Recovery Reflections: Going in Circle and Change

It’s been more often than not, in the past, that I take my recovery as some sort of a disease that I have to heal.

That sort of sense, the one that I am not full, not complete, not a regular human being unless I get rid of my past, it never quite goes away. It never will, I suppose, until I change how I look at it. It eases off at times when my life is going great, and then rears it’s ugly head the moment something goes wrong. I’m tough on myself, tougher than anyone else. If anyone else treated me that way, they would no longer be in my life. I try to change that, but at times of higher stress it appears again.

Lately, I go back and forth.

Yes, life has ups and downs, but we manage.

Lately however, I feel like a leaf being carried in different directions. I go up, I go down. I try to improve my life, I make leaps forward…then I fall into deeper fits of stress and depression then before. I improve, I regress. I have moments of high success and moments where I’m really close to destroying all progress. They come and go, really close together. Sometimes I think that’s just a more convoluted way of progress, of ultimately going in positive direction. Sometimes I wonder if that’s progress at all.

I realize lately, that I can’t be sure.

I can’t be sure that all the PTSD effect in my life will ever be fully gone. Or my anxiety. But perhaps, it can be managed in a way that I can be okay with. That I can have what I want to have in my life, even as I am managing this.

It’s a new thought, and it might be another step towards healing.

Maybe, it’s not about beating this. Or leaving it behind. It happened, and it affects me, period. I’m only human. People wallow over breakups and daily things, is it really that much of a surprise that I’m still affected by this? Perhaps the truly human, healing thing to do, would be for me to accept myself, as I am. Right now. With my past, with the aftermath, with all the invisible ways it intertwines with my life. Continue reading

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PTSD, aftershock, and financial issues

It’s another day of doing nothing for me – almost- but for a first time in a week, there is no hidden mounts of pressure, no insurmountable challenges and feeling of despair. I’ve just receive my next chunk of money, my next payment, and the suffocating feeling like there is a ring around my heart(or lungs) constantly squeezing, has released a little. I can finally breathe. For about 10 days, I’ve reverted back to whom I was when I was scared, panicked, in shock and generally depressed. Sure, partly for money reasons, but let’s face it, it’s not only that. Once again, I’ve went from a period of regular weekly income, to having almost nothing. Literally- nothing in my bank account or wallet. Spending my last money for the bus and wondering how I will pay the next bill. Again. It’s not such a novel concept. I freelance, which means I’m floating from periods of getting more than I need, to periods where I just have to be patient for a month or two while I am trying to get new work.
But this, it’s like a physical reaction, and I completely lose all my logic, and ability to get myself out of that situation. It’s debilitating. I’m just starting to think there’s no getting out of it, and it’s all dire and impossible, until, when I receive my money, there is a day of shock and relief, whilst I’m fighting to forget that paralyzing fear…And then I’m back to real life. Like I just awoke out of the haze(which I pretty much did) and became real. It’s like my reaction to losing weight. It’s one of the hardest because I wonder if I can ever get over it. Continue reading

Rebuilding my confidence and my life after rape

 

 

There is this moment while I’m in THAT summer, the one where I got abused, and the one where all my ethical and moral beliefs crashed. I have lost myself. I’m hurt, I’m bruised, I’m emotionally and mentally tired. I run out of my house in some childish fit, unable to control myself. I circle the streets I know, and I walk. I walk randomly and with no direction. I walk until I can’t feel my legs. I watch straight in front of me, pale like a ghost, scared to face what happens if I stop walking and actually think about what happened to me.

The word of it, the formulation, r-a-p-e, doesn’t even occur to me.

I always had those ideas about things, you know? You think you know, even if you hadn’t experienced something, you think you know how awful it is. Some of us get close to the truth. What happened to me feels much bigger than that. What a fool I was! Have I known anything til that moment, anything at all? Had I really thought education was going to help me have a brighter life, get as far away as I can from the bad things in life? Stupid, stupid girl. What is happening to me?

That summer, I do and say a lot of things that aren’t quite me. That summer, and every moment after that. Something within me has snapped, broken, torn. I have no idea what it is, but I can’t find logic in anything at that point. I can not find as many reasons to stop myself from things that I have previously found low, unethical, immoral, wrong. But my body hurts, and my soul hurts, everything I can feel is just pain. Some things just stop making sense.

You would think that this is the moment my faith really starts to waiver, but it wasn’t.

It’s not when I am laying bruised on my bed in a foreign country, wondering when will it end. It’s not when I go home and I can’t handle anyone touching me, or coming close near me. It’s not when writing my home works and going to parties stop making sense, or I stop recognizing my body in the mirror. It’s not when I try to make out with a guy, and completely freeze. It’s when I have graduated, started a good relationship, move to a new place where I feel safe and at home. It’s when I start dancing, and meeting new people, and making money online, as I have dreamed of for a while. It’s when all the things that I have wanted start happening, and I can finally feel SAFE.

It’s when I stop waking up panicking that the relative security I have in the dormitories or back in my parents house will be gone soon. It’s when I start living again. I have spend 2 years having nightmares, running from the truth, or dealing with it, and trying to rebuild my life. I have spend 2 years, knowing that everything can fall apart any moment.

The moment I am SAFE, that is the moment I fully loose any shred of faith I was holding onto.

Continue reading

12 Things No One Told Me About Sex After Rape

I never got to write about my own experience with getting back into relationships and sex, but this is pretty well written and accurate. I do wish someone had told me this right after what happened to me. Great post:) Eventually I want to write about my experiences with it too, but in the meantime, I whole-heartily recommend this.

Thought Catalog

There is a strange sort of unspoken theory that once a woman has been raped, sex is no longer a viable option for her. Sex has been replaced by trauma, fear, pain, and anxiety. I’m not saying this is never the case. Every survivor’s story and experience is different, but too often the assumption is that if you have been raped, you are sexually broken and forever unfixable. That sort of discourse is not healthy or empowering or even sympathetic. What I want to say is what I wish I had been told: rape is not a form of sex, it is a form of assault. Sex feels good. Assault is traumatizing. It is possible for sex to exist after rape because they are different experiences, just like it’s possible for you to still enjoy going out to eat even if you got food poisoning once. You might never go…

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Of Gods and Ghosts pt. 2

“I’m not God. I’m not all powerful. I can’t win in every situation.

But I’m a HUMAN, and I do have a choice.”

I’ve spent the good part of the last 2 years, trying to redeem myself and gather the pieces of what was once my life. The first time when I wrote post with that name, it was close to 2 years ago, one of the first posts I had on here. And now it’s 2 years later. So much has changed. So much hasn’t. The base of that first post was feeling like a ghost- feeling like I had opportunities, I had a choice, yet I couldn’t live the life I wanted. I was watching from the sides, broken, terrified that fighting for the life I want, I will lose the dream, I will lose my last hope, and that will be the end. When you barely have the will to get out of bed, life force, energy, hope, it’s one of the most important things. It’s not much of a life I’m living, hiding in bed while people actually experience things- but it’s all I have left. After having poured all energy, money and everything else I had into a project, just to end up not only losing the money, but having to gather myself and survive all sorts of bad situations, I don’t have it in me to make a single step towards my dream.

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click image for source

(2 years ago)

I’m a Ghost.

I don’t live, I exist, and I even do that at the bare minimum. For a while anyway.

My dreams have shrunk too. I don’t have it in me to dream big anymore. I just want a way out of the nightmare I somehow got myself into. I can’t make a step forward, because it will kill me, that I’m certain of. I don’t have it in me to get through disappointment anymore. I don’t have it in me to fight. I’m helpless, immobile, soulless. I feel like I’ve lost everything that constitutes me being human, but I hold on. I hold on for no other reason, than the fact I’ve done it for a long time. I’m weaker, more tired.

I can’t take a step forward. I can’t take half a step. Even a quarter.

So I break down what I do into the most ridiculous tiny pieces just so that I keep going. Even getting through those pieces takes forever. I take 2 hours to get ready for my day at my internship, and cry in my lunch break. I eat junk, watch endless TV, and stop giving a damn about everything. I don’t eat, or overeat. Getting out of bed is an issue. My last project for university is done over the span of 5 months, even though I could have been done in 1 month. Sometimes working on it for 15 min, takes me 2 days of torturing myself to get started. My past is filling my nights with nightmares, and it’s entirely too unsettling. I’ve spend a good amount of years avoiding dealing with things, being “content” with being miserable a lot of the time. My solution to bad things is to run. To just go somewhere else and reinvent myself, into someone I like. I perfect that and it works, for a while. But the ghosts in your closet always catch up with you. I am who I am. Putting a lifetime of change in between of being a helpless kid, and me today, it doesn’t make it go away. Strip away the changes, the people, and all the regular parts of my life, and it’s still there, underneath. It took for my life to break apart for me to see that. Continue reading

Happiness and Recovery

I’m traveling with the bus tonight, smiling widely, my heart overflowing with happiness. I have had a great day, devoid of the shadows of the past and filled with nice new memories. I don’t mind the gloomy tired people sitting next to me on the bus, or the cold. It’s been a while since I’ve been walking and smiling like this. Nothing can get to me. The city is dark blue, and orange from the street lights, filled with urban smells, and stressed out people, but it’s beautiful and it’s alive. Parts of my past are still here, in my family, in this city and I have dreaded them- but I’ve been stronger than them. I feel beautiful and free and strong and happy and loved. Untouchable. The air is filled with endless possibilities of great days and grand adventures in the future.

At that moment the sadness cuts through me and my heart shatters to pieces.

And I think of that moment 3 years back when that guy had his hand on my mouth and I couldn’t move however I tried. And my heart hurts, shatters.

*

To all of you who have been through something big and life- changing, something huge and sad that broke your heart, I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s that vague inexplicable feeling of getting sad every time you allow yourself true happiness and freedom. That feeling when you feel free, and alive, and strong and happy despite of anything, those moments when you barely remember anyone ever hurt you- those moments used to be your birthright. And then something happened- or someone- and you think you can never again let yourself feel so, because if you do, crashing on the ground next time will be much, much harder.

I’ve fought this feeling, thinking that if I refuse the sadness to overtake me, it will go away.

Instead, avoiding it closed my heart, and made me afraid of having a good time.

Stop running. May be a friend of yours died. May be you were in a car crash. May be you got your heart broken by someone you trusted. May be you lost a friend. I was raped. And I felt that exact same way, we all do when something like this happens.

Like your life was cut open, turned around. Like someone exposed you to the world and left you alone, vulnerable, betrayed, and somehow worse than you were before. And you think, if you let yourself feel sadness when you finally drag your way up to happiness again, may be you weren’t truly happy and may be you won’t ever be so.

But I think I was wrong in this.

I think it’s okay to be sad. I have lost something, when this guy attacked me all those years back. It’s okay to be sad in the midst of happiness. Doesn’t mean you aren’t happy. It means, you’re letting emotions out. Be happy. Be free. Be afraid of that, sad, heartbroken that despite all your “good sense” your heart has decided to take the fall again and be free, taking the risk of everything and nothing. Be happy. Be delirious. Cry if you feel like it, and then, let it go.

It’s natural to feel that way. Let it be. You went through something hard- be good to yourself. Be happy. Let the sadness run through you, and run out. Feel it, and let it be.

And then smile again.

Because it’s okay.

To feel, again.

To live, again.

To be happy, again.

To trust, even if you get hurt again.

It’s okay.

Let it be.

The Big R – for rape…and resilience

A while ago, as I watched one of the shows I like to follow- the Big C- I start thinking about definitions. The things that people know or don’t about us that shape who we are, who we become. The things that we have no control over, that just get attached to us and shape parts of us.

Like cancer. Traumatic incidents. Loosing a person you are really close to. Becoming an addict. Being homeless. Diseases. Heartbreaks.

Rape.

When I first started telling some of my friends about what happened to me, I feel like I have peeled off all my skin and then went out- exposed, sensitive. As if I had what happen written on my forehead. For the most part, I was wrong. My friends didn’t see me differently- they just saw that I was going through hard time and needed them. Continue reading