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Panicking Right Now


Zoe--Anastasia

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Hello...

Since this is my first entry, I will be giving some extra background. This week has been a stressful week. I live with my ex-boyfriend, who is also my best friend. On Friday he asked me to leave. It is hard on him, living with me. When I was a child I was sexually abused by my father. He was a strange man, bachelor, drug abuser, artist, poet, writer, photographer, abuser. There were things he did to me that I am not even honest with myself about half the time. The last time I saw him, I was 14, and I spent that visit desperately trying to get him to validate me. But he was either overly affectionate or distant and cold, there was no in between. After he left I spent a lot of time on the internet. This is 2007, so the "internet" was a vast space of untapped and unmonitored territory. Chat room after chat room, bright screen after bright white screen. So I spent my time online, looking for validation from men twice my age, sometimes three times my age. I never lied about how old I was, I was always honest, and I was always honest about what my intentions were. I was looking for a daddy and I would do anything to have one. When I was 15 I started a relationship with a man who was 39. In my high school, I told people about it. I was laughed at, I was called a w**re. He took care of me. My mom worked a lot, and I spent a lot of time alone and he was always there with me. I was not a virgin, I don't think I ever was. Even though, he was able to show me things I had yearned for but never had the idea or ability to manifest. Bondage, roleplay, violence. Sometimes he would hit me so hard I could no longer see or hear. He wasn't the only man, but he was the only one who kept coming back. I was a bonafide child prostitute, but I never made any money. 

Somehow, my senior year of high school I found myself. I lost weight, I stopped self-harming, I stopped seeing older men. I dated boys my own age. I went to prom. I wore a used, white, mermaid style dress that I bought off of my best friends older sister and the boy I went to prom with played football at the high school in the next town. That summer before college I went on a trip to Spain. I had always suffered from anxiety, since I was a small child. I was having panic attacks at five years old. So to fathom me getting on a plane on my own, going to another country without my mother and successfully enjoying my trip, was exciting. The Dr. prescribed me a small amount of anxiety medication to take with me and it was a successful trip. I have 100s of pictures of moments that I will never forget. Shortly before my trip I went to my first "college party". I drank a lot of alcohol, and I made a few bad decisions. There was a glimpse of the old me at this party. I ended up meeting and hooking up with the host of the party. I vividly remember straddling him on his couch, making out and taking off my clothes while my friends giggled and his friends cheered us on. We went up to his bedroom and had sex that night. He had two beds in his bedroom, one for him and who he was hooking up with and the other for a buddy and who they were hooking up with. Though this happened, I was determined to prove to him that she wasn't me. I went on my trip, I posted to social media and his likes and comments kept coming through but I ignored them, flirted only sometimes and played the "game" I thought I was supposed to play. Upon my return, after proving my good girl status, we ended up falling very much in love. It was a stereotypical love, the kind that you would watch in a movie. Two teenagers who can't do anything but laugh and giggle and touch and make love. We would hold each other late at night and stare into each others eyes in silence. Sometimes we would cry in that silence, from pure happiness and love. 

He liked to throw parties. They were huge ragers, people spilling out on to the street, girls free of charge, boys $5 to get in. His mom didn't mind, she thought that if she was supervising, than it would be fine. I loved it because I had never been popular and I also had never been normal. I felt so cool and accepted. Since we loved so deeply, I was very trusting. I looked past a lot of what I wouldn't now. He had an obsession with anal sex and I never would let him do it. He also liked to degrade me, but it never even came close to the degradation I had experienced before, so I never thought anything of it. One night, at one of these parties, I made my way up to his room by myself. I was drunk, I laid on his bed like I had done a million times and stared up at the ceiling as it spun, waiting for my eyes to rest and for sleep to sober me. He came up soon after as he always would, to check on me or, if I was sober enough we would have amazing sex. This time it was different. He was acting differently. He didn't come up there to make sure I was ok, he didn't reassure me that I would feel better in the morning. He climbed on top of me and began to kiss me. I remember laughing slightly and pushing him away, telling him I was too tired. He picked up my knees towards my chest and put his body weight on top of me. He pinned back my arms above my head and he penetrated me anally. I couldn't breathe. With strained breathe I was repeating stop, no, please. My last memory of that night was him getting off of me. I rolled on to my side and began to cry while he sat at the edge of the bed and cried too. I woke up in the morning with bloody underwear. 

I went about my life as if nothing had happened. I continued to date him and we never talked about it. Slowly though, my mental health started to deteriorate. I became my old self again. I became angry, toxic, manic, and out of control. I would run away in my pajamas in the middle of the night and he would have to chase me. This is when I had my first severe panic attack. I was doing my daily workout, which had become more intense after the rape. I would work out for hours and then I would meditate. I was resting on the floor of my mothers apartment, breathing, when the room started to move. The floor became the ceiling and I swore I was dying. I crawled to the bathroom with my cellphone in hand and I called my mother begging her to come home early from work. The anxiety never stopped. I stopped eating and I stopped sleeping. I would stay up all night in a terror and spend my days shaking and vibrating on the couch, my mom trying to get me to take bites out of dry toast. He would come over as he normally would and try and soothe me. I would crawl out of the bed in the middle of the night to sit on the couch in a ball and he would follow and sit across from me with deep apology and sorrow in his eyes. 

The relationship ended because I cheated. Of course that is how it would end up. I entered into a phase I have been struggling to get out of for the last 9 years. I struggled with drug abuse and I became the abuser myself. Dating men and treating them badly. I would throw big tantrums with the man I dated after that relationship. I would cut myself in front of him and blame him for it. I would walk out in the middle of the night and make him chase me. I would do drugs and drink alcohol to the point where I felt nothing. At this point I still hadn't told anyone about my father or my ex. I just lived in a void. I tried to become a porn star but instead found myself in another situation where I was beaten and raped. I drove myself home as if nothing had happened. I just did more cocaine. 

This is where I am now. I have been sober for about three years. I met my current ex boyfriend/roommate/bestfriend at a party. He was the host. We hooked up similarly, not too long after we met and we didn't date exclusively for a long time. He is a little older than me and before we became official I remember him telling me that this wasn't a joke, that he didn't want anything hectic, that he had experienced too much trauma and pain for another bad relationship. I took that information and I slowly, over the course of 2 and a half years, ground it up in a meat grinder. I broke him time and time again. I begged him to hit me and I begged him to hate me, and sometimes he would. He ended our relationship a year ago but we have remained somewhat involved and very good friends. He had a financial crisis and asked me to move in with him to help pay rent, I had never lived out of my mothers so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. Then came the pandemic. It has been a roller coaster of very positive moments and my typical outbursts. A repeated cycle of distrust, paranoia, delusion, outburst, deep depression, distance and outburst again. I have seen him cry and beg me to stop hurting him. So he asked me to leave. He told me he was done playing this game. He asked me to pack for two weeks. He said I had two weeks to figure out how I was going to stop this behavior, so that I don't treat him like I have.

My panic has not stopped over the course of these 9 years. For awhile drugs and alcohol suppressed it and for awhile I could still do the things I would want to do. But now it has been over a year since I have driven, been for a walk by myself or been able to autonomously leave my apartment on my own. It has been 7 months since I have been able to be alone. I am at a peak right now. I have been struggling with going to work. I called out yesterday and I am most likely going to loose my job. I was in bed tonight, at 2AM, when a wave of panic hit me. I tried my CBD, it wasn't working. My heart started to race, so I reached for my anxiety pills and they are working. Writing this is also working. I am not writing this for sympathy but for context. I need help. I need advice. I don't know how to break this cycle that has been with me since I was a child. I don't want to hurt myself anymore and I don't want to hurt the people I love anymore. I don't know if anyone will read this, it will be a miracle if anyone does. But this is a message from the person whose Panicking Right Now. 

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TW SEXUAL ASSAULT, INCEST, RAPE
Hi Zoe, all the hurt you have experienced is NOT your fault. As much as we may hear it, we still can feel some sort of blame at different levels throughout our lives and will need to continue to love ourself and stay strong for our own future because I will never forget what happened to me as I’m sure you probably won’t either. I don’t know any victims who can say they will never think about past experiences. That is what has shaped who we are, but doesn’t have to permanently keep us from feeling happiness or love. You didn’t deserve what happened to you. No child will ever be at fault for predators behavior. As adults if you say no it means no. If you are too scared to say no or freeze out of fear it still means no. If you change your mind and no longer  want to consent it means no. If you are intoxicated or high there is NO consent you can give. Try not feel ashamed or guilty because you have been victimized. It’s not your fault.

As I was reading your blog, I mentally saw many little flashes of some similar experiences I went through too. I hope my testimony can help you in some way.

When I was 25 and pregnant with my second child I began experiencing major night terrors, increased anxiety, and debilitating panic after I found out I was having a daughter. I had always been anxious, felt worried, angry very easily, occasional night terrors, and bouts of sadness when I thought about my family relationships. The thought of my father trying to SA my daughter like he had done to me filled me with suffocating fear even though he lived four hours away with my mom. Sometimes those feelings felt irrational, but I couldn’t stop them from happening. That’s when I finally made an attempt at therapy again. I tried different types of therapies like individual, family, & group. What I found was you have to choose the right therapy setting for you and more importantly a therapist that will give you the support you need while intentionally listening and understanding your situation. So I encourage you to keep looking for the right support in addition to the things you’ve already tried b/c I really think it can help you too. I had to try more than six different therapist over the years before I found the one I felt the most comfortable with. After I started opening up to my therapist I still cried and broke down a lot about the abuse. We all process things differently and at our own pace. I promise things can get better. I was able to even make a great connection with my pastor who gave healthy advice from the right heart. I took psychology classes to help me better understand myself and how trauma emotionally, mentally, & physically affects a person. A good Psychology book can be insightful. I tried different medications and dosages from my psychiatrist eventually finding one that could give me the most relief for anxiety, depression, & PTSD. The downside is people can build a tolerance to what works, so don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for something else if your prescription stops working or doesn’t work enough. loved how healthy I felt when I exercised consistently, but life happens. As of right now, I’ve been on a long exercise drought b/c of medical issues which makes me feel less happy :(. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to do that yet. When you are feeling the desperation of no control, sadness, or other negative feelings about yourself make sure to celebrate or acknowledge small accomplishments to help your overall wellness! My therapist told me that my primary coping skill of pushing away negative thoughts with non destructive options like binging a tv show, movie, or learning how to do a DIY from YouTube is better than things like drinking, risky behavior, when different DBT techniques, mediating, etc can’t help you get in a good head space. Self care is beneficial too.

 In the past when I didn’t want to feel anything or didn’t want to remember past experiences I would drink. Thats when I made some really bad choices or found myself in dangerous situations like a blacked out where a friend r**ed me. He took advantage of me. When I woke up the morning after I realized what happened. I was so shocked, embarrassed, and ashamed. Over time I accepted that this additional r**e was not my fault. The part of not knowing what was happening to me b/c I was unconscious was something I never wanted to happen again. I try to abstain from alcohol b/c for me going from one drink to another to another is an easy way to forget trauma for a short time. At that time I was already an emotional disaster. I had convinced myself I could make all the bad feelings disappear if I just tried hard enough on my own. The pressure of expecting things to automatically get better by themselves did not happen and made me feel more depressed/helpless. Please don’t give up. 

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@Dg5’4” Thank you so much for your response. I have tremendous sympathy for the pain you went through. I can't imagine if my father lived so close to me. I wouldn't be able to sleep or function, idk how you do it. 

But I know what you mean, I don't expect things to automatically get better. My frustration sometimes is that it's been almost a decade, and (TW**) sometimes the pain, not from life itself, but the physical pain and mental pain caused from consistent anxiety and depression, has me considering suicide. I am very honest with my therapist about this, and I don't think I would kill myself but, like I tell her, I really understand why someone would. I always thought that people kill themselves because they are sick of life or they've been selfish but relentless pain could make anyone want to end their life. 

I really do hope things get better. My biggest fear is that they won't ever. It is interesting how you say that a person will never forget their abuse. That has been the hardest thing for me. Sometimes I feel so mentally and emotionally ill and crazy that I wish I could forget everything that has ever happened to me. And when I can't forget, I am consumed in self-hatred, frustration and anxiety. It is a strange manifestation of something I wasn't responsible for, but that I hate that I am forced to be responsible for. That is what makes me so angry.

Thank you again for the kind words. You have no idea how much they mean to the manic, 27 year old woman who doesn't sleep at night. You seem like an incredibly strong woman.

Much Love ❤️ 

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