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I've been going along to get along for too long. I need to stop gritting my teeth through sex. I need to say no when I'm screaming inside instead of going through the motions. I feel like if I say anything to stop anything, I'll be left alone, because I'll be worth nothing as a partner. The shame is unbearable. I would like to think I've moved on, but deep down I still genuinely feel like my worth is purely sexual. Like depriving my partner is a cardinal sin and it is my job to please a man even when I feel sick to my stomach. Even when i already feel like throwing up, i need to swallow. I always feel like i just want to get it over with. How on earth can i start to say no? What will happen?
Hi there. This is my first post. I found aftersilence after my therapist suggested I find an online community where I can post anonymously and connect with other survivors. I'm currently struggling with Complex PTSD symptoms and awakening to the fact that I was sexually abused by my teacher when I was 12 years old. The abuse happened repeatedly over the period of a full year. I repressed the whole thing for 11 years, and was suddenly hit with a flashback at the age of 23. I've struggled with my mental health since I was 18 and I'm just beginning to understand why. I now understand all of my mental health issues as symptoms of PTSD. I now understand that the reason I began withdrawing from the world at the age of 18 was because I was in a constant state of being triggered. Every where I go, and everything I do seems to end up triggering me somehow. When I'm triggered I dissociate, become numb, my muscles tense, I get a migraine, and I plunge into the depths of toxic shame and suicidal ideation. The simplest emotional connections with other human beings trigger me, and as a result I don't have any friends or any sense of love and belonging. I feel all alone, and I'm scared I'll never be able to form healthy relationships again. This is why I'm here, I hope through this anonymous online forum I can begin to ease my way into some form of human connection and communication that can be healthy and validating for me. I also hope to begin sharing my story, and with the help of the community find some sense of meaning as I work my way through it. At this point I still don't know how the story ends. My memories at this point are hazy, fragmented, and emotionally charged (particularly with shame) and slowly but surely new memories are resurfacing for me day by day. I know I have a long road ahead of me and I worry I don't have the courage to face the pain and make it through this. Thanks for reading my post and having me as a member of this community.
Hello, I am new to this group. This is my first post. I was raped 29 years ago at the age of 18. I delt with it by blaming myself for getting drunk. (Now, I know that's not true, he is the one who took from me what I did not give. He is to blame.) I never reported it, never told my parents. For reasons I can't explain, it's coming up and out now. I am feeling the pain, fear, and panic of my 18 year old self, NOW. The nice people at rape call centers didn't know what to do to help me. I am having trouble finding people like me. Who understand how and why I was able to keep all these painful feelings hidden away for so long, because they did the same thing. I'm sure there are other people like me. I hope to get help here. The help that comes from listening to other people's experiences and stories. The help that comes from hearing how someone was able to move out of the darkness into the light. I don't know how to change myself from victim to survivor. Thank you for reading this. one more thing. I am old, and I am having trouble navigating this site. If anyone has suggestions of where to look, how to look, and what to look for, I'd appreciate it. I don't even know if I am posting this in the right place...
I will not go into graphic details of any sort here, but there may be some triggers for SI, suicidal thoughts, and possibly for swearing, because I don't have the energy to censor myself tonight. Sometimes I sleep. Usually people have to encourage, cajole, beg, demand, insist or outright force me to do so, but sometimes I just sleep. Sometimes I can be convinced or can convince myself, for months on end, to sleep every night like a good girl, regardless of the horror I find myself facing, or the bruises and scratches I wake up with at times, or the periodic full days of feeling exactly as I did the days after each of the rapes. Sometimes I can be strong and sleep anyway. Even when I sleep "well" I sleep exceptionally lightly; my therapists have called it hypervigilence and told me is is a typical part of the PTSD. That's very comforting when I wake up 479,358 times in any given night because of frogs farting eight blocks away. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, either on my own or because my friend has woken me. He stays on Skype and listens, sometimes all night long. When he wakes me from a nightmare and talks to me soothingly, I usually feel incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing friend, someone who cares for me enough to make such an astronomical sacrifice to ease a little of my suffering. I can't help feeling guilty, though, because my nightmares have an impact on our friendship, and on him. Just as I imagine it would be for any two people who care for each other a great deal, my suffering is hard for him to witness. Tonight I woke because my friend awakened me. I was apparently having a particularly violent nightmare, reliving past traumas in new ways, my mind ever finding neoteric methods of torment for me, rife with historical inaccuracy. He said he had a hard time waking me; I can tell I must have been very deeply asleep because I have several sore red marks that will probably be bruises in the morning, and also a handful of long scratches. I could not feel the immense gratitude I usually feel, or the relief, or the safety... Tonight I just felt anger and frustration and desolation. Tonight I just wanted to give up. The prospect of facing even one more of these nightmares is so overwhelming, I simply do not want to continue. When I was enduring the abuses and events in my life that led up to this point, I always had this idea that if I could somehow divorce my mind from my body and become this ephemeral, amorphous thing, this purely astral being, I would finally be safe and feel whole. Now that my life is within my control and the abuses have all ended, I find myself looking at my situation in this sick paradoxical state... if I could only divorce my mind from my body and be a purely physical being, without thought or fear or abusive limbs in REM sleep, if, if, if. I start to feel sorry for myself, and I think back over the nightmares I have had at other times. Forget the traumas themselves, and all the work I have put into healing; forget the years I have put between myself and the sick people who did these things. The nightmares are the one thing that never let me forget or really move forward; they are like vice strong cold hands around my wrists and ankles, and the experience is like being raped over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. The two worst kinds of nightmares are the ones where I am reliving almost exactly, but my body responds in an awful way that makes me feel a sick shame and hatred of myself that often leads to doing self injurious things; and the second worst type of nightmare is a sort that blends two separate types of traumas from my life, a break-in and the rapes, into this new kind of terror. I used to think the worst nightmare was the sort where I did not recall what had happened at all, and I woke feeling more run down than if I had not slept at all, and covered in bruises over my thighs and abdomen and arms, but those seem to have fallen away some, and I am remembering most of the nightmares I am having, and... I would trade them in gladly. This sorrow for my inability to sleep, for my inability to be "normal," to have "normal" relationships because I can't even begin to broach the topic of sleeping with someone (among other things), it wears me down. Today I feel incredibly suicidal. I lay in bed for awhile after the nightmare and cried, images in my mind of my own demise sort of superimposed or flip-book inserted with the nightmare images. I wonder frequently if there is any point in continuing. I don't like to think of myself as weak, or as a quitter, but... years of going without sleep, feeling like a freak, waking with injuries, and reliving horror just... eats at the soul. My friend tells me there is this therapy I have never heard of before called EMDR (short for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprogramming), and it is specifically geared toward people with PTSD. I am a bit dubious, but I'm sort of at a point where I will try standing on my head covered in chickens blood while reciting Sutras in reverse if I thought it would just make my head quiet down. So, I had two hours of sleep, and I am probably up for the day, because I can't face my pillows, or my blankets. My puppy cuddles me and licks my thigh because he knows this routine, and when I pick him up and drench his fur with my tears, he'll forgive me, and because of him, maybe we'll make it until tomorrow.