Sunday, January 25, 2015

Moment of Truth

After 6 months without working, I was running through my nest egg. Truthfully, I was really surprised how much money I was able to drum up during those months. It was impressive.

Plus there was the dating scene. After a short break to get myself under control, I jumped in head first. But the numbness pervaded everything. But that may have helped me logically look for a partner. And it was a good thing because the guys I was meeting were looking like models.

At the age of 30, it feels weird to start dating for the first time. All of my relationships had been long term. Dating was a new concept. But here is what I knew: you attract people with the issues you like- or the issues that compliment your issues. That should be noted as not necessarily a positive. For instance, I had had a fear of abandonment when I was 19. Lo and behold I unwittingly got with a meth addict whose worst trait was going missing for days. Naive wasn't even the word. We tend to look for partners whose traits feed into our insecurities, blindspots, and shortcomings.

Starting out dating after such a core-shattering experience (the rape) was hard enough, but I had to make sure I was "healed" from my previous shortcomings also. My top priority was that the people I attracted did not mirror the unresolved issues I had with intimacy.

As I dated, I gauged who I was attracted to and why. After being married to my selfish ex-husband, I looked for people that wanted to meet my needs. Guys that were known for sticking around. Loyal men. It was a great feeling when I realized I was not attracted to the "bad boys" anymore. Not only were they not attractive, but they repulsed me. This encouraged me.

Successful men found me attractive, and I had quite the list of suitors. But I was very open with what I was going through, since I was never sure I would be able to hold composure if they triggered me. Luckily no one ever did. The companionship was exactly what I needed. But I was looking for a companion to be my lover, so after a date or two, I would usually end it, saying that I couldn't lead them on and I had decided they were not who I was looking for. This was a very disappointing and sexually frustrating process. The more sexually frustrated I became, the more scared I became out in public, as if I could not drink even a glass of water without worrying about being drugged. I dared not meet at a bar or drink any alcohol during a date. Instead I would meet for coffee..... Who does that?

Having men, successful attractive men, take an interest in me to the point they would fight for my attention and not just take what they wanted from me..... it was exactly what I needed. They showered me with gifts and extravagant dates. Me. The rape wreck. They did not see me as an object, I was a person to be respected and charmed

But I needed to move and start over. So I went to be near my father. If I didn't have a father figure in my son's life, I could at least give him a grandfather. Some things are more important than an awesome dating scene.

I had not seen my father in 13 years. Seeing him was like salve to the soul. My father had a conscience, so I did not need any penance from him for the things that happened half my life ago. More than anything I wanted my family back. So we made peace before I moved to be near him. Losing time with your children has to be punishment enough. After a few weeks near him, I had cheered up enough to get a job and start returning to normal.

I love my father. You do not always appreciate what you have, so I swore to appreciate my time with him. And I do. He didn't need to do anything to "fix" me. Him being near was enough. And he was patient with me when I struggled. I will be forever grateful.

Friday, January 23, 2015


You know how you have this mental image of yourself? Like you think you know what you look like- or at least what people see when they look at you. I have always felt full of excitement and curiosity. Sometimes I swear I might as well be glowing. Every one has always commented how I have such an expressive personality..... Is that code for me being loud and annoying? Because either way, I'll take it! ;D Some people just don't have a healthy sense of humor..... lol

For almost a year I was nothing but numb.

When you see those anime cartoons and the character gets hypnotized- that's how I felt. It was as if all the light had drained out of me. My voice sounded different. There were people that began to think I was suffering severe mental health issues....

[Shaking My Head] Come on people....

A person that cries often after something bad happens to them or they lose something important to them.... They are MOURNING. That is a normal expression of human emotion. What is not normal is you acting like nothing happened.

With mourning, sometimes the crying just sneaks up on you. You catch yourself before you realize it. You try to redirect your focus on something happier, something you can control, but when your mind wanders, it always leads you back to that deep sense of loss.

I needed people. I needed activity. I needed to stay busy, but have the flexibility to work through the mourning. The last thing I wanted to do was go to work and start bawling. So I didn't work again until I was ready.

And my life as "an island" had to stop. Even though I had just moved to San Antonio, I had to move to be around a support network. There is no way I am going to let myself spiral out of control. That is just not me. What I needed was a "controlled burn" or a safe place to go and work it out. The reason I needed a support network was not someone to take care of me- I do that myself. It was so I could recover faster. So my son could get the one-on-one attention he needed when he was playing, or I was crying. He needed people, too.

My two best options were only 45 minutes North of where I was living at the time and the other was in Florida. My pretend family lived only 45 minutes away, but I always knew I wasn't really family with them.... I was the red headed stepchild. That feeling I was an outsider was always there. But we had history. My real family lived in Florida, but I had not seen them since I was a teenager. There is a reason. They had not believed at the time that I had been raped by my family member, so they had worked hard to get me to recant my story. Over the years, I had made a success of my life, and the perpetrator had continued his ways. Time had proved my side of the story. So I was kind of in a debacle choosing between two less than perfect situations. And either was an interesting situation if I chose to move to be with "family."

I tried to make it work first with my fake family, but a well-meaning aunt tried to talk me out of having my son or my dogs and actually tried to convince me to stay at a shelter. Believe me, I thought she had lost her mind. This is exactly the opposite of what a person recovering from trauma needs. Maybe in the initial shock stage- but those that return to the previous routine or "normal" as some would call it, were actually the quickest to heal. So in other words, I needed to move on with my life, not wallow in it. I was even planning on getting a part time job in order to ramp up into a high stress job. She was wanting to adopt and here was my cute son who bonded with her- it was obvious her intentions were well meaning, but she was being selfish. In two weeks of moving North, I had packed up and headed East to Florida.

It was time for me to face my demons. And win. But I will admit- I was terrified. I was weak, I was broken and I was vulnerable. And here I was moving to what could easily be a minefield. The whole move could have been a disaster.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Me I know is back.

At some point, I knew I had to walk away from this blog so that I could begin to live. Every day was living in the past. And I realized I was retraumatizing myself bringing it up every day. Restoring myself to a sexually healthy individual would take me moving on from my memories, so a daily reminder would be counter productive.

But now the me I know is back, and it is time to pick up pretty much where I left off and get to the most important part of this blog. It isn't just about being sensitive to someone when they are at the apex of the trauma, but it is also about guiding the way to healing. We all suffer in this life. That is a given. But using that suffering to make yourself stronger is the best you can do with a tragedy.

This was the Me I missed. I have been through horrible circumstances due to rape, and if it was just the rape, it would not have been so bad. But the problem is how it gets in your head, even when you pick up and vow to be more powerful than before. One minute you are fine, the next you are there again. Sometimes it is an orange streetlight that takes me back. Or sometimes it is the funny way a stranger looks at me. My son tries to sneak up on me to startle me and always wonders why he can't surprise me.

My body is hypersensitive to people sneaking up on me, moving behind my back, getting closer to my personal space. When he is older, I will tell him, but for now, I just leave the idea I am a super mom in his head.

More than once I have mentioned I am a nurse, with a large background in psychiatric nursing. This was a wonderful skill set to help myself recover from this trauma. When the ups and downs came, I already knew what they looked like. Some awkward behavior may be socially unacceptable, but it is necessary for recovery. Some behaviors are scary signs of regression- or return to a less acceptable stage. The best thing from this process is I knew how to gauge my behavior and when to ask for help.

Unfortunately, I had lost a large part of my support network simply from using the word Rape. Every one gets so emotionally charged around that word. The largest thing for me with rape is that it makes me furious that someone can look at me and decide to violate me because I am beautiful. That is not my fault. How can people disrespect another person's boundaries for a quick momentarily satisfying end.

Sex to me is so fun, so incredible, and so sacred. I love it. But it has to be with a special person. Rape makes it so cheap. It takes everything I dislike about sex and glorifies it. The only way I would have a one-night stand is if I meet someone I really like, they are special enough to have sex with, but then they are horrible in bed. What a waste.... And how infuriating to give yourself to someone and find out it is lame!

After this rape I knew I had to be careful. For once I was actually emotionally sensitive (like a baby) when it came to guys and sex, and I could't let it morph the dynamics of a new relationship.

Friday, February 21, 2014

In Another Man's Arms

The first man I was with after the rape was an amazing guy. When he held me, I felt safe. The feeling was never forced, and I enjoyed my time around him. More than anything he had been supportive of me in a very rough time.
Yet as hard as I tried I knew there was something missing. On all accounts I could swear he was going to be a great catch and I looked forward to being with him, but he lacked that je ne sais quoi. Forcing myself to like him only made me withdraw from him more.
There was something wrong with me. Or was it him?
So instead I returned to dating. Disappointing.
After a number of dates I ended up with a guy at a Starbucks. First impression visually was disappointing, so I was surprised how different he looked as he sat down and chatted with me. Hmm. Perspective not flattering on the neck, but otherwise good. He definitely did not have a number of girls pining for him, but he also was not a jerk. We laughed and talked almost nonstop. Our quick “meet and greet” turned into an adventure.
The date ended at his house. Yeah…. Ridiculous, I know, but I was incredibly sexually deprived. Don’t judge. It was consensual.
Our date lasted almost a day. There was no Way I had planned on anything like this happening, but we had such a connection. He was nerdy and smart, yet he made me laugh the whole time. This is the same one who caught me on the escalator that day. The firearm he was packing made me crazy as I accidentally bumped up against it throughout the night. One kiss goodbye had turned into a make-out session. Then the date moved to his house. We had been trying to end the date for hours!He showed me his place, I met his dog, we watched some tv on his entertainment center. No pressure for sex.
When a guy treats me with respect and lets me open up to him without pressure, I respond. There is nothing worse than going on a date with a guy who is expecting to get some. Total turnoff. This guy was different. He may have wanted to be with me, but he was not going to push it, which made me want him more. Literally, over and over in my head the words, “He could be the one. This is the kind of guy I want to marry,” played on repeat. STOP IT!  I had to tell myself. Stop being so female about this, just get to know the guy. Don’t get your feelings involved. You do not want to marry this guy, you barely know him.
That night we cuddled. We made out again, and in that he got off…… ok, I like to see a guy lose it, but I need mine too…. He said he would take care of me that night after a recovery period.
We cuddled to bed after he finished his nightly routine. The feeling of a warm body next to me as I slept was almost clandestine. Missing it for over a year, and then needing it for such a painful experience, the cuddling to me was so much more than a simple cuddle. Cuddling was therapeutic, and I needed all that I could get. Quickly I drifted off to sleep.
That’s when the nightmares came. One minute I am blissful, the next I am waged in a full-on battle. Different nightmare versions of the rape played for most of the night, but the main nightmares were about my ex fiancé leaving me. In the nightmare he was always belittling me and blaming me for the rape. Even though I had been living with the nightmares for weeks now, they were still vivid and difficult to bear. Multiple times during the night I woke up in a sitting position, taking in a deep breath as if I was about to scream.
God. What if he sees me acting like this? This will definitely freak him out and end it.
Even though he noticed, he never stirred from his sleep except to reassure me with a solid touch. Luckily he well knew what I was going through; he had been warned. As I struggled to return to sleep, my body shook uncontrollably. The experience had become the new normal in my life, but there was no one to scare with it. The last thing I wanted to do was scare this guy and scar him for life. The embarrassment was like a burning, searing pain that I could physically feel. Trying as hard as I could to stop the shaking, I was able to make the rough, hard convulsions into shudders, but they did not go away.
This is what I am reduced to? My ex fiancé left me when I needed him most, and I am stuck with this unending shame?
The hurt, pain, fear, and humiliation boiled over and I cried myself silently to sleep a few times. Sleep was hell, but so was being awake. The whole experience was exhausting. Yet, as I cuddled up to a sweet stranger, the unbearable pain was almost bearable.
For a moment, in his arms, there was a reprieve from this pain. Soon the unending torture was going to make me lose my mind.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Weak in the Knees

After having such a hard time with sex my first time “back in the saddle” since the drugging, I did not know what to think. Personally, I thought I was broken. My anxiety rose with the thought that I was scarred forever and that intimacy would be incredibly difficult after everything. That guy was great, and I liked him, but something was wrong. As hard as I tried to wrack my brain, I could not figure it out.
Instead I decided to keep dating. Staying at home by myself, just my son and I, was killing me. Over and over, every time I looked at my son all I could think about was how the rape had ruined things for him. He waited all his life for a dad and some jerk had stolen that opportunity from him, and my son did not even realize it yet. Not to mention that I did not know anyone, I also had no friends in the area, and I was Incredibly horny, yet incredibly dissatisfied. You could say I was a frustrated mess.
Getting out with human contact may have been what saved me from killing myself, because truthfully I wanted to die. Even though I knew I was valuable and I was confident in myself, I felt hopeless; that finding someone to care about my son and I would be necessary. However, at that point in time, the hope of finding someone, or the odds either, was not enough to give me hope. Nothing gave me hope. The agony of what I was feeling had taken my soul. The thing I needed most was human contact and intimacy. It may not have been an opportune time, but it was necessary.
There were a few dates that passed by uneventfully. Between my disconnection with life and the failed connection between my dates, nothing amazing happened. But being around people perked me up, even if it was only for the short time. The dates were an escape from my incessant memories. My fiancé was done, there was no use waiting for him to return. Making new memories helped me forget about him. No one quite hooked me like he did.
On one date, I met a guy at a Starbucks. Not exceptionally handsome, but not bad. Oh! But he was so much fun! He reminded me of me with the way he talked, what he was interested in, his little idiosyncracies. Our quick coffee date kept getting longer. Eventually we walked across the street to the mall. As we were checking out the pre-Black Friday merchandise, I began to feel light-headed. The room began to spin and my face got numb. My visual field began to lose focus and the colors lightened while the overall picture darkened. As smoothly as I could I grabbed my date, who was only a few feet away, and quickly walked out of the store. He noticed I was acting funny as I mentioned grabbing something to eat, but I did not want to scare him. Instead I held his arm and focused my efforts on maintaining my composure.
The saturation of the colors returned, and my visual field brightened. While I still felt a little funny, I started to return to feeling normal. Luckily we were close to the Food Court, so we hopped on the escalator to get to the second floor, where the food court was. As we ascended up the escalator, the movement was discombobulating. Catching my balance early, I maintained my body language so my date would not notice. Halfway through the ride up, I began to fall backwards. At least 10 feet up already from the ground, there were likely over 20 people below me. My date, who I had been holding to keep me upright, noticed the change in my balance and pushed me forward until I was stable again. Softly I whispered thank you and held his arm tightly, trying to apply the least amount of surface pressure, so he would not notice I was holding on for dear life.
The near faint, and now the near fall, were really making me feel embarrassed. Still trying to maintain my sense of strength and pride, I stood with him in a long, slow line at Chick-fil-a. After ordering, I could not take it any longer. Practically running to the first open table I could find, I sat down. But I could not appear weak or troubled, so I did it as efficiently as possible. The food seemed to take forever, so I hid my low blood sugar by quickly drinking my lemonade. For the next 20 minutes I was weak and my voice had little strength in it. Instead I pretended to people watch. He took the opportunity to spend a lot of time doing most of the talking. Again the rape was ruining my life.
As hard as I tried to stay in the present, I kept returning to the rape, to my ex fiancé leaving me, to that empty feeling I had been overwhelmed with night after night. After another half hour I was finally able to get those thoughts back under control, but the effect had been devastating.

Friday, February 14, 2014


With as much as it was a relief that I had had sex, I was sent into a horrible tailspin. There was no reason the sex should have been so empty, yet it was. This made me feel terror that it was always going to be like this. In my mind, to get rid of those physical rape sensations, finding a nice, supportive sexual partner was all that I needed. Here I was though, and the sex was unsatisfying. My body was numb, my emotions were numb, and now I knew that this was not going to be a quick fix, if I could be fixe at all.

What If I was never right again? I had enjoyed sex for years. After waiting for so long, I should have been overwhelmed by relief, but it never came. Literally. The idea that I could take care of it myself entered into my mind more than once, but it literally turned my stomach. My body wanted another person to hold me, to touch me, to comfort me. Intimacy is what I needed, not mechanical stimulation.

By night I was wracked with fear and anxiety. To keep my mind busy from my intruding thoughts of the rape, I watched tv. It halfway worked, which was the best I got. My ex fiance was commonly in my mind. My body yearned for the memory of his touch, but instead I grit my teeth and told it to forget about him. He left me like this. He gave me up. He forgot about me. When I needed him, he was not only not there for me, but he was unenduringly cruel. He was not normally like that, so he was being a class A jerk. Maybe when he returned home, it would be different. Maybe when he saw me, he could see how I was not lying.

But I knew better. My ex is a stubborn man. He was gone. If he could leave me like this, he was never coming back. Still, I think he would be able to recognize that I was not lying. Not that I would be able to take him back when he apologized. Not after this. He ruined my trust in him.

At this point I was nauseous. All day long I could barely handle the idea of eating food. For the most part of the day I starved. My depression was so thick that I did not even want to eat. To top it off I got the stomach flu, which caused me to lose 8 pounds in one day. That week I lost 10 pounds.

My house was trashed. Wherever it came to rest, it stayed. Not that I am a clean freak, but I love a clean house. Sitting in the filth was torture, but I was such an empty shell of myself that I could not care enough to clean it. Not that I could. Being so starved, I was weak and faint.

Suddenly taking the stairs (I live in a third floor apartment) was treacherous. There were times I almost fell from fainting, but most of the time I was so weak I had to drag myself up the stairs using my hands, stopping frequently to rest and regain my balance. It became scary to take my son to school. When I would start to faint or fall, I would sit, because I was horrified I would pass out and fall head first into the concrete stairs. Times like these made me feel incredibly alone. The act of taking the stairs would make me cry uncontrollably. Someone had hurt me, my ex had left me, and I was alone. It was breaking me to my core. The loss I was feeling was so overwhelming that it was stealing who I was as a person.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sex after being drugged

After scaring away the light hearted men by telling them my story about the recent rape, I was left with only 3 men to choose from. Of those, one I did not have a connection with, one scared me a little, and the other was surprisingly attractive, sweet, and kind. This was a guy I felt a surprising amount of connection with.

At first I thought it was just the excitement of the first date. So I let a few days pass. By the second date, I realized the feeling was only growing stronger. This was not a fluke, there was genuine chemistry.

Not that I was terribly exciting to be around. He did not know the difference, but I did. As hard as I tried to keep in the present time with what I was doing, my thoughts were difficult to control. For the most part it was easy to get my thoughts back under control with a little effort. It was the exaggerated startle response that gave me away.

The startle response is of course jumping in surprise at normal things, for instance being startled by someone as the jump out to scare you. That is a normal response. An exaggerated startle response looks like someone touching you and you jumping with the same fear. Or being shocked by loud noises that normally would not shock you. What that looked like for me is jumping every time he touched me, such as an accidental brush of his arm against mine as we stood in close proximity to each other while waiting in line. The jumping from me as I heard him walk up to me, only to turn and be startled that he was a few inches closer than I realized. Sometimes I jumped and pushed his hands off of me, even when the touches were socially appropriate touches. Even when it was touches I wanted.

I was a mess.

Luckily I was fun to be around, and he was well aware of why I was reacting odd. It was SO embarrassing. There were a few times I almost cried from the sheer terror of being exposed to this stimulus and being unable to control my body. I just wanted my body to stop. I wanted to return to normal. The feeling of being trapped and tortured like a puppet on a string forced to react when I did not want to was uncontrollable. Crawling back into my fiance's arms crossed my mind more than once, but I swallowed that bitter pill with grace I think. How could I go back to a man who could love me and yet leave me like this? I TRUSTED him. I Needed him, and he left me like this. I deserved someone better.

Feeling the warmth and strong, silent affection of this new man was scary, but was even more relieving. As I grew to trust him more, I worked my way into hugging him. That hug was like gold currency for my soul. He held me with gentle care. He earned my trust, and I was uncontrollably in need of his help.

After hugging, laughing and flirting, I worked my way into a kiss. It was a great kiss. Yes. This was a guy I could have sex with.

One night after a date, we snuggled on my couch. Leaning towards him, I let him make a move to kiss me. He kissed me sweetly and passionately. The feeling was nice and comforting. But as he kissed me, the feelings of the rape, the flashbacks began to overrun me. My stubborn will kicked in- I knew that I had to push through this to get past those feelings. My body was difficult to keep controlled, but I did the best I could.

When you first become intimate with a person, their body language helps you understand how they feel about you and gives you an idea about how they are reacting to you, especially while you try doing different things. It took considerable effort, but I was able to keep my body relaxed for the most part. But then my body began to react in very weird ways. I started to tremble uncontrollably. It was not like a cold chill, or even a quiver from being tickled, it was a full on convulsive movement. It made the feelings of helplessness all the more powerful.

The feelings and physical sensations were building up in me. As hard as I was going to fight their eruption, I knew there was a certain amount I would not be able to hide. I stopped kissing this guy, closing my eyes to hide my fear and took a deep breath.

My body is going to start doing some weird things. Ignore them. It's because of what happened.
We dont have to do this. If I am hurting you I can stop.
No, you don't understand. I cant control this and the only way to get rid of it Is to do this. I'll be fine if just ignore it, ok?
Well I dont want to hurt you.
Not doing this will hurt me worse than just doing this. And I will tell you, I promise, if I need you to stop.
Ok. As long as you are ok.
I'll be fine; just ignore it.

With that we slowly returned to kissing. As his hands touched me I could not stand him touching me in even PG-13 ways, so I would quickly move his hands to my outer frame- my arms, my hands, and my hips. Breathing was difficult. My muscles took effort and conscious ability to get them to relax. As I kissed him I had to relax them one by one. They would quickly tense again as the memories and flashbacks entered into my brain.

My body was electrified with sexual tension. It was so intense I felt like the desperate tension was a turnoff, or that the walls would begin to wiggle back and forth like the Matrix. My jaw clenched uncontrollably, no matter how hard I tried to relax it. We began to remove outer layers of clothing. The flashbacks came on strong. The physical effort it took to keep myself in presentable fashion was draining. Luckily I was so desperate for sex, my body had that extra boost of energy. My body became rigid and board-like because I could not keep up with the tension.

We kissed while our clothes were in different states of removal. He touched himself against my intimate parts as we kissed, but he delayed actually penetrating. That was helpful I think, because it gave me time to mentally prepare for what came next. Often he stopped to check to see if I was still comfortable with what was happening. I'm sure it was because quivers would rip through my body of shear physical terror, but I barreled through it. Stopping now would give that fear power.

Finally we were both so overcome with sexual excitement that he penetrated me. For months I had waited for sex. The idea I would be having sex with anyone new was devastating. But I had mourned that loss already a few weeks before. Now the sexual tension through my body was practically electric. If the wind blew the right way, I was sure I would have an orgasm. I was almost crying from the need to be relieved from the sexual tension I had had. My body was literally in pain from waiting.

As he penetrated me, I drew my breath and.....

nothing. I was so numb I could hardly feel him.

Not that he wasnt endowed enough, but there was something emotionally wrong with me. I was numb emotionally and it had affected me physically. It has happened before, but it was Never that bad.

With frustration I tried everything I could think of to enjoy it. Typically I can orgasm multiple times easily, but no matter which position we tried I could not orgasm. As I would near an orgasm and feel myself go numb I got incredibly angry from frustration. Again my stubbornness kicked in, but it didnt solve the issue.

Thats when it happened.

Suddenly my arms from my neck all the way to my fingers went numb as I tried to straddle him. Almost as if they had fallen asleep, i felt the numbness create a weird dissociative sensation for my arms. By shaking my hands, I began to feel a little more sensation, but the feeling did not go away. Then the walls started to move and the room began to spin. Panic overtook me. There was an incredibly intense feeling in my chest as I wanted to scream in terror and anguish. The tears welled up in my eyes as I became light headed and nearly passed out. Smacking myself in the face so I didnt pass out was the only thing I could think to do. My eyes stayed closed and my breathing became ragged like I was nearly sobbing.

Suddenly the ominousness of the situation hit me. This was going to be a battle, but this was going to be a battle I was going to win.

Again I clenched my teeth. I forced my ribs to control my breathing. My fists clenched the couch for dear life, but I pushed through.

But I only became more numb.

He finished shortly after. Which was practically a relief. I may not have completely "won," but I hadnt stopped. We never spoke of my weird body reactions, but he held me tightly and verified I was ok. Even though I was frustrated and angry, I was ok. We tried two more times that night. Never before had I tried so hard to orgasm, and never before had I failed so miserably, and for what seemed like no reason.

By the end of the night, between the drug flashbacks, the rape flashbacks, the numbness, and the lack of an orgasm, I was beyond frustrated; I felt hopeless.