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

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Coping with Rape-related things in the media

Today, in the middle of my usual Facebook break in between work, I scroll down updates from pages I’ve liked (I do it more than I should, as I am sure a lot of us are guilty of). I’ve been pretty fine lately- even managed a huge work crisis without falling apart, which to me was a big thing. Usually any situation that makes my living feel threatened, sends me for a huge head spin that leads to a lot of panic and very little action. Being this afraid of failing, is paralyzing. But I have been doing good. Really good actually. Still, there are days, and then, on occasion there are the days

So now I’m scrolling in Facebook, and get to update from a newsletter than tends to publish personal stories. It’s about a woman who reported employee of a company for making a rape joke, and he got fired. (makes more sense in context, but my post isn’t about that story really). Suddenly, I’m pale as a sheet(at least I feel that way), my hands are shaking and my ears are filled with noise. I can’t remember how to breathe, let alone what is on my agenda for the day.

I’m not actually trying to make a thing out of this at all; it happens. After the first year(or few) we all learn how to cope with things. If you get injured, even if the place heals well, you’re always a little extra careful. There are times when old injuries still affect you- you get tired faster, or something else. If you have ever been assaulted, even when you recover completely, triggers get to you sometimes. Continue reading

6 months in

There is this moment, that was probably the greatest moment for me that first year after the rape. It’s that moment you know. The moment you have been waiting for. The moment in which you look into your friends eyes and know you are finally home and nothing has changed.

It took about a week for it to blow up in my face.

*

This is the moment I fly back to my country, about 2 months or more after the rape.

I’ve waited to get back for all this time. All that kept me going through the too little work hours and the nights waking up each hour, was the thought about a home. I have home, friends, family, university, future, all waiting for me to get back.

I crave that moment every day, this is the moment keeping me going.

I deny access of everything and anything bad to my brain, and it slowly grows under my skin like a tumor. I smile widely, I think positively(or so I say to myself). I push all the bad memories down, because I can’t fight for job and survival and deal with them too.

Even as it becomes clear that I won’t make enough money that summer, going back home is what keeps me going. It’s hell., but it’s a temporary hell. I can do temporary.

Not getting the money I need means also that I need to take a leave of absence at my university. As I think over that, it makes me feel weak with relief. I love university. My friends are there. It’s my home. I like even the classes and the little sleep. I love it. So that feeling of relief catches me off guard and I’m not able to explain it for a while.

*

September comes, and I am back where I belong, at home, and everything that happened in the summer is safely an ocean away from me. This whole first week goes in euphoria. I have been in hell, and I am out of it. And for a second, it seems everything is right again. I am at home, I have my friends and family around, I have the university. It feels like I’m on top of the world. I have struggled with classes and other things during my university years that far, but now they all seem so much smaller than what I went through during the summer.

If I can do that I can do anything….right?

Wrong.

About 10 days later- 10 really great days of sleeping, resting, and seeing friends, my past finally catches onto the distance. The happiness wears off and I step into the reality. The reality of not having enough money to return my debts, not being able to tell great stories of my over-seas adventure, not being able to sleep or make the money I need.

I tell myself I am trying that fall. I am trying really hard. I keep repeating. I was through the worst, I am here, I can do anything. But it doesn’t work. I don’t have any strength to make it work, no will, no hope. I am so drained, even getting up in the moment feels pointless. Yet, I can’t explain that to anyone, I don’t want to. I just want to forget and move on. So I push myself.

Be positive. Try again. And again. Be positive. Forget. Find a way to turn things around. I don’t turn things around that semester in leave of absence. I just live through the months. I don’t even live. I simply exist. Most of the time, I cry in the bathroom(I feel that I don’t deserve to do it, so I can only let myself feel that way when I’m alone) and get in fights with my mother for no reason at all. I keep lying to myself. There’s no way I can explain the truth about that summer to anyone, so I lie to myself, force myself to be happy and try to find a way to turn things around. Which, considering the fact that I am having very silent, invisible, breakdown- can’t really happen. You can’t fight for a life you want if you can’t find a reason to even keep breathing. And all this time, even with my friends, I push the unhappiness down and I don’t let them see anything is wrong. I have been through the worst and I need to be invincible. I go through that fall the same way I went through the summer- thinking that the moment I get to the spring everything will be different. In the spring, I am going back to my university, which is in another city. Everything I was before is waiting for me there, or so I think.

Meanwhile, that fall, to everyone I know, I have few empty months. My parents want me to get a job, my friends expect me to get an internship. I can’t do either, and I am angry at all of them for no reason, all the time. And all this time I can’t explain why I am so deeply unhappy with everything.

But, unhappy or not, I somehow make it to the end of January, and that means a new semester. And getting back to normal. Fresh start. Or so I say to myself. Because I feel fine.

It’s that moment you know. The moment you have been waiting for. The moment in which you look into your friends eyes and know you are finally home and nothing has changed.

In that exact moment I know, nothing has changed, but I have.

There’s nothing left from the old me, that I can remember.

My life as I know it has changed forever.

And there is no going back.

Honesty

Honesty is brutal.

Honesty can be dirty, nosy, so bad that we simply turn away and run. But what I have been going through for the past 2 months is more cruel than honesty, it’s more hard. Living 2 lives can be tough. Especially when someone asks you why are you not doing something, and you can not answer them, because the answer is so deep, so personal, that it would break you, to even say a word. Continue reading

Aftermath: The first week after

Here I am, back, after what feels(or may be is, haven’t checked), a week since I last wrote. I had been doing well for a while with the recovery, so the natural thing happened- I slid back. And it took me a while to contain myself again. Another step forward, finally.

But before that, I finished a post that I never actually published, because it made me sick. Now that I feel better, it’s time for it. Here it is:

*

This post I have successfully avoided for a while, too. It wasn’t that I was scared of it or it was hard. Writing the reason I created this blog was harder, for sure. But, in the big scheme of things, the reason for all wasn’t on me. I had regrets about it, but mostly I didn’t feel I was to blame for how things turned out. The next 2 years, despite everything, despite me feeling it wasn’t so, were my choice.

And that’s a choice I’m not proud of.

I’m spending considerable amount of time getting okay with what I did and how I lived, accepting that for the sake of recovering I needed these years. But it was never easy to accept it.

The first week

I was in another country, and my brain knew that what my emotional state was, would be irrelevant if I do not have a job, and stay on the street. One was matter of grief and falling apart, while finding job was a matter of life and death literally, since I was on my last money, an ocean away from anyone I can ask for help. The morning after the rape, my brain had pushed the memories down so much, I remembered nothing- absolutely nothing. It was a missing memory of 1 night- but I was tired lately, and I really didn’t think about it- I had job hunting to conduct. Continue reading

Letting go

Tonight, after having a really productive day- something that has been rare lately- I finally feel strong enough to face one more post from this blog I had set to write, and very thoroughly avoided doing so. The post- or posts, depending on the length- about the 2 years that followed after the rape.

I type, without a rest for an hour, determined. Nothing can stop me now. I’m done hiding from my feeling, or from my past.

But at the end of the writing, this very familiar feeling overcomes me. The same feeling I have been having each time when I went over memories of THAT night.

I’m sweating, the blood rushing to my face, like I’m ashamed of something. My body is betraying me, no longer able to sustain the commands of my brain. This heavy, drowsy, sleepy feeling that makes my brain feel hazy overcomes me.

I have perfected the reactions of my body lately. I go over memories, to find the reason for how I feel, I clear it out, distract myself. I try to think reasonably and remember I’m in the present and I’m safe, with a lot of good options of the future.

But this feeling, this feeling I don’t know how to fight.

The only thing I usually do, it go to sleep, as it is usually the only thing I can do.

It almost scares me, the strength with which it swipes through my brain- what if I never get rid of it? What if something is really wrong with my brain? It’s not normal from my brain to shut down like I have drugged myself, I think. It scares me a lot more than any other aftermath of that night, because I have no clue how to control it.

How do I fight a feeling, if I can’t keep my brain awake enough to think and do so? Everything just becomes fuzzy and starts swimming in front of me, while I try to remember where I am and …I try, but the heavy feeling drowns me, and I no longer feel real. It’s just this huge wave of fog that goes through my brain, and feeling that I’m sleepy as if I have drank too much- only that I haven’t had anything more than a beer in months.

I let go of posting that post- my brain is too fuzzy to edit it anymore. I let go of trying to solve anything.

I simply, completely, and utterly, let go.

Until tomorrow.

 

Of bad things and good consequences

Today is probably the third solely fun day I spend. Just regular day, for most people, I suppose, but for me, it’s a novelty. After spending the past 2 months between panic attacks, flashbacks and depression, a fun day is not what I expect at all.

But after piecing most of that night in my head, and it finally comes to place something changes. Slowly, in waves.

The first one is when I tell the last person for the list of friends that I have not told the truth to yet. I have not spoken to her for 2 months, and that is my only leverage to plead for her to forgive me. We used to live together, and I guess admitting it to her was in a way harder.

After the horrible few second where my heart pounds after I say the words- for a first time pronouncing them in my native language, and not in English, I know something changes. By the end of the conversation- one I have dreaded for weeks- we even manage to get to laughing and talking or regular daily stuff.

The next day I’m weak with relief. And ready for a new version of myself. I have mourned my past, and I’m sure I have more to figure out, but I’m ready to stop waiting around. I can start my knew life, and deal with the rest as I go.

The next surprise comes today. My ex-boyfriend and currently good friend, whom I was dating at some point during the last 2 years, wrote a story, which  included few sentences about the end of our relationship. What he said was not  important- but suddenly I was filled with overwhelming storm of feelings. It didn’t matter what he said- but every memory of the last 2 years was somehow impacted by my abuse, and I suddenly started thinking of it again.

His words from few weeks ago when I finally admitted to him what happened to me rang in my years. He said he’s proud. That I’m not the uncertain, shy girl that was jumpy all the time. I took his words as they were meant- as compliment. Now they rang in my ears as I read his recollection of our relationship. And I suddenly remembered how quick paced, always nervous person I have been, how I always looked people for approval, and was ready to jump from the smallest thing. I guess it was a leftover effect from being bullied in school, or my abusive relationship few years back, or may be I was always that way. I’m not exactly sure.
I think at some point I took it as part of my character.

Now, lately, I realize, even through everything, I have been a lot calmer, confident. I’ve grown a lot. Dealing with the rape took a lot out of me, but apparently made me better than I ever was.

I knew that despite hating what happened that summer, it brought me 2 great things- through connection of events and people it brought me to my current partner, which I love more than I have ever loved anyone before, and that is how I found what I want to work.
So of course, I appreciated that there was something good in the whole situation.

But I never thought that the worse thing in my past my end up making me better person than I have been before.

It’s too bitter irony.