“I am blind to beauty for I have seen the ugliness of war,
My heart discard, my soul’s an open sore,
My spirit’s broken, and my body is not well,
For I have seen the smoke and fire
And passed through the gates of hell… ”
– Kevan Lyons, The Poet of Churchill Square
These are grave times. Terrorism stalks the world, striking without warning or mercy. I can think of no better analogy for abuse.
Abuse is a conflict in which children’s lives are the battlefield; a conflict in which children go unarmed, yet have war wounds inflicted; a conflict in which children will never be victors.
Under wartime conditions of deprivation and abandonment, the simplest word of encouragement is denied a young heart. Under wartime conditions of violence and destruction, the most defenseless among us are battered and broken. Under wartime conditions of rape and pillage, basic sexuality becomes an item of commerce, and a lifelong source of pain.
Little wonder that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — first identified in the combat setting centuries ago — is common among abuse victims, as well.
PTSD can cause symptoms including nightmares, hyper-vigilance, and flashbacks. This anxiety disorder can contribute to isolation, panic disorder, divorce, substance abuse, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
PTSD is not, however, a mark of shame. Abuse victims may have experienced pain and confusion, rejection, anger, and grief. Guilt and shame are misplaced. Not only did we, as children, not cause the abuse we were forced to endure; we were powerless to stop it.
The wounds inflicted on us were enough. We must not inflict more.
WARNING: Drug sensitivity can produce nightmares in some individuals. This can occur even with drugs that are well tolerated by the population, at large. Prozac and Effexor, antidepressants commonly prescribed to treat PTSD, are two such drugs.
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