Let’s all welcome Lynette Lee to the blog today. She’s sharing her story of abuse and PTSD. She wants others to know they aren’t alone, and it is possible to heal.
**All names have been changed to protect the individuals in this post.**
For three years, I spent my life in an imaginary prison, that is to say, a prison that nobody knew about. I married Ray Snelgroes on May 10, 2006 at the age of twenty-two. Ray came from an old southern family who was in cotton and cattle. He was the oldest son of five, bound to inherit the families fortune. Little small things started happening during the plans of the wedding, but it was brushed aside with an excuse that it was wedding stress and jitters. There was the time that Ray refused to pay for the photographer and wedding all together, for we discussed that he would just pay for the honeymoon. But I lost my job, and he refused to help with the preparations. This was my first sign, and I kick myself daily for not listening.
A month before the wedding, his mother, Carrie, decided to finally get involved. This was my second sign. She never wanted to participate before, like she didn’t believe we would get married. The day of the wedding, she didn’t present a groom’s cake, and she blamed my families friend for this mistake. People said, “She caused a terrible and embarrassing scene.” But I wasn’t there. I was getting ready in the Bridal room at the lodge. I call this my sign, number three.
Throughout the marriage, she was constantly there, wanting to know about our finances, bills, and family plans. This put a horrible strain on our marriage, because Ray would tell her everything. There were things he would tell her and not me. The verbal abuse started with her and continued with Ray. After six months, the physical violence started. I won’t go into any details here. But after I left, and received counseling, I was helped with sexual, mental, physical, spiritual, and verbal abuse. It has taken me over six years to overcome these issues.
Of course, I have deep side effects from it. Struggling with Post Dramatic Stress Disorder is never easy, but I look back on the year I left Ray. I have come a long way since then. For the first year of leaving him, I had a hard time being around men, crowds, and amusement parks. I realized I didn’t want to live my life in fear. So I put myself in the most stressful situations. At the busiest time, at our local town mall, I would order my lunch at a crowded restaurant, and force myself to eat my lunch with my back facing the entrance doors. I would slowly eat and try to ignore the people around me, each bite was torture.
As a writer, this is not good for my imagination, but it helped me to be around strange people, especially men. I did this until I got comfortable, and I could watch people, like I used to. I am pleased to announce that I did this all without being medicated. I am not knocking the ones who are. Their situation is different from mine, and if you need the medications, then I encourage you to take them by professional supervision. But, I refused the drugs. I didn’t see a point in taking medication to numb my pain, when it would stare right back at me in a few hours or so.
I still have my flashbacks, nightmares, and triggers. I don’t believe there is anything around this, but they don’t happen as often as they used to. So, it may be true that time heals all things. I want to leave here with encouragement. If you are in a violent relationship there is a way out, make sure you are ready. Secondly, you can overcome any emotional issues during your freedom years. There is hope. I hope anyone who reads this has never had to deal with abuse or PTSD. And if you are, there are people, like me, who get it and understand. Embrace your new self, and try to hold on to your old self as much as you can. Either way, you’re a survivor, be proud.
Lynette Lee is a senior at Southern New Hampshire University; she is pursuing a Bachelors’ in history. She also studies fiction creative writing, literature, and English. She is a historical fiction writer and is working on a collection of short stories and poems. Currently, Lee is trying to complete her first novel, The Betrayal and to publish The African Promise. She resides in the Ozark Mountains with her three-year-old daughter, where during her free time, travels to historical sites, hikes and canoes the Buffalo River, and shops in Branson, Missouri.