Thawing Out

A year and a half ago, something terrible happened to me.
It’s not the first time I was sexually assaulted. Hell, it wasn’t even the first time I was raped but it was the one that really and truly bothered me.
With the others I was able to remove factors and protect myself. Build walls. With this one I would pretty much have to remove everybody I loved from my life, change all of my social life I’d been building for most of my adult life.
So, I did the only thing I knew how. The only reaction I had learned from childhood. I froze. Emotionally I shut it down.
I gave a stiff upper lip and kept going with life.
Sure it got to me from time to time. When I saw my rapist out on the town I’d panic. When I had to tell new partners I’d get upset. When it came close to the one year anniversary I struggled but for the most part, I kept it together.

Something has happened recently though. I’ve found a safe place. A truly safe place. Now I’m thawing out.
I’m feeling everything that most people would have felt right away. I’m feeling that now.
The constant panic. The need to hide from everything. The recurring nightmares and insomnia. All of it and more. Now. A year and a half later.

I’m scared all the time. If I have a moment when I’m not scared, I’m angry.
I’m scared I’ll lose friends over this. I’m scared I’ll lose that social base I love so dearly, the one which has become family.
I’m scared it will happen again, sometime down the road. I’m scared he’ll do it to another girl. I’m scared my silence this long means he already has.
I’m angry he did this to me. I’m angry he has memories of my body I don’t. I’m angry I’ve already lost friends and family over this. I’m angry I have panic so bad I miss work.
I’m angry that I get messages from people saying they wish they were brave enough to come out with their stories too, because that means there are so many more women out there with stories like mine and that is NOT ok.
I’m angry that I’ve always been so very strong and now, because of one night, one persons selfish decision, I feel weaker than I ever have before.

I’ve faced a screaming angry father when I was a child, I have over come addiction, I took on mental illness and I can’t make eye contact with an unknown male. I can’t use a bar bathroom without having a small panic attack.

This is my thawing out process. I’m told it’s normal. To me it’s terrifying.