I'm Paul Messer, & I suffer from C.PTSD (This is My Story) | #PTSDchat

I’m Paul Messer, & I suffer from C.PTSD (This is My Story)

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Hey, well I’m Paul I’m 29, 30 in August (scary stuff).  Me saying I’m a survivor from PTSD is impossible most days, I was diagnosed with having Complex PTSD in 2011. Me saying I’m a survivor from multiple traumatic events is true.

My mum says my dad started acting strange after his mother had died on the 25/08/1987, I only know this date as this was my first birthday not the I remember of this day. I also found out in later life but my dad also liked the drink when my brother and I was in bed. my memory starts from when I was 5.

My dad has always been strict, he has always been the person that if he wants something he always got it, a wealthy man that seems to only struggle with himself in life, even dad picked our wardrobe, me and my brother would be dressed up in suits even on the weekend, we was never allowed to wear trendy sneakers or t-shirts. even fashionable clothes that normal kids were wearing was a taboo.

At 5 years old something strange happened to me, my brother accidently pushed me down a set of stairs at our house after fighting over something, I fell so hard, on the way down my head hit a side wall on a plug that was in a socket, I ended up being rushed into hospital with severe head injury’s,  this put me into a coma for a few days, I also had a blood clot in the brain which was very serious. Doctors had told my parents if I never got to the hospital within the hour, then I wouldn’t be here today, doctors also said there was a chance I could be permanently be brain damaged, I was in a hospital bed for 6 months, I had the re-learn how to walk and talk, and doing simple activates to retrain my mind. also became photosensitive and prone for seizures.  “My life began doomed from day one”. My mother stayed by my bedside for the 6 month I was in hospital, while my brother was in school and my dad was working. all I remember is my mum always playing me Madonna on my bedside while I was getting better, I couldn’t remember how to walk but I remember listening to Madonna.

Once finally home began  having private tuition which my dad was paying for, this was for everything I can remember, from maths and English also having speech therapy to music lessons. before turning 6 for some reason I was able to read and understand music faster than learning how to read and write. my speech became better also as months came along.

Within the months of me being home from the hospital Darker things also was happing to me, in which only many years later I thought these things were normal when they were not, only because I never knew any different. I also thought in my older life now, maybe things happened to me thinking my dad might think I would never remember because of my head injury but I will never know.

I was sexually, physically and mentally abused on a daily base’s up till I was 14 years old.

Whether it was because of my head injury I will never know, but morning and night, I was having my showers every day with my dad at the same time for 9 years, crazy as it sounds but it wasn’t till I was 22 till I knew something wasn’t right, looking back through with things that was happening I didn’t think any different, the whole time it was just a routine for me.

I remember the shower only big enough for one adult, my mother showered alone, my brother showered alone, I was alone but in the shower my dad, I remember very vividly doing tasks like washing each other, I remember having my dad’s hands all over my body every day for the sake of his pleaser, trapped in a shower that was made for one as bodies touch, and me being just the right height without being graphic.

There also was a regular routine where my dad would cut both me and my brother hair every three weeks, a stool would go into the shower and one at a time but we would both strip naked, made to sit on the stool while dad comes into the shower to cut our hair. (the first time I ever got my hair cut at the barbers was when I was 16, which was a strange experience in its self, doing things normal for the first time, was not normal to me) I hated having my hair cut. but being naked for my dad was a regular thing anyway, just the hole process was not normal.

Anyway as I’m growing up from 6 upwards, my health becoming stronger everyday, having less seizures also (I had my last seizure when I was 12, and I have never had one since), my learning skills was getting faster also, my dad was so strict with myself and my brother in education and playing music, my brother and I started to enter competitions for the London Royal School of Music playing the piano and even win, it became so strict to play the piano at home it was also violent, everyday after school soon as we both got home we would both take turns playing the piano for an hour supervised by dad. even if we never wanted to play we were made to do these tasks, if we never or refused these tasks then there chance we be beaten.

At any point, if my mother, my brother and myself stepped out of line, maybe from refusing to do a task or unsatisfied my dad, you would fear a beating or something to be expected.

I remember many black and blue memories, things that should never even happen to a child:

I remember going for a check up at the hospital one day, and an argument broke out with mum and dad about something I can’t remember, but dad got so angry he through a boiling hot tea pot all over me, my left arm and leg ended up having minor burns , I just remember how red my skin was having cool towels covering my skin till arriving to hospital anyway, obviously had my burns checked first, and confirmed  the minor burns, I ended up wear something that looked like a grip mat over my skin for a few days to keep my skin cool.

I remember watching my dad pick up my brother from his throat pressing him up against the wall in the hallway and lifted him up with his legs dangling down unable to reach the floor with his toes, threating to punch his face in, this was because my brother had enough from doing a task and refused to play along. because of this watching your dad pick your older brother up from the throat is something not right in the first place. looking at it through my flashbacks I think my brother was 12 which made me 9-10 then also. I remember the pinches we both would get in the car travailing to places or even at family and friends events, but if there was something my dad never liked he use to pinch our skin discreetly, mostly was always on the leg or in the car he would reach around as we both always sat in the back seats, but he’d pinch our ankles, he would squeeze till you bruised and crying in pain, you genially would be afraid do to anything wrong because your going to get marked via a smack or a squeeze.

I remember many events that was so abuse-full, knowing I was getting better from my head injury from when I was 5 I was more capable in doing more tasks as I was getting older, me and my brother were taking swimming classes once a week, ever year we as a family would go to Scotland  in the summer holidays, and go hiking, we would walk maybe 8/9 miles, we would be made to where backpacks full of stuff and walk everywhere you can think off, I remember a particular time when hiking I had to stop as I became little headed via exhaustion, my dad was in control of the water can, I collapsed on this rock begging my dad for water, my mum was fighting asking to give me water, and yet he still refused but to keep walking, what saved me this day was we found this waterfall in a middle of know where, and the water is pure in Scotland and able to drink fresh. I was blessed I was able to do this, the waterfall was the most beautiful thing I had seeing I basically dived my face right in.

From being sexually abused twice every day, afraid to step out of line in case you get a beaten, watching your dad always beat on your brother and mother. Not only did I lose my voice to stand up for myself but I lost my own self also, creating worlds of safety in my mind to survive, even creating imaginary friends. My bedroom was more a prison than anything, but I remember it being my safe zone away from anything. If I did get into trouble for something that dad wasn’t happy with I’ll be in my prison. In my room, all there was, was my single bed, a desk to do my homework and that was it and a cupboard for my clothes, we only had limited toys and at only certain times if we asked to play. I remember me and my brother getting caught out having Walkie Talkies as are rooms were across the hallway from each other, and we thought it was cool that we could talk to each other at any point if we wished, we only had each other my brother is my best friend. When my dad found out we had Walkie Talkies they were taking off us because he never wanted us talking to each other, least I think anyway. But we both were limited to do anything.

I hated going to school, I struggled with learning anything from school, it was so hard for me to concentrate, with life at home, trying to find myself with having friends, image going to school and other kids living normal lives having fun with friends and having parents that were normal, even if I was bullied I never took any notice because my mind was just somewhere else, I was so oblivious to my surroundings, education was the least of my worries, but going home everyday to be abused in every way that’s possible, it was so hard also harder that if I failed homework then I wasn’t worried about school punishing me, because I was more afraid of my dad doing that.

What was going on in my life!!

My mum even tried getting help my dad, asking a priest from our local church to have a word with him. I remember the priest coming over to our house, looking at this now felt like an excited, all I remember was the priest turned to my mum and said to her ” she should listen to dad as he loves us all, and is willing change and to work on change”. This priest had no clue about anything, to be honest. no one could help us. The only people that could make that change were by saving ourselves.

At my age of 12 my mum left my dad and met a new man who is my step-father to this day,  my brother left not shortly after and went and lived with mum, and I was left behind, unfortunately at the time my dad was more wealthy more Secure, legally he had more right over me then my mum, and I wasn’t at an age I could make my own decision, so I was stuck in the house of horrors by myself. I got to see my mum twice every two weeks.

Life just got a little worse.

My dad also met someone new who a began to live in the house, I would have just turned 14 at this time as I remember her being 17 nearly 18, there wasn’t much age gap between her and my brother anyway. I remember though for the first time in my life when she moved in, I was able to have a shower for the first time on my own, strange feeling  almost felt unnatural to have to wash myself, I wasn’t sure if I was doing something wrong maybe, expecting to do something for him. I felt even more out of place. I was lost in-between having my brother and my mother living miles away from me, and living with a strange girl who is oblivious to things that have happened, my dad was more interested in his new girlfriend and I was just a someone living in his house, still feeling afraid to step out of line or me soon will have to do something to please him. going to school like I never wanted to be there, putting on a brave face and just trying to study which was a fail. teachers in my school started to see something was wrong with me, just as I was depressed with the break up of my mum and my brother leaving me. I still at this point I was not aware to myself I was being sexually abused, only because where it was happening to me on a daily basis it was routine for me.

The school set up some counselling on the premises via their local priest, talking to him I explained the situation and said about how my mum and dad were split and all I wanted was to live with my mum, with that the priest turned to me and said “me being 14 I’m able to make that decision myself without any consent”. So on this same day I was so disoriented but I remember getting home and my dad’s girlfriend was in the house, I remember her talking to me, I can’t remember what she said but she was watching TV at the time, and for some reason I walked up to the TV and turned it off, I just stood there looking at her for a few seconds there felt like it was for hours, then just went up to my room and just sat there on my bed, I was waiting for my dad to come home because I knew soon as he was home, I knew he would come into my room to find out what happened when I got home from school. I somehow got the power and said “I don’t want to live here anymore, and live with mum” I already spoke to mum I believe or the school did maybe, but my dad had no choice but to let me go.

A few days later I had my bags packed and my dad drove to a little village that was too far from where my mum was living, and mum came and got me. I began a new life living with my mum. First few weeks was so strange as I was more independent but I didn’t know what to do with that, I had no confidence about anything and still afraid and maybe more afraid than ever because I had to do things myself. I even had Anxieties about walking to my shop to buy some milk.

I still was attending my school as I only had less than a year left to finish before college, I failed most of my grades I did amazing in music class, but that’s all I knew, because of the things that were happening to me I dissociated in class most of my childhood, I generally knew nothing.

After leaving school I somehow managed to get myself in college, leaving school with no grades, but because of my music and how confident I was in playing, I was lucky to start a Diploma course in music business and performance.

I was 17 years old new years eve, and this was the last time I ever spoke to my dad via mobile phone, at the time I was my brothers friends house, I remember breaking down hard after speaking with him, this night I also lost my virginity this night to a woman in her 30’s, I don’t really remember much for the night other than the last time I was naked in front of someone was my dad, let alone having sex with someone, I was so confused with what happened that night, but for some strange reason it felt more human to me than how I was feeling in the past year or so since after leaving school anyway.

I completed two years of college and got my diploma with a Merit, I went on to doing a Higher diploma course which lasted two years also. I was working in nightclubs and bars, I felt in myself was changing slowly, at 18 I got my first tattoo of an eagle, this represented my freedom to do as I wish with my life. enjoying life playing music having friends, flirting with girls, wearing clothes I wanted, I brought a car, and able to go where I please. all was good till nearer the end of my course I was losing myself in thought, dissociating more once again just like in school. I remember meeting this girl who was into BDSM in my last year of college, I never even knew what this mean, but I liked this girl and went along with it, I was scratched and beaten, once again It felt maybe something I was used to from before, my mind was so confused about sex and what I liked and didn’t like anyway. I was with this girl for a few months then once college had finished we never spoke again.

After college I went and found a new job working in a naval base full time, I was earning more money than ever. At 20, was when I noticed I was getting bad dreams, I would wake up sweating screaming and shouting, saying things like “get off me!”, after weeks of everyday nightmares, I went to the doctors. They prescribed me with sleeping medication, and weeks of meds I was still having regular night terrors. I was becoming more lost in my mind having flashbacks on past situations, feeling more dissociative it was become hard to concentrate again.

I remember I started seeing this girl around the time I was having nightmares and losing my mind slowly, but trying not to think about things, I would keep myself more occupied, staying motivated seemed best from me, I was even started smoking cigarettes and smoking drugs hoping this will help, but one day I was round this girls house and not even think this would effect me, but we had sex in the shower in which during this time I collapsed and blacked out, next minute I remember my mum was over talking to me, which I don’t remember much, mum drove me home and the girl never spoke to me again after that day. I was off work for three months I was having panic attacks and anxiety issues I literally felt I was dying, the doctors say I had vertigo (imbalance of the ears, making me fell light headed) I was told to rest for a few days as I passed, I struggled to even go to the toilet, I couldn’t feel my legs at all, if I needed the toilet I had to drag my body along the floor to get there. for weeks I was in and out of hospital because I felt something was wrong with me, having my left arm go numb and tingly, thinking something might be wrong with my heart or something, maybe the 3rd time me going in the emergency room, a doctor recommended me to see a psychiatrist, after this day I came off the drugs and never used them again, as I felt they were not helping me at all anyway, but actually making myself worse because the more I shut myself off from the world, I was thinking about things that happened when I was living at dads. I had to stay motivated to not think.

I went back to the doctors and they booked me into a charity company offering young people counselling, I managed to fix myself enough to get back to work, going back to work felt so surreal, I knew how to do my job just I felt more like I was having outer body experiences, but I was feeling better than I how I was, I went and got my second tattoo at 21 of a dreamcatcher hoping this might capture my night terrors, I also became friends with a mistress who I was seeing regularly, getting beaten and used as a toy for the pleaser of someone else, it was becoming more of an enjoyable feeling then punishing myself, I felt this was more my drug, I think due to things that had happened I was more used to this, being treated as a toy.

I start counselling but I only lasted 3 weeks, the counsellor I had I felt wasn’t very good, I started my stories about my dad and what he did to my family and myself, and she started crying, that kinda put me off from wanting to go for some reason, I didn’t want a counsellor feeling sorry for what happened to me, so after those 3 weeks I never went again.

Months went past and my mind was so lost now I was in a very dark place, I just stopped caring, I was regularly seeing my mistress at the time, destroying my body, I was walking away  with scares from being wiped with house wipes, or just getting marked via slaps or scratched, tied up helpless just letting it happen.

I became suicidal thinking there was something wrong with me, I remember calling my mum who was at work the time, I phoned her  saying I’m going to hang myself ill be outside by the tree. (one of the most regretful things iv ever said to my mum). within less than 5 minutes I remember my mum was back at home talking to me and taking down to the doctors, I was 21 and ready to kill myself over something that wasn’t my fault, just living with nightmares.

I ended up going to a counselling company called www.Italk.com they put me on a 20-week programme with a specialist once a week, I was strong enough not to be instituted. for weeks I struggled to open up to my counsellor, I felt that not one person should listen to the things that happened  to me, I finally opened up and said that I was sexually abused by my dad every day since I was 5/6 till I was 14. I mentioned about how is was beaten and mentally abused, and from here my counsellor at the time knew where to start off from with me, I was to undergo CBT and slowing going through memories at a time, I found it difficult to concentrate on one memory though, my head was so jammed up in one I even headaches from trying to think of one and not lots. I was diagnosed with complex post tarmac stress disorder in 2011. After the 20 weeks were up I needed more time as I was ready to finish my course, unfortunately I talk only service,  my counsellor was so annoyed because she wanted to help me.

I talk referred me to another company called www.PARCS.org.uk Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Services,  I was on a 12-month waiting list before I was able to see anyone for face to face counselling. While waiting through the year, I was working once again fall time, I ended up having my own place to live. trying to stay positive I kept myself occupied as much as I could, PARCS offered phone call sessions throughout the waiting time period which was most helpful, I started to self-harm more often as for some reason self-harming made me fell more grounded, I was able to feel slightly more human, I used to rub my back on the floor to the point my back was red raw and having carpet burns on my back. I was desperate in a way to want to talk to someone and could not wait to have feedback from PARCS.

Once the year came around I started my face to face counselling, for the first 4 weeks I never attended and only asked for phone call sessions, I was so worried about talking about myself, talking about all the crazy things my past, mistress’s in BDSM, having  now self-harming, being suicidal and to being sexually and physically abused as a child. so many different things came up for some reason, maybe I was worried I’d be judged or something. my counsellor was amazing though and help me in so many ways in just starting slow and taking steps. I learned grounding techniques ( pushing my feet to the ground hard, moving around, concentrating on something in your surroundings), I also started wearing elastic bands around my wrist, in the idea of if I want to self-harm or if I was in a panic state or anxieties, I was to flick the band under I felt ground once again. I started some EMDR work in my sessions, which was difficult for me as I had so many different things going on in my mind I could not concentrate on one.

Throughout the year I started to fell a little better within myself, having these sessions I came to realise just how much I was achieving in my life now, like being able to drive, having my own place to live, and all the things I brought out of my own money, also starting a new relationship with my girlfriend who now lives with me. I know realise even though living with nightmares of my past, I also have amazing things in front of me now. I work with care industry, working with learning disabilities, wanting to help people with any mental health I knew I could be of some help somehow.

I am blessed with life and how far I have come, I could have had worse issues from having brain damage or even could be dead. I’m lucky to be here today, and I feel I went through hell to help others in mental health, I love everything I have in my life now.

I’m 29 years old I have been diagnosed with complex PTSD, I still undergo counselling still, I self-harm a lot less now than ever, I now though have 22 tattoos, stories of my past I wear loudly to because they mean so much in my recovery of my life.  I never panic or suffer with major anxieties, now learnt grounding techniques I’m about to conquer myself better. I still have the odd night terrors, mostly when I’m worried about something or when I’m ill for some reason, but I’m sleeping a lot better.

Thank you,

Paul Messer

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Twitter: @paulmesser29

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