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

Isolation, insomnia and taking control

“It’s like I’m sleepwalking, and I don’t know how to wake up…” Mary, on Reign (TV series)

This quote kind of struck me, may be because it rings so true for me. It’s like I gave myself an allowance to check out of my life for a moment so I can recover 3 years ago, and I never checked back in. Or I check in and out depending on how I feel. Like I’m asleep for years, and I only wake up every once in a while, like I’m in a dream, and I know it’s my choice what I do, and I still can’t stop myself sometimes. Four and a half years ago, I was raped. And when I was ready to stop denying it and destroying myself, I started this blog as a sort of sounding board for my recovery process. I have been doing a lot better lately, but I need to start writing here again. I know I do. I do, because when I write, I push myself, and I discover things about myself I didn’t know.

Otherwise, I have reached a point where my life is getting more and more NORMAL, and I am afraid.

I’m afraid that I still have some important issues I haven’t solved, but that I can live with those. That I can totally let them untouched and push them down again, until I start thinking they are just part of my character. When I started this blog I was the type of person that can make a HUGE deal out of small stuff, but when it came to the big, important emotions, I pushed them down so no one would know they were there. Writing here, trying to regain myself after the rape, it opened me up and I became aware of so much about myself that I was ignoring before. I don’t want to go back to pushing things down.

For the past months, while I was moving my life into more positive direction, I also concentrated in clearing my past- writing, counseling, solving. And then I stopped writing in present tense, and stopped dealing with the emotional issues in my present. Continue reading

The Illusion of Control pt.2

In the last post I told you about where trying to regain ALL control led me.

Now, after a long talk with my partner and a lot of thinking, I start to realize the duality in what I’ve been trying to do.

I have been trying to accept that I have made a mistake- hurricane sized mistake- and I am living in the twisted aftermath of trying to fix it and constantly failing. I keep living with that sense that all in my life is consequential of what I do. That the rape wouldn’t have happened if I’d done things differently. That I could have made more money if I just pushed myself a bit more. That I could finish my BA degree in a very small city and at the same time get enough money to pay off my debts. I’ve accepted that I did everything wrong and for 2 years I wrecked my brain trying to fix it.

The truth is, we don’t have full control over everything.

You can’t stop airplane crash, or predict that it will happen. Even if you do everything right, even if you go to self defense classes, never walk alone in the dark and all that, you can’t always prevent an attack. There will always be someone stronger. And even if you are fully certain in a job and take out loans, the economy can crash, you can get fired, and your security is done.

That seemed like a depressing thought.

I thought, that is awful, scary. That means, it makes no difference what you do. Bad things can still happen.┬áIt doesn’t matter if you are bigger, stronger, smarter, have more money. Your life can fall apart in a minute. Continue reading

The Illusion of Control pt.1

Every since SA happened to me, I have become obsessed with control.

Having always been a free spirit, and artist, and perhaps a little unreliable, this somehow came as a shock.

Suddenly, I had to calculate every move I make, every cent I spend, everything I do. I had this deadly need to organize every minute of my time- and the feeling that if I didn’t, something bad would happen, and my life would fall apart again. Needless to say, the more I tried to apply control over things I had no control over, the bigger mess my life became. And the less control I had.

Until at certain point I let go- fully and utterly let go of trying to have any impact on anything. It was too hard.

Now, in the aftermath of having spend the last year trying to rebuild my life, I have been trying to regain that control. Continue reading

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?