30-09-2016 10:01 AM - edited 24-05-2019 03:40 PM
I was raped a little over 20 years ago now. It was by someone I knew and trusted and it occurred in my own home. I was physically injured, concussed, ashamed, afraid, embarrassed - all the usual things.
I never reported it to the authorities and never spoke to anyone about it. I had never been a particularly social person, but afterwards I isolated myself completely other than heading off to work dutifully each day.
After 18 years of almost constant battles with anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, triggers, etc, I finally sought help from a psychologist. Initially it was for pain management as I suffered a severe back injury about 2 years after the rape. So after almost 2 years of occasional appointments I finally told her during a particularly difficult time (anniversary) what had happened all those years ago.
So early last year I was officially diagnosed with PTSD. On my clinical psychologists advice I have undergone a series of Exposure Therapy and CBT last year. It was a long, arduous and extremely difficult process. However, it did help to some degree.
However the nightmares, anxiety symptoms, etc continued. This was probably made worse as last year was an extremely difficult one for me all round. My little 11yo niece was killed in a car accident, my brother seriously and permanently injured, I was retrenched from my job when the business was sold, and I found out that my husband was cheating on me again. So I guess none of that helped.
And then on 29th February this year it was the 20th anniversary of my trauma. It seemed to hit me even harder than usual, I dont know why. There just seemed to be triggering events around every corner, it was awful. I struggled very badly.
My psychologist decided to try EMDR treatment once things settled down a bit. She felt it would help with the emotional content of my traumatic memories. So between April and early September this year, I have undergone 10 2xhour EMDR sessions. I am now on a break to see how things are now.
But in the meantime she wants me to talk to people about what happened, as it is an important part of the recovery process she says. However I find this really hard as I do not have any friends (my hubby is a narsissist according to my psychologist). I have become very isolated other than for my part-time work which I was lucky enough to find in January. I do some volunteer work in the aged care industry, which I enjoy. But I just do not have any friends I am able to talk to. My family live a long way away, and I could never tell them anyway.
Although I am still unable to verbally speak about the rape, I can now write about it, and even think about it to some extent, without bringing on a panic attack. So that's progress. I hope that by discussing it further and by learning how other people cope with their PTSD symptoms, I can further desensitise myself from my traumatic memories.
Hence my decision to try an online forum. I look forward to responses from other people who have had similar experiences to myself. I am definitely more of a listener than a talker, so I hope that I may be able to be of assistance to others here as well.
Thankyou for taking the time to read my story.
30-09-2016 12:14 PM
Hi there @Sherry
Firstly, not sure if anyone has welcomed you to SANE yet, so .... WELCOME, I hope you find some comfort in connecting with other members
No your story is never old and tired, and everyones experiences are different. I'm so glad you decided to share your most private parts of your life, it must have been so hard for you to do.
You have gone through so much in your life, especially last year, what a terrible year for you! I'm so sorry to hear about your family and your relationship struggles. It is good progress though, that you can now write about what happened to you without it causing you to go downhill. I'm not sure if you mentioned, but what are the ways you do cope with your PTSD?? Other than the EDMR sessions.
There are many members here that have struggled with the same things you have. @BlueBay is also suffering due to childhood abuse, same as @Former-Member and @MoonGal. Maybe they would like to contribute?
you might even like to check out some of these other threads here, here and here
Again, welcome to the forums Sherry!
30-09-2016 12:36 PM
30-09-2016 01:30 PM
I am sorry to read your story. I feel for you so much. Reading your story brought tears to my eyes because I feel for you and know how difficult this must be for you, even to be on here and write
In 2010 (at 45 yrs) I remembered I was sexually abused as a child by three different guys at different times From age 9-12 yrs old . I suppressed these traumas until 6 yrs ago and BANG - it all came out. I am seeing a psychiatrist and also a therapist. I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, ptsd, BPD. To go through telling these people about my childhood abuse in detail was overpowering, unimaginable, pain, hurt, torture. To relieve exactly what happened - i was a complete emotional wreck. Each session would leave me physically and mentally drained for over a day. I too had the same feelings has you - guilty, ashamed, embarrassed, my fault on all points.
I have tried EMDR about 4 yrs ago being refered to a special psychologist who deals with that. We only worked on one issue and it sort of has worked. i can visualise the trauma and not get overwhelmed like i used to.
To make things even more worse, i told my parents (more my mum) and it all came down crashing on me big time. They decided to abandon me and haven't spoken to me since then. This is the most hurtful thing that has ever happened to me in my life. It feels like a big kick in the guts. No siblings talk except for one who doesn't call me, it's always me that has to ring her.
I think with time you will be able to talk about your rape. Exposure therapy sounds interesting. I can understand how difficult the process would be.
I am seeing a new psychologist in November, a female who deals with childhood trauma and BPD. I am hoping that i can build a relationshiip with her and feel comfortable in opening up and talking. My problem is now that i have to tell her everything from the beginning and that is so draining. She also does EMDR.
I hope things work out well for you. Happy to talk anytime. take care xxoo
30-09-2016 07:00 PM
01-10-2016 02:21 AM
What a dreadful year you've had @Sherry. Rape impacts for life. Isn't it amazing how keeping silent is so typical of rape victims. I was five when three soldiers had their way with me. It took 64 years before a friend intervened in my intended suicide and I was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
A year into therapy I had exposure therapy; the intention of the exposure therapy was to work through and eliminate the main trigger to PTSD. In the end that worked. The triggers I used to react to no longer bother me. Sometimes I am confronted with triggers I don't know about, but I have learnt to cope with that and I can manage the panic attack. I have learnt to keep my anxiety under control. I agree with you Sherry, exposure therapy was by far the hardest thing I did, but I am so glad I did it.
It was and still is a long road to go. It's still a roller coaster. When I had nightmares every night, I now have nightmares once every couple of months and I can calm down by remembering that I'm safe and this is a memory. So over all, I'm a lot better off than I was four years ago.
I might add two psychologists worked with me; one is a trauma specialist and the other specialises ins CBT. I needed both at the same time.
I hope the EMDR does for you what you are hoping for Sherry, @BlueBay.
01-10-2016 10:28 AM
01-10-2016 10:57 AM
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