Mental Illness: Normal Consequences Of Abuse Or Something Wrong With You?

Something crossed my mind recently.

 

People with PTSD/C-PTSD, depression or anxiety that stems from being abused are referred to as having a mental illness, or mental health problems.  It occurred to me though that this is, in a way, false.

 

Yes, C-PTSD/PTSD, depression & anxiety are proof of damage in the brain, so they are in that sense mental disorders.  But, such things are also normal reactions to highly abnormal circumstances.  The truth is actually that these disorders were brought about by an abusive person determined to hurt you.

 

Having C-PTSD, PTSD, depression or anxiety aren’t signs that you are weak, a failure, stupid or anything else.  They are simply proof that you have been through some traumatic things, & you survived!  You are strong!

 

Rather than being ashamed of yourself for being “mentally ill”, why not instead embrace the fact that you are a normal, mentally healthy person who has been through some terrible things?

 

I’m not saying embrace your disorder- I doubt anyone could enjoy flashbacks, suicidal thoughts, panic attacks & more.  Instead, I’m saying see your disorder as proof of your strength & that you have been through trauma.  Not everyone survives being abused.  Many victims develop terrible addictions & still others commit suicide.  You haven’t done those & should be proud that you haven’t!

 

 

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20 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

20 responses to “Mental Illness: Normal Consequences Of Abuse Or Something Wrong With You?

  1. I don’t believe that CPTSD should be classified as a mental disorder but as the symptoms of physical damage to the brain brought on by narcissistic assault. This assault can be physical, verbal, emotional, or any combination of the three. In my opinion it’s no different than a laceration or broken bone. And I’m not ashamed or embarrassed by my CPTSD. I did not want or cause it. My abusers are responsible for my suffering and they’re the ones who should be ashamed. Instead of shame I feel righteous anger about the harm that was done to me. Abuse victims should never feel shame.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Cindy Patterson

    Thank you for this Cynthia!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Espiritu en Fuego/A Fiery Spirit and commented:
    This is a much better way to look at mental illness and traumatic events. Abuse can and does lead to PTSD, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc… I believe and know that some of my responses to environmental triggers are my brains way of protecting me from danger. Even though we want to let go of the past sometimes, many times the Past won’t let go of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Your blog posts have done much to help me better understand myself. You are on point and on target.

    This is a much better way to look at mental illness and traumatic events. Abuse and domestic violence, rape can and does lead to PTSD, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc… I believe and know that some of my responses to environmental triggers are my brains way of protecting me from danger. Even though we want to let go of the past sometimes, many times the Past won’t let go of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Betsy

    Perfectly said, both Cynthia and Suzanne. Thanks for what you wrote here.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Julie

    Sometimes when I tell people about something my mother did when I was was growing up they say “You need to see a counsellor.” I’ve already done that. What they don’t seem to grasp is that I’m telling them what happened and I need them to accept that. Talking to a counsellor does not change the fact that it happened. Things happened and I learnt to deal with it and her. It doesn’t stop the flashbacks and the feelings that come with them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “What they don’t seem to grasp is that I’m telling them what happened and I need them to accept that.” Most of the people who haven’t been abused don’t understand our need to be heard. Occasionally we meet someone with great empathy and kindness who will listen and accept what we have to say but that’s rare. And it’s why we need to spend time with other survivors. Only those who have endured narcissistic abuse can understand our suffering, the damage done to us, and what we need to heal.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Suzanne is exactly right, Julie. Unfortunately it seems like mostly only other survivors understand our need for validation. Narcissistic abuse is hard to wrap your mind around, even when you’ve experienced it first hand, so I guess in a way it’s understandable some people don’t understand us. Plus there is a great lack of compassion in the world, even among non-narcissists.

      Like

      • Julie

        Thank you for your replies. I’m finding that reading this blog is giving me aha! moments and I realise that there are people who know exactly how I feel and I’m also getting validation for the ways I cope with it. My mother died last year and memories of her words and deeds have been coming to mind and I’ve felt angry all over again. I’ve felt that other people have not understood my grief as I don’t have any happy memories of her. I am now feeling much better and that I’ve done a lot healing in the past year. Bless you both.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This post is great, thanks. People with PTSD or other mental health problems (myself included) need to realise that having a mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. I think it is how society associates the word that creates a problem. In fact survivors of abuse are experts in courage. As they have experienced the most vulnerability, they have had to muster enough courage to just do the simple things.
    Thank you for your post

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much!!

      You beautifully said that! It’s very true, society shames those with mental illness. If you have cancer, diabetes, etc., you can get sympathy but say you have PTSD, depression, etc & chances are someone will tell you to get over it, think happy thoughts or other ludicrous advice.

      I like that too- survivors of abuse are experts in courage.

      Thank you for your reply. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Very well said. Thanks for sharing. Take care. Peace out! 🙂

    Like

  9. I have ptsd and I’ve never been abused there has been a number of deaths in my family and having to go through court etc and watch videos of your loved ones being killed on screen brought my ptsd on.

    Like

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