is my fault though is putting everyone else’s feelings ahead of mine. Taking care of everyone else. Situations and self-consciousness has forced me to explain myself. Explaining my past when silence would have been best. Comforting people when I needed to be comforted. Making everyone else comfortable with my past has been my first priority if they had to bear witness to my darkness. But I can’t do it anymore. I have learned to care more about my own mental health than making others comfortable.
It’s not your fault, but it’s not my fault either.