Archive for August 6th, 2008

This week, I have been talking about the stress of returning to your hometown in which you experienced child abuse. I have talked about my apprehension before the trip and my stress during the visit. I wish that returning home would end the stress, but it does not. It takes me a good week to recover from the aftermath of a trip to my hometown. I do not recommend returning to your hometown where your child abuse took place unless you have a very good reason to do so.

I awaken the day after the trip home from visiting my hometown with the expectation of feeling better, but I never do. I feel like I am recovering from an intense battle. I am not myself. I feel drained of energy. All I want to do is cry. I generally spend hours each day in tears for the first week home.

I have no energy, which is unusual for me. I am generally a very energetic person who gets twice as much done than most people in half the time. That is just the way I am. All of that energy is sapped when I return home. It is an effort to get out of bed in the morning, although as a mother of a young child, I do not have a choice.

Again, my husband and son pick up on my stress and react to it. I wind up having arguments with both of them multiple times throughout the week. I need time to lick my emotional wounds, and neither will give me the space to do that. Neither hears me unless I am screaming at the top of my lungs, so that is exactly what I wind up doing. And then I feel badly about myself because I am alternating between being so depressed that I can barely move and raging like a lunatic at my family.

The despair is overwhelming and, ironically, this is when I battle my deepest suicidal urges. I would expect to feel suicidal before or during the trip but not afterward. However, that has not been my experience. For a good week after returning from a visit to my hometown and seeing so many things that remind me of the child abuse, I just want to die. I “forget” all of the things that I love about life because they are clouded by my deep feelings of despair.

I don’t feel better until I finally talk about it with someone. I don’t want to talk about it with the people in my life because it is too painful. It also makes me feel too vulnerable. When my pain is that raw, I simply cannot endure another emotional wound, and revealing this deeply hurting part of myself to another person makes me extremely vulnerable to being hurt again. I do not think I could endure another wound on top of what I am already nursing.

Another odd thing is that I get very quiet. I am known for my chattiness. My therapist tells me that one reason I am so chatty is because I was silenced so much in childhood, so when I finally have another person willing to listen to me, the words tumble out quickly before am I silenced again. So, everyone in my life has the expectation that I will talk a lot in a conversation – not that I won’t listen, because I am a very good listener, but being chatty is who part of I am.

That changes for about a week when I return from a trip to my hometown. It is an effort for me to talk. I don’t return phone calls. I don’t say much when I am around my friends. I just want to melt into the ground and disappear.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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