Nightmares

Credit: Scott Robinson

Credit: Scott Robinson

I can’t say that I ever remember having an actual nightmare about my rape. Terrible thoughts at night while in bed, definitely. Nightmares involving my rapist, certainly. But not the rape itself. For this I am extremely grateful. I know several fellow survivors for whom this is a chronic symptom. I suppose I am lucky.

This year, I even managed to escape the “first day of school” nightmares. Ask any teacher, and you will find that this is a yearly occurrence. Panicked dreams where you open the classroom to find More

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Tiny Victories

***Trigger Warning for school violence and shootings***

It’s been a challenging two weeks.  I found triggers in unexpected places and I found that I had the strength to ride them out.

It started with a staff meeting at school.  If you have not been in a school in a while, we have a variety of emergency drills that never existed when I was a child.  In addition to the fire and tornado drills of my childhood, we now have lock-down drills.  These are further subdivided into “internal threat”, “external threat” and the terrifying “imminent threat”.  This is what was being discussed at the meeting.  I have participated in these drills before.  I have taken a group of children and had them hide in a closet sitting in complete silence as we pretend that there is an intruder in the building.  They never bothered me before. More

Chicago Bound! (Probably!)

Well, Mr. OneWoman gave the financial go ahead to my Chicago trip.  Apparently there is indeed enough money in the bank to finance a short trip!  I am very excited to go see the Monument Quilt when it stops in Chicago next week.  I think it will be an extremely emotional trip, but one I need to take.

There is one very large snag in the plan. More

Healing

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My Civic Duty

I am one of the many rape survivors who chose not to report her rapist.  I never went through the process of going to the police, testifying at a trial, and (hopefully) watching my rapist go to jail for his crime.  There are times when I deeply regret that decision.

Yesterday was not one of them.

I was summoned to my local circuit court for jury duty.  Ugh…I know.  Never have I seen an unhappier lot of people parading across the busy streets of my city and marching up the stairs of the courthouse.  At 7:30 in the morning.  Apparently, “well-rested” is not a quality we want in our jurors.

But I didn’t mind this time.  It came at a good time in the school year.  I had no meetings scheduled.  It wasn’t the first/last week of school.  I have a good class that behaves well for substitutes.  It was a sunny day and I had a brand new Louise Penny mystery in tow to while away the hours while I sat trapped in a large room with 250 strangers listening for my name to be called. More

Exposure

It was a stunning day today.  Spring finally looked as if it might someday appear.  It was 54 degrees today!  54!!!!  That is a number that was unfathomable just a week ago.  The sun was shining.  The children at school were able to actually go outside for recess and run amok for a few glorious minutes.  I was able to venture into the great outdoors without gloves for the first time in months.  I had a good day at work and was ready for a nice calming evening.

I was not ready for another sneak attack of PTSD, right at the end of the work day.  More

Advice for the Loved Ones of Rape Survivors

In the wake of Sunday’s piano debacle, I did a lot of internet searching Monday about PTSD, anxiety, and panic attacks.  It took all day for me to shake the effects of the morning.  This is such a common problem, not just among rape survivors, but for people in general. More

Panic in Unexpected Places

The delightful thing about PTSD, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and the like, is how they can sneak up on you out of the blue and without warning.  It’s very unsporting of them.  One should be given a fair shake when trying to deal with one’s demons, I believe. Today was one of those days.  We awoke to a lovely blanket of snow.  It was light and fluffy, very pretty, and deceptively slippery.  Mr. OneWoman and I sighed and said, “Ugh, not more snow!”  But we brushed off the car and headed off to church like the troopers we are.  We’re used to this winter nonsense, even though this year has been particularly wintry. More

Triggers

triggers

(A special trigger warning applies to this post.  Please take care of yourself.)

Survivors speak a lot about triggers.  We use trigger warnings on everything we write, we say something triggered us, we apologize for triggering others.  Trigger is both a noun and a verb.  And triggers are the bane of our existence.  For those of you lucky enough not to know, a “trigger” is something that brings out our memories of the trauma that we went through.  It can be anything and it draws us back into the original traumatic experience.  A trigger can bring on a full-blown flashback, or it can just set off a series of emotional and physical responses.  Because they are so common an experience for survivors, I thought I would attempt to write a piece about my triggers to help others understand.

Triggers can be anything.  Seriously, anything.  A smell.  A sound.  A seemingly innocuous object.  A place.  An action.  A time of day.  Our friends and family are often baffled by our reactions to what appears to be “nothing” to them.  Whatever the trigger is, for some reason our mind associates it with our rape or our rapist.  When we are triggered, it is a very distressing experience.  This is why we post trigger warnings.   The last thing we want to do is cause our fellow survivors distress.  A rape survivor sees the warning and can judge for himself/herself whether they are feeling strong enough to read on.  It’s a “spoiler alert” of sorts. More

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