Day 122: Told My Friend Thanks to Pandy's Friend (--TW--)
Back on the 6th of January I was contemplating the question of whether or not I would want someone to come with me to the gynecologic exam. I mentioned a friend I have had for more than 22 years who would be someone I trust enough to see me in a state of fear and panic: as I expected to be.
At the time my thoughts were:
I have a friend who lives in a city about 3 hours from here. My T talked about me asking this friend to come with me to the physical exam appointment. I knocked away the idea.
First of all, that's a big inconvenience for my friend. Second, she doesn't know this side of me, has never seen me vulnerable. (No one has.) We've been friends for 22 years. She hasn't seen me ever shed a tear, show any kind of fear, or exhibit neediness. It could be quite a shocking change to see me as I am when coping with my SA issues. It might not be good for the friendship. I don't know. What I do know is that many people do not react in a way that is productive or helpful when confronted with SA revelations. I don't think I have the strength to help her cope with hearing my story and guide her on how to help me through this. It's just too much for me. Lastly, I am not prepared for her to see me at my worst, shaking, irrational, unresponsive. I am not prepared for her to see me having an anxiety attack.
I went to the concert last night with this very friend and I was reminded of how well she knows me, how much she cares for me, and how deeply I trust her. On our way to the event I decided to tell her what is going on with me (after some wonderful encouragement from MacGyver). In his comment to my above entry he said:
This friend is still your friend after 22 years. Clearly she likes you. We're not as good at hiding ourselves from others as we think. I am certain your friend would have been honoured, maybe shocked yes. But people are quite good at getting over shocks. We survivors have had to. And her shock would not have changed the way she sees you. Friendship doesn't work like that. Anyway, just remember, you don't have to be super-in-charge and unafraid of anything to be liked. You are likable. It's just an unchangeable truth about you. deal with it.
His words really touched my heart and encouraged me to allow myself a little more vulnerability.
First of all, he was right about not being as good at hiding myself from others as I think. She has known me since shortly after the doctor r* happened. She was with me through the time I gave a statement to the Sherriff. She wasn't literally there, but she was in my life. She remembered this incident better than I (which is unsurprising because everyone in my life has better memory of my life than I).
Her affirming recollection fit with my perception of me having greatly downplayed what happened to me. She told me at the time what I said to her was, "It just seemed to me he was doing an exam and it was a little rough for me." Last night I told her it was r*. I told her what he said to me. I told her how I am reacting to it, my panic attacks, my health problems that are consequent to the years of pent-up anxiety.
She was upset and got angry at what happened to me. She believed me unquestionably. She hugged me and told me she is sorry I went through that.
So, I told her the rest. I told her about the other molestations I had never mentioned. I told her about the babysitter r*-ing me. She responded in the same way and offered her help. "Anything you need from me, you've got it." She told me she felt honored I shared this with her, which is exactly what Mac predicted she would say.
And, I didn't feel scared telling her. I didn't feel anxiety or experience any anxiety symptoms. I felt relief. I felt grounded. I felt cherished by my friend, who really does love me. I know that. She has always been there for me over the years. She has seen me through the worst of my cathartic behaviors and has been a constant cheerleader for my well being. No matter how crazy I was, she always saw my capabilities and accepted me as I was in the moment. She has told me many times she loves me. I finally felt it, really felt it. I was able to accept it and let it wash through me.
Today, I feel very much at peace. No adverse reactions, no worries about what might happen now because I told. And, I not only feel likable, but I feel lovable.
Mac, thank you for your encouragement. I hope you are experiencing the kind of healing you have helped me find.