Real Mental Health Issues: My Traumas

This addresses and describes trauma I have suffered, and if you don’t have interest in knowing about that, or if it’s not in your mental health best interests to read about cruelty, assault, or being immobilized, don’t read this.

It’s okay. I’ll get back to imaginary creatures and game spells later.

While I have been to therapy for years, I had never before had a therapist ask me to catalog all the major traumas in my life.

It’s… troubling.

There are things I mention when asked probing question I have never thought of as major trauma… but I see why my therapist is dubious.

I know that, at a major national camping event, when I was in my early-to-mid teens, a young woman asked me to follow her from the campground into the woods, whereupon she brought me to a group of mostly older kids who jumped me, hit me, and forced me into a large hole they had dug in the dirt. At least one of them jumped down on me and kept me pinned there.

I remember being confused as to why she wanted me to come with her. I knew who she was (the only woman I recall in a camp full of boys and men), but I did not know her at all. I had a sense that I was headed into a situation where I did not understand the socially acceptable behavior or appropriate expectations.

Anytime I feel that now, I get very upset. I can have a panic attack walking into a new restaurant if I don’t know if I am supposed to sit, wait for a server, or walk up to the counter. That’s not my most common response, but it has happened.

I very clearly remember being very upset that no matter how hard I tried, I could not get up, or get my face out of the dirt.

I remember everyone was laughing, in what sounded like true amusement.

I don’t remember how I got out of the hole. I don’t remember what anyone said, afterwards. I do remember being entirely sure I could not tell the people running the camp. That doing so would make things worse.

I don’t remember why, though the young woman was the daughter of one of those people, which may have impacted my thinking. I remember I liked her. I don’t remember her name. Or even her face, at this point.

I don’t remember any of their faces.

I know that for months after that I thought about it, but noted to myself that I hadn’t been *injured*. No broken bones. No blood.

“Not a big deal.”

I never told my family.

Eventually, I dropped out of that camping group, though not for at least a year after this.

“Not a big deal.”

Maybe I was wrong, about that.

Thankfully, my therapist knows this is impacting me. I have coping mechanisms. I have support. And if this IS something I needed to accept had a lasting impact on me, at least I can work on it now.

But it’s weird to have to face this thing again, which I so successfully buried, so long ago.

It’s upsetting, and I don’t like them still having the power to upset me.

Which, or course, is part of the point of delving into it.

 

About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on May 2, 2019, in Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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