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

Recovery Dictionary: T for When Should I Tell?

 One of the most basic, daunting questions you ask yourself, if you were ever raped and got through it: when(or if) should I tell this person?

It could be your partner, your family, a close friend. There are people that don’t tell anybody for decades. In my experience, holding the hard things in myself only ends up blowing up in my face later.

Anyway, I never had much of an answer to this question before, but I do have a tip now. I am in no way an expert, but if you need an extra opinion while you consider what to do, here is mine: relax, breathe, and follow your intuition. You will know the exact time.

* Disclaimer: this is not for those of you considering to press charges officially. Obviously this is a fully different decision that you have to make for yourself. This is for those of you that didn’t, for any reason, and sooner or later you do not want to feel alone in it anymore, and you want the people in your life to know about it. Some people anyway.

1.

For those of you new to my blog, I was raped 5 years ago. For the most part I have recovered, I believe, although there are still some sore spots to work through. There is also a lot of chaos I created in the way of dealing with it, in my life, things that I missed, and I am still trying to sort all that out.

In the time until now, I have told several people, including some guys I dated right after, selected close friends, my current long-term partner, and a few friends which I do not know that well, but I am already getting close with. It sounds like a lot, but I guess it was my way of dealing with things when there was too much that I couldn’t deal with.

But here is the thing: I didn’t tell my parents yet. I am pretty close with my mom and it’s an odd feeling that she doesn’t know about this part of my life. It also felt necessary at some point. Now, so many years later, and starting to actually catch up to my present, I am starting to feel I’d like her to know, and the reasons not to tell her are starting to feel more obsolete.

But still, thinking about telling her, there is the usual clatter of thoughts- remember that one?

You sitting across from someone you care about, and your stomach sinking at the idea of saying those words, telling that story. That inadequate feeling- is it really ME saying those things, ME that this happened to? The panic at the idea of how they will react, your brain going in all directions and over every scenario. The wondering if you can even get the words out…And the even bigger panic wondering how they will act after that. And whether you can handle their reaction, whatever it is. It’s a head spin, for sure.

And this is why, I’m going to say this once more:

Trust yourself. You will know when it’s time.

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

At least I’m ALIVE

I have to admit, the past month has been a little shaking.

After spending so long resisting every change in my new life, even the good ones, I have finally started to take steps forward. I’m spending more time with friends and new people, I’m letting the failed projects go, and starting a new job…I am leaving more time for my partner, and buying new clothes that make me feel attractive again. I’m going to counseling weekly. I’m trying to be better. I’m trying to let myself be okay again, be good, be happy. At the same time, I got reminded of the shortness of life twice this month. The first is when I learn that a friend who lives on another continent had died few months prior. I hadn’t talked to her in a while, deep into my own problems, and her death hit me a little. She was also one of the only people that knew the situation around my rape, at the time when it happened. In a way, her death seemed like closing some weird circle. And then came the next one, in the midst of all my nice steps forward. There had been a girl at my university, that graduated at the same year as me. We weren’t really close, but I still knew her. It was a bit of a shock when about a year after she graduated, I learned that she’d went missing and no one knew what happened. Still, I let myself not think about it.

Such things, they dig right to the core of me. If I let myself truly think of it, it won’t be healthy. So I don’t. I hope that all of it is just a horrible misunderstanding. Except that it really isn’t. Now they have a break in the case- apparently she was killed by a rapist that had been paroled early and allowed to work in her building. May be he raped her too. And THAT is that.

*

I can’t begin to say how all this makes me feel. The culmination of both those events(or me learning about them anyway) within a month is hard. Every once in a one, huge waves of grief rare high over my head, and I let them overtake me. I’m okay and then I break down sobbing. Then I feel the need to take another step in my life, because damn it, at least I’m ALIVE. At least I got out alive.

I have been through a lot, and for the most part this blog is the place where I don’t twist the truth.

I feel like I’m going through hell sometimes, and this is the one place where I can tell the full truth. Continue reading

Rape & Recovery: Preparing to tell my mom

“My mom saw the drawing as well, and said it was good, but perhaps too dark in emotion.

That was a perfect opportunity. Last year I would have bailed, but that was my chance.

I didn’t tell my mom what happened to me, but I did tell her that I had such emotions and I can’t always be cheerful.

I proceeded to tell her that I have before sheltered her from some things when I can, but that now I’m an adult. And as an adult, I want honesty in my life, and I don’t want to filter anything.

It was a clear message: no more lies, no more spinning the truth, and no more lying about bad things. I WANT honesty in my life.”

As you all know, there has been a good portion of years around what happened to me, in which I avoided the idea of telling my mom, as if it would set me on fire. I guess in full honesty, I did it half for her (to spare her the pain) and half for me (I was too drained to deal with emotions that anyone but me is having). In any case, once in university, I had spared my mom some bad moments, thinking I was protecting her. So by the time the rape happened, and things got a lot harder and darker, I started sparing her anything remotely bad- even me having the flu. It’s a bad cycle to be in. Until that time, we had the type of relationship where I could share anything. Pushing down all my emotions wasn’t good.

Anyway, somewhere down the line last year, I started occasionally attempting to admit a truth. I said when I was sick, I said when I had some other problems.

It wasn’t a huge thing, but it was still a big step considering.

Still, when it comes to a lot in my life, I am still pretty much leading a double life, and it’s exhausting. I bet there are people that live like this all their life, I’m sure of it- people with incurable conditions that they don’t want known, people to whom something happened and they never admitted a word. I’m not saying that I want everyone knowing- but I don’t want to hide so much, all the time anymore. A lot of who I was, who I always wanted to be, was based on honesty, and such thing weight on me. I didn’t tell a lot of my friends that I was raped, at least for year and a half after. I never told my mom I was depressed and why. In my dance classes, for the first months, I had too many panic attacks to count. I often had to stop in the middle of class, and just watch. Who knows what people thought- people that are now friends- especially when I often said I was dizzy or sick. Anyway. Then there is the other problem. I’m an artist. And I do, I write bad things, but that isn’t venting for me…in drawing however, I’m often unable to draw anything sad, or scary, or dark.

Again, I’m not saying I want to tell everyone- but for someone who wants to be an artist, someone who would like to lead honest lifestyle…I’ve pretty much been concealing all I can. With other people. With myself. At some point you forget that you wanted to be honest at all. The brain is like a sponge. The actions you take may not be who you are…but they always leave a mark.

Continue reading

Rebuilding my confidence and my life after rape

 

 

There is this moment while I’m in THAT summer, the one where I got abused, and the one where all my ethical and moral beliefs crashed. I have lost myself. I’m hurt, I’m bruised, I’m emotionally and mentally tired. I run out of my house in some childish fit, unable to control myself. I circle the streets I know, and I walk. I walk randomly and with no direction. I walk until I can’t feel my legs. I watch straight in front of me, pale like a ghost, scared to face what happens if I stop walking and actually think about what happened to me.

The word of it, the formulation, r-a-p-e, doesn’t even occur to me.

I always had those ideas about things, you know? You think you know, even if you hadn’t experienced something, you think you know how awful it is. Some of us get close to the truth. What happened to me feels much bigger than that. What a fool I was! Have I known anything til that moment, anything at all? Had I really thought education was going to help me have a brighter life, get as far away as I can from the bad things in life? Stupid, stupid girl. What is happening to me?

That summer, I do and say a lot of things that aren’t quite me. That summer, and every moment after that. Something within me has snapped, broken, torn. I have no idea what it is, but I can’t find logic in anything at that point. I can not find as many reasons to stop myself from things that I have previously found low, unethical, immoral, wrong. But my body hurts, and my soul hurts, everything I can feel is just pain. Some things just stop making sense.

You would think that this is the moment my faith really starts to waiver, but it wasn’t.

It’s not when I am laying bruised on my bed in a foreign country, wondering when will it end. It’s not when I go home and I can’t handle anyone touching me, or coming close near me. It’s not when writing my home works and going to parties stop making sense, or I stop recognizing my body in the mirror. It’s not when I try to make out with a guy, and completely freeze. It’s when I have graduated, started a good relationship, move to a new place where I feel safe and at home. It’s when I start dancing, and meeting new people, and making money online, as I have dreamed of for a while. It’s when all the things that I have wanted start happening, and I can finally feel SAFE.

It’s when I stop waking up panicking that the relative security I have in the dormitories or back in my parents house will be gone soon. It’s when I start living again. I have spend 2 years having nightmares, running from the truth, or dealing with it, and trying to rebuild my life. I have spend 2 years, knowing that everything can fall apart any moment.

The moment I am SAFE, that is the moment I fully loose any shred of faith I was holding onto.

Continue reading