Rape

I saw an English series today that was really triggering. A girl was raped and the perpetrator and his friends seemed to think they had done nothing wrong. As usual when I see things like this I wonder what the rapist thinks when he thinks about me – if indeed he does. Does he feel victimised? Does he brag about taking someone’s virginity? Does he justify his actions that night? What does he tell his daughters? How will he keep them safe? What’s his moral compass when it comes to them? Does he feel guilt? Does he think he had a lucky escape where the law was concerned?

I was reduced to tears. The white hot blade of pain stabbing at me, as usually occurs when I’m triggered to think about it.

My life will never be the same. I recall the rape suite where I told my story. I recall the sterile, cold Family Planning centre where I got the morning after pill. Faceless professionals. The AIDS test, the vaginal swab. The coldness and the emotionless processes I followed.

I will never get closure. I will never get to face him in court. The justice system is weak.

I will carry this on for the rest of my life. Sometimes it lays dormant beneath the surface. I can almost breathe without the feeling of dread and self hate. Sometimes, like now, it bubbles to the surface.

Despair. Self hate. A pain that never ends. A shame that never goes. Self disgust that wraps its tentacles around me.

I will never be fully free of what happened. I will never forgo the panic attacks, the moments of paralysing fear.

I am marked. By him. Forever. And it sickens me.

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I’m not sure why, but I seem to have dropped a couple of rungs down the ladder. After I saw my counsellor last week, I felt much lighter, I’d finally articulated all of my jumbled thoughts. But by evening I felt empty. I can’t explain it. Not so much drained as just very alone, very vulnerable.

I hoped it was just blowback from the much needed counselling session; but I haven’t been able to bounce back. Even at the gym I feel very sluggish and tired and yet usually it energises me.

It’s possible I was getting into a routine (of sorts). Irrespective of whether I dropped the kids off or not, I’d head to the gym. Do my volunteer work on Thursday, and I guess from there I planned my days.

It’s now the school holidays – and don’t get me wrong, I’m loving spending time with my kids. Steve is completely off the radar and I don’t mind being available at all hours. But I can’t get to the gym daily, I can’t do my volunteer work, my WSD course has finished, it’s hard to see friends because I have the kids and I don’t really have evenings to myself. I have counselling tomorrow and I need to take the kids with me, and I’m seeing my CPN on Friday, I’ll have to take the kids along to that too. Not much fun for them. But I feel I really need my counselling session to work through this and I need to see my CPN to talk about my mood.

I also had a scary experience at the gym last week. I was on the treadmill listening to my music but glancing at the tv screens and for some reason I completely disassociated. A lot of time passed, my legs were working but my mind went off. I KNOW I was thinking about something (flashback?), but I really can’t remember at all. I suddenly sort of came around and panicked. I didn’t know where I was, what I was doing and why it happened. I’m thankful I didn’t fall off the treadmill. But it’s really affected me. The gym is my safe place where I can think through concerns and then distract myself with weights that usually leads to me feeling good. But for quite an extended period, I’d left my body and lost control of my mind. I feel like a memory of what I was thinking is just on the periphery but I can’t quite touch it. It’s such an awful, scary feeling. I haven’t spoken to anyone about it. I guess if it’s not said out loud I don’t need to own it. Plus I can’t imagine anyone understanding that. For 2 days afterwards I had a terrible migraine. Not sure if it’s related or not.

My sleep is also off. I’m not taking zopiclone because I’m mindful that I need to be alert for the kids. But what’s happening is we’re all going to bed later and then sleeping in.

I guess I also have to factor in that Steve had some friends down from Auckland. They’ve been with their wives since Steve and I have been together, and although Steve has been up to Auckland previously, it seemed to affect me more with them being here. All 4 of the kids were at my house and we weren’t allowed into the house. Which sent my brain into overdrive a bit. Were his friends really here? Or was he planning a rendezvous with a new lover? And why should I mind?

After the weekend, Monday to be exact, I was planning a ‘slob’ day at the the house. I knew I’d have a load of washing to do (I don’t have a tumblr dryer at my place), and I knew the kids would relish the space and privacy. Turns out Steve had decided to work from home. As usual he could hardly look at me, and contempt seemed to be radiating off of him. I politely enquired about his weekend (not question him ruthlessly of course) but see if he had a good time and his friends were well. (obviously I know them). He couldn’t have made it any clearer that it clearly wasn’t my business and I had no place to ask.

I miss catching up together. I’d liked to have told him about my gym experience and get his feedback. I’d like to have shared my vulnerability and get some reassurance. I would have loved one of our evenings where we used to watch a movie, have a bottle of wine, some take out. Just have that connection. But of course I realise that’s totally inappropriate.

So like two pieces of broken jagged glass we tried to sludge through the day. In retrospect I should have left the kids with him (he could have worked and looked after them) and I wouldn’t have been in this situation. But of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I miss his warmth and I miss him caring. I miss just chatting and hanging out.

So I think it’s probably a combination of ALL of these things. And now my internal monologue is beating myself up for not giving the kids a better holiday, for wishing for the old times, for losing at my life.

Last night I had a really vivid dream that Steve was telling me about his new girlfriend- I don’t know if he has one or not. But he spoke with such fondness for her and continued his hateful attitude toward me. I could have cried this morning.

Steve has been my best friend for years. But now he can’t even tell me how his weekend was. His hatred of me is almost palpable.

Despite being around my beautiful children, I can’t shake the feeling of loneliness. And Steve’s parents have announced they’re coming down next week, so I’ll be dismissed from mothering duty.

Is it loss of control? Is it a sense of not belonging? Is it just part of the cycle of grief and healing? I don’t know and I feel I’ve lost my way a bit. Please just let this be a temporary phase.

Last night

So it’s my last night in the U.K. I said goodbye to my sister which was far more difficult than I imagined. I cried all the way back from her place 


We’ve really reconnected and I’m really grateful for that. I’ll miss her terribly.

I’m looking forward to seeing my kids obviously but prior to that I have this god awful flight to contend with. My anxiety is bad anyway but it manages to encompass all of my fears; crowds, claustrophobia, lack of control.

I’m hoping to keep myself sufficiently drugged on both legs of the flight (going via Dubai again). Annoyingly my dad has booked with Emirates that I think is one of the worst airlines, but he’s paying so I can’t complain!

Naturally I’m incredibly anxious about the stress when I arrive in NZ. There’ll be a lot to plan and organise and no doubt fight for. I know I’m far from strong enough, but I can’t put off seeing the kids any longer, I miss them and even though I’m a useless mother, they need me.

I will miss England terribly. I’ve dearly loved my time here. Even with the crappy weather! It’s been fantastic to be amongst my friends and family and connections have become far deeper. I realise I’m very blessed and wish with all my heart I’d not taken it for granted in the past.

If I had a choice I wouldn’t leave, but I have to make good with what I have.

I’ve also found out that a psychiatrist won’t be available until mid October!! That’s a painfully long wait when I’ve been on the wrong medication for so long. I was hoping to get it sorted pretty much as I arrived as it’ll take a while for the meds to work.

So the England chapter closes. I know there’s more I should have done, more people I should have seen, but I’m just glad that I’ve had this experience.

Reality

So my dad has booked the tickets and I’m beyond excited to see my babies again. It’s been too long and much longer than I anticipated. I keep imagining their faces, their warmth, even the way they smell. I won’t be able to get enough of them.

The hurdles that I have to deal with on my return are what are keeping me awake at night. I’m so glad my parents are going to be flying with me and have booked accomodation for us. That’s a huge weight off of my mind. But I have so much to organise in the short time they’re with me, seeing my lawyer, organising my medication and worse still, organising my own accomodation in the long term. I keep having terrible anxiety attacks and I’m barely sleeping. I feel deeply suicidal because I don’t know how I’m going to be strong enough to deal with all the shit, especially how Steve will inevitably treat me. I feel so vulnerable, so alone, so afraid of my uncertain future. But having my parents by my side in the start will help immensely. My focus is on my children and their love and excitement to see me back.

I am both relieved at the booked flights and equally terrified. There is something to be said for the ignorant sanctity I have been indulging in back home. Although I’ve obviously had guilt and uncertainty, the immediate concerns could be thwarted by delay. Now everything is speeding towards me like a jump from a tall building and I know this landing is also going to hurt.

I’m scared of my unknown future. I’m not strong like I used to be. Nothing is the same. And somehow I need to conjure the strength to organise everything in the short time that I have my parents both emotionally and financially. And I worry about the toll on them. They don’t have deep pockets, they’re old and deserve their peace. Not hurtling towards a car crash situation that’s geographically the furthest point away with a large potential financial burden.

I feel like I’ve let everyone down. I’m no longer the daughter to be proud of, the mother to be proud of and the woman to be envied because I had it all. I’m broken and I have nothing. I am nothing and I’m completely without direction. 

Aside from the warmth of my children – that is all I have to cling to.

Fighting

The UK continues to provide a good source of friendship and family and a nurturing environment. But I miss my kids so much I’m feeling the loss like a physical illness. I Skype with them almost daily and it’s not enough. I’m consumed with thoughts of them and can’t enjoy the simplest thing without wondering what they’d think.

Unfortunately S has gotten progressively worse and nasty and I know a cold, hard fight awaits me in NZ. The blows which he’s dealt have at times rendered me breathless and unable to see a way forward. It’s like his contempt of me grows daily and he’s trying to make me stay away by increasingly throwing obstacles at me. I can’t remember feeling as despised as I have been. And this thrusts me into a horrible quandary. I want to be with my babies but I need to be strong to face S and his hard hitting blows. I wonder if I’ll be able to survive it.

My kids are gutted as time goes on. They miss me and need me back. They don’t understand why I can’t afford a flight back, they don’t understand that I’m not allowed in the house – but their father has hired a live in nanny instead. It’s confusing for them. I can’t slate their father to them. I have to bite my tongue and say it’s all going to be ok.

But it’s never going to be ok. I had no idea how capable of change someone I once loved could be. Someone that used to make me feel safe and loved. Now I’m treated like something lower than scum. 

The whole thing is a brutal mess. 

I don’t regret coming back to the UK. It’s been a place that’s felt safe and where I’ve been reassured I’m not a bad person.

But going back will take some serious strength. And as any communication I have with S usually renders me in a state of panic and unable to function – I worry if I’ll ever be strong enough.

This is looking to be my toughest fight yet.

Still here!

I’m still at S’s house, I can’t explain why that is aside from the fact he has clearly needed me for childcare as he’s been considerably late every day. Harry has been sick with a bug so I’m glad I can be here for him. But there is an element of feeling almost anxious about going back to my own home even though i miss it which is a paradox. I suppose a similar occurrence happened when I moved into the other house, for the first couple of weeks maybe even longer I found excuses to stay longer at S’s house. Unlike previously it’s not that I’m trying to hang on to something that’s gone, I just don’t really fancy being on my own right now and perhaps as the last time I was there I felt so down; pretty much suicidal I’m nervous about going back to the same space. But it is something that I really need to do, not only that but I really need a break it’s been really full on with the kids as well as everything else all the time.

If S feels I  am  outstaying my welcome he hasn’t said anything, on the contrary he’s been very accommodating. I guess somewhere along the line he realises I’m feeling anxious about being alone again. If I thought Harry was not going to school on Monday I can take him back over the hill with me.

I met up with a friend for coffee today which I haven’t done for such a long time and was sure I could push through. Okay so I wasn’t too bad about the whole thing, in my mind I could see myself leaving and going back to the house, but I pushed through it and also I was keen to try to have some semblance of being a normal person.

It was quite nice to have adult company and to be out of the house without my children. But I could not have lasted more than two hours I could feel anxiety was starting to seep in. And that’s the thing with anxiety it hides in the corner, and lets you know its presence is there, the more you try to ignore it,     the more it seems to appear larger and looming over you, until it starts to wrap its arms around you and grip you tightly.

This evening has been quite nice S and I ordered Indian food and watch movies all evening. A non-thinking activity and also no need for communication so i think he enjoyed the silence and relaxed atmosphere.

I was looking forward to getting to bed at the end of it, keen for some sleep, but as like last night despite feeling tired I feel extremely restless I know it’ll be a while before sleep embraces me. In one of the movies that was a scene again very innocuous and hardly worth mentioning but it stuck in my mind and was trying to conjure a flashback that wouldn’t come but my body seemed to remember. This has left me feeling more unsettled.

In all it’s not been a bad day, the house has been enveloped in fog all day and it’s rained relentlessly, but at least I’ve got some time out with a fellow human being and it’s been a relaxing evening.

Tomorrow I really must try and get back to my own home.

Therapy

I saw my therapist today. I’d been anticipating the appointment for ages, eager to relinquish a lot of deep seated grief and confusion compounded by an unrelenting trigger. One that I’ve never articulated before. As my car was under going work for its WOF, I had use of S’s car – as long as I dropped him at work. The drive from the city was good because it allowed me to focus on driving only and not my anxiety that had been gradually building in the lead up to today. 

I arrived nearly an hour early, but fortunately her office is within the Womens Centre, so I was able to relax on a sofa with a cup of tea. The waiting time didn’t help with my anxiety and I was self conscious that I was breathing like Darth Vader while I waited. In fact I started to reconsider bringing up anything that might make me uncomfortable.

As luck would have it, her previous client had to leave early, so she invited me in to start early. I felt myself go off on a tangent about irrelevant things – anything to detract from the fears inside.

But I intend to use therapy to benefit me and I need to work on my issues – although it feels easier to shun anything that’s painful or uncomfortable, ultimately I end up feeling better when I’ve been honest.

So I described in vivid detail the trigger. The aspects that frighten me most, the lingering feeling of fear and sadness so intense it’s breath taking.

I’m confused about how this particular trigger has come about. I’m also unsure why it’s bothering me so much now. I can’t think of anything that’s happened recently that would effectively trigger the trigger!

During our analysis of the trigger, I moved through a raft of feelings. The predominant one was sadness, but I also felt at times angry, confused and very small. Child like, fragile, exposing a great vulnerability to my therapist. The tendency to disassociate lingered ever stronger, and the urge to babble about less relevant things sometimes took over. I felt my insides creep and crawl. I wanted answers from my therapist – I wanted to see the horrific car crash – but what if I saw something so disturbing- I’d never be able to forget it?

My therapist told me some insightful experiences she’d had and tried to find a thread on which I could gently pull and unravel the darkest places in my heart.

Although I’ve been unable to attach the trigger to anything, I certainly feel like my insides were scraped out. I feel like I may have been on the precipice of something both profound and heartbreaking. 

When I left the session and drove home, I felt sick. Completely nauseous to my stomach, uncomfortable, awkward. A surface had been scratched and the feeling of deep sadness and shame has long since lingered with me.

I’m tired, more than usual after a session. A dull headache throbs. I want to sleep, really to avoid the feelings. Yet I also want to sleep to remember.

There is nothing as frightening and frustrating as wanting memories so badly – but fearing them with great velocity. An inner turmoil so great, I can quite empathise with the drinkers and the drug takers.

I need to be ready to pick up the kids soon. I need to be able to put this session aside and be present.

I feel raw and alone with this.