TRIGGER WARNING : This post may contain sexual violence which may be harmful to trauma victims or people with anxiety disorders.
This post will be a little different compared to most but do continue reading. June is National PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Awareness Month so I thought it would be nice for me to share a poem related to PTSD as well as open my platform to anyone who would like to share their story either publicly or anonymously.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can occur if one experiences or witnesses a traumatic event for example a natural disaster, terrorist incident or sexual assault. There are different forms and I encourage you to read more on the disease and create awareness on it.
First, I’ll share my friend, Stacy’s , poem which is based on something similar that she experienced.
It’s happening again. My mind is blurry and I forget myself. Buildings ,people ,cars all around me. And they are spinning. And they are making noise. And I’m stuck.
I’m there again. I cannot see his face but I can hear him laughing at me. His hands – they are huge and strong and they are frisking every nook of my body ,defiling me ,committing sacrilege against my temple. I am helpless. I cannot move. I can only hear the hiss of boiling water in our electric kettle and I can feel his breath heavy on my skin.
By this time there are people gathered around me ,they are saying things but my mind won’t be quiet long enough for me to hear them. I feel someone’s hands holding me and I scream. I run. Fast. I’m running but I cannot really see anything ,I can only hear the sound of his laugh and the hiss of our black ,electric kettle. Soon ,I trip and fall but I do not try to stand up. Instead I curl into myself – my face between my knees ,sobbing ,hard.
The flashbacks hit. I remember myself crying ,pleading. I remember his red shirt written ‘Tusker’. I remember him slapping me hard across my face ,so hard I hit the floor and pass out. I remember the eerie ,sharp pain when he continuously forced his sin into my innocence ,him shouting ,”I won’t stop until you tell me you like it”. What could drive a man to be so cruel to his fellow man ? So inhuman ? I remember waking up in a pool of blood and self-loathing. But I cannot remember his face. I can never remember his face.
“Madam uko sawa ?” ,”Mrembo tulia ,nieleze” – “Madam are you okay ?” ,”Calm down ,hush and tell me about it”. Voices – loud voices. Worried voices. Mocking voices. “Ah huyo ni mwenda wazimu achana na yeye” ,”She’s lost her mind ,leave her alone.” So many voices ,they are all making sounds but I can hear nothing except the deadness in my perpetrator’s laugh ,except the steaming kettle at the corner of the kitchen.
I cannot escape this. I am hostage to my own mind. My body – I cannot even touch myself without feeling his skin where mine ought to be. It’s been months since I looked in the mirror because the sight of me reminds me of the sight of him on me and for that I disgust myself. I shower seven times a day ,sometimes more ,but I never feel clean – my body is no longer mine. I do not want it.
Do check out her blog : https://sheemanateslight.wordpress.com/ . She’ll be writing poems on PTSD and accepting any pieces for the month of June as well.
If you’d like to share your story, feel free to email me : firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.
“Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.” Psalms 51:2
Love and Light,