I never understood where my fear of traffic came at such an early age. It was already there when I had a minor traffic accident at sixteen, multiplied, became paralyzing after a severe accident in 2006. I now understand it began when I was five.
At the age of five until I was ten I was sexually abused by an uncle. Not only was I abused but I witnessed the abuse of other children. My uncle gaslighted me into believing I was the reason for my abuse. I asked for it. I couldn't trust my own sense of right and wrong. I was a bad girl no one would believe. The nightmares and tears that came at bedtime were born from my guilt.
One episode was especially crushing and left a horrific imprint on my brain. I remember the smell of plaster, the sun streaming in from a front porch, my grandfather and father talking on the other side of the wall, a beast violating me while threatening me to be silent.
It has only been recently that I realized how that childhood trauma comes through in my response to heavy traffic. It takes me back to that plaster room where a man much larger than I imprinted me with fear. I feel like a tiny spec in a house of monsters who rise from the earth in buildings and and growl in engines and speed. Imagine yourself afraid of spiders, being trapped with them crawling over you, across your tongue, attempting to sit still so they won't bite, leave you in agony from their venom. That is a small visual of part of the bitch trauma has left me with.
It is a miracle I manage to keep any semblance of sanity. I have often apologized for my fear, my inability to drive in large cities or even at times in small ones. I can't keep apologizing. I wouldn't ask you to apologize for your fears. No one, not even my husband, knows how I am trying to keep hold on my sanity. Oh he knows my fear, sees my stress, but he doesn't know the true intensity of the struggle.
Anyone who suffers from PTSD ( post traumatic stress disorder) may know what triggers episodes, but they can't say with certainty when those triggers will appear. I'm doing the best I can. I can't beat myself up anymore about it.
I've written about my childhood trauma before. You can read more here.