Life can be scary and stressful, no doubt! But, with PTSD it just comes with the territory. When I was raped Sophomore year of high school, everything changed. I’ll remember the details of that night forever; the night ended with my hand punching my bathroom mirror, and a young, vulnerable me falling asleep with a bottle of something 90 proof. I couldn’t wrap my head around what had happened to me; so much of the time I was in complete denial. When I finally opened my eyes and allowed the pain to stay, I was consumed by sadness. I hallucinated, drank way too much, bounced from emotion to emotion, escaped to New York City, and spent a lot of time alone. I’ve learned to appreciate sadness because it can be beautiful, but what I was going through wasn’t beautiful. My life became haunting.
I went to a therapist and I also came forward to the police, finally. The detective I dealt with failed me 100%, and told me I’d never win. I was forced to drop the sexual assault charges, partially because of lack of support, but also because of fear. I will never forget sitting in the dark police station, feeling nauseous. The detective had me walk him through the night and the assault, three times. He recorded me the second time, as he held the recorder uncomfortably close to me. It was the first time I had walked myself through the full night, too. Every detail made me want to choke. It was surreal. I couldn’t remember the exact outfit I wore, and that was bothering me. I knew I wore jean shorts and some sort of cute top, but nothing special. It was really late by the time he got to my house, and it was a week night. I remember finding it strange that he arrived at my house after midnight, wearing a suit. He claimed to have come from church…it was a warm night, hence the denim shorts. I listened to country music (lots of Kenny Chesney) and drank vodka. I wasn’t drunk, but I felt hot and buzzed. The guy who hurt me was once my closest male friend, but he had changed over the past year. He was turning into a monster. I got hurt because I refused to let go of someone.
I was left with bruising and bite marks. I looked in the mirror that night and felt as though my body didn’t belong to me anymore. I wanted to rewind, but unfortunately I still haven’t been able to find that “life” remote. He called me names and left…but he didn’t leave my driveway. I’ll never forget this. He stood by his car smoking a cigarette for a few minutes, before finally leaving for good. I remember the sound of his tires speeding out of my driveway…I stood at my window terrified and unsure of what to do next, or of how I was supposed to be feeling. I was so young. There is no step by step guide to overcoming sexual assault, or any form of abuse. You do what feels right, even if it’s wrong. You listen to your own voice, and no one else’s. You just…live. Even if it kills you, you just move forward.
I can look back and say “Hm, that was because of my PTSD and another moment of weakness”. My PTSD makes me vulnerable at times, & yet I’m incredibly strong. I’ve endured pain and heartache, but gained wisdom.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a disorder that arrives after a traumatic event (war, sexual assault, near death experiences, car accident, etc.). PTSD can be chronic or short term; I have chronic PTSD and often feel scared or out of control, even when I’m not in danger. I experience flashbacks, terrifying thoughts, depression, and sometimes I have no clue how I’m feeling. I go through days of just feeling lost. Despite this ongoing struggle I am happy, and alive, and I live my life to the fullest. I love laughing, smiling, going on adventures, falling in love with beautiful days, staring at the sky, writing, reading a good book, spending time with the best, and creating breathtaking moments.
Recently I went through another traumatic event, that triggered old issues. My PTSD is an old friend now, and it’s just a part of who I am. Things never get easier, you just get better. It’s scary some days, and other days it’s beautiful and perfect. I love my life and the girl I’ve become, but I’ll always have my scars and stories.
There are moments in my life that weren’t ideal, but regretting creates stress. Nothing will change from stressing over the past and old mistakes. Embrace the pain and keep going.
Are you feeling weak or scared? If you are, it’s okay. I’m here for you. This too shall pass, my darlings.