I am going to write my own story. I am no longer going to let someone else or something define me. I will no longer let my past define me. I am writing my present and I am working towards a positive future. 2016 is going to be a year of honesty, honesty to myself, my friends and my family because pretending to be happy puts a strain on your relationship with your friends, family, and most importantly yourself. Its so easy for everyone to put on their best face and act like their life is perfect and I was guilty of it but this year my new years resolution is to no longer “fake it til ya make” but to BE HAPPY, LOVE MYSELF & LIVE LIFE! So this is me, laying it all out on the table, and then I am going to write about my ups & downs of this journey to becoming the person I want to be. 2016 is going to be a year of rebuilding myself, spoiling myself, and finding out who I am & who I want to be. Its not about getting back to the old me because frankly I may never be that girl again and thats beauty of life, we can change everyday based on bad experiences and good. I am on the journey to becoming HAPPIER, STRONGER & BOLDER!
Everyone experiences being anxious, but having anxiety is completely different from everyday worries about money or jobs or the pressures of getting an A on your final exam. Yes I have been anxious about all of the above, however, due to something that happened to me in college I now am diagnosed with Anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). So on top of all of that, I suffer from extreme social anxiety, I experience depression and I have horrible panic attacks that scare the shit out of me and everyone around me! 2015 made me realize that my anxiety and PTSD stops me from experiencing life, I created a bubble around me and have completely shut myself out from society.
2016 is the year I am confronting the pain I have been through. On my first day of my Sophomore year in college I went to a Fraternity party with my roommates and I was drugged in my first drink and taken advantage of. That night played over and over in my head for months and I tried so hard to just pretend it never happened. Maybe if it didn’t happen then I would be loved, how could someone love me after what happened? I felt so dirty and sick. I no longer want to carry this pain and anger with me anymore. 2016 is going to be the year I write my story, I mean they do say your prime years are in your 20’s! Before I was raped I was happy, outgoing and loved having fun and being around people! I loved my friends so much, they fueled the spark inside me! I didn’t need a man in my life, I just needed my friends and family! I was a lot like my dad and my brother in that they love going out and being social and making sure all their friends have a good time. I was a planner, I liked to plan what parties we were going to, Halloween costumes, the music playlist, outfits, trips to the city or bringing my new college friends over to my hometown friends college parties. That all pretty much stopped the first day of Sophomore year.
I was saving myself for someone special, I can’t say marriage because I just know that I wanted my parents to meet him, I wanted to feel what falling in love felt like. I wanted what you saw in the movies, that fairytale kind of love. And my friends were completely supportive of me, maybe they thought I was a little weird.. Idk. But they always joked that they would throw a sex toy party for me when I finally did haha! Everything they told me about sex and how great it is and they made it seem like it was better than chocolate. And if you know me, I am a CHOCOLATE ADDICT (everyday, all day)! Unfortunately, I didn’t get that experience and I’m not sure if I will ever feel that way about sex. I hope I do and I’m sorry family if you are reading this :0, I know thats not what you want to hear from your little girl lol. But the fact is it sucks, it really sucks and I hope that I will one day be able to get to that point of saying wow this is better than chocolate!
I can’t tell you everything about what happened to me, simply because I don’t really remember it. I remember glimpses, part of that is because of my PTSD. My therapist said my mind just decided to block things out and the other part is because I was drugged. One drink, thats all it takes. So now with my anxiety I have a tough time being in bars and social settings. I tend to be a little uptight and extremely anxious. I feel comfortable drinking around my boyfriend because he has become a safety blanket to me. Which isn't great, I do need to break that but I don’t really enjoy drinking at all. I will have a glass of wine with dinner once in a blue moon but drinking socially isn't something I enjoy doing. But because I am so anxious in bars and social settings, I have two choices. Sit in the bar looking like a crotchety bit*h or take a ton of shots and just say fuck it (knowing that my man is right there watching over me). Part of my anxiety is I am a huge people pleaser. Not sure why but I hate when someone is mad at me, they may not even be mad at me. They may just be having a bad day but I automatically think I did something. I feel judged all the time because I know that my anxiety shows and people don’t look at me and say oh she's anxious… they look and say she looks like a miserable bit*h. Maybe they don’t exactly say that, but I could only imagine and I can’t blame them because I hate being anxious! It controls your whole life and I just wish I could feel normal!
Instead I feel so distant from people, I feel like its harder for me to connect and make relationships with people. I have a hard time trusting people, I lost a lot of my friends in college. Part of it is my fault because I changed and I pushed people away out of fear. But I wasn’t that same girl anymore, I wasn't fun and outgoing anymore. I was broken. I wanted to be left alone but I hated being alone because I was so afraid. I used to love that my roommate would stay at her boyfriends house, but not anymore. I had nightmares every night for months. I woke up in tears crying. I felt dirty and no one could possibly want me or love me now. I also went through a period of anger. I still have a lot of anger inside of me, which I take out at UFC boxing. But it got to a point where I sought him out, at a party. The moment I saw him I shut down and froze, my fear was radiating off of me. It was like the whole room could see the fear in me. He came up to me acting like he had no clue who I was, introducing himself to me, with what he thinks is game. I had so many things I wanted to say to him… but nothing came out. My friends spoke up for me and he tried to make it like he drank to much, that he was blacked out. When I knew very well he knew what he was doing the whole time. He was conscious of everything he said and did. He told me he was raping me while he was doing it over and over again. While I tried to kick and punch a man that was over 6 feet tall off of me. I reached for my phone to call my friends to help and he threw it across the room. I may not remember every second of that moment but I damn sure remember enough to know he was very conscious of what he was doing.
That year was rough, emotionally and physically. I could go on to more details but this blog isn't about my past. I am getting everything off my chest that I have been holding in, so I can move forward toward a positive life. With that being said its been 5 years since I was raped, and 5 years since I made the decision that I was going to pretend it never happened. Well… that bit me in the ass. I should have listened to my mom when she told me that pretending it never happened will only make it worse. For those 5 years, I tried to make do… well at least 3 of them. I was able to avoid parties, go home a lot and basically shelter myself in a bubble. I was anxious but I did a decent job of hiding it by just doing my own thing. And yeah I constantly heard my friends and my family say that I have changed and I should go back to the old me, the fun me. I can’t blame them for saying that because either they didn’t know what happened or they just didn't get it. The fourth year however, everything changed. I graduated college, I was entering a long distance relationship now and I had my first real full time job. Hey I mean a long distance relationship does suck but it gave me an excuse to visit him in Florida and escape the cold winter weather! That year was really rough though, it was a year that I broke. Crying everyday and feeling so alone, thats what happens when you bottle everything up and don’t allow the people that love you the most to help take some burden off of your shoulders.
After I was raped, I kept a lot of my emotions to myself, whenever something bothered me, instead of speaking to someone or confronting the issue I ran away. I ran far far away whenever their was conflict. I never spoke up about being raped and I still wasn't comfortable ever speaking about it out of fear and rejection. When I was raped I told my ex, who at the time was my first real serious boyfriend and he didn’t believe me. This is why victims of rape don’t speak up. Because instead of showing support, we get questioned. “How much did you drink”, “What were you wearing”, “You must have led him on by talking to him” etc., the list can go on and on. And thats why these people get away with it.
So after my boyfriend graduated and moved back to New Jersey I moved in with him! So now I could see him everyday which would be great right?! Well now thats an adjustment. Especially moving into his parents house. I love his family, they are great! But here’s a girl that is extremely anxious, has PTSD, but doesn’t know she has it yet, living with, well, not strangers, but they don’t know all my quirks. So they soon found out and I found out…. that I was a TICKING TIME BOMB! This is when I realized that I can’t ignore all of this. I was able to deal with my anxiety with having the comfort of my home, my family, my schedule, my bubble. And now I’m living in not my home, my parents aren't there, I felt like a guest or a stranger, I was missing that love that I needed from my family. And schedule… forget about it haha I went from waking up going to work too Oh my god I have so much time on my hands this is awful. I like feeling busy, I like feeling productive, when I have time on my hands; I think, and when I think, I get depressed.
In the beginning for a while living at my boyfriends parents house I would lock myself in my room. Im not sure exactly why but I felt like I didn’t belong or I just wanted to feel love, my parents love. I look for validation a lot. Even writing this blog I asked everyone close to me what they thought. Even though its for me and I shouldn’t give a crap what anyone thinks because its my story, but for some odd reason I still look to be told its ok. And some people may say thats ok, but its not because if someone tells me “I don’t think thats a good a idea”… well then I won’t do it. Why am I letting other people control what I want to do?
With my anxiety and PTSD I have trouble being on other peoples schedules, I have trouble sleeping, I have trouble trusting, the list can go on but a big thing is traveling. I have become a homebody because its my comfort zone and I am afraid to leave that comfort zone. So I decided to go to therapy. My first therapist was a looney… it was like a gossip fest with her saying in her loud Italian accent “OHHHHH MY GAAWWD!”. I’m not sure why I ever listened to her but she suggested I go on this trip that my boyfriend was planning to their cabin in the woods. I was so anxious about going and truly didn’t want to but my therapist said she thinks I should do it and I signed up for therapy to fight my anxiety right? Well I went and it sucked. Here I am going into the woods, I have trouble sleeping, I have a specific routine I like to follow and now I am on other people schedules.. ohhhhhh yeah and I have to be SOCIAL. Great so I am surrounded in the woods with no place to go with basically everything that makes me SUPER ANXIOUS!!!! Well first PANIC ATTACK HERE I COME!!! Yup, I had my very first serious panic attack around bedtime. Why? Because I had a whole day of being social, anxious from the start of trip and now its almost bedtime in my book… but not other people and I have no where to escape to decompress. I didn’t have my car so it brings me back to the day I was raped. I felt TRAPPED. I know it sounds silly but with my PTSD those are all triggers for me. My anxiety level was at the max it could be and now to make it worse I could’t escape. I had no place that was my safety blanket. My therapist told me when I got there to make a safe zone for myself, my safety zone was always my room because I could be alone. But there was no getting away for me. So I went outside into the dark woods to breathe and to try to escape somehow. But I couldn’t breathe, I was shaking, I was on the ground crying. I couldn’t control my anxiety and my boyfriend had no clue what to do. I reached an all time low. He was actually considering bringing me to the hospital. Now what sucks is he may get it and realize that maybe it was too much for me. But that doesn’t mean others get it, and it doesn’t mean they care to get it either. The fact of the matter is it doesn’t matter whether they know what I am going through or not because you won’t know the everyday struggle until it happens to you.
Its funny because I would get so angry when people would just tell me “well you just need to move on” or “You need to just shut your anxiety off”. It made me want to shake someone and tell them “I WISH YOU COULD FEEL JUST ONE MINUTE OF HOW I FEEL!”. Do people honestly think that I want to feel what I feel? Do people honestly think that I enjoy not traveling and doing fun things? Now I understand right now I come off sounding like a bit*h because I truly know some of these people care and want to help. But its such struggle to have to hear those things because Lady Gaga said it best in her song “Til it Happens to you”.
You tell me "it gets better, it gets better, in time"
You say I'll pull myself together, pull it together,
"You'll be fine"
Tell me what the hell do you know,
What do you know,
Tell me how the hell could you know,
How! could you know
Till it happens to you, you don't know
How it feels,
How it feels.
Till it happens to you, you won't know
It won't be real
No It won't be real
Won't know how it feels
You tell me "hold your head up"
Hold your head up and be strong
Cause when you fall, you gotta get up
You gotta get up and move on."
In fact this was the song that led me to wanting to get better, stronger and to speak up. Thanks to her and to “The Hunting Ground” I now have become strong enough to speak up for myself, for others because I am not going to let anyone bring me down. This may be the only post or it may be one in a million, I can’t tell you that right now. I just know that 2016 is me not rewriting my story but writing the beginning to my story. Now that I aired it all out in the open, I can start my journey to finding out who I really am and who I want to be. Thank you to everyone that has read my story and to everyone that supports me especially my family and the love of my life. <3