Since PTSD symptoms erupted I have moved location 3 times and have had to see a number of healthcare professionals. These have included GPs, psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists and therapists. Each time I have had to go through a synopsis of the childhood sexual abuse and the effects of trauma.
Recently I have become reluctant to do this, I ask them to read the notes and then ask me of any questions they might have. This is not just to avoid reliving things I’d rather not think of, but also in the interest of remaining objective and a credible witness in court. Every time you remember something you are remembering the last time you remembered it. This is why sentimentality is so different from reality, the past is continuously being glossed over and reinvented. So when I remember the abuse now – say compared to seven years ago – I also remember the agonies of the confessional in different surgeries, the details are like a check list to be got through as quickly as possible. It’s like raw memories modified into a collaborative case history with different versions at different Doctors. The only things that are fresh are when repressed memories surface, or a pattern of denial exposed. Then, for a day or so, it is like my memory again and it is real and is in the present. Then to be modified and fixed as a definite version (with professional observations in the margins). And I have to have faith in this process – it leads to justice and closure (haha).
As I recently moved I have had to be reassessed. The nurse was basically there to make sure I was not an imminent suicide risk. He had not read through the notes as he wanted to form his own opinion – I suspect he was merely winging it.
It was constantly apparent he was not listening properly as he voiced out loud the notes he was taking, getting so much wrong I soon gave up correcting him. Like all of the medical professionals he offered insights, assuring me of the validity of therapy whilst also criticising the insights from other therapists. But he was the most inane, treating me like a mentally retarded child. At one point it seemed that all my troubles could be fixed by going for a walk. (He’d been half listening when I said I found long walks helpful).
I had to fight back the scarcasm.
“How did being assaulted make you feel?”
“Divine – you should try it sometime.”
Instead, the closest I got was, “I felt as might be expected…”
The point where I gave up was after describing that I had become a teacher because the teacher who had abused me was still, perversely, my role model (long after the abuse).
He then asked, “Do you sexually abuse children?”
“I beg your pardon, did you just ask if I abuse children?” I rolled my eyes in disbelief.
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand why you would even ask such a question.” (I was preparing to detonate.)
“You said that the teacher was your role model.”
No further comment..