My name is Leanne Tibiatowski and this digital expression is part of my healing.
In August of 2016, I went in for a elective surgical procedure. I woke up to a hysterectomy for a non-life threatening condition.
Something was taken from me without my consent.
At the time, I had no idea that this surgeon’s choice would blow up my life.
The surgical experience activated Delayed-onset Complicated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which was not formally diagnosed until almost a year later. I didn’t know that delayed-onset CPTSD was even a thing, it IS a big, intense, painful and hard to understand thing…
My survival depended on my ability to handle four things.
- Identify what was happening.
- Find help.
- Describe to others this invisible-to-the-eye injury.
- Not giving up.
I had fallen and was struggling to stand back up.
The magnitude of impact was devastating… I lost so much as a result of this unnecessary traumatic blow.
The recovery, perhaps the most humbling heroic journey I’ve taken in my lifetime.
Pandora’s Box was blasted wide open, it was a sink or swim moment…
When I was 15 years old I experienced a significant trauma, and told no one. That one experience dramatically changed how I perceived myself and the world around me.
My brain had miraculously adapted to protect me as a young teen, but there was a huge consequence.
“The decades of silence that followed my childhood trauma robbed me of innocence, a sense of safety and a lifetime of intimacy. My brain worked so hard to protect me, I had no idea how deeply the roots remained connected to the trauma negatively influencing how I perceived myself and the world around me, for most of my life.”
The unexpected surgical procedure, where what I considered the center of my womanhood was taken from while I laid there unable to move or speak, blew me into the deepest depth of my trauma.
I was face to face with the roots of distortion that happen with an unresolved traumatic memory.
Why do I choose transparency?
Trust me, this is NOT the story I would like to be telling.
I’ve learned A LOT about trauma, healthcare, navigating the system, accessing resources and the deep work and support required to integrate a significant trauma. I feel it’s critical that I tell my story to inform, educate and encourage others.
Sharing this very personal story is NOT about being a victim. It’s about how I made my way through the fallout of trauma… stepping through and out of the state of shock to reclaim my life and find my freedom.
It has been an arduous journey pioneering through the past, stored within my body, mind, and spirit…
I use my words to release the grip of shame. To relieve myself of the many distortions a young brain adopts while attempting to create some type of sense and order in the aftermath of a traumatic experience.
Speaking up helps me, and the more I do so I learn it helps others to step victoriously out of the shroud and shadows of shame and pain, back into the light.
I vowed early on to use my voice to help others understand and navigate trauma.
My hope is to educate and support those navigating trauma in life…
Trauma is a spectrum and all humans experience trauma. It helps to understand how trauma impacts humans, how it presents after the traumatic experience so that we can support each other.
You’ve had some type of trauma in your life. And sadly, whether you are aware or not, you know people who are dealing with integrating major traumatic events.
It’s time to normalize the vulnerable side of the human experience.
No more hiding. No more shame. With authenticity, faith and courage, I proceed…