Healing is Traumatic

TW: Sexual Violence

Going into week three after being assaulted. What a fucking rollercoaster. I mean I want to pretend that I am unbothered. That I can remain high functioning. That this sorry excuse of a human gets no more power over me. But that is a lie. I have slept away four entire days this past week. I have been a tacky unproductive mess. I tried to maintain elements of normalcy but it seems futile. I am so behind on work it is alarming. I am concerned. I am overwhelmed. Am I going to make it? My room is a mess. I am not eating regularly. My sleep schedule is an actual joke. I tried to go out for the first time and I had fun but it was so laced with paranoia and discomfort that I don’t even know if it was worth it. I refuse to feel sorry for myself. I want to throw the towel down and admit defeat. But I cannot. I made the decision to heal in the public eye. One day someone on the verge of giving up hope will read this. One day my struggle will be more than this and it will inspire something outside of this desolate God forsaken headspace. I’m in such a panic. I feel like I am flailing around looking for footing. I do not know how to get back to who I was before this. I am afraid.

Returning from trauma is the most frightening maze I have ever gotten lost in. The trapdoors that are my thought process have left me reeling. I feel helpless as it feels like my world is crumbling. As I write this and wipe tears from my eyes. Returning from trauma is moment to moment. It is letting yourself crumble and doing damage control as necessary. So I did none of what I was supposed to get done the last three days. That’s okay. Moment to moment. Do what needs to happen now. One thing at a time. Next thing. We’ll get through the list. Returning from trauma is like an out of body experience, like a habitual state of cognitive dissonance. I can remember who I was before this. Yet that  is different than the person who’s body I feel trapped in. It’s over but I still feel helpless, I am still afraid. I am mad as hell. I was doing so well. I was meal prepping and working out and sleeping well and being a good friend.

It is because at the root of trauma is terror. We operate day to day moment to moment on predictability of life. THE SECOND the predictability is compromised, let’s say someone does not respect your no when you are vulnerable and exposed, then all bets are off. Life is not so predictable. If this can happen, anything can. I can die. This asshole could end my life. Death becomes a very real possibility. That does not just go away. It did not leave me when I ran out of the apartment five hours later. In fact i still tremble and sob with fear of dying. The anxiety and panic, fear of no immediate danger. Trauma results when we are given more stress than we can handle. It is relative. Not everyone impacted by  9/11 developed PTSD. By this logic, if healing is stressful. If, in the process if healing, trying to return, we are under more stress than we can handle, than healing becomes traumatic too. What a tragic catch 22. How do we return from trauma when we are underresourced so we are not able to manage the stress? How do we return from trauma when we cannot leave the habitual state of trauma?

I don’t have the answers. I don’t have a solution. All I know is I am living moment to moment. Trying to make sense of this. Trying to keep my head above water. This process is isolating. If you read this and relate know that you are not alone. This shit is hard and there is no manual. Don’t give up. I’m not giving up. I’m staying with you. Stay with me. Watch my healing process. Hopefully it sheds light on yours. I hope this brings you out of the dark.

-Arieana

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