About control and the love of blogging

Once I was trying to recover from my assault, I was faced with the absence of control over my own life. Not so sure whether that came about because in one summer I had faced seeing things I had only seen in movies before- death, addiction, homeless people, or trying to help a friend who was an addict, or losing a job and finding dead ends everywhere I looked for a new one, or being raped. Perhaps it was a combination of all these.

I used to be one of these people that are always sure what they want. Even if it turns out wrong. It never stopped me from finding something new and jumping into it with both feet.
Now, I was suddenly out of control. I felt like someone had just taken my life and thrown it away. I couldn’t keep my emotions intact long enough to study for my classes, or understand my feelings about guys anymore. I had loans to return over my head so I lost sense of my finances as well.
And before I knew how I got there, I had the feeling projects are unending and made to torture me, no workout was going to make a difference, no effort would fix my finances. Like I had frozen in time, unable to believe anything had impact. Mostly because I had given all my effort in everything that summer, and it had produced zero effect. It hadn’t stopped me. Not at first. It didn’t stop me until months and months had passed and I was so burned out, the smallest effort felt like it would burn me from the inside out if I even attempted change.

As I started attempting recovery in the past 6-8 weeks, I understood that for many people after trauma, there was feeling of lack of control involved. I guess in a way going through something so life-changing without having any control over it makes you feel like you have no control over anything else.
So what you can do is do certain small things that have impact right away and can help you gain that sense of control. Possible things to try suggested were playing computer games(instant moving to another level once you pass one), answering emails and small chores and such. The chores were too easy to make impact. I was too worried about my work for games to keep my attention long enough.
My solution turned out to be blogging. I loved creating this blog, because I wanted to vent, but it also became a safe place for me, where I knew there were other people who have been through the same, sharing their stories and supporting each other.
But most recently I found another benefit of posting here. The stats page. Not only was I happy every time I saw new comment, like, or follower in my notifications, but I felt new sense of control and result of efforts in it. I saw the direct correlation of the days in which I commented on other blogs, and posted myself, and having more views, and the days in which I barely stopped by and there were a lot less views. It made me feel like my effort- even effort I was enjoying and needing- made direct result, and that made me want to try, just a little more, in all those things I gave up.
How do you regain sense of control over your life after a trauma?

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How it all began

*warning- for whoever has been through sexual abuse, this may be triggering. i’m not sure, which is why I’m warning*

I guess I should feel emotional, but for some reason I feel completely, unnaturally calm writing this.

I thought about leaving it for tomorrow, but I don’t think I will ever get more eloquent in this. I tend to write this story in chunks, and occasionally in bigger detail than anyone would want to here.

For now, here, I’m using the summary version of it. No useless emotions. Just the facts.

2 years ago I went to another country to earn money for the summer. A lot of things happened there, very little of which actually included making money. But the reason I’m saying this is because, among other things I got raped there.

I’m not sure the circumstances matter so much, although I do go back and forth with guilt.
When I arrived in that country I moved in a house with other people who were there only shortly as well. I was 21 years old, and I was a virgin. For some reason that made a difference. It’s not that I had any particular beliefs that made me wait so much, I just didn’t find the right person.

I could blame this on the way I acted- I was bullied in elementary school, and after finally getting over my trust issues in university, I wanted to show I can be friendly with strangers, without being threatened.

I could blame this on “victim mindset”. I read that somewhere, that if you perceive yourself in certain way you might attract certain things. I have been in abusive relationship, for very short time. I made sure I got out of it fast. I wasn’t a victim.

Either way, blame doesn’t change what happened. Ever since arriving there I made it sure to be known to anyone that I had a boyfriend. I had been dating on and off a person who was living in another city in that country, and I was planning to visit and see where we go from there. It wasn’t serious, but I wanted to let know the guys in the house that I wasn’t interested in anyone else, since each one of them tried to hit on me from the very start.

We supposedly became friends. Occasionally we had disagreements with one of the guy who continued to cross the friend line. We fought, talked, and I was sure that was the end of it.  I also occasionally visited and talked to the guy I was casually dating. A week after I had first slept with him, something else happened.

One night he started to massage my neck, and when I tried to get him to stop, he made no reaction, joking that I’m oversensitive and he is just good friend. I protested, tried to get up, and before I knew it he was hugging me in a very strange way that had my arms pressed in the elbows so I couldn’t move them, and my feet weren’t touching the ground. I tried jokingly to get him to let me on the ground, and when he didn’t, my voice became more pitch and trembling than I wanted. I began to be afraid, but that sounded ridiculous- as far as I was concerned these things happened only in movies, and I was paranoid.

When he still didn’t let go I threatened I will hit him. He was laughing. One of the other guys was in the room and I was sure he would do something, but he only locked the door behind himself and left. I gaped shocked at it for a second, not knowing what the hell was he thinking, but I was too overtaken to know what to say. I threatened to hit him if he didn’t let go. I somehow freed one hand and hit him. Twice. I was surprised to discover, it didn’t make difference. He only laughed and said that before he wasn’t planning to hurt me, but now he was.

The rest is clear. I said no. In fact I must have cried no all the time the first time, begging him to stop until he put hand on my mouth. I didn’t have breath to scream because I was crying so much I was choking. I was not sure what to do in a situation like that when fighting with all my force had not helped. My body had betrayed me, so I just cried, wanting it to stop. The rest doesn’t need details. For everyone who has been through this, you know how easily it makes you feel like you mean nothing and you want to die. For everyone else, I guess it will be gruesome to add details.

The rest of that night was the end of my life as I knew it.

I fought the ripple affects of it for the past 2 years, mostly being in denial of the reason for these changes. For a short period of time I was even blissfully happy. Then a few TV shows where it was mentioned later, I was getting sick and throwing up all the time.

2 more weeks of denial and I had to get out of that. Denial wasn’t an option anymore.

I guess I should mention, for these 2 years I remembered only what I mentioned here, and the moment I was getting out of there. For the past 2 months, I slowly remembered. Everything. To the very last detail. Even how I felt after, and the weeks that followed. The blissful fog in which my memory was swimming was gone, and I had to deal with it.

I made this blog to share my journey to recovery, in a way, to vent, and I guess in the hope that I might help someone else in the same position.

p.s. I wondered about mentioning the “v-word”. I guess it shouldn’t matter so much if I had or had not been a virgin, and clearly, I wasn’t. But when things went down(yes, the word does occasionally makes me uncomfortable, still), it had just been a week. I was still not sure what I think about it. I was still in the awkward stage of first having started to explore things and feeling extremely uncomfortable still, but willing to change that. And then…all my beliefs crashed down in one night.

Of Gods and Ghosts

Despite all my good intentions I spend another day in bed, trying to get myself to work. Occasionally doing something.
Telling myself, that I’m just about to start.
Telling myself that everything will be okay.
Telling myself that I can’t be later than I already am, that I can’t make things worse.
Telling myself, from tomorrow.
I will be who I want to be from tomorrow. I will put the needed effort in from tomorrow. I won’t think of the past from tomorrow. I won’t let it affect me anymore.
I’ve been living in that lie for the past month. Continue reading

Day 10: Change. Tiles. Changing Tiles.

I was showering today, when my eye was caught by one of the tiles on the floor, which was now, for some reason, broken. I caught myself looking at it for a while like hypnotized, not being able to see anything else from the floor but that broken tile.

Than it occurred to me that lately that is how I have been looking at my life. I picked apart every piece around what happened that summer, to understand, to remember, and eventually- to heal myself.

Only just like with my floor, I lost sight of why I was looking there, and started staring. Just because one tile is broken, doesn’t mean the floor is ruined. Just because something very traumatic happened to you, doesn’t mean you get to feel broken forever.

One day this week I was seeing one of my best friends, and one of the small number of people who knew about what happened to me.

“Do you think I’m different than before? You know, before that?” yeah, we both know what I mean- my recent admission of being raped 2 years ago.

“You are, ” she said “I’m just not sure exactly how.”

I started to wonder. Was it that I was different, in obvious way, was it that I was sure she saw change in me, or was it me feeling that change? I had been actively trying to recover for weeks, and while there was obvious change for better, sometimes I still felt like my life was marked by something too big to heal from.

Healing, of course, is much different than changing a tile. It’s a lot harder and requires a lot more knowledge, effort and courage. But there’s something else though. Just like changing a tile, it’s possible. Is it hard? Of course it is.

But if you take your time and do it right, soon the only one who will know there was a changed tile will be you. Sometimes you can proudly point to that tile, happy you have fixed it alone, or look at it thinking that it’s obvious this part of the floor is different.

But for the most part, after a while even you won’t notice it, and will go on with your life like you usually do. Healing is possible. You have to try to look harder on all the other pretty tiles around, not only the one that is broken. It still needs to be fixed…but never forget you have a whole floor, not just one tile. Never forget that life is much more than one traumatic incident.

taken from: here

Day 5: The 30 min Rule

The Rule: Do 30 min a day of all the tiny random things that are not urgent, but you always feel guilty about not doing.

This following advise I’ve been given a while ago by my current gorgeous boyfriend, who also happens to be one of my best friends and has been incredible support throughout this.

One of the days when all I wanted was to sit and cry for all the piled up work that gathered while I was recovering, my boyfriend was trying to help, and eventually gave me a really good suggestion.

Here is his advise:
Take what you have to do that is not urgent(so probably not work, but all other small things you never have time for), and do them 30 min a day.

That’s it. 30 min. Continue reading

Day 0: Seeking Africa

picture from idf.org

I was watching this episode the other day of a TV show called Samantha Who. The main story revolves around Samantha, who has amnesia after she is hit by a car, and struggles with figuring out who she wants to be.

In that particular episode, she wants to “be a good person” and decides to go to Africa to help people. That made me think. We all seek our own Africa. It might be trying to be a better person, or a dream job we chase, or visiting a place on the other end of the world.

But even when we have enough courage to chase after what we want, there are things we can’t predict.

Chasing after my dreams, I couldn’t predict all.

I couldn’t predict I will get raped.
Continue reading