Wait…weight? A work in progress.

Been a while.  I have been meaning to blog, but, its a weird one because the whole outlook has sorta well, changed?

Firstly, I have been putting on weight and it doesn’t upset me anymore. Now as stupid as it sounds, I almost feel like a Mummy Tiger – there is more emphasis on having to be strong now, for me and for my daughter. Strength has overtaken destruction in order of importance, and I never really thought I would get to the point of being able to say that and truly believe it. But, I guess I have.

Secondly, I am two shifts away from completing my degree. Just two shifts, that’s 23 hours and I will have done it, I’ll be a fully qualified staff nurse, I can’t imagine ever doing anything else, at all.  Fuck me, I am so proud of myself. Two years practically have been full of trauma, actually I would say two of the most traumatic events that a woman can ever experience – I have, both of them within the space of a year. Its been horrific, but even I can’t ignore how well I have done, just getting through day by day until the end is in sight. I’m really proud of myself – yes, another thing that I never ever thought I would say or think! But its true. When I said goodbye to baby I went and worked a 12 hour shift the very next day. Stupid or strong? I used to think strong but now I’m not so sure.  I allowed myself to get upset about baby for the first time this year yesterday, I was looking at graduation outfits for my daughter to show off in when I get to collect my degree, its natural isn’t it, for baby to have flashed into my mind then, but for the first time it wasn’t completely tinged with sadness, not as much as before anyways. That shows growth I guess? Acceptance even?

I dunno.

Back to the never ending question of strength or stupidity again.

Gone are the days of feeling completely tempted to neck a whole lot of Sertraline just to feel suitably numb. Gone are the days where I would rather wish time and myself away.

I have no time for people anymore who want to keep me down, who try to kick me back down again with their negativity or foolish assumptions and beliefs… I have worked so fucking hard to stop hating myself or labelling myself as nothing more than some pathetic rape victim. I’m back to being proud of myself now. A hard worker. A Mum with a happy child. A new Nurse.

A work in progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, does that have to mean a new me..?

New Year, New me… that old one.

Fireworks, drinking, latching on to some random person in some sticky floored dank club just to feel slightly better about myself for all of ten minutes – none of these things interest me anymore.

Instead tonight I will be wishing goodbye to the upmost worst year of my entire life. No promises of a better and brighter me, because you know what? I’m strong enough, and brave enough. I am so guilty of losing myself entirely during this horrendous time, I look at some of my peers and know for a fact that quite a few of them would not have made it through in one piece.  Destructive tendencies and behaviours aside, my ‘eating disorder’ and PTSD, I am still in one piece, battered and bruised, but I managed it. Somehow, don’t ask me how, but I have.

So yes, new year but the same me. The strong me. The brave me. The half decent me.

The me that in no way will ever let somebody hurt me in that way EVER again. The me that will never waste a single moment on another evil person.

The me that now feels that I can finally look at myself and not have to think about what happened, but instead can think of the positive things I should have always done.

Happy New Year, readers, but don’t promise a new you. Be proud of everything that makes you, you and just never let anybody’s heinous actions rob you of that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sums it all up.

Rape trauma syndrome (RTS) is the psychological trauma experienced by a rape victim that includes disruptions to normal physical, emotional, cognitive, and interpersonal behavior. The theory was first described by psychiatrist Ann Wolbert Burgess and sociologist Lynda Lytle Holmstrom in 1974.

RTS is a cluster of psychological and physical signs, symptoms and reactions common to most rape victims immediately following and for months or years after a rape. While most research into RTS has focused on female victims, sexually abused males (whether by male or female perpetrators) also exhibit RTS symptoms. RTS paved the way for consideration of complex post-traumatic stress disorder, which can more accurately describe the consequences of serious, protracted trauma than posttraumatic stress disorderalone. The symptoms of RTS and post-traumatic stress syndrome overlap. As might be expected, a person who has been raped will generally experience high levels of distress immediately afterward. These feelings may subside over time for some people; however, individually each syndrome can have long devastating effects on rape victims and some victims will continue to experience some form of psychological distress for months or years. It has also been found that rape survivors are at high risk for developing substance use disorders, major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders.

Common stages:

RTS identifies three stages of psychological trauma a rape survivor goes through: the acute stage, the outer adjustment stage, and the renormalization stage.

Acute stage:

The acute stage occurs in the days or weeks after a rape. Durations vary as to the amount of time the victim may remain in the acute stage. The immediate symptoms may last a few days to a few weeks and may overlap with the outward adjustment stage.

According to Scarse, there is no “typical” response amongst rape victims. However, RAINN) asserts that, in most cases, a rape victim’s acute stage can be classified as one of three responses: expressed (“He or she may appear agitated or hysterical, [and] may suffer from crying spells or anxiety attacks”); controlled (“the survivor appears to be without emotion and acts as if ‘nothing happened’ and ‘everything is fine'”); or shock/disbelief (“the survivor reacts with a strong sense of disorientation. They may have difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or doing everyday tasks. They may also have poor recall of the assault”). Not all rape survivors show their emotions outwardly. Some may appear calm and unaffected by the assault.

Behaviors present in the acute stage can include:

• Diminished alertness.

• Numbness.

• Dulled sensory, affective and memory functions.

• Disorganized thought content.

• Vomiting.

• Nausea.

• Paralyzing anxiety.

• Pronounced internal tremor.

• Obsession to wash or clean themselves.

Hysteria, confusion and crying.

• Bewilderment.

• Acute sensitivity to the reaction of other people.

The outward adjustment stage:

Survivors in this stage seem to have resumed their normal lifestyle. However, they simultaneously suffer profound internal turmoil, which may manifest in a variety of ways as the survivor copes with the long-term trauma of a rape. In a 1976 paper, Burgess and Holmstrom note that all but 1 of their 92 subjects exhibited maladaptive coping mechanisms after a rape. The outward adjustment stage may last from several months to many years after a rape.

RAINN identifies five main coping strategies during the outward adjustment phase:

minimization (pretending ‘everything is fine’)

• dramatization (cannot stop talking about the assault)

suppression (refuses to discuss the rape)

• explanation (analyzes what happened)

• flight (moves to a new home or city, alters appearance)

Other coping mechanisms that may appear during the outward adjustment phase include:

• poor health in general.

• continuing anxiety

• sense of helplessness

hypervigilance

• inability to maintain previously close relationships

• experiencing a general response of nervousness known as the “startle response”

• persistent fear and or depression at much higher rates than the general population

mood swings from relatively happy to depression or anger

• extreme anger and hostility (more typical of male victims

• sleep disturbances such as vivid dreams and recurring nightmares

insomnia, wakefulness, night terrors

flashbacks

dissociation (feeling like one is not attached to one’s body)

panic attacks

• reliance on coping mechanisms, some of which may be beneficial (e.g., philosophy and family support), and others that may ultimately be counterproductive (e.g., self harm, drug, or alcohol abuse

Lifestyle:

Survivors in this stage can have their lifestyle affected in some of the following ways:

• Their sense of personal security or safety is damaged.

• They feel hesitant to enter new relationships.

• Questioning their sexual identity or sexual orientation typical of men raped by other men or women raped by other women.

• Sexual relationships become disturbed. Many survivors have reported that they were unable to re-establish normal sexual relations and often shied away from sexual contact for some time after the rape. Some report inhibited sexual response and flashbacks to the rape during intercourse. Conversely, some rape survivors become hyper-sexual or promiscuous following sexual attacks, sometimes as a way to reassert a measure of control over their sexual relations.

Some rape survivors may see the world as a more threatening place to live in, so they will place restrictions on their lives, interrupting their normal activity. For example, they may discontinue previously active involvements in societies, groups or clubs, or a parent who was a survivor of rape may place restrictions on the freedom of their children.

That was a complete copy and paste jobby, but, well it troubles me just how much I was nodding and silently agreeing with every part of it.

Piece of mind is completely robbed, when something like that is done to you, by someone you trusted with your life, your child’s…

Sick. Days like today when I’m not busy, sitting around with nothing to occupy my mind is when it really stings, the lack of humanity, by him. Times like this it truly hits me just how long karma is really taking.

How beautiful

It takes strength to be firm, it takes courage to be gentle.
It takes strength to conquer, it takes courage to surrender.
It takes strength to be certain, it takes courage to have doubt.

It takes strength to fit in, it takes courage to stand out.

It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain, it takes courage to feel your own pain.
It takes strength to endure abuse, it takes courage to stop it.
It takes strength to stand alone, it takes courage to lean on another.
It takes strength to love, it takes courage to be loved.
It takes strength to survive, it takes courage to live.

(Poet unknown)

Ups and downs.

This is me. This is the face hiding behind these long, emotional posts.

This is me. A 26 year old who has had enough trauma for an entire fucking life time.

This is me. The woman who holds her own and amazes herself by reaching the end of the day, a little easier every time.

This is me. The woman who decided that she wasn’t fucking scared anymore and actually had a date last night, travelling right through where ‘he’ lives. A few minutes between us. I felt sick, but not scared.

This is me. The woman writing this while on a night shift, no one around me knows how weak I’ve been guilty of being, but also how fucking strong I have also been. Its not something I should feel that I need to hide.

Yes. I was raped. I was the victim of partner rape. He hurt me beyond belief and it is an ongoing process – recovery. But I’m not scared now and furthermore; I’m safe.

Its incredible how once you look inside properly and address the hurt and the wrong doing of someone you loved, the only option left is to showcase how you are the good party. That no matter how much a coward tries to break you down or falsely facts; it is me and only me that can strive to be better and to get better. He isn’t even human.

So, this is me. Strong. I may not look it and I sure as hell don’t feel if. But I’m still here and still trying.

Pretty fucking strong if you ask me.

Photography

Do you know how horrible it is, living in a crappy never ending ‘depressive episode’ – stupid fuckwit terminology.

Well, it sucks. But what helps is spending how ever long it takes, and granted, it takes a long while, to find some passion again. Not a relationship, because I’ve learnt that it’s best to just not believe anyone who says they love you, but a hobby, a distraction, more importantly.

I’m always taking pictures, yeah but anyone can armed with an iPhone etc, that doesn’t make you a good photographer does it? I can always be found with a camera in my hand, I love it, I really do.

I like having it in my hands. I like being able to concentrate on something different, beautiful things, capturing nice memories to override the big fucker occupying too much space in my head at the moment.

I enjoy people watching, wondering what is happening in their lives, you know? I’m sure people can look at me and even though I document my struggles, disordered eating, purging, destructive behaviours, PTSD, medication etc, (because it helps), to an outsider looking in, I probably looked alright. Well enough to wash and dress properly, a slick of make up and maybe even a pair of tight jeans. So I observe people, and wonder about their lives. What are they facing? What is torturing them internally? We all have our crosses to bare right?

I try and capture it sometimes. Thoughtful looks etc.

Photographs capture an entirely different picture to the one that is told with words.

Its beautiful, in a fleeting way.

Can I share something with you..?

“I’m terrified of when it’s going to hit you, Catherine. It will, it hasn’t yet but it will”.

That’s what he said to me, about the rape. Those were his exact words. I remember telling him that it had hit me and that it was ok, I was ok, that I loved him huge amounts and it was all ok. That I’d tell no one and keep him safe.

He was right, it hadn’t hit me. Not one bit.

I see now that I was weak. Staying together for five months after that, intimacy, exchanged love yous, experiences, even having to go through the trauma of saying goodbye to our (my) unborn baby. I can see now that I was disgustingly weak.

I hid away from my internal anguish of what he had done to me, I ignored it completely, I thought I was doing the right thing, for him, I didn’t care about me. I would look at him and want to protect him, while on the side being completely ripped apart by what he had done. I would kiss him goodnight at the door and then go to bed and google ‘was it rape?’ / ‘I’m in love with my rapist’ / ‘is it rape if you’re in a relationship?’.

Imagine that. He would message me after leaving saying he was missing me and I would tell him the same, and I would feel guilty about googling about rape at the same time, what a monster I was, I truly believed that I was doing him a massive disservice. I felt guilty.

He walked away from our relationship and yeah even though he was guilty of doing that, I was still absolutely heartbroken. But, I’m so thankful he did do that now, because I’ve had no choice but to confront what he did to me, what I’ve spent so much time and energy hiding from.

And now? Now I’ve finally let it hit me, just like he said it would. He said he was scared of when that would happen, and I can see why now.

You know, people might see pictures of me smiling, but no one sees me waking up crying after yet another flashback of finding myself back there, on the sofa trying to push him off me. No one sees me swallow a tiny white tablet and pray that I’ll be my suitably numb that day. People might read my writing and think it’s eloquent and beautifully written, but they don’t see me having to work myself up for hours to writing it all down and the amount of tears I cry while relieving it all through this blog. People see some of my photography winning peer awards, but they don’t realise that if I didn’t have a camera in my hand distracting me, then I’d probably be busy self harming still.

My family think nothing of sitting in the room where the rape took place, eating dinner and socialising. Well, they don’t see me going and quietly purging out the food and refusing to sit on that sofa, both of which just to feel in control, somehow. Trying to focus on the hunger pains rather than being near that sofa and remembering his fucking smirk when my hands were pushing at his shoulders, grabbing at his white t shirt.

There’s big parts of London that I am too scared to step foot in incase I see him. I did once. By chance. And you know what? Everyday I play the scenario in my head where I get to confront him, tell him exactly what I think of him and what he is, how he will always be a disgusting rapist and no amount of running from it will ever change it. That he’s vermin. In reality I started to shake, anger, fear, that vulnerable feeling again and I had to run. I ran, hid and cried. I stayed where I was for two hours, making sure he was far away from me. I felt pathetic. So, so pathetic. Like a victim which is something I hate. I convince myself that I’m strong enough to confront him and I’d love nothing more, but I was too scared.

And it’s weird you know, I stayed with him, completely ignoring what my gut was telling me, for a long time afterwards I still loved him, I wish that wasn’t true but it is. Once getting over him I’ve just been left with hatred. Not normal ex hatred, but hatred for what he did to my body, ignoring how many times I said no and stop. Hatred for smirking at me when I tried to push him off, and most of all, hatred for cowardly pretending it was all just an accident.

Now I have to medically numb myself to get through the day. I either restrict my calories to 600 a day or purge; purely to feel in control somehow. I wasn’t in control of my body you see, when he entered me, but at least I can be with everything else.

Destructive behaviour makes sense to me, I guess.

And this, all of this is what I struggle with. He gets to rape and hurt someone and carry on acting like a good person and pretending it didn’t happen. Me? I’m guilty of nothing and look at what he’s actions have caused me.

I hate him.

I fucking, fucking hate him and I need justice.

This morning.

I woke up at 2am having had a flashback. I woke up shaken, panicky and already crying. Horrible. Really horrible.

To see myself back in that position, feeling how I did in that moment, weak, pathetic, scared, confused and well, absolutely heartbroken.

I had gone a few days without my antidepressants, and as I got lower I lost more and more interest in taking them again. Its my third day back on them properly, but the chemical changes in the brain are shocking, the highs and then the lows with just a missed dose, how you can so easily plummet back down, it’s easy to see how one can become dependant, isn’t it?

Anyway, that fucked my mood up from the start, so I decided to have a long warm bath, that made it even worse as I stood and fixated on all the disgusting bits of me, the ones that show how little control I have over what goes into my body, still. A rape and now food, weak as hell eh.

I’m writing this while having my breakfast before I head off to work. One slice of toast and I can’t even manage that.

What a joke.

Keep fighting. Keep speaking.

Sometimes I find myself wondering if it’s an accolade of some sort. Like, a triumph having caused such destruction to a person. Something to cherish and be proud of.

Pretty sick, eh.

You know how some idiotic men play ‘pull the pig’ and it’s seen as fun, a game, a merit to their hilarity; their manhood, well I wonder if this destruction he caused is viewed the same way? A job well done. Certainly left your mark.

I repeat, pretty sick.

It wouldn’t surprise me as like I’ve stated before; if he had a smidge of human decency then an apology would have been first and foremost on his agenda, not dismissing his actions and acting like he’s done nothing wrong. Nothing abhorrent. I wonder if he realises what he is yet. I wonder if he’s dropped his pathetic, absolutely pathetic and cowardly justification and idea of: ‘you’re only doing this so no one else will want me’…

I’m doing it because of what you did to me, rapist.

Simple. End of. No further reasoning.

At the beginning I would cry through self hatred and guilt, guilt that I had not spoken up about it and yes, quite frankly I was feeling immensely guilty that it meant he was free to go and do it to someone else. A loving relationship, I honestly don’t care about, but if he was to hurt some other woman who just made the mistake of believing his nice guy routine? If some other woman found herself in the position of struggling underneath him, having shearing (physical as well as mental) internal pain and refusing to speak about it due to misplaced loyalty?

Yeah, I feel guilty for that, believe me.

The simple thing is this. Do I care about him falling in love again? Nope. Do I care about him having some raunchy sex that levelled what we experienced together? Meh nope, as long as it’s consensual eh. Do I care about him experiencing life with someone else? Nope, couldn’t give a shit. What I care about is him believing that he’s gotten away with what he did, rape. Not forgetting physically hurting me in front of my child. Its not on. Here I am having to dampen my soul and spirit with antidepressants daily, just to function, while he gets to pretend he never did anything wrong, nothing immoral. Do you think that’s fair? Because I don’t.

Yeah, I’ve acted entirely mad throughout this, but fuck me, I dare anybody to have a sound mind while finally allowing yourself to realise exactly what has been done to you, AND how you hid it away at the detriment to your own health.  Spoiler alert: it is fucking horrendous and of course you’re not going to be neutral, this immoral waste of flesh didn’t just rape my body, it was also my life, soul, self esteem and positive mentality.

Crazy and fucked up is a total understatement, but Jesus, its the most natural reaction of the entire situation. No one would be able to stay level during this, no one. Some days I want to post him a letter addressed as ‘rapist’. One to his family addressed in a similar fashion. They should all know. He told me that they do, but I hardly think that’s true, he’s a pathetic coward after all. But everybody should know exactly what he did to me, what he’s truly capable of. I feel so stupid now, at the time being so in love with him, feeling so lucky you know? I can see now, abuse. Rape, physically hurting me, it was never that fairytale that he fooled me into thinking it was. I want(ed) to post his confession to his friends, the ones who probably think I’m lying or just made out to be crazy for no reason – there you go. There’s your friend (sorry, the token rapist) admitting what he did to me. Openly stating that he raped me.

I wonder if he allows himself to even feel slightly bad or remorseful. I wonder if he ever has to dream about it like I do. I wonder if he ever thinks about my Daughter who he (pretended, I think) to adore and what a horrendous, horrendous warning he’s become. I wonder if he realises that not apologising for what he did is not ever going to protect him in the long run. Cowardly and pathetic.

Depression.

I used to think I had suffered with depression before; recent times, this part year and a half really, have taught me otherwise. 

I’ve never known anything like this. Its not a sadness, it’s a numbness. Its a devastating sudden apathy to every single thing that you used to love, the things that made you, you. 

I’m in bed currently, feeling my world closing in, quicker than anything. My diabetes care today has been nonexistent and I’ve eaten nothing – might as well self destruct 100%, no half measures here, ha. 

I want to crumble and cry hysterically, but I can’t. I just feel too numb to even cry, super weird right.

I just want to sleep but I’m too exhausted to, my brain is going as fast as anything as well. Nothing is stopping the flashbacks today, I hate it. I feel myself back there, underneath him, the pressure and the smells. Every nerve ending of mine relieving it and I just hate it so much.

Another afternoon spent in bed, crying, shaking and relieving every tiny detail of what he did.