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

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

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

Rape, Deflection and a Good Night Sleep

For the past year, despite all the other progress I have made with recovery, I have struggled to go to sleep on my own. My boyfriend goes to sleep later than me (we live together), and that means one of two things- I either do something (anything) until I am so exhausted than I have to fall asleep, or I watch.

I tell myself it’s because I got myself into this horrible habit of watching too much, and I’m not sure how to stop.

That, while it is the truth, is not the full truth.

I started this blog few years back, working through my issues of being raped. When I began writing, I couldn’t even say the word rape out loud. The first time I said it, I cried for hours.

Since then, I have written in forums, I have read books on recovery, I have written on here, I have gone to counselling, and for the most part, I have shared with the people I wanted to share it with. I have taken big leaps; put myself together, started a new life. Other than the first few months when I wrote on here very often, I have been writing on here only on occasion, when I had something to share.

And here is the BUT. While sharing, in so many way, has been so helpful at first, it’s now also restricting my recovery.

It feels as if sharing it, talking about what happened, would always be a release, a way to get rid of any leftover feelings I have. While that’s true sometimes…sometimes it’s deflection.

I’m not taking feelings out each time (though there was one time lately when I did share and that was a whole LOT of feelings). I’m rather…telling a story. It has me as the main heroine, and it’s deep and sad and profound. Except, I have said it so many times at this point, in so many ways, that telling it again is like a rehearsed speech. It’s nice feeling support, and sharing, but all that talking, it’s just deflection for my real feelings. See, I am telling what happened; in the past. It’s an old story, one I’ve moved on from, and as such my feelings about it aren’t quite as new. And because it’s a long story, I never get to my current feelings about it.

I write on here, but by sharing my previous experiences I avoid talking about the fact that there are feelings that linger even now. I avoid it so well I don’t even know what I’m doing, until I reach the evening. And I’m alone. In bed.

If I allow myself to be alone with my thoughts, I’ll know the truth.

I will know that I’m not anymore sad about what happened in general. I’ve chewed over it again, and again, because it’s easier. Because I am sharing old feelings. I don’t allow myself to accept that while I can be happy with my new life now, I can still sometimes be sad, or triggered, or have flashbacks. I know it’s natural, I just don’t allow myself.

I will know that sometimes I am so deeply sad, in a way that can’t be shared. In a way that doesn’t require long talks with resolution, because there isn’t anything to resolve. I’m just sad; I have to let it be. I can use a hug at those times, with no words attached to it, just warmness. I can use not talking, because then I can just feel however I’m feeling, and still know I’m not alone in it.

I will know that I’m sad that so many times when I feel certain way about a part of what happened, I have no way to share that. That I’m not sad for the things I do tell others, but for those things that I can’t; the things that I can’t digest, or which I can’t share because I need to share with the person the background story first. ¬†Or because the person I’m sharing with is my friend, and I don’t want them to worry. Or because… Continue reading

The day when you know you CAN

In recovery from rape, there are are many important milestones, some more important than others.

There are 2 days that seems to be from the more important ones for me.

The first one is the day in which you know that you CAN’T.

That isn’t attached to anything- you simply can’t anymore.

You relinquish the fake feeling of control that avoiding the subject of SA gives you. You stop pretending that you can keep going just as if nothing had changed in your life. You stop pretending that you can use that as the best challenge in your life and get out of it unscratched, unbruised and uncaring. That is the day that you let yourself be vulnerable and say what really happened to you. Not in a matter-of-fact way, as if it’s as important as going to the store. In a real way, with every tiny ugly feeling hiding behind it. For me that day was now more than a year ago, somewhere in the last april or may. One would think that I would remember the date, but that isn’t so important. I remember the moment though. The gut-wrenching feeling of crying for 5 hours until I can even pronounce the word rape (or stutter-cry through it anyway) and admit that it has really happened to me.

I had said it before, of course. Once I implied it, once I admitted it while drunk, and few times I admitted the situation and almost said it, but instead lied saying that I managed to safely get out of it. Before all those instances, for the first 6 months, I reluctantly searched abuse and sexual abuse forums when I felt lost, and then convinced myself that it’s not what happened to me. Then I promptly managed to push it so far down my mind to start thinking that it really didn’t happen. So that is the first moment in which I really realized that isn’t something from the movies, and that it happened to me, was that day, those 5 hours. That’s when I gave up. On trying to pretend it wasn’t happening…but also on thinking that I can do…well, a whole lot of stuff. I just felt exposed, like I had peeled off all my skin and I was bleeding, and by my own choice at that. THAT day can feel like one of the worst days that you’ve had (the occurrence of the SA excluded).

But that is in fact a good day.

THAT is the day on which your true recovery begins. Continue reading

About Mothers and Honesty pt.2

So as I said in Mothers and Honesty pt. 1 , that fall while I was getting over the SA, me and my mom kept having fights; all the time.

At certain point it’s so often, that I forget that I always felt lucky about my parents. I forget that my mom raised me to be her friend and tell her honestly things whatever they are. I forget that just because they have had a rough life doesn’t mean I have to protect them from the bad sides of mine. Somewhere between trying to protect my family from everything bad that ever happened to me, and my own inability to handle the rough patch that I am going through, I forget how to be honest with my mom.

But there’s nothing like SA to give you the sense that you have to protect yourself – at all cost.

Having had that happen from someone you trust gives you the uncontrollable feeling that you don’t know whom you can trust with what anymore. If protecting yourself means being a little distant from your family-so what? If it means somehow getting colder and distant with your friends and never truly letting them in – then that’s what you have to do. It’s not a conscious thought of course. But that is what you do.

And after a while, I stop remembering why I’m fighting with my mom.

I just get angry.

*

All that was 3 years ago. By any counting, I thought it doesn’t matter. After I went back to university, and I got back to my regular life, we slowly stopped fighting as often. Since then, I always felt that we lost some part of the closeness we had. I told myself that it was okay. Sometimes you grow apart with your friends, or your parents. It’s not like there’s anything I can do about it, I told myself, so I have to just get used to it.

I was never quite as honest again. I started not telling my mom what I buy with my money because I thought she would judge. I stopped telling her when I had bigger problem, because I was afraid that adding to their problems would be too much – for her and for me. Sometimes, I vaguely regretted how things were, but the most part I was pretty content with just letting the subject go.

And then I came to this stage of recovery.

There wasn’t any big revelation about it or anything such. It’s not like in movies. For the most part, I don’t think I considered much what I’d say or how. Continue reading

Farewell for now

To everyone out there,

who has read my blog here or is reading it right now. My last post was at the end of March, and I still haven’t gotten to another one.

I’d been convinced I would have time to write here, as well as in my new blog, which I mentioned in the previous post. Now I know that I have to leave both blogs in order to move forward. Continue reading