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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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.

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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

End of the Semester: About Concentration and the Fragmented Life

I’ve blogged about most of that first year after my SA and what it was for me, in a way.

But before I move on to the second year, there are few more things to mention.

Oh, and for those of you new here who are new to the story, if you scroll over “Story and Background” you can choose time period, and then go backwards in it to see what I’ve written. I’ll soon add few pages with chronologically linked posts for easier access. I’m also possibly writing a memoir book/guideline for those going through rape recovery. I’ve learned some things on the way of getting here, and although I am not an expert, there are things I learned in the past year that I wish someone had told me when I was first struggling with this. Anyway, that book is in the process of making, and meanwhile, there are few more things I would like to share.

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1. Counseling

I’ve mentioned in a previous post, that counseling somehow helped me, even though I told the counselor very little. One thing that struck me though- and that I tried to conceal from her, because I thought it made me a freak or crazy- was my inability to separate how I feel.

She started asking me things about how I feel.

I remember I mastered some answer, even though I knew that at best I’m twisting the truth.

But she kept asking me how I feel, and what was I supposed to say?

I was spending most of my time at my favorite university, with my friends, completely miserable? And despite that most of the time I am not sure how I feel? I can’t make difference between good, bad, sad, angry? Everything had somehow blended together and it wasn’t that I was running from how I felt. I had no clue how I felt. None. I ran her question through my head many times after that, for myself, and found it disturbing that I still didn’t feel in way. There was no separation of feelings within me anymore. I was an emotional time-bomb waiting to explode.

2. Fragments and concentration

Now, that is the other thing about my first year that I’d like to share. Mostly because while going through it I constantly wondered if I’m going crazy or have somehow broken my brain beyond repair. Only now, getting out of it, I can see how it was, and that it wasn’t forever. I wish I’d known that what I was going through was perfectly fine considering. Continue reading

Money Matters

For a long time this past year, I’ve worked on myself.

More particularly, I’ve worked on overcoming my issue with rape. The summer when it happens, my whole universe snaps out of it’s axis, and the world changes for me. I know somewhere deep in me, life as I know it is over.

Now, it all sounds almost bearable. For more than half year, I have given everything I had to make it bearable, at first so deep in depression that it was hard to make myself get out of bed, let alone do anything else.
Finally, I am able to work nicely, to get up in the morning without feeling like I’ll break to pieces if I go outside, and to see my friends, without constantly having the feeling I’m living 2 lives at the same time.

When I first begin recovery, I’m touchy on everything around the issue. Pronouncing the word rape for a first time after the fact happens only after I have cried in a bathroom for 5 hours. And somehow, now that I’ve almost resolved that, I discover I’m almost as touchy on the subject of money. Continue reading

1. Awareness

It all begins 5 months ago, which was exactly about 2 years after my SA.

There is no problem. I have no problem. Nothing really big happened that summer. I’m completely fine all the time. I mean minus the nightmares, not-sleeping, not-eating and feeling everything is completely pointless.

That first week back from working as an intern at a festival at the sea, I know something is changing in me. There is part of me that has enjoyed immensely the sea, the new people and memories, and that wants to save the experience and try to build from it. But there is the other part of me. The part I have pushed down for way too long. That festival, it has pushed me to the limit, and I can’t continue to deny what I have for 2 years.

 I can’t, but I have to. The free week I have until I’m back at work is enough to get myself together, or so I say to myself.

Tough love baby! I just gotta make it through few more weeks of work.

I’ve made it 2 years, swimmingly, this is a baby job, I can do it in my sleep.

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That one week I circle the apartment like a ghost. I don’t call my best friend, or my other friends, they don’t even know I’m back yet. I go out to buy food, I skype with my partner who is then back at his city. I sleep and circle the apartment like a ghost, trying to get myself ready for the coming week. 

But I am not ready, not even a bit.  Continue reading