Telling your story vs. learning to cope
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For me, it's gone in little steps, and very slowly (infuriatingly slowly, most of the time). And most of it has been more to do with me engaging with what happened, than about me telling somebody else. But I feel like I'm a good way down my healing path now.
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with what was happening. But equally, I couldn't think of it, not the details, anyway. I so wanted to tell. I'd practice in my head for hours about what I could say, I'd gear myself up to say it...but I never managed it. I could never really imagine what would happen afterwards, though, even in an ideal world. I became a nervous wreck.
I had the opportunity in my teens to talk to a child psychologist about it, but as he could barely be bothered to remind himself of my name, let alone my case details, I couldn't disclose anything to him at all.
For ages, I couldn't think about it. Like literally, I'd try and think about it, and my mind would just shut off. I'd end up thinking round it, or more often than not, just switching off and zoning out completely.
By the time I was in my late teens I had every PTSD symptoms going, I was a mess, too paranoid to go out, never speaking to anyone, terribly agoraphobic. And I was getting psychosis with my depressive periods. I'd get totally fixated on little flashes of it, over and over again for days. Ugh. It was hard to tell what was real then. I spent a lot of time drinking it away. I cried loads, deeply and often. I think people knew that stuff had happened to me, but I could never admit any of it. I acted like the suggestion was almost funny. I was like this all through my twenties and early 30s.
When I was raped I tried to tell my mum. She didn't believe me. I didn't tell the police, I couldn't face it, and I assumed they wouldn't believe me either. I still regret this.
I saw psychs and MH staff periodically and accidentally but never admitted anything. They mostly acted like if I couldn't tell, then I was weak and silly, and that I deserved every bad feeling that I had. Ah, the caring profession......
Once a nurse asked me directly if anything had happened (I was haven't some trouble letting her do my smear). I was too shocked at being asked to tell her the truth. She was quite cross with me. Other girls, she said, have REAL problems. I felt for years that I'm missed an important opportunity here.
When I could think about it a little more, I started getting tics (saying No loudly, grunting, turning my head sharply) - the clearer the image, the stronger the tics were. I still get these, sometimes, but less so now. But it was important for me to get to this stage...
...cos the next one was actually being able to put everything (or at least, a lot of it) in the right order, in my head. I had some very bad MH episodes during this period, and for many months I felt completely obsessed and quite consumed by it. I really felt that that was all that was in me.
A couple of years ago I felt ready to get some help. I spoke to my pdoc - no details at all, just said that the CSA and R had happened.
Then I found PA! And read, and read, and read (I could hardly stop), and was totally overwhelmed by so many people trying to hard to work through their awful experiences. And I was more relived than I have words to express, to find that my feelings, my reactions, the things that had changed in me were not unusual at all. And I started posting, and received so much fantastic support. Honestly, this is what made the biggest difference to me.
Then I found a T. I've been going for about eight months now. I believe I have been lucky this time. I was very apprehensive at first, and distrustful. But I feel a thousand times more relaxed there now. My T knows my quirks. She knows never to touch me. She talks to me very clearly. She explains why she says things. She accepts what I tell her and never makes me feel bad or guilty about it. She looks for ways to move forward instead of dwelling on the past. She pushes me to be kind to myself, and teaches me how when I don't understand how this can done. she never compares me with anyone else. I needed all of this, but I didn't know that when I started seeing her.
First I talked about how I am now. And how I've coped so far. And then about the guilt. And then the anger. And sort of worked backwards, from the R to the CSA. And more recently, about other bad stuff that happened, that 'd not even thought of in that context before. If it's hard, I type it out and give it to her. Sometimes I give her posts I've made on PA. I think I'm finally able now to put the CSA away for now, which is a massive weight lifted from me, and inspires me to continue with T. I still have never told the gritty, revolting details, and I flit between thinking that I need to, that it's essential, and then thinking that it's unnecessary. If I ever choose to disclose, I will probably start by writing everything down and posting on here first, before sharing with my T. Actually, I think I'm starting to do this today....
I told a nurse, very recently. She was kind, and angry on my behalf. I had never thought that someone might react like that. If I did physical contact, I'd have hugged her.
I have no intention of telling anyone I know in RL. It's too late to tell my family now, and I think that just very recently, I've come to terms with this. I would never share it with anyone else. I can't think of a single reason why I would ever want to.
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