Today was my first session of reliving my trauma.
It’s weird, I have discussed my trauma with relevant people before, but I have never actually talked about the violence that was inflicted upon me. Today I didn’t exactly do the reliving part, because I couldn’t go there. My therapist told me this was a hot spot for me. We had an in-depth discussion about how I was going to move forward, I chose to do everything I could to pick this trauma apart and stop it ruling my life.
During the session I discovered a couple of forgotten memories – one is distressing, the other was wondering what happened to my shoes. Back in the days when I could walk in high heel shoes, I would take them off whenever I got drunk. I’m sure many of you can relate!
After the attack, I knew I had lost items of clothing and this was documented by the police, who, despite me not reporting the crime for around a month, searched the area to see if they could locate my clothing.
My shoes, on the other hand, have been forgotten about until today. I have no recollection of them. My skirt, torn and ruined, I kept for some morbid reason, but my shoes were forgotten about.
After the session I had to go to another appointment before I could go home. Now I’m at home and I’ve had time to process the session I have to admit I feel completely dead inside. Not being able to let the reliving process run through is very normal for people going through this kind of therapy, it takes as long as it takes.
I have pushed the dark, blobby monster back inside and that has left me feeling drained and empty. I guess this is a normal response. I talked with my husband about what had come up in the session and that’s as much as I have managed.
What the therapist did decipher was one reason why my fear is so rooted. My initial reaction to being grabbed was that someone I knew was playing a trick on me, but very quickly I realised this was not someone I knew, but a stranger intent on doing me harm.
I actually believed I would die that night. My blood ran cold and fear rendered me helpless. I was acutely aware of the knife and feared my throat would be cut, or that I would be stabbed. So my initial thought was not that I was about to be raped, but that I was going to be murdered.
The flashbacks that I have are always fragmented and are very much of the attack. With the exception of having to detail the attack to the police and telling my husband, I have never actually spoken about the attack in its entirety.
This means I have never dealt with that fear of being killed. OK, yes, I know I wasn’t stabbed, but being held at knifepoint while a sick bastard defiles you is extremely distressing. That fear of my life being snuffed out that night is actually rooting me in a place of fear, not just concerning the rape, but the threat that was posed upon my life that night.
My therapist thinks that I have never been able to process the attack because of this fear. That makes so much sense, presented like that. The sessions with other professionals I have had have all been designed to make me safe – with the child psychiatrist I was drinking, sniffing solvents, and forcing myself to be sick. She, the psychiatrist, did go over the attack, but I didn’t go into graphic details with her. Besides, she had the police report so it was never necessary for me to go into too much detail.
This is the first time I have attempted to work through these memories and trauma. This is the first time I have wanted to face this shit head on and deal with it.
I am going to spend the next few days being kind and gentle with myself. I may have recurring flashbacks and nightmares now that we have prised the door open, but I will hopefully be able to deal with all of that.