Do not judge me when I need my space. Do not judge me when something said to me triggers memories. Do not judge me when I will not leave the house. Do not judge me when I am afraid of men and do not want men around me. Do not judge me when I wake up from nightmares or have flashbacks. Do not judge me when I get into fight or flight and take off from where I am at. Do not tell me to just forget it and move on. Do not tell me that I am victimizing myself by talking about what happened to me. That is the quickest way to hurt me and push me away from you. Also, that is the quickest way to shut me down and to never come back around. Don’t avoid me when I am upset. Do not tell me that I am overreacting. Do not tell me that what happened was not that bad. Do not tell me to suck it up and move on. Please do some research and try to understand what military sexual trauma does to a person. Try to learn as much as you can about Complex Post Traumatic Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress. Try to understand what having a chain of command is like when they retaliate against you, tell you that you are nothing, ruins your career, does nothing when he admits it. What it is like to be on deployment and not being able to get away from the people that tell you over and over and over and over again that you are nothing, that what happened did not happen, that you are lying. When I ask for you to be there please just be there. I am not asking you to fix me. I am not asking you to do counseling. I see a counselor and the counselor is helping me. What I am just asking for a friend to be a support and listen. Sometimes all I want is for someone to just hold me and a therapist will not do that.Just be there for me so that I do not feel alone.
A lot of things happened this week. First off, I have been dealing with a sprained ankle and all of the emotions that have surfaced. My sprained ankle is connected to things that happened in the past and I am prone to chronic sprains. This leads to triggers and emotions coming to the surface from when I was at University of Cincinnati. I fell down a flight of stairs and broke both bones. I had to have surgery to fix this. Some how all of the emotions from being raped at UC has gone to my ankle and when it hurts like it has flashbacks and feelings come back.
Then I went to the VA hospital to have blood drawn. When they took my blood I started crying. My appointment was in the Women’s health clinic so I went there to check in. A nurse called me back to take vitals and asked me a bunch of questions about depression, my blood pressure went through the roof and she mentioned having an annual exam. I was there to have my ankle looked at. She told me to go back out and sit in the waiting room. While I was waiting to see the nurse practitioner, two men walked through. One was a African American cop in uniform and that sent me into a trigger and flashbacks. Then there was another man that walked through the Women’s Health Clinic.
Before I knew it I was in fight or flight and ended up leaving the clinic before I saw the nurse practitioner. For me going to the VA is so damn hard because of history and to me it is like walking back into being abused. No one from the VA called to check on me so that proves how much they care.
It’s just been a really emotional week and I have cried so much. On Wednesday, I was talking to a friend about some principles that have to do with blue belt. The five truths about myself. What I was saying was that these five truths are deep and it makes me nervous. I just told her that I was a little nervous about the upcoming belt. She looked at me and said, “When you talk about what happened to you, you are victimizing yourself.” First off, I was not talking about my trauma and was not even trying to go there. I was not going any where close to talking about what I have been through. I was just telling her that this made me nervous and a little scared. When she said what she did, I just looked at her and had no response. Then later I left and on the drive home, I just started crying. What she said really hurt and it old things that have been said to me. To begin with, I do not talk to her about what happened to me. Second, I am service connected at 100 percent for Complex PTSD. Third of all, I was not even approaching the topic because I know to not talk about this. Fourth, it really hurt and I am putting more boundaries in place and keeping my walls up. Fifth, I am back to isolating and not leaving my house because I am just done with people.
From all of the trauma’s I have been through, I dissociate from my body and go back to when I was raped. This article helps to explain why.
More dissociative conditions have been shown to be directly related to traumatic experiences, particularly in childhood. In The Haunted Self, Onno van der Hart and colleagues clarify that “events are not traumatic in themselves, rather, they may be so in their effect on a given individual. Thus not every individual who experiences a stressful event will actually be traumatized.”
Dissociation during a traumatic event is a natural, physiological response to circumstances that are too shocking, painful or extreme to process in the moment – it’s a survival strategy akin to parachuting out of a plane when both engines have gone down. Psychologists refer to this type of dissociation as adaptive – it helps you cope. Down the road, dissociation…
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I found this article very helpful and is so true.
“Now, many people who don’t know a lot about trauma think that trauma has something to do with something that happened to you a long time ago. In fact, the past is the past and the only thing that matters is what happens right now. And what is trauma is the residue that a past event leaves in your own sensory experiences in your body and it’s not that event out there that becomes intolerable but the physical sensations with which you live that become intolerable and you will do anything to make them go away.”
Last week, during a two-day deep cleaning/paint prep binge (see the kitchen ceiling to the right!), I listened to a recorded talk by Bessel van der Kolk given at the May 2011 22nd Annual International Trauma Conference. The title of van der Kolk’s title is a mouthful: “Putting neuroplasticity into clinical practice with neurofeedback: rewiring…
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Courage is being afraid but doing it any ways.
Courage is showing up and suiting up every day
Courage is having the ability to speak up when things are wrong.
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak.
Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
Courage starts with showing up and allowing ourselves to be seen.
Courage is being able to reach out and ask for help.
Courage does not mean that you do not afraid.
Courage is when you are willing to be vulnerable and allow
Your true feelings to come out.
Courage is when you are terrified to tell your story but realize
you need to tell your story and by sharing your story
it will help others to heal.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgement
That something else is more important than fear.
Courage is the first quality of a Warrior.
Courage means that fear does not stop you.
Courage is being able to inspire others
Courage is the commitment to go on.
Courage is allowing oneself to tell the story
Courage is facing the pain that is deep inside
Courage is taking a stand against things that are wrong
Courage is does not roar sometimes courage is having the
Ability to say that I will try again tomorrow
Courage is doing the best you can do for today.
Courage is reaching out a hand to help others
Courage is following your heart and intuition.
Courage is the magic that makes dreams become a reality.
I am posting this again because I am furious, enraged, hurt, betrayed and fed up with no one listening to what we have told Congress over and over again. The pentagon lied to Congress. They keep on ignoring survivors of military sexual trauma, rape. They retaliate against us. They ruin our careers. They promote and protect rapists. They send rapists to other technical schools, to other commands so that they can continue to rape over and over and over and over and over and over and over. They have proved that they do not care and will not do anything about rape. They have proved that they want rape to continue and award rapists for doing what they do. So in my response I am posting my video of my poem Shut Up and Listen to Survivors.
My name is Julie Smoot. I was a third class, damage control petty officer that went to Boot Camp in August of 2003. I was then sent to Naval CS A School in San Antonio, TX where I was raped twice by a third class petty officer. I was then sent to the USS Ronald Reagan where my life became more hell. I am no longer hiding behind my pen name of Honey Badger. Also, I wrote my story in The Boulders In My Life That Shaped My Journey. It’s time that people take a stand. Rape is not part of Honor, Courage, Commitment. Defending rapists, protecting rapists and promoting them has nothing to do with Honor, Courage, Commitment.
What else is new? We have been telling Senators that the Brass is full of shit and that they lie. They do nothing about rape. They retaliate against those that report. They ruin our careers. They do not listen to survivors that have testified on Capital Hill. They do not respond to emails, tweets, phone calls. They think they know but they have not been there. They do nothing even after bastard straight up admits to it in an email. They ruined my career, discharged me, but kept DM in and promoted him to Second Class Petty Officer. The chain of command has proven that they will not and do not care about this and do everything in there power to keep rapist in the military. Someone tell me where protecting rapists comes into the core values of Honor, Courage, Commitment? And then you call Senator Burr and Senator Tillis and they do not want to hear from survivors.