Finally, love.

I have always dove in and gave my all. I always given love with all that my heart could give. This time my heart is wide open and for once, so is yours. I feel like I’ve broken that last barrier I’ve never gone past. I’ve packed away that safety net I always laid out for whenever I’ve expected to be let down. I know I won’t need it.

– November 2017

Memories

I am taking the memories that still overwhelm me and folding them, until they are small enough to pack away. I am acknowledging them. I am not banishing them from my mind, but putting them away in a closet in my mind so I can revisit them at a later time.

Or at least I try.

They seep through the doors and infiltrate my mind. They appear in the form of anxiety, fear, and feelings of being constantly unsafe. I try to gather them together, but like sand they fall through my fingers.

Sexual violence: definitions

TW: Sexual violence, sexual assault, rape

I think it’s very important to know the definitions and types of sexual violence. For the longest time I waved away what had happened to me in the past. It was different, I thought, because he was my boyfriend. Now I know that anyone can be a victim of sexual violence regardless of the relationship with the aggressor, gender, or socioeconomic status.

Please take a read below of the definition of sexual violence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you have been a victim of sexual violence, please seek help. You are not alone and #IBelieveYou.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/definitions.html

Sexual violence is defined as a sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent.  Sexual violence is divided into the following types:

  • Completed or attempted forced penetration of a victim
  • Completed or attempted alcohol/drug-facilitated penetration of a victim
  • Completed or attempted forced acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else
  • Completed or attempted alcohol/drug-facilitated acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else
  • Non-physically forced penetration which occurs after a person is pressured verbally or through intimidation or misuse of authority to consent or acquiesce
  • Unwanted sexual contact
  • Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences

Completed or attempted forced penetration of a victim ─ includes completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal insertion through use of physical force or threats to bring physical harm toward or against the victim. Examples include

  • Pinning the victim’s arms
  • Using one’s body weight to prevent movement or escape
  • Use of a weapon or threats of weapon use
  • Assaulting the victim

Completed or attempted alcohol or drug-facilitated penetration of a victim ─ includes completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal insertion when the victim was unable to consent because he or she was too intoxicated (e.g., incapacitation, lack of consciousness, or lack of awareness) through voluntary or involuntary use of alcohol or drugs.

Completed or attempted forced acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else ─includes situations when the victim was made, or there was an attempt to make the victim, sexually penetrate a perpetrator or someone else without the victim’s consent because the victim was physically forced or threatened with physical harm. Examples include

  • Pinning the victim’s arms
  • Using one’s body weight to prevent movement or escape
  • Use of a weapon or threats of weapon use
  • Assaulting the victim

Completed or attempted alcohol or drug-facilitated acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else ─ includes situations when the victim was made, or there was an attempt to make the victim, sexually penetrate a perpetrator or someone else without the victim’s consent because the victim was unable to consent because he or she was too intoxicated (e.g., incapacitation, lack of consciousness, or lack of awareness) through voluntary or involuntary use of alcohol or drugs.

Nonphysically forced penetration which occurs after a person is pressured verbally, or through intimidation or misuse of authority, to consent or submit to being penetrated – examples include being worn down by someone who repeatedly asked for sex or showed they were unhappy; feeling pressured by being lied to, or being told promises that were untrue; having someone threaten to end a relationship or spread rumors; and sexual pressure by use of influence or authority.

Unwanted sexual contact – intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person without his or her consent, or of a person who is unable to consent or refuse. Unwanted sexual contact can be perpetrated against a person or by making a person touch the perpetrator. Unwanted sexual contact could be referred to as “sexual harassment” in some contexts, such as a school or workplace.

Noncontact unwanted sexual experiences – does not include physical contact of a sexual nature between the perpetrator and the victim. This occurs against a person without his or her consent, or against a person who is unable to consent or refuse. Some acts of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences occur without the victim’s knowledge. This type of sexual violence can occur in many different settings, such as school, the workplace, in public, or through technology. Examples include unwanted exposure to pornography or verbal sexual harassment (e.g., making sexual comments).

Reflection

I always downplay my pain. I encounter stress and then adjust my baseline instead of dealing with the stress. Then it piles higher and higher and when I finally break, I’m left wondering why. Now I’m just numb and unsure of how I really feel anymore.

In my head I was fine. Then all of a sudden I have all this anxiety. I can’t fall or stay asleep. I’m completely isolated from all my friends. I talk to nobody. How did I get here? (See beginning).

April 2015

Dear you,

You told me to call you whenever I needed someone to talk to. The only person I wanted to talk to today was with you. You told me you felt unwell last night, and I tried to make you smile. At 7pm I texted you. No reply. At 10pm I texted you again. No reply. I didn’t sleep last night just in case you called. I could have been there for you. But no, you swallowed a bunch of pills and ended up in the hospital. I could have been there for you. Yes, I’m angry. But I also understand. I hope you get the help you need. I’ll always be there for you. I wish you knew that.

– N

Journal entry, 11pm.

I’m sad. Sad I couldn’t be there for you. I feel so helpless. Part of me feels guilty even though I know there’s really only so much I could have done.

I’m angry. Angry that you had so much support while I stayed silent. I hid my pain, it was my fault. But I can’t help but think that your pain is valid while I’m just a psycho.

I’m angry that my visit to the hospital was horrible. He knew I was BPD therefore I’m a faker. My pain isn’t real.

I cried for you this morning. I lashed out and screamed at my mom until my voice went hoarse. And then I cried some more. I wanted to cut so badly. I took my own advice and went for a run. I left the house as the sun began to set. I ran. I held back tears and I ran for as long as I could. Ran until my throat burned from gasping for breath and my legs trembled. I walked and stumbled upon the field while wandering through previously unexplored paths. I went into the middle of the field and sat. I just wanted to talk to you. I was so mad. I was so desensitized and apathetic and unempathetic, yet helpless. Yet my heart ached for you. I fell back and laid there for a while, as the sky went dark. I laid down and let myself cry. I’m home now and I feel like I can’t cope with the pain. I want my own pills to knock me out, just for tonight.

Sadness and anger…

Today I talked about the trauma openly with a therapist. Talking about the first incident was the hardest. It easier as I recounted the next incident. She pointed out there was something new she saw in me. Not quite anger, no longer fear.

Confidence.

Confidence in myself. In knowing that he was the one who was wrong. Confidence that only blooms out of 7 years of suffering and buried pain.

And behind the confidence, there stood sadness and anger, interlocked. Sadness for the naive girl who was manipulated, overpowered and lied to. Anger towards the boy who stole her innocence with his selfish ways.

I am forgiving myself. I never did anything wrong. This was not my fault.

Checking the facts

“One of the hardest battles we fight is between what we know and what we feel.”

We are always told to check the facts. But even if you know the facts, it’s hard to push our feelings and thoughts away. Especially when they’re so deeply ingrained in us. When you live half of your life believing you’re not good enough, worthless, or undeserving of love, it’s difficult to accept the facts. It’s tough to accept everything that’s proving your assumptions wrong, even if they are right in front of your face. Checking the facts is great. But it’s unhelpful if your emotions constantly get in the way.

Healing is pain; pain is healing

It seems counter intuitive, doesn’t it? Isn’t healing supposed to make things better? When in reality, the steps we take to facilitate healing can be very painful. If you’ve ever cleaned a scraped knee, you’ll remember the pain of having to touch the open wound. But in the end, this is to facilitate the healing process.

These words by @jennagalbut revealed a lot to me about my own healing process. For so long, painful memories were hidden in the shadows, where I didn’t have to look at them. The problem with this is they would jump out at me when I least expect it.

Since starting treatment for my PTSD, I’ve been even more so on edge and anxious. I thought that the treatment was making things worse. I wanted to quit. To shove all the painful thoughts back into the dark instead of facing them in the light. But I am trying to remind myself – it gets worse before it gets better.

LDR

I finally found someone who I love and who loves me back, and of course he lives thousands of kilometres away. This sucks. Long distance sucks. Why do these things always happen to me?

Or

I finally found someone who I love and loves me back. It’s the kind of love I’ve always dreamed about, and despite the thousands of kilometres between us, we’re both willing to make it work. I found someone who will go through this pain with me because he loves me.

Left behind

I’m watching my friends and colleagues thrive and achieve,
I’m happy for them, I really am.
But I wish I could be there celebrating with them,
Instead of here in this hole, trying to scratch my way out.
I see them running past me
Towards the finish line
While I’m being dragged backwards by my feet.
Humiliated, pained, desperate to be free.