This I Believe

Kathryn - Dallas, Texas
Entered on August 23, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I Believe in me. If I don’t, noone else will. I suffer PTSD due to an ‘aggrivated sexual assault’, I was beaten and raped. As this war drags on, I am reading and hearing more about solgiers returning from war with PTSD. I listen to their discriptions of their symptoms and I feel as if these solgiers are discribing my pain and dispair. The anger, loss of control and friends, my whole life dissolving into darkness and chaos, my inability to keep my home clean and organized.

This is what I have learned, and want to share. A woman I know shared her feelings with me after hearing of the assault. She said I would go on, I would live, work, maintain a family, but I would always see the world through rape-colored glasses. NOT somthing I wanted to hear or believe. But as I spiraled deeper into depression I had to grudgingly accept the truth in this so I could accept and love the stranger left behind after the rape in place of the woman I had known and loved my whole life. Talk about anger and fear! And in a FLASH I understood the wives of solgiers who said the man who came home from war was not the husband that went to war, he returned a stranger. This is what noone realizes and I am speaking of, ANYONE suffering PTSD due to a trauma emerges from these experiences a different person. The debth of this CANNOT be eggsagerated. You still have the same family, job, and history, but you look in the mirror and the person you see is a stranger, the person you knew as you is dead. You have to get to know this person left behind integrate and accept them, and treat this angry person with compassion and tenderness. As a rape survivor this is the hardest. An EVIL person FORCED this change on me.

The hardest and most abstract part of this trauma is you have to acknowlege and mourn the death of the person you were, all by yourself (and with the help of a therapist). Reasons: because noone else can see this death but you. Through this process you can move forward and learn how to accept into your life this ‘revised’ you with tenderness. This is so hard! I have also learned this abstract death concept is deep, dark, and off-putting. Not good cocktail conversation. This is another reason why you have to mourn this death alone. Noone wants to walk through their own dark side, much less be reminded by watching others walk through theirs.

This is why I have stripped everything else away and choose to believe in me. I have to, or noone else can. Then I can start believing in others, in life, in the future, as the new person I now am, learn how to laugh,cry, reach out and connect again, and ultimately, to love.