i'm sharing my story because i feel the need to do so. i think it will help to share it with those that can understand my feelings and what i'm going through (my main reason for joining this community). this is really really long and i wouldn't blame anyone who didn't want to read all of it, but i'm partially writing it all down for myself.
when i was about 6 or so, i was playing with two male neighbors and we were in one of the said neighbor's rooms. he is 3 years older than me and the other neighbor was 2-3 years younger than me. the older neighbor said he wanted to play a game but that we had to take turns. so i went in the closet and he the other neighbor stayed in the room. i remember sitting in the closet looking around and wondering when it would be my turn. when we switched, the younger neighbor went in the closet and i went into the room. i have a hard time remembering exactly all that happened since it was so long ago and i've had blocking issues, but i know by the end he had me pinned on his bed. he was telling me that i would have to learn how to kiss so i should practice with him. i had my clothes on. when he tried to take my shirt off, i screamed, kicked him off and fell backwards off of his bed. i fell onto his lego castle, which really hurt. his dad, who had been taking a nap, came storming in and yelled at all of us to leave because we had woken him up. so the young neighbor and i both went to our homes. i showered and my family ate blt's that night, one of my favorite things to eat that now has horrible significance. i never told anyone what happened, i don't think i even realized it was a big deal. as i grew up, i grew to hate this older neighbor. my friends thought it was funny and even i didn't really understand why i hated him so much. i started having the nightmares in middle school. they scared me and i didn't know what to do. it wasn't until this point that i even really remembered what happened- i had forgotten that whole time. it was a flood of memory and emotion, especially after the nightmares.
eventually i told my best friend at the time in an email. poured my heart out and everything. she never said anything about it, which made me feel really ashamed, so i never brought it up again. when i made a new best friend later on in middle school, i ended up telling her my story in the beginning of high school as i was still having the nightmares. she thought i was making it up for attention. i have often been the recipient of sexual harassment and she always thought i liked it because it gave me attention. that made me feel horrible and i decided never to tell anyone ever again. when this friend and i were paddle boating one day in the lake behind my old house, the older neighbor was on a bridge above us. i got very, very uncomfortable as we got nearer to him and i can't remember what he said, but he made a mention to that day so many years ago. when he said it and *laughed*, i felt my insides shrivel up and i thought i was going to fall over and die. my friend looked at me and i knew that she believed me and felt horrible herself for saying what she had. starting in middle school, i started having insomnia. i'm sure this was because of my nightmares and i'm sure subconsciously and consciously i didn't want to go to sleep. my parents were mad at me for staying up late and sleeping in late. this behavior continued until high school with my parents still angry at me for it. my dad is very much into school and responsibility and told me i needed to be more responsible and that i was being extremely irresponsible sleeping in. he said i didn't care about school and later on in high school, yelled at me on the phone and told me that i had "no goals in life" and i needed to "stop being so lazy."
when i was a freshman, my parents told me they were divorcing. my mom took me to see my doctor about my insomnia and when i started crying right there in his office, he gave me a referral to a therapist. i started going every week and had to miss my first two classes of the day on wednesdays. my friends knew i was gone then every week, but since i never said anything about it, neither did they. i think they knew something was wrong. i went through two therapists before i found a good one. one who listened. the first woman i saw actually told my mom when she came back in the room that i thought about suicide a lot even though i said i didn't want to tell her. yay confidentiality. i got put on anti-depressants and continued therapy. then my boyfriend at that time broke up with me and said he had been using me. it was a little before this that i started getting an eating disorder. i stopped eating as much. i exercised on the treadmill in our basement for 3 hours every day and kept a journal on what i ate and its calorie and fat content and how much i had exercised and the calories i lost doing so. i stopped eating breakfast and stopped eating lunch, pretending to be so busy with homework that i didn't have time if ever my friends questioned me. to cover it all up, i told all my friends that my mom thought i was fat and said i had to do all this for her. they believed me because my mom had been known to do crazy things. after my boyfriend broke up with me, things did not get better… my best friend noticed that i was losing a lot of weight and was depressed and easily agitated. she mentioned it to me and i yelled at her and told her to drop it. she continued though and sent me links about anorexia and tried to tell me i was beautiful all the time. i hated myself and it wasn't even so much that i thought i was fat (even though i did), i wanted to punish myself. i wasn't sure exactly for what, but i felt like i needed to be punished.
as a freshman in high school, my older neighbor was a senior at the same high school and was in band with me. it was a struggle to be involved in something i loved so much with something i hated to the core. i frequently had violent thoughts of running him over with his car or pushing him down the stands at football games in high school. my friends continued to think my anger was funny.
i met my current boyfriend as a sophomore in high school. it really was a romeo and juliet scenario with us loving each other and my mom not wanting us to be together. she kept telling me all the time that he only wanted one thing from me, etc. which made me feel even worse about myself and made me feel like that was all i was worth. things were great with him. i felt comfortable around him the first time we met which is simply incredible for me. i always feel uncomfortable around everyone new, especially males. we talked and talked all the time, we talked about how much we loved each other, etc. etc. my whole world flipped around. i got off my anti-depressants, i quit therapy, i was *happy.* then we started having problems. he broke up with me a lot and it felt like he was two different people. i stayed with him because of a combination of loving him and low self-esteem. i realized at some point that he had some sort of mental illness- this was not normal and he felt horrible about it. he frequently told me to leave him and that he was "crazy" and couldn't control it. he NEVER hit me or anything like that but he said things that were worse.
after another one of his e-mail break-ups, i couldn't take it anymore. i couldn't take the world. it felt like this was the ONE good thing to happen to me and it was being ruined. i felt like it was my fault- that i was doing something wrong. i couldn't keep him happy. that night i tried to kill myself by overdosing on a variety of pills. a couple hours later when i started feeling funny i got really scared and called my best friend. i told her i wanted to talk. i drove over to her house and she snuck me into her house (it was about 1 am) and i told her what i had done. she immediately took action; we went to a grocery store and she used the pay phone to call poison control and then she drove me to an emergency room. she did all the talking and i sat there feeling numb. i felt frozen, that i couldn't talk even if i wanted to. although i did feel embarrassed and ashamed at what i had done. they did all sorts of things and eventually my friend called her mom and my mom. my mom showed up and said as i was lying on the hospital bed "why are you doing this to me?" and hugged me. my friend's mom showed up at some point and they all sat around me, chatting as i drifted in and out of sleep. at one point, a woman asked me if i was going to do it again because otherwise i'd have to go to the *name edited out for anonymity* (a local mental health center where some people stay long-term). i lied and said i was fine (because i obviously didn't want to get thrown in there).
after that, everything was awkward and weird. my mom, my friend and her mom all tip-toed around me and when i went back to school a couple days later, i felt like a soldier returning home from battle. i didn't feel like i belonged there and i wished that i had just died so that i didn't have to come back. i continued therapy, but my mom usually took over the sessions crying about being a single mom and how hard it was for her.
at some point later on in my and my boyfriend's relationship, he told me that he had been diagnosed with manic depression when he was really little. his mom had it too, but no one had ever talked to him about it. he grew from it and learned to get better just by himself. he did start to get better, only having tantrums when there was no sun for awhile (he also has SAD.) things started to get better again.
then in college in my second year, i was walking to my car after class in october and i was being followed. i kept looking back and seeing him walk after me. i thought it was weird that he didn't have a backpack on or anything, but i felt like i was being paranoid, which i always am. when he picked up speed, i took my keys out and started to go in between some cars to look like i was close to my car and was about to get in it. as i walked in between them, he jumped at me from behind. i have never been more terrified in my life. i thought he was going to kill me. when i managed to turn around, he started to try and take his and my clothes off and grab on me. i was in too much shock to scream. i was screaming and screaming in my head but i couldn't make a sound. all of a sudden i snapped and started kicking and thrashing with my arms. i managed to knock him off of me a bit and i thrashed my feet into his face with as much force as possible. he grabbed for his nose with his hands and ran off, so i think i broke it. i'd be amazed if i hadn't. i've never kicked that hard for anything. i lied there on the ground, in shock, for a really long time. i leaned up against a car and started crying. some guys walked by, saw me and laughed at my sobbing. i managed to pull myself together and go into the college and ask to see a college police officer. i spoke with a woman and told her what happened. she said that they do not have cameras in the parking lot and that i could take my case to the local police but that it wouldn't do any good because he hadn’t "actually done anything" and i couldn't even really see his face because of his huge hooded sweatshirt. she hugged me and i went back to my car. i called my current best friend and was in hysterics. i talked to her on the phone all the way driving home. then i called my boyfriend. he was out and when he came back, i told him what happened and he held me and i sobbed. we went back to where it happened because he wanted to look around (this made me feel uncomfortable) and we went back to our apartment. i feel asleep and my friend came over that night with ice cream and just sat with me. i started to feel better already! and by the end of the night, i had sex with my boyfriend.
i thought i was all better and there was nothing to worry about. about half a year later, i started getting the nightmares again. it got to the point where i woke up shaking and sobbing almost every other night. i never slept, i lived on coffee and i was having major physical problems. i started having back pain all the time, started feeling fatigued constantly no matter how much rest i got, was diagnosed with ibs at a young age and developed major social issues. i couldn't walk by a group of guys without starting to get a fight or flight response. by the end of the day and after all those hormones pumping, i was so exhausted. i started seeing another therapist. she was great. i only saw her a few times because i moved out of state for school shortly after, but she taught me a relaxation technique before i went to sleep and helped me better understand my feelings. now i know i'm not being paranoid, i'm just hypersensitive and more aware of my surroundings. she diagnosed me with ptsd but said we'd call it "stress adjustive disorder" or something so that i would get insurance money easier and so i wouldn't have the stigmatic ptsd label stuck on my medical file. i loved her.
sometime later on in college in a biology class, we were doing controversial topic presentations and one girl did hers on abortion. she said that it was wrong and women shouldn't get it even if they're raped. she based this opinion entirely off of her religion and the fact that her friend was raped, had her baby and was doing just fine. i understand everyone has their own opinion and that's very cool and i respect that, but i felt i needed to share my input. i explained that that was great that that worked out for her friend, but not all women are the same. not everyone is alike obviously. having the baby after a rape isn't just about being pregnant anymore. i asked her how she would feel if every time she looked down at her pregnant belly that she would remember how that happened. getting raped is horrible enough and women shouldn’t be forced to carry out and give birth to the child of this if they chose not to. it should be their decision. i ended my very good speech (i thought so anyway) with "getting raped is just hard enough to deal with..." and i could feel myself getting uncomfortable already. she said and i am not joking "well life's tough." i was… a little upset to say the least. i still remember that day in class and it still bothers me. sorry to bring some politics in on this but i just wanted to share this story since it's so significant to me about how it seems like people i meet feel this way about me.
i'm now in another state and am still having issues. i've done a lot of research on ptsd and even just reading people's stories in here make me feel like i'm not alone. i'm not the only one who has these problems and who feels these things.
since i have no money and i'm having problems with my insurance being in another state, i went to a cheaper place that has therapists who are students still getting their hours. it was only $10 for a session. but you get what you pay for. when i told this girl who looked not much older than i, that i frequently lie on the floor and feel completely empty as though i were a shell of a human existence, she made a little sad face and looked like she was about to say "omg! that like totally sucks!" needless to say, i did not return. my boyfriend pushes me to get therapy, but therapy itself is scary for me. when i had my first flash a few weeks ago, i decided i had to. i was just lying in bed at night and sat up to get water, thought i saw a silhouette of a man and immediately everything went super black and this dreading feeling like i was going to die built up inside of me in .4 seconds. then it went away and i realized it was the cat sitting on the windowsill. i sat there for a really long time and was so terrified. it felt like how people describe panic attacks- that feeling like you're going to die or the world is going to end coming on so fast. it wasn't just being scared- it was so much more intense than that. i don't have a good way to describe it really.
and that's where i am right now. i know that was my life story right there, but i wanted to get it all out even if no one read it. i've never written it all out before or really even thought about it all in terms of a timeline. i'm still having nightmares and physical problems but i'm working with my insurance so that i can see a therapist and use it in this other state. i need to do something. i feel horrible so much and i feel like i have to fake happiness a lot. i am generally happy and my boyfriend and i are doing well and i have friends who know what's happened and care about me… but i'm still not so good. :o/ and now i know that a lot of my physical ailments i'm sure are stemming from the ptsd. i have had therapists recently want to give me medication, but i don't want to. i feel like i would be drugging myself and being a chinese medicine student, i try to find more natural approaches to illnesses. acupuncture can actually help with ptsd, but i feel that therapy and the individual talking about the problems is the best way to help. anymore though i feel like being drugged before i go to sleep. i don't drink or do drugs but i think a lot about finding some way to numb myself before sleep so i don't have nightmares. i've found that exercising and exhausting myself that day helps me to not have nightmares, but i don't always have time for that being a full-time student or the energy. :o/
now i'm also having issues with even believing that the first incident really happened. i feel like because my mind blocked it out and i didn't even really remember it until i started having nightmares, that maybe it never happened at all. i don't really believe that… but.. sometimes i just don't know. i also feel very angry and violent towards the neighbor who did that to me. i am on facebook and he actually friended me about a year ago and i thought i was going to kill him. i am SO SO SO mad at what he did to me that i want to hurt him. my last and best therapist talked to me about this and said that maybe he had been sexually molested as well since someone being so sexual at the age of 9 is obviously unusual. i had never considered this before and i wonder what happened to him if anything did. i feel bad that he might be going through the same thing as me, but still feel very hateful and angry towards him. it scares me how angry and violent i feel towards him. i am not a violent person by nature and tend to try to be caring… so it really freaks me out that i question whether i would want to kill him if he approached me and made another joke about what happened.
that's it for right now. i just need some comfort i guess and some reassurance that i'm not alone. i know there are tons of women and men out there who go through this as well, but i can't help but still feel broken like my body and mind can't properly handle what happened to me. the sexual harassment has stopped largely, but whenever i get whistled at, it still freaks me out and makes me feel bad. but whenever i tell someone this, they think i'm over-reacting. "they're just whistling!" i'm afraid to even halfway mention to some friends what's happened to me because i'm afraid they're going to think "yeah… and?" i just feel so bad. :o(