Returning to Health

I will share with you what I write and elaborate on at the end of what I am about to share with you:

I live by the understanding that nobody is less than anyone, ever. It is my hope that those reading this may understand this, too, because I am not deserving of your sympathy or pity, only empathy and compassion.

Some of you may have never met me in person, but know my story very well. Some of you may have  *known* me for several years, and interestingly do not know my story.  For the latter group, I can share the basic breakdown for you, but due to its very personal, and controversial nature for the people I have grown up knowing, I do not feel safe relaying the details. I only say it may be controversial because my story will not be congruent to what you believe about the people you think you know. Including myself.

Allow me to relay the basic breakdown as to why I created this fund:

One year ago from this time, I began to really explore myself. And life itself. There was a big chunk of understanding missing. I knew that, yet I didn't know what it was...because it was missing. But I can tell you I was in enough misery to know that something was not right. So gradually I began to come to learn about the Universe, about life, about me-- what I wanted...what I needed, to feel fulfilled. What I needed to feel fulfilled (the essence of being alive) was the opposite of what I was in. So I began to change things. This was necessary for me to remain living.

Fast forward to January 2015, I had grown immensely, and in that growth, came the knowledge that I still had a loooong ways to go before I actually began to touch happiness, a sliver of feeling fulfilled-- sanity. In that time period of January, I began to experience something that happens to certain people who evolve enough to come to this point-- the resurfacing of suppressed traumatic memories.

I am not here to convince anyone who needs convincing, in fact I believe that is impossible. I do thoroughly understand that to learn something that is the opposite of what you once knew to be true, is very difficult to wrap the mind around. It can even be unsettling, and in this state, people can reject it. I can be open and honest, but I cannot convince anyone of anything.

It is known as dissociation when a person experiences an event that is traumatic enough so that as soon as it's over, the mind completely blocks out all awareness of the event happening. Immediately after, a person may not be aware that anything happened at all. They will feel different; they will feel the effects of the trauma, but they will not understand it because they will not have any context for it.  So in their understanding, it is as if nothing bad ever happened at all.

As the person grows and their psyche gains more safety, through physical, emotional, and psychological means, gradually the awareness of the trauma will resurface so the person can integrate it and heal from it. Even if the awareness of a trauma goes away, the trauma does NOT ever go away. The person lives with the devastating effects of the trauma every day of their lives, just not understanding why, or even understanding that their internal experience is one colored by trauma. It is just life as they’ve always known it. They don’t know it is different from most other people’s thinking, and feeling, and way of life.

Like with most trauma survivors, by no means of force or searching, memories started to resurface for me, in January. This is a VERY gradual process—first in just the gaining of awareness. Dissociation is still strong for a long time to the extent that as one does even gain awareness, the memories do not feel like they belong to them. Make no mistake for this to mean that the memories aren’t real. This is a classic sign of Dissociative Identity Disorder, known by every psychologist in the field. This is still an effect of the trauma. The process of integrating the trauma, of a certain degree of severity, and healing from it, is even more gradual. I can’t say the average length of time for a person, as everyone and their circumstances of healing modalities vary. But it is usually a lifetime’s process, as it is with every person’s growth on this planet. Then several years just to get to a point where one is out of severe depression. As things continue to surface, even more symptoms of trauma surface along with it, for example PTSD, which affects a person on mental, emotional, and physical levels. As you can see, healing from trauma once it decides it is safe for it to resurface, is a very heavy and involved ordeal. Often, people assume with the terms, “healing” or “integrating,” that it is a pleasant process. This could not be further from the truth. It is a very difficult and painful experience.

My personal trauma is one of severe, prolonged abuse, by several people. It is personal, and it is painful, and it is impossible to even begin to relay it through any other means than a heart-centered conversation; it’s not possible for me to try to relay it via this typed explanation. It is extremely difficult to even have the courage to announce this to the people that have been in my life. Similar abuse happens way more than you may be aware, way more than anyone would like to think. It goes unknown because no one talks about their experience with it.

As you can tell, from being only 2 months into the learning and re-experiencing of the trauma, I am at the beginning stages of healing. Many miles to go. But the affects I’ve experienced as a result are devastating, including much PTSD. Here I have included links that explain what PTSD is, and its effects on people, as well. PTSD is actually very misunderstood by most people if they have not dealt with it in their personal lives. It is painted a certain way to the mainstream population, with much information on it missing. I ask you to please explore these brief articles on these subjects, so you have a better understanding of what I am trying to relay to you. It is very important to me that if you are reading what I’m sharing here, that you read some facts and better explanations on it as well. If anyone is interested in reading about my type of trauma, please send me a personal message so I can gauge my personal comfort level with each person and share some articles on what it is I have experienced myself. I would actually like very much to openly state what it is that I have experienced, but I still have extreme fear of people not believing me or invalidating me. Because those feelings that come with that are very painful. But I am willing to share it with anyone who is genuinely concerned. I am ready to start to move past this fear of being open about it. However, I would only be comfortable giving a more personal account of the details in person, as I said.

What is PTSD and how does it affect people:
 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/basics/definition/con-20022540  
 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20022540 
 http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml#part3
 
 
So, I have not been able to work due to PTSD and re-experiencing the effects of the trauma. This concept of not being able to take care of myself is very difficult for me, because it is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I’ve always been very independent, even to the point of detriment to my well-being, ever since I was a kid working a full time job with many other things I was fully dedicated to such as dance training and school. Those who know me, know me by my hallmark, dedicated work ethic. But with the resurfacing of trauma, everything you know gets turned upside down. Now, the very basic things in life are painfully difficult for me to do.

To compound this, I do not have a solid physical support system, such as family or a qualified professional in the field of trauma. In fact, there is no trauma specialist within 60 miles of me—which has been confirmed by the one qualified person I did find, 70 miles away. For survivors of trauma, a qualified professional who is close in proximity and who you have access to several times a week, is a requirement for survival. So is a solid support system of people you can rely on. This is why I have found that it is imperative for me to relocate to a place that is better suited for my healing. I am looking for a place of which I can stay with close friends, in one particular area which is a few states away, that also has qualified, professional trauma specialists (I hesitate sharing which state because of my abusers and their ability to easily attain awareness of what I am sharing with you, and their history of stalking me).

The time has come in which I can no longer move forward on my own, and taking immediate action is a must. I see that very clearly now, with all the ways I have been struggling the past 2.5 months. I tried to the best of my ability to take care of myself. Then I tried some more. But at this point I cannot even in the most basic of ways. For example, it is a good day when I can get myself to eat more than once a day or go outside. Yes it is difficult to try to explain this to people and to share it, with fears of people’s potential, misplaced pity. But people are not designed to do everything solo and in isolation; that is the antithesis of healing and growing in fact. I do urgently need trusted individuals that I can rely on fully with my deepest traumas and wounds.

This campaign exists to assist me in attaining my basic needs, and also to help to get me to my out of state destination. I have nominal income as I have been unable to work for the most part. I urge you once again, to read the links I have provided on PTSD to understand that this is not a choice for me not to work. This is not “laziness.” I have fought myself very hard for not being able to work. Yet that is also unkind to do to myself. I am beginning to learn that. I am in fact experiencing the normal, expected, and inevitable effects of integrating previously suppressed, severe trauma. My landlord has given me the OK to leave my lease earlier than it states. So I only need to pay for my basic needs for a short time longer (again not being specific because of my abusers pattern of stalking me), until I move. There will be a few moving expenses, and I will need some funds to help get me started in my new home with a close friend. There may be someone who is graciously willing to help me out financially in ways until I get to a point where I am back on my feet enough to work some, despite not having an overflow of monetary wealth themselves. However, professional help is very expensive, even with insurance or sliding scale rates. It is expensive, frequent, and on-going for many years to come. I have faith that as I obtain a family-type support system, and begin my journey into professional help, I will be able to work out my financial situation, to maintain myself, the professional help required for my healing.

If I have failed to clarify anything here, I am more than willing to answer any questions anyone might have, as long as they come from a place of compassion. <3               If you wish, PayPal actually retains less of contributions for their fees, than GoFundMe. I may make my email account available to anyone who wishes to contribute there.

I do hope that people are able to read this and search deep for understanding and empathy,  n o t  sympathy. It greatly saddens me when anyone places pity on any other individual for any reason. This is because we are in fact equal, no matter what or who we are. We are more than equal. What I have learned about the universe is that we are all ONE, we are no different, we are not separate. When people place feelings of pity or sympathy on a person, it is a way of which they look down on another; they place themselves above another. Quite honestly, this is because they subconsciously see an aspect of themselves in the other person, which they have (subconsciously) rejected, and for their mind to keep them feeling safe, it reduces the size of the other person, so that they may remain feeling ok about who they are. This is perfectly innocent, although it is unfortunate that a place of empathy cannot be reached; a place where people can look to see that nothing is “wrong” with another person. I live by the understanding that nobody is less than anyone, ever. It is my hope that those reading this may understand this, too, because I am not deserving of your sympathy or pity, only empathy and compassion.

“Oneness: The quality of all separate parts being united as one, a state which is experienced only once a person is able to free themselves from mental interpretations such as identity. It is the underline truth of this universe we live in.”
“Airing our ‘dirty laundry’ in public is only a problem in a society which is built around judgment. Those beings who really recognize the truth of oneness and whom find freedom in there being nothing to hide instead live by this premise: ‘All of those things that I am hiding, all of my stories and secrets and truths belong to you as well because I AM YOU in the end. In the end, there is no separation between us. And therefore, I will not perpetuate the illusion of this separation today’.”
-- Teal Swan

“A person experiences life as something separated from the rest -
a kind of optical delusion of consciousness.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this self-imposed prison,
and through compassion, to find the reality of Oneness.”
- Albert Einstein

Please understand, that in terms of severe trauma, healing is in fact survival.

It is my wish that every survivor of trauma can find the means to heal and find health and happiness also.

I am forever grateful for your support and help; you may never know the magnitude of its effect.

Love,
Rachel

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Organizer

Rachel Caruso 
Organizer
Hagerstown, MD
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