It’s so casual to say now. It was so secret for so long. It was my “best friend” it was my now real best friend’s ex-boyfriend. It’s weird.
So a couple weeks ago my ex-psychiatrist who
abandoned me followed his dream to turn to homeopathic medicine sent me a questionnaire for his study. Back story, before he left he asked me if I was interested in homeopathic medicine and I said that I was willing to try anything to feel better. So we got together after he left the company and had a QA talk. He asked me about past traumas. I said there weren’t any. Then I was like actually…..there was this time where I was sexually assaulted…ok multiple times…..BTW did I ever mentioned I was raped too? No. Not something that I would mention in our chats before you prescribe me medicine.
So a few weeks later he asks me to fill out this questionnaire for his paper. There was one section that he asked me to go into more detail about the incident. Here’s a snippet, answers in red.
When we last met, you were having recall of memories of assault and rape.
- When your memories came to the surface, did you experience fright?
- No, it was more of recalling a memory. Maybe a bit of sadness but it wasn’t any sort of PTSD. I was watching a tv show about rape and I felt sad for the character because I was recalling the time it happened to me. I could relate to the character because she just wanted to move on with her life and not let it be something that scarred her. I honestly hardly think about the times I was sexually assaulted before and after that. There were so many times. The one memory I do have that stands out is when my teenage neighbor assaulted me. It was just groping and stuff but I was in fourth grade at the time and I remember how I told my parents and then they told his parents and he wasn’t allowed to come over anymore. I was very good friends with his younger sister, irrelevant now. After they talked to his parents, a few days later, I was coming out of the shower from my parent’s room. Their shower was nicer. Anyway, I saw him in my younger brothers room playing video games and I yelled at him and told him if he didn’t leave I was going to call the cops. I was so scared. I locked the door to my parents room, then I locked their bathroom door, then I locked myself in their walk in closet (inside the bathroom)… for like an hour…until I felt safe to come out. Since then I’ve seen him multiple times at neighborhood cookouts. Even though I’m no longer afraid of him I still avoid him and don’t like to talk to him. He’s probably the reason that I stand to the side in grocery stores, which I will go into during the next question. After it happened, I still went over to their house in middle school because his sister and I would walk to the bus stop together. I remember one time while waiting for his sister his mom told me that he just liked me and wanted to date me. Their whole family is creepy.
- Do you think the unsuppressed memories contributed to your panic attacks?
- In some ways but not really. When I’m in a store or in public somewhere and a man is standing too closely behind me I tend to turn to my side so that I can see what is going on around me. I don’t feel anxious about it, it’s more of a subconscious defensive I think. After I was raped I didn’t like people touching me. I wouldn’t even let my family hug me for like two years. They still talk about it now. Remember when you wouldn’t even give us a hug, haha? Yep. I remember. When I start to get overwhelmed now I still don’t like people touching me. I feel like anxiety plus hugs makes me feel overstimulated.
- Did the suppression of your memories of abuse make you suppress other memories or emotions?
- For a few years in high school and college my mom would tell me I had a black heart because I wouldn’t show emotion. When my great grandma died I didn’t go to say goodbye to her because I didn’t want to remember her that way. My mom thought it was because I didn’t want to say goodbye. When they got home from the hospital they came home to how I expressed my grief. I had baked six different desserts, made three entrees, and five different sides. I baked a lot for a few years after that. More like a distraction from feeling emotion. Junior year of college I actually felt emotions again and would actually cry and tell people how I was feeling. Crying felt good. I think a lot of that also comes from not having to be the strong one. Growing up my parents separated four times (funny now because of this) and I had to look after my siblings because my dad would move out and my mom would be depressed and not leave the couch for weeks. Still when it comes to family I am not the one who cries or shows any sign of sadness but only strength because that is what they need. Someone to be there and to tell them it will be ok. I will be their rock. I will be their parent.
- Boy you are opening up a huge can of worms. Bet you didn’t see all this coming.
- Do you feel that it is easier to express your emotions now? If so, explain:
- Yes. I majored in communications in college and my favorite classes were interpersonal relationships and gender roles. I think they helped me figure out a lot about myself, my relationships, and family dynamics. It contributes a lot to how expressive I am today and how important I think it is to verbalize your emotions and explain them to others.
- Was there any trigger that caused you to have a recall of these memories?
- Copy paste from above: I was watching a tv show about rape and I felt sad for the character recalling the time it happened to me. I could relate to the character after that because she just wanted to move on with her life and not let it be something that scarred her.
- But also you. Going through this now I’m recalling a lot more that I haven’t thought about in a while. It isn’t making me upset at all…it’s actually nice to think about the timeline and why I was/am the way I am.
To get back to my story, I told my ex-psychiatrist. It then made me casually bring it up to my now psychiatrist. He asked me the same questions as ex-psychiatrist. We talked about it briefly. We moved on.
I told my therapist after that. Yes, I see a therapist and a psychiatrist. It’s great. Everyone should. Someone who listens for an hour and doesn’t prescribe you drugs after a quick convo. Therapist said, “That’s normally a question I ask at our first session.” Yeah, I know, I lied. I didn’t want you to think that it was something that impacted who I am today. I didn’t want you to calculate that into my therapy as something that traumatizes me and must be the reason I’m so fucked up right now.
I am not a victim. I am not scared. I am not weaker for it. It is not who I am.
I was raped. I thought this person was my friend. I trusted him. I will not go into details because, again, that is not the same person that I am today. I am not afraid to talk about it. I promise I will if you ask. I will tell you all the gory shit. I will tell you about all the screams and the scratching if you want. Gross. Who wants to hear that fucked up nastiness.
However, it does not impact who I am today. It isn’t the reason for the emotional rock bottom that I am at right now. It was scary at first. It does not define me now. It happened. I am ok. I am not going to be a rape statistic.
I am fucked up….but it’s kinda funny.
Your friendly neighborhood rape victor Kelsey