“Oooh… I don’t read your blog!”

Hello friends

I am blessed with so many supportive friends who seem to love me just as I am.

Today’s post is not about my friends. It’s more of a general question: Why is it so much easier to generate Facebook discussion about physical illness than about mental distress? These thoughts came to me when an acquaintance recently intoned: “Oh! I don’t read your blog,” in such a way to suggest that I should be grateful for the admission. I find this quite curious and didn’t know what to make of it.

Why are people happy to post selfies of themselves in hospital after an accident and label their broken bones; but are unable to respond to selfies about mental distress caused by the accident of sexual abuse?

(If this applies to you and you don’t want to hear, just promise me this: ask yourself “why”?)

Here are the 3 main reasons people don’t want to hear:

What is your experience? Do you find it difficult to hear? Are you embarrassed? Do you find co-workers shuffle off into the shadows when you share your story?

6 Comments Add yours

  1. This post resonated with me, and so much that I’m thinking of it days later. It seems the crux of why a child cannot and does heal at the time of the trauma. Families are ashamed and shame the child into silence. How can one heal when traumatized as brutally as being hit by a car with no one to come to her rescue with aid, love, intervention and support?

    The family essentially shuns her unless she stays quiet. So she does. She internalizes the ‘attacks’ as her being bad, dirty, and unfit to live. She is grateful her family wants to have her be a part of it and grovels for even a scrap of attention or semblance of what seems like love.

    But how can love be real love if it comes with conditions, that of keeping her deep wounds within where they don’t and cannot heal, they fester and grow. The PTSD that often occurs becomes a permanent after effect because no intervention was provided for it to be processed. All the many negative thoughts about herself become part of her forming personality for the same reason.

    She attacks herself in countless ways from childhood throughout adulthood because she believes in her ‘badness.’ The so called family encourages this knowing it will shackle her from exposing them, both the ones who committed such horrors but also the ones who knew and didn’t help and kept silent.

    When anyone is injured by an accident, surviving a death, or a physical disease, others come with sympathy, condolences, casseroles, gifts, support and many other ways of helping. When a child suffers these horrendous injuries, as bad or in many ways far worse, no one comes. She is re-victimized over and over again; pain, on pain, on pain. It is done to keep her quiet. Better that she internalizes it rather than expose them.

    These days veterans are finally receiving some respect for surviving the very horrific aspects of war. The diagnosis of PTSD is not a label that spews negativity. It is one that brings compassion and help; as it should and always should have been.

    It is time for those attacked sexually as children who suffer the effects of PTSD and the many other devastating after-effects, even decades later, to receive the same support, acknowledgment, and respect, and the freedom to speak openly about it in all forums.
    (I use the term ‘attack’ because even though no force is needed on a child who loves and trust her attacker, it is an attack all the same. And it is an attack on so many more levels of the child’s psyche that the injuries sustained can be life-long)

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  2. bethanyk says:

    You are SOOOO right!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. La Quemada says:

    Sometimes I think people do care, but they are at a loss for what to say. Precisely because it’s seldom talked about, people don’t develop some typical responses. For example, even though people feel uncomfortable around death, they know they can at least say, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” But they don’t have a generic response like, “I’m so sorry that you are still suffering the impact of sexual abuse decades later.”

    Maybe as more of us talk and write about it, it will become easier? After the whole Donald Trump Access Hollywood tape surfaced, I started just telling people that I had experiences like the one he joked about it, and it wasn’t a joke to me. Some people said nothing but a few women have responded with things like, “Me, too!” and “I know what you mean!” Those words mean a lot to me.

    I don’t know, Serena. We certainly need a lot of love and tender care as we deal with our emotional pains, and we don’t get that as easily as people do for broken bones. I guess I’m hoping this will gradually change over time. In the meantime, I send you my sincere concern and care. And hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. That’s positive and hopeful too.

      Like

  4. Marcus says:

    Once upon a time people didn’t have “mental illness” – they were just … eccentric. Then they had the problems, but never discussed. Now they’re barely acknowledged.
    Of course, if they’re about sexual abuse, the door slams shut again. PC people don’t talk about sexual misconduct, especially things like abuse, unless in a very generic form.
    I don’t know why.
    Just know that’s the way it seems 😦

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