I want to say some stuff, and I feel scared of it being known. What if an employer finds out and this affects my job? What if people think they can't trust me anymore because of choices I once made? What if my decisions mean that I'm a complete weirdo? Oh gosh. So much fear about sharing words about my life. And yet, I'm going to share because I think it's important to talk about rape, suicide, and self-mutilation in an open and honest way. I'm telling my stories here because it helps me to externalize my experiences, and I think it helpful to read stories from others so I'd like to offer mine to others, too.
After the first rape, I reasoned myself into the action being ok. During that time with the man who raped me, I told myself that since I had a rape fantasy, it was ok for him to rape me. Gah. My stomach turns as I type out and reread that sentence. I told myself that since a part of my brain fantasized about powerlessness during sexual time with my partner, it was fine for this man to take advantage of my body as I slept. Yikes! I didn't know what it meant to respect myself or my sexual fantasies. Many women have rape fantasies. This doesn't make the act of rape acceptable. I didn't understand that the man was hurting me. Someone I trusted told me this before I realized it as true.
About four months into the rape relationship, I found and scheduled an appointment with a therapist because I knew I needed to talk with someone. I was at work, sitting at my desk, and suddenly I visualized my forearm opening so that I could see its insides. This visualization startled my brain. It scared me. I once experienced deep numbness that led to a suicide attempt, and part of that experience was using a blade to pierce my arm. I didn't set out to make an appointment with an art therapist who practiced EMDR and EFT, specifically, and now I am so glad that I did. The techniques that we practiced alleviated anxiety and helped me make sense of very confusing thoughts and body sensations that I learned to identify as parts of emotions. I practiced deep breaths, acting as an observer to my thoughts, and creating art with my emotions. This grew my confidence in my interpretations.
Trauma is a part of life, and the ways in which we process and view it are important for society. It took me several years to develop an ability to discuss my own wants and needs. I practiced for a long time as someone who current-me sees as not respecting herself. Then-me would probably say that I was respecting myself. That's confusing, and it's true. When I think about that now, I feel compassion for then-me. My mind views the situations in which I lived and the thoughts with which I existed. It understands how pain can masquerade as meaning, and it remembers: Part of dignity is indignity. Sometimes knowing one requires knowing the other.
*9/20/15 edited the title and permalink from Self-Mutilation to Self Harm
Well hello there.