Stories & Articles

Living With Trauma

Vanessa de Largie | The Fix | March 1, 2018

All my life I’ve wanted to escape.

I hate being me.

That’s why I love writing and acting.

That’s why I love fucking man after man.

That’s why I love drinking copious amounts of red wine.

Through sex, creativity and alcohol.  I lose myself.

For a few short moments, I find respite from reality.  

For a few short moments I find relief from being me.

For a few short moments I silence my relentless tormentor.

I grew up in a household with an alcoholic brother. I grew up in a household where there were locks on every door to protect us from my brother’s violent rages.

Alcoholism infects. One’s life becomes shrouded in secrecy. One’s life becomes a wall of shame.

My parents and I didn’t appreciate visitors rocking up at our house unannounced. A knock at the door would send us all into a spin. We didn’t want the world to see our filth — our debris. We didn’t want the world to witness our dirty little secret.

Our job as a family was to keep up a facade. Our job as a family was to become pawns in the game of alcohol addiction.

We protected my brother.  

We covered up his FIX.

We made excuses for his abusive and violent behavior.

My brother died when I was 23 from a drug and alcohol overdose.

And although all of HIS problems were erased on the day he died. All these years later, I’m still living with the trauma, caused by him.

To this day, when someone knocks at the front door unannounced — I run into a bedroom and close the door. My friends and loved ones know this about me and don’t judge me for it.

But I’ve certainly weirded out a few boyfriends and fuck-buddies over the years who have witnessed me in action. I’m referred to as that “bonkers chick” or “the unstable woman.”

Isn’t it interesting how my trauma is the result of someone else’s actions — yet I have to wear the “shame” and “labels” placed on me by society?

But the perpetrator (in this case, my brother) remains uncriticized.

Later in life, I would go on to attract domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape.

And what I’ve discovered through my own experience, is that ALL trauma is connected. One trauma can trigger another trauma. It’s like trying to fight a losing battle. It’s a shitfight!

One can have therapy and unconditional love from others. But you can never stop the flashbacks. You live with them for life.

I made a conscious decision early on, not to take anti-depressants to deal with my trauma. I don’t want to risk feeling numbed out. Instead, I ride the waves and try to channel the sadness, rage and anger through creativity.

I’m a prolific creative and the reason I’m prolific is because if I stop to rest — the demons will come. They will come fast and fierce. They will come torturous and deadly. They will come carrying knives and batons.

So perhaps, in fact, I am numbing myself out in a different way. I am numbing myself out through art. I am numbing myself out through another glass of shiraz. I am numbing myself out via men’s dicks.

It’s about having a coping mechanism.  

Getting through another hour. Getting through another day. Doing your best to keep the abundance of pain from swallowing you whole.

Exercise, meditation and positivity can help and I try to incorporate these tools into my daily life as much as possible.

But I think it’s foolish and irresponsible to believe that trauma can ever be fully erased.  

We currently live in an era, where everything has to be fixed. 

If you’ve got depression, take a pill.

If you’ve got a wrinkle,  inject it with botox.  

If you’ve got a quirky gap in your teeth, get it filled in.

If you’re going bald, get hair implants.

There’s a quick-fix cure for everything now . God forbid we reveal our humanness or real age. God forbid we reveal our journey or emotional landscape.

I choose NOT to deny my trauma. Doing so would equate to living a lie.

My trauma and I have lived with each other for decades now. And we might have to live with each other for another 20 or 30 years.

Living with trauma is a dance. it’s a subtle form of hell.

But I’ll deal with it. Because there’s no other choice.