Thursday, April 27, 2006

Saved by the Bell

"Of all the thirty-six alternatives, running away is the best." Chinese Proverb

PROFILE: 1. n. the shape of something, esp. the face... a concise biographical description... any short historical, geographical or other descriptive sketch in writing... 2. v.t. pres. part. profiling past and past part...

This "profile" section on my blog site confuses me. I always change and update it, never 100% content with what I "profile" myself as. I am anonymous to you so it shouldn't matter... it should actually be easier than harder if anything. Except that I still struggle with categorizing who I am because I feel like I am always evolving, as we all are.

The only constant is change.

I revisited the local rape crisis center for another intake with the director to pursue counseling... once again. I hate I am "back at square one." My head knows this is not the case but my heart just doesn't feel the same way. I fully recognize that as I get older, I develop more insight into my life - what it is and what I want it to be. But when I look at it from the outside in, I see an incredible, dynamic, attractive and thriving young woman who is frozen in fear and lonelinessss from her life's traumatic, painful, gut-wrenching experiences. I see myself trying to turn around and move forward but I can't because I am rapidly spiraling down a dark and cold tunnel. My rapist is holding my hand. And in my other hand, my father's favorite handle of whiskey.

I am being yanked down this tunnel by my past's two heaviest components.

I am at a total loss.

I have been trying to connect with this director for the last two months for yet another intake. I tried counseling again at the start of the year, but I never returned... something about it just didn't feel right. I was angry. Very angry that I was in that room again. All I remembered: The first time I cried in front of a counselor was in this room.

It was during the time I contracted a suicide agreement. I promised my counselor, in writing, that I would call her these given days and times to confirm I was still alive. And if she didn't hear from me within ten minutes of our agreed time slots, I gave her permission to call the cops to my home incase I had attempted yet another overdose.

It was the absolute most lowest of low times in my life.

I didn't want to be in that room again.

But today:

I have this suicide contract framed in my bathroom. I must see it everyday. I must begin each day with this contract standing right beside me as I shower, brush my teeth, apply mascara, make myself look pretty, etc... I must remind myself:

Even when in the deepest of holes, I can - and will - have the strength to dig myself out. I just have to believe.

And I do have the strength to do it. Standing before my suicide contract every single day is my evidence.

Wow - I had no idea I was going to tell you about that. See why I need to drink so much wine these days??! I feel myself holding back so much inside of me. I have to let it all go. I have to let it all out...

Anyhow, every single time the Rape Crisis Center has returned my call to schedule another intake, I flake. I never return her call to confirm a time. I just don't want to do it. I hate talking about my rape. What good is it going to do anymore? It's not going to change what Jay did to me. It's not going to erase it. It's not going to erase the fact that my birthday marks the anniversary of my rape, or the fact that Jay was my first experience with a man... ever... including my first kiss. None of that will ever change... so I don't understand how talking about old shit is going to help me with letting in the new shit.

My cell phone rang at 8:30 this morning. It was a restricted call, which I NEVER answer. The director left a voice mail saying she had a 9:30 am available today or next Monday afternoon worked for her. I called her right back and scheduled the 9:30 am meeting.

We met and talked for an hour. I was very tired. I didn't want to go to work afterwards, which is always how I feel after I have a counseling session - it just takes everything out of me... I am completely numb and drained for the remainder of the day.

She is going to have a counselor contact me soon to begin sessions next week. I am quite nervous about returning to counseling but I can't avoid it any longer... I don't know what is going to come out. And that is what scares me the most. I am so shut down with what I feel that it is getting in the way of my life. Even she noticed that (she knows me by now). She even asked me, "And what kind of way is that to live? To not let yourself REALLY feel anything inside? To just put it all aside and not recognize that it's okay to feel what you are feeling? To not be afraid of how powerful these emotions can get sometimes?" (I explained the nightmares, hyperventilating, etc.)

She said she recognized that I have come a long way since I first started counseling there. And that it is perfectly okay and natural if I need more help and support. That as scary as it might be for me to explore everything I am hiding inside, she sees that there is a part of me that doesn't want to hide because I am so dedicated to my writing. (I explained that the hyperventilating comes when I am writing and I don't know how to control the physical reactions while in the middle of it all.)

Long story even longer, I don't know what's going to happen. I just know I'm on hold right now. My life feels like it's on hold. My writing is on hold. Everything is on hold as I dive into counseling once again. And I'm deathly afraid this is the most crucial, most emotional time in my life to get back into it. I don't really know why, but I foresee myself just not being able to hold it in anymore. And because of that, I know I DO need to go back. But that is also the very reason I DON'T want to go.

I just want to erase it.

But I know I can't. Life does not come with an eraser.

And I do appreciate, love and admire who I am today because of what I survived yesterday.

My head and my heart are just in two different places... and that, my dear reader, is a rape survivor's greatest struggle.

Book: The Truth About Rape
Author: Teresa M. Lauer, M.A.

"I don't want to talk about it; what's the point?"

+ A Clinical View

The Definition of Avoidance

You are remembering and reliving the rape and it's effect on you, a great deal of your time anyway. With the more formalized approach to resolving your issues that therapy will provide, or with your own self-study, you will begin to see the value of expressing your feelings about the rape.

You are avoiding emotions surrounding rape - a very useful, if you examine the behavior - method of avoiding pain. There is a difference, though between having successfully moved beyond a traumatic experience and continuing to avoid the emotions surrounding it. Avoidance of our emotions eventually leads, in many cases, to behavior that is unacceptable and painful to us.

The road to recovery is circuitous not linear, and you'll see that there are times when you just need to retreat as a turtle in its shell - take this time to take care of yourself; change takes place very slowly and occurs when you least expect it.

Taking Control of Avoidance

It's scary to feel the pain associated with rape. Sometimes it's overwhelming sad, depressing, terrifying, fearful - all at the same time and we wonder if we're ever going to feel the same as we did before the rape. You may feel that if you let your emotions out, if you allow yourself to really feel, you're not going to be able to stop - that you will slip down and be overcome by those feelings.

There are no magic pills we can take to get well; we must all walk the path of recovery in our own time. Coping with avoidance is not easy. Remnants from the rape can creep into many different facets of your life. You will know when it's right for you to start feeling and sharing aspects of the rape. Try on a small scale to venture inside yourself. Find a safe, supportive place to begin.


Blogger Tammiodo said...

You said it yourself: the only constant in this world is change. Your definition of yourself, your soul, your "profile," they are constantly changing. You don't need to categorise yourself. If you put things in boxes, then you give them limitations. Boxes do not evolve. People and emotions evolve.

I think it is brave of you to go back to counselling. Just remember: you are allowed to be uncertain, and you are allowed to be afraid. But do not be afraid of yourself, for you are your greatest ally.

Good luck.

4/27/2006 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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7/25/2006 5:33 PM  

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