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

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 3rd time he raped me…

…or the 4th…who cares? After the first ones it gets a little confusing which was which.

Anyway. When I started this blog I wasn’t sure that I would write about each one here at all. But now, it’s time to tell the story about one more of them.

Writing about my issues with rape was enough, since it got me to getting back to my actual life and feeling better. Lately however, I have been going to regular jazz ballet classes. Dance has become some sort of a tool in recovery too, as well as a new home. It has constant challenges and it has let me grow in many ways during the 2 months that I’ve been going there. However, part of those challenges are that there are a lot of triggers. Some of them are small and I disregard; some of them are bigger, and it takes me days to shake off the feeling they leave and get back to the next dance class.

Two of those happened yesterday, and I will write about them separately. However, they brought some memories in my head, and unlike usually, I haven’t been able to shake them out yet.

So I decided to tell this one here.

*

My rapist was a guy in the house I was living for the summer. I was working in another country and was living in a house with a lot of other people doing the same, for about 4 months. This particular guy was always friendly, always flirting and saying that he isn’t, and always complaining about something I was doing. I’ve told about the first time he assaulted me before, as well as the second, so I won’t repeat myself.

After that point there were few more times. Each was different. I’d like to tell you that I was smarter and managed to protect myself better after the first times, but I wasn’t. I was in another country, without a job, and thinking if I’ll have food the next day. Dealing with something like a rape had no place in that. The brain protects us in strange ways. In mine, it was full or partial denial of what was happening, along with all kinds of excuses in my head about the physical evidence of it all.

And so that night came.

The first time had been in another room, and the second had been in my room. Despite my avoidance of the subject, the second time left me subconsciously very weary and afraid.

I resented the guy every time I saw him, and resented myself for not being able to tell why I feel like this about him. I avoided the parties he made with the other people in the house and they started looking at me like I was an outsider. He came to my door once each night, finding a reason to knock and talk to me- just talk. Sometimes he invited me to things, for which I always refused, sometimes he came to ask for a favor or bring something.

I awaited his coming to my room, and from the moment the day went towards evening, if I happened to be in my room, I was weary, jumpy, unable to concentrate on anything, waiting for the knock. I couldn’t admit to myself why I was scared. Despite my reservations with guys, in my previous world, such things like rape only happened in movies. I was still reluctant to call what happened to me rape (took me another year to really realize what it was). Each time he finally ended his talking at my door and went back to his party, I felt my knees weak and sat on the bed for a long time, staring in space. Those days, no matter how tired I got, or whether I slept for 2 hours only, I always re-checked if I locked the door, few times, just to be sure. Sometimes I checked it few times each hour during the evening before going to bed. For no reason at all.

Somehow, that night, I have left it unlocked- or so I assume… Continue reading

Lessons Unlearned pt.1

Note: That may be triggering, but I’m not sure. I may have to write it in 2 posts, so the first 1 may be okay.

For that summer, I am like a person with no learning curve at all. Every time I try something- finding job, getting better- something happens and I’m back down again.

I have no memory of that night at all, besides the beginning and the end, and I push that out of my mind in pursuit of finding a job and keeping my sanity at the same time. I’m like a broken clock, I remember and then forget again, and find good ways to explain all strange things and black holes in my memory.

There is no such luck.

Nevertheless, I keep looking. And somehow keep resenting that guy from my house, and avoiding him, and feeling stupid for not being able to pinpoint why I feel this way. The strange bruises fade and I very successfully manage not to think where they had come from. I put the clothes I was wearing then in a bag, and stash them away, so I don’t think about what happened to the zipper. Out of sight- out of mind. Continue reading

{Just a Rant}

So I saw something today that reminds me of how I felt when my SA happened, one of them anyway and I can not have the patience to edit.

This is what came out of it, and by extension, this isn’t really a post, this is just to get this out somewhere, without shape and color and size, without order, dirty and messy and meaningless like it was. This is for nobody and nothing, this is just how it was.

*

…alone, alone, night, laying on the cold floor, him throwing out a condom aside, dirty, dark, cold, stripped, laying on the floor for what feels like forever, naked, weak, humiliated, disgusting… Continue reading

Back in University

When I was teenager, and my wisdom teeth started growing, they grew completely horizontal, pushing the teeth next to them, so I didn’t even know. I understood the day when they were completely grown and pushing so much I had to go to bed with painkillers so I would be able to sleep. Until they took them, the damage on the teeth next to them was done and I had to have 1 nerve removed from one of them.

That’s the very same way, about 6 months after my rape the trauma settle under my skin, growing, eating away at me so unnoticeable, that I forgot it was there until year and a half later. By that time the suppressed feelings and memories had piled up and grown so much, I quite literally had a breakdown.

But at the time, for a while everything was really good. Continue reading