CW: Rape & Trauma Processing
Recently I’ve been faced with a health challenge that is draining my physical reserves. The cell phone battery of my body charges to an unpredictable level… when I wake up, usual daily chores/activities are taking everything for me to get through. Often even walking upstairs causes me to need to lie down for a bit.
This lack of autonomy/function in my body has caused me to have increased flashbacks as of late. My heart is already racing from basic activity, so it doesn’t take much for my mind to jump into a PTSD moment. Something as simple as my child accidentally scaring me, or even the sound of a male voice can fast-forward my memories into trauma.
Flashbacks aren’t new to the survivor, and I’ve certainly had them before, but the flavor of these have been particularly intense. During the actual assault, I did what many people do in traumatic events, disassociated. I recall leaving my body behind and watching from above. In the actual moments, I don’t recall feeling pain, as my body protected me from the physical trauma by disconnecting my body from my brain. However, in the past month, my flashbacks have incorporated split seconds of “pain memories.”
The first time I remember feeling actual pain was in the hospital after the assault. I was numb, and I don’t actually know how I got there (obviously I drove, but I don’t remember the act of getting there). I looked down as I stood on the collection paper, and saw blood, and a lot of it. In that moment, I started to “wake up” and realize what I had seen wasn’t a movie, but rather something that happened TO me.
My body told the tale that my mind protected me from.
Very quickly, though, my brain shut down those pain feelings… and filed them. Until just recently.
The lack of autonomy that I feel in a body that is not at its best is wildly triggering. I sit in therapy trying to hear what she’s saying… at the same time as I hear voices in the foyer that are male and try to manage the flashes that happen. When I’m alone at home, it’s even harder as my mind spins on the possibilities of what “could” happen. I check the doors, make sure they are all locked and crawl into bed and wait for the moment to pass. Sometimes it passes quickly, but more often than not it lasts for what feels like an eternity.
PTSD is a bitch.