Meet Em

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I’ve had the privilege recently of conversing with a very brave young woman who we’ll just call Em. She has been very kind, commenting on posts she’s related to, being very supportive of my work, and even offering to be my very first  feature. She is an honest voice and a kindred spirit to those who’ve suffered abuse. She advocates for other victims. She understands what it is to feel alone and in pain. Realizing that others experience similar feelings has given her hope. As she says, “It’s a little sparkle at the end of a dark tunnel”. She helps spread awareness on her own blog “The Untold Story“, where she explores such topics as post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and sexual abuse. She not only shares her  experiences, but she urges us all to fight for those children being affected by these issues today. I urge you to go check out her blog! In the meantime, read the interview I conducted with her below and please leave supportive comments for her!
1. How old were you when you first experienced trauma?
“From a young age (around 4) and continuing into my teens.”
2. Has your trauma changed you as a person?
“Because the trauma started at a young age, I don’t think I ever truly knew who I was underneath all that. But I’ve let what’s happened define who I am, I’ve let it become who I am, it’s distorted my view of myself, my body, but I believe its made me a stronger person in a lot of ways.”
3. Has your trauma changed your views of the world and humanity?
“Very much so. I’m extremely cautious of people especially men.”
4. Have you sought out therapy to deal with your trauma?
“Yes, I’ve been in therapy for a year now and I can honestly say its the best thing I did. Running from my trauma for so many years only made things worse and while therapy is hard and painful sometimes, it’s helping me a lot.”
5. Were you diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder? What were your feelings upon being diagnosed?
“Yes, I have been diagnosed. I felt relieved in a lot of ways because for many years I didn’t understand why I did the things I did and why I had such dramatic emotional reactions to certain things. It also gave me a light at the end of the tunnel because I know PTSD is something I can work at overcoming.”
6. How has your disorder affected your life and personal relationships? 
“I feel very detached from others, so I don’t have many relationships. I fear people in general. But that’s also something I’m working on in therapy.”
7. What symptoms of post-traumatic stress have you presented with?
“Flashbacks, Nightmares, Anxiety, Depression, Panic attacks, & Hyper-vigilance. It seems like an endless struggle at times.”
8. What symptoms have been the most difficult to overcome?
“The flashbacks are probably the worst and I’m finding that very hard to deal with.”
9. Have you gotten to a place where your disorder no longer affects you?  Do you believe such a place exists?
“Not yet, I still struggle a lot. But I do believe such a place exists. I may not get there tomorrow, but I know one day this will all be slightly easier to deal with.”
10. What would you most like to say to others struggling with trauma and/or post-traumatic stress disorder?
“That there is help out there. For most of my life, I spent my days running from my trauma and not seeking out help because I thought no one could possibly understand what I was going through. I thought I was beyond help. We all deserve to live a happy life despite the trauma we have been through. I don’t always feel that way but I know it’s true.”
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Dear Readers,

In a continued effort towards spreading awareness, we are now going to be blogging a monthly feature on an individual who has overcome or is currently suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. My aim is ideally toward those who’ve been diagnosed as a result of child abuse and/or domestic violence, though I would love to hear anyone’s story! I invite anyone to message me! If you’ve been diagnosed or you believe you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, I would love the opportunity to interview you. This could be as involved as connecting over Skype or as simple as my emailing you a set of questions. I would love for those willing to send a picture with their story. I think it would be amazing to receive a vlog response. Should you have a WordPress, Twitter, Tumblr, etc… I would also love to link to it in the article. However, if this is too much for you, please do not feel hesitant, this can be anonymous for those who wish it so! At the end of the day, what matters most is how comfortable you are. What matters most is your personal safety. I’ve two features thus far. They will debut shortly. I look forward hopefully to many many more. Should you wish to contribute, please throw a comment at this. Thank you so much! Your story matters!

Sincerely,

Jordan Hamilton

Darling, you’ve been poisoned 

Swim – Jack’s Mannequin – The Glass Passenger

“You’ve gotta swim, swim for your life, swim for the music that saves you when you’re not so sure you’ll survive. You gotta swim, swim when it hurts. The whole world is watching. You haven’t come this far to fall off the earth. The currents will pull you away from your love. Just keep your head above. I found a tidal wave begging to tear down the dawn. Memories like bullets they fire at me from a gun, a crack in the armor. I swim to brighter days despite the absence of sun. Choking on salt water. I’m not giving in. Swim. You gotta swim through nights that won’t end. Swim for your families, your lovers, your sisters and brothers and friends. You gotta swim, swim in the dark. There’s no shame in drifting, feel the tide shifting and wait for the spark. Yeah you’ve gotta swim. Don’t let yourself sink. Just find the horizon, I promise you it’s not as far as you think. The currents will drag us away from our love. Just keep your head above. Swim.”

Taking the bad days along with the good

This week has been a rather extreme mix of good and bad. I shall begin with the good. I am in The Footlight Players production of “Camelot” that will open end of this summer. I’ve been cast as ensemble, which isn’t bad considering I’ve been absent from theatre for over five years now. Rehearsals take up most nights of the week and I’m absolutely falling in love with a few fellow cast members. I had forgotten what it felt like to be surrounded by people as liquid and maleable as myself. I often feel alone and misunderstood, this is a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder and I believe this is also common among those in the artistic community. Being surrounded by people who, like myself randomly burst into song and enjoy pretending to be someone else… Well, suddenly I feel acceptance and understanding again in a way that I’ve not felt with anyone else except other trauma survivors. I believe community in terms of trauma is incredibly important, but I also believe that one must have feelings of understanding and acceptance elsewhere in the world. Everything cannot be tied to our trauma, as we are working to overcome it. Friends are wonderful support systems. However, often it seems our friends are our opposite in many ways, and though you share many interests, you’ve separate passions. This is when one must find her own place in the world, among people whose pursuits are of a simliar nature. My place is most definitely among fellow actors. They play with me, inspire me, and challenge me. I am thrilled to be involved in theatre again.

On with the bad! I am a very honest person. So much so that many people have been hurt by my honesty in the past. I don’t really know how to be any different and I don’t really want to be. I’ve always appreciated the truth from others, even when the truth was impossibly hard to hear. I’d rather receive a harsh truth than an easy lie. I value people with the strength to tell it like it is, rather than tell it how you want it to be. I request this from people I’m close to  and in return they know they can receive it from me. I lost someone recently who I thought was a friend. I know my honesty took major part in that, but I don’t regret being brutal. I feel as though my friend needed to hear what I had to say. I hope she steps outside of herself long enough to consider some of my words. I will not mourn losing her, but be grateful for what we had. What can I say? I’ve changed. We changed. It turns out that some friendships don’t survive change. I hope that in the years to come I can reflect happily on the decade we spent together. The decade we were there for each other. The decade we grew up.

Now to address the truly awful… My means of transportation would seem parked for the foreseeable future. I hydroplaned into the wall of an interstate off ramp the other night. I was not driving fast and I am fine. The cosmetic damage to my car was minimal, however real damage done to the car is still awaiting an inspection by a good mechanic. I’d rather not hash out the details of it’s disrepair, as it would only continue to scare me out of my wits. I’m going to drive it, albeit very slowly, to the shop tomorrow. I’ll likely spend all the money I have just on a diagnosis. My primary concern is whether or not my car is fixable. Should it not be, I’ll be at a complete loss as of what to do. It is over a decade old and would definitely not sell at a good price, thereby my only option is to fix it. So that simply has to be an option. I have to have the possibility to do so. Should there be an omnipotent supreme being floating around the celestial orbed sky often referred to as the heavens, it is in this hour that I most require his assistance. I call upon you Lord, please provide some assistance in this my hour of need. I do hope someday I might love you as I am told you love me.

My name is Jordan. I am a twenty-five year old woman living in Charleston, SC. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as the result of years of abuse. I am  taking the bad days with the good and just trying to find a happy medium.