I have had PTSD for many years now, I was physically, verbally and emotionally abused for 40 years, beginning with my father. I was also raped at 17 years old while my new born baby slept just feet away. I looked for love in all the wrong places trying to replace the love I never got from my father. When I was growing up I was not allowed to cry, no matter what the reason, I was the oldest of 4 and when my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I took on the roll of caretaker for my mother and my younger sisters and brother. When my mother died at 33 years of age, I didn't cry, I buried the pain and the tears in order to stay strong for my siblings. I was 16 at the time. My life was already in shambles so over the next 30 some years abuse became the norm for me.I was married 4 times and involved with 3 other men. I spent my life in fear, compromise and total ignorance of what a normal life really was.I would see couples walking holding hands and smiling at each other and wondered how they could be so happy, I envied them, I would watch tv and see a pregnant woman, her husband listening to the baby by putting his ear on her belly, or see other people paying her a lot of loving attention, it would make me so sad because with 3 pregnancies and 2 live births I never had any of those things. I would watch this foreign behavior and wonder why, why did some women have all this love yet others had non. Was it something I had done wrong? if so what did I do? My father used to tell me I was never wanted and I should just shoot myself in the head and do the world a big favor. it was times like these I wondered why he would say those things, maybe he was right, I mean my life sure wasn't the loving, caring life I had seen people on tv have. There was a time I was bitter, full of hate and anger. I spent 30 days in a shelter for battered women. Once I could pull myself out of the corner I was faced with a new feeling, one I had never felt before. As I pondered what this new feeling was, I noticed the other women in the shelter, they were smiling, walking freely around the house, chasing their kids and talking among themselves, I wanted to join them but didn't really know how, I caught myself smiling too, suddenly I realized I wasn't fearful, I felt safe, for the first time in my life I actually felt safe. What a wonderful feeling. OMG, I couldn't believe what I was feeling, it was a good feeling and I wanted more of it. Throughout the next 30 days, each day brought a new feeling, I felt myself grow stronger, more determined, A feeling of freedom and a sense of,I think I might even make it now. wow, who was this new person I had become? It was during those 30 days that I developed the mindset that I would not allow myself to be abused anymore, this was it, it stops here and now. I now recognized myself as a valuable person, I was smart, energetic, and at 42 years old I felt young and vibrant. I finished nursing school and joined the Navy. By this time I had 4 grandchildren and I planned to be around to see them grown. I will find happiness, I will lead my own life, I will be free to make my own decisions, right or wrong I will learn what life is all about. Going to that shelter was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I walked in a battered, broken woman but I walked out a new person determined to be my own woman. I wasn't easy, it has been a hard journey, I have fallen more times than I care to mention but I have always gotten back up. PTSD is a life long illness but I am living proof that there IS life after abuse. Never, ever give in to PTSD, grow strong by finding something meaningful to focus on. Keep your spirits up, realize you will have bad days and good days. Don't let the bad days outshine the good. I am happy to say, not only have I seen my grandchildren grown but I have 7 great grandchildren, they are my joy. I still to this day have my moments but I owe my life to that shelter, What I learned there was remarkable, Sorry for such a long post, I really did try to keep it short. But I hope my story helps someone. There's so much more to my story as I am sure there is to yours. Mine is a happy ending and I pray that yours is too..Thanks for taking the time to read this… God Bless..