I write this at a time of despair.
Where my triggers take me to a place that I don’t want to be yet this time every year I seem to go there. This time each year my mind drifts through pain, loneliness and isolation. The nightmares and the numbness increase. Feeling suffocated with my own breath and frightened of every shadow.
What makes this harder is people’s lack of understanding. Their inability to communicate or even show empathy. Their silence speaks volumes. I like to think people don’t know what to say but deep down I hear their judgements and questions. “What happened exactly, what did you do, what did you say, why didn’t you run, why didn’t you scream, why didn’t you report it”. Nobody has ever said “I’m really sorry, how can I help.” Why is that?
Even the most sympathetic of faces are still covered in verdicts especially after all these years. I assume there’s an expectation that you just ‘get over it’, as they years pass you learn to forget it.
Well you don’t. You learn to live with it. You move on. You try to accept it as part of you. As part of your insecurities but also as part of your strength. I spent years succumbing to silence, swallowing my own fears, anxieties and isolation. But like a jack-in-a box, each year it springs back to remind me that it will always be there. It will always be part of me.
And when that darkness descends no one seems to understand. No one seems to realise. I get looks like I just need to be more ‘resilient’. Some people diagnose me and encourage me to be someone else’s ‘problem’, to come back when I’m happier and more ‘sorted’.
But that doesn’t help me. I just need people to say “it’s ok to be in pain, we’re here and you will come through the other side, as you always do”.
Until that happens I just sit on my own in this darkness, knowing it will pass until next year when that anniversary comes round again.
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Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We believe you.
Just living an ‘ordinary’ life can be really triggering at times. Finding self-care methods is difficult when just functioning feels impossible.
We have a list of organisations who can offer support, if you feel you need to access them. You can find them on our Get Support page.
Thank you again, sending you some peaceful thoughts and the hope that the darkness passes soon x
I’m sorry about the lack of compassion and support you have recieved. Sometimes in trying to help peopel feel better, friends and family may try and underplay the trauma. In fact, that compounds the trauma. They need to say ‘what happened to you is bad, is terrible, I’m angry for you and I will, support you in feeling everything you need to feel.’
When they try and diminish it, it causes a lot of harm. Stupid comments like:
“You have to stop thinking about it”
“It might have stopped if you’d asked him to stop, maybe he didn’t know you were upset”
or this gem I had once…
“he must love you so much. I wish someone loved me that much” !?!?!
I gain strength from the phrase “I know my own truth”. No-one can take your truth away from you, and I wish you love and hope in getting through this time of year, and those ahead. I hope you will find people who will let your pain be what it is, and acknowledge your trauma.