I came to OOTS shortly after beginning with my first true trauma therapist. She was the first to recognize my symptoms of C-PTSD. Prior to that moment of realization, I was aware that I fit the label of PTSD but it never fully explained the totality of what I dealt with daily. My C-ptsd developed from an extensive list of traumas from age 6 to 13. I have experienced trauma until about 6 months ago, which adds up to about 17 years of trauma. Those first 7 were the most active, and what I attribute my development of C-ptsd to.

I moved to another state with my family when I was six years old, and remember very little from before that time. My family appeared to be the ideal middle class family. However, that was not the case. We hurt for money, and there was constant fighting between my parents and siblings. It forced me to become responsible for everyone’s mental and physical health in my house. I was the mediator between conflicts, the maid, the comforter, the protector, and much more. At such a young age, it was more than I should have ever been asked to do, but I did it to survive and to protect my younger siblings. They became my reason to act the way I did, to live at all.

I was not allowed to make mistakes, and was punished for even the smallest incident by my mother. I have found recently the strength to call her abusive both emotionally and physically. With this in the background I learned to never speak out, and to become the perfect child. Therefore, when two people close to me became sexually abusive to me, I never spoke up. They were the worst of my childhood. Between them, I was traded to other people for favors; forced to hurt others; witnessed other being hurt; and was raped multiple times a day for about 7 years. I grew to know my place in the world as a protector, and nothing more. I had no worth to myself, but lived only to make sure others were safe.

That brought me through many struggles in my life. I spent years in bouts of depression, and anxiety. Experiencing flashbacks, anxiety attacks, and suicidal episodes before knowing what they truly were. The only response I got from my family was being yelled at, locked away, and told I should be better. To this day they do not know the extent of my abuse, and will never recognize the abuse they put me through.

Finding OOTS has given me hope, because at 23 I have resources and people that want to help me heal. I am reminded daily that someone cares, and that I am not alone. After spending so much of my life alone and not understanding what was happening to me this place is like a virtual home. My story has a long windy road to keep traveling on, but I can finally say I am in recovery. I am not longer in the victim cycle, instead I am working forward. Being only 23 I question whether I am too young or too unstable to heal, but I have hope for the first time in a very long time. Finding out about C-ptsd and finding that people can understand what it is I have been through my whole life has been the biggest step in my journey thus far. I struggle with my recovery, but I have also never been stronger or more myself in my whole life. I wouldn’t change my choice to start healing now for anything.