Nervous

I know it’s getting bad because I’m hitting a writers’ block. I don’t even want to write.

I know it’s getting bad because I’m always on edge, and scared of people. I believe they will ostracize me. They will leave me.

If I’m alone by choice, then I can’t be rejected. They can’t leave me if I’m already alone.

But withdrawing and loneliness is like putting a band-aid on a broken bone. It’s not addressing the underlying problem. It is a quick fix that actually doesn’t fix anything at all.

Days go past and I can’t help but feeling like I’m wasting my life away.

Not quite miserable and sobbing, but also not happy either. I just am. In a numb sort of way, not a mindful sort of way.

I’m starting to accept that this is getting too hard.

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).

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.

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.

Today is the (second… Or third… Or tenth) beginning of my recovery. After too long without consistent therapy I’ve finally found a DBT therapist I click with. My meds have been adjusted and I’m hoping with all my heart that the antipsychotics will work soon. Because this is hell.

I read through a lot of my blog posts and realized it really has been a tough year. I don’t think I’m good at many things but I can say I’m good at downplaying the status of my mental well-being.

The night I didn’t die

Trigger warning: May be upsetting to those who have previously attempted suicide or experienced an overdose.

The morning after, I felt groggy and unrested.

Walked downstairs to fill my water bottle. Holding it under the flow of water I noticed my hands shaking.

Stopped the flow of water. Tried to hold the bottle in front of my face, tried to be completely still. The bottle shook violently with my hands.

Walked quickly upstairs, with more urgency. Picked up a pen to write down what I remembered from the night before. Tried to write down my symptoms. My writing was unrecognizable.

Pulled clothes off the end of the bed. Struggled to dress. Struggled to pull my shirt over my head. Struggled to stop the shaking for long enough to put on pants. 15 minutes later.

Called my housemate who had a car to drive me to the hospital. No answer. Called the boyfriend.

“I’ll be right over. 30 minutes.”

Sat on couch, hands shaking. Pulled out phone and messaged other housemate.

“Can you please stay with me until my boyfriend comes to bring me to the hospital? I’m afraid I might have a seizure.”

My shaking hands and now blurring vision slowed me down so much, it felt like ages to type.

Realized I would need my health card and insurance. Walked up to my room, and my shaky hands pulled out a key. Fumbled to unlock the door, only to jump back, muffling a scream.

Spider. The size of my hand. Crawling up the door frame, twitching, ready to jump. Stood there in a panic for what felt like 10 minutes.

Finally opened the door and jumped back, anticipating the spider. Nothing. Looked closer and it was gone. Hallucinations.

Sat on the couch waiting for an eternity. Sporadic bolts of strong electricity would bind me to my seat. Completely paralyzed. Uncontrollable shaking. Electricity. Paralyzed. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Watching spiders rise up from the carpet and crawl towards me before melting away.

“I always thought you were a little too well adjusted,” jokes the housemate.

Nervous laughter in agreement. “Jokes on you,” I say.

Boyfriend arrives. I can’t move. Pulls me up and walks me to the car.

Arrive at hospital. At reception. Try to speak, but my throat is paralyzed. Boyfriend completes registration.

When I can speak, all I can say is, “my hands feel so heavy. They feel so heavy. I can’t hold them up, they’re rocks.” Boyfriend encouragingly picks up hand to show that they aren’t heavy each time.

Feel like melting into the floor. Eyes roll back in head. Vision readjusts. Electricity. Paralysis. Tears that I can’t wipe away. My hands – they’re too heavy.

Dissociation. Slips out of body. White light. Fear. I’m going to die here. I’m going to be buried here, thousands of kilometers away from my family. Will they ship my body back? Will they fly it back?

I slip in and out of my body again. I’m calm and at peace. Complete serenity. Electricity. Fear returns.

Try to speak to the nurse but I’ve lost all speech. I’ve lost all movement. My soul keeps slipping out, I can feel it.

Fear. What if they shame me like last time? I cry. “Please don’t get mad. Please believe me,” I think as loud as I can.

She speaks to me and I see her far away. Don’t close your eyes. I wasn’t even trying to die. I just wanted to stop the pain. Regret and fear.

Later. I’m back in my body. The psychiatric nurse sits with me, so gentle and kind. Relief.

She tells me I’m lucky. I well-exceeded what should have been a lethal dose.

I don’t know what to say so I just cry. I thank her. I leave.

Depersonalization

An invisible hand reached through my neck, cutting my breath short, pulling my consciousness away until it was completely detached from my body.

I could move, but only very slowly.

I could see, but everything was choppy, as if I was looking at a broken screen.

I could hear, but it was like I was underwater. Voices seemed far away and echoed even though they came from right in front of me.

I instructed myself to smile, to move my head every once in a while so no one would know anything was wrong. I robotically carried out these actions when I could.

I sat beside myself and saw the dead, faraway look in my eyes. The blank face. My body swayed unsteadily. I felt nauseas, as if my body was a rocking boat and I was dangling off the edge.

I somehow found my way home and fell into a long and uneasy sleep.

Numb

Disgust. Shame. Hatred. Anger. They pour into my skull with a violent, jarring crash. 

It’s like leaving a loud concert and suddenly realizing everything has gone quieter, more muffled. It’s your ears adjusting to the repeated assault of loud noise. 

I am suspended from my body, like the outline of my mind is a centimetre or two off from the outline of my figure. All perceptions are fuzzier. My vision blurs. I hear sounds as if they’re hundreds of miles away. I can’t feel my body.

I’m not sure whether I should throw up. Or scream. Or hurt myself. Maybe I’m better off like this. Maybe I should find better earmuffs.