We are now living in a coarse society filled with violence, intolerance and hatred. Can we live with these influences without harm to our psyche? I think not. Must we always agree? No. Can we speak our truth? Yes.
It is important that we as individuals talk about our issues and points of disagreement. Is there damage from a violent society? Yes. I know this because there is damage left from violence in families and homes. I worked in Domestic Violence for over two score years, and counseled at Rape Crisis. I worked as a psych nurse for years. I am going to share a story of how long the effects can last.
One night, I was passing meds on my forty-two-bed lock down unit. I was in the hallway when I heard crying and indistinct words. I went into the room and both patients were in their beds and no one else was there. One woman was crying and screaming. Sobbing is more accurate. I was surprised because this woman had been in a catatonic state for many years. She never spoke.
I walked to her bed and said her name softly. She was in the middle of a dream. She was crying and saying, ” No, stop. I won’t do it.” “Don’t let them do it.” I lowered her bed rail and climbed up into her bed. I held her in my arms and crooned that she was safe and no one would hurt her now. I gently rocked as I held her and let her cry out her pain and fear. I listened carefully and was shocked at what I heard.
Slowly, she stopped crying and talking. I gently placed her back on her mattress. I was the one crying now. I wiped my tears quickly away, while putting the side rail back up. She appeared to be sleeping normally now. I could still feel the warmth of her body on my arms. Her tears were on my arms also.
I breathed deeply and finished passing meds. I was quiet and replaying her words over and over in my head. When I was done, I locked up the med cart in the med room and went back to her room where I found her sound asleep and quiet.
I returned to the nurse’s desk and pulled her chart to document the incident but first I read her social history. She had been married, not a surprise. Her husband was a long distance truck driver. According to the social workers’ notes, he had physically abused her and he had made her have sex with other men while he watched.
I felt sick. She had had a life full of violence, humiliation and sexual abuse. I was glad that I had been outside of her room when she was having the nightmare. I am glad that I had held her and comforted her because it seemed she hadn’t had much comfort in her life. Catatonic. She was at a better place than this world had been to her.
Checking dates and doing the math, these horrible experiences had happened about thirty years prior. I was sure this wasn’t the first nightmare she had had. It was just the first one I had witnessed.
Thirty years later, there was still enough painful damage to give her nightmares. To make her cry and talk. To beg not to let the men hurt her. This is an example of the damage done to a human psyche. Damage that destroyed this woman and left her very scarred.
I am sharing this story because we harm each other. We cause pain and suffering. There are long lasting effects for all of us. This is why we need to think of others. We need to create love, kindness, and acceptance in this world. We need compassion, forgiveness and understanding. We need to change us and our worlds. We need to put the positive energy into the world.
We need to expect the positive to come to our lives. We need to accept the positive and to be grateful for it. We need to breathe, open our hearts and let all the positive goodness flow out from us into the world. It will change our lives for the better and we will not be victim to the pain.