I really wanted this “loop” to be about positivity and happiness. I had a few things in mind. But between this being Sexual Assault Survivors Month and putting together an outline for a book about the assault, the torment is taking over. I can’t escape the thoughts and I have decided to go back to therapy once again because it is affecting too many aspects of my life. I have done a ridiculous amount of reading and research on PTSD signs and symptoms, dissociation, triggers, you name it. But I haven’t found much on what I’m currently struggling with. Feeling dirty. And not in the sense that I feel the need to wash my body, the way that all those books describe. It’s more of a disgust with my being.
It’s hard to explain. The thoughts and feelings always leave me very nauseous. I feel like I am being watched by someone who wants to assault me. I feel as if I’m a little girl, being preyed upon. Someone is viewing me with extremely perverse thoughts. It makes me cringe. Someone wants to molest me. I find myself covering up as much of my body as I possibly can, every day. I used to flaunt my skin. Now the thought of someone looking at me with an impure thought is crippling. I am paranoid and afraid of being alone. I believe someone is going to attack me and violate my body. My dirty, gross, disgusting, used body.
I had a medication follow up appointment with my family doctor a few days ago. He asked me all the usual questions, making sure I’m not suicidal. I told him that I’m doing well emotionally. I haven’t been crying for no reason and my anxiety seems to be in check. My energy level is normal and I’m finally sleeping through the night, although I’ve been sweating excessively, and I wake up drenched. That’s new. I still have vivid dreams, but they are no longer scary. I’m still very hyper aware and startle easily. And my short-term memory is still basically non-existent.
Then he asked me about my physical health. I told him that I’ve been experiencing back pain and headaches. Then I went on about how detached I feel. I don’t want anyone to touch me. And I don’t want to go anywhere that someone can look at me, which means I would rather stay home than do any of the things I used to enjoy. I’m safer at home. I told my doctor that I feel dirty. He wanted more information but it’s so hard to explain when I can’t even make sense of it. I just… feel… dirty. Like no matter what I do, I will never be clean or pure. This feeling makes me want to throw up.
He said that it was clear to him that I was having a PTSD flare up. I guess I didn’t realize that there are “flare ups” with PTSD. I thought it was just something that is always there. But the way he explained it to me made sense. I’m not sure exactly what triggered it, if anything. I just know that I feel something terrible is going to happen to my body. I feel shame. I become anxious and my heart races when I have a man sitting in front of me at work and he’s looking at me, watching me type. I want to tell him to please look the other way. It’s gross. I’m gross. I’ve been defiled. I am damaged and disgusting. It’s a feeling in my stomach. The nausea that doesn’t go away because I think I’m nothing more than an empty shell to be used however he wishes. It’s filth.
But…I can talk about it. I can share. So that must mean I am healing. Or I am at least ready to heal. I see my therapist in 11 days. I’m assuming she will feel that I need another EMDR session and I’m okay with that. I need to purge this repulsion. It’s incredible how many new emotions pop up over time. Its mind blowing that my sexual health never had a chance to just be normal. Every time I think I’m okay and on a good path, I am reminded that I will never be the innocent girl I was before the rape. But with that, I also need to remind myself that my body now is not the same body of the little girl that was violated. It’s a new me, all the time. I must remind myself that what happened to me was never all for naught. Sharing my story is therapeutic for me and maybe for someone else too. And what happened to me is not who I am. The shame does not belong to me. What happened to me was disgusting. I am not disgusting. What happened to me has created wounds that may never fully heal. But stitch by stitch, I’ll become whole again. Word by word, I’ll set free my darkness. Prayer by prayer, I’ll cast out these dirty demons. And hopefully someday I’ll feel clean.