Uncategorized

Life after Trauma

Hi guys, I know it’s been awhile and I kind of left you with a very emotional and depressing last post. I wanted to give you guys an update on how I am doing. I am really bad about opening up about the deep emotions and feelings I have about this assault, or really anything, to my friends and family in real life, so I figured writing a blog post where I can’t see people’s reactions might be better. And we all know this blog is my safe space and my place to just let all my emotions out. I am going to start with the super deep stuff first and then I will give you guys the random gossip updates so I don’t leave you with my bad juju.

Let me start by saying since my last post I haven’t improved a whole lot. I am in a state of denial, not about what happened, but about my feelings toward the situation. I am constantly trying to stay strong and not let this traumatic ass situation get to me. I make morbid jokes about it and I am constantly putting on this brave face to the world. I will talk about it, but I try to avoid the feelings behind it. I will acknowledge it, so I say it happened, but I avoid letting anyone see just how much it affects me. I don’t think people in my life really know how much this is messing with me every single day. So I am just gonna lay it all out in this post.

I am not okay. I know to people who see me everyday, I may seem like I am doing so much better, but I am not. I am really, really good at hiding how I am feeling. I can cover up all the negative emotions because that is how I have learned to cope. But the truth is, I am not okay. I am struggling every single day. Anytime I don’t have work, or school, or a doctor’s appointment, I am sleeping. I am avoiding. I am still having nightmares almost every night. I am still struggling with the feeling that something bad is going to happen so I am constantly looking over my shoulder. I have been lying to myself for weeks, but I am majorly depressed. I can’t seem to find pure joy much anymore. Work has become my outlet because being with my friends and dealing with the chaos of a busy ER lets me escape the difficult emotions I am faced with every day. But work is just another distraction from the emotions I continue to suppress.

I try really, really hard to handle my shit. I just have this habit of suppressing my emotions because it’s easier than dealing with them. I find ways to turn my trauma into humor but that too is just a cover for how I am really feeling. I don’t know how this became my coping mechanism but it did. The years of abuse I endured as a child, the abuse I settled for in my relationships as an adult and now the trauma of another sexual assault, you can see why avoiding seems easier. I am not okay.

I don’t know when hiding became my normal. I don’t know if it’s because I feel like a burden to those around me, which I think plays a huge part in the way I am handling things. Because I am a talker, I have to talk things out in order to understand them. But I have maybe 4 people I can talk too about the way I am feeling and I know at some point listening to me try to process these things has to get annoying. So I just stop talking about the deep things that are bothering me and in turn stop acknowledging them. Instead, I just let them sit inside me and fester. I am not okay. And I want to express these things to my friends and family but I just feel like people are tired of listening to me stress about the same things over and over. I trust these people with my whole heart, but I feel like I am always so focused on my problems. I start to feel like people don’t want to talk to me because I focus on myself so much that I am not a good friend to them.

This post is seriously all over the place, but this is my brain lately. This is what I am going through every single day. I am emotionally exhausted. I feel like a bad friend. I feel like my friends don’t want to talk to me anymore. I feel like I am not being a good friend to them. I am just not okay. I can’t figure out how to express it. I am sad, I’m angry, I’m hurt, and I am exhausted from feeling all these emotions all the time. I want to be the person I was before this trauma. I want to be the friend I was before this trauma. I want to feel like I am not just a ball of depression. And I know, I know no one in my circle actually dislikes me, or thinks I am a burden. I know I am just projecting my feelings onto others, but when you are this depressed (I am sure many of you know) it feels like everyone you are close to is silently annoyed with you and it feels insanely isolating. It’s hard to remind myself that I have incredible people supporting me. I have amazing friends, I have an amazing family and I have an amazing boyfriend. I know, what a shock about the boyfriend right?

Even though I feel these things about my support system, me feeling like I am a burden to them, I know they don’t feel that way. I seriously have the best group of people helping me through all of this. I have my three best friends, K, M and L (not putting their entire names, in case they don’t want me to talk about them) whom have been absolutely incredible. I love you guys more than I can ever explain. You guys have dealt with my mood swings, the unnecessary drama surrounding my personal life and not once did you guys stop listening, even when I was venting about the same thing for days at a time. You guys have stuck by me through some really tough shit and I know you guys have my back through it all. I also have my incredible momma, who has been a saint helping me navigate everything I am going through. She has been my rock through every single trauma I have endured in this life. She has supported me even when she didn’t agree with the choices I was making. She stood by me during the hardest and most traumatic moment in my life. And she will be with me during the trial, if my case ever goes that far. And lastly, I have a fantastic boyfriend. That’s a story for another day though.

I know this post has been a bit of a mess, but I wanted to update everyone who follows this blog on how things are going since the last post. While things aren’t going great, I do feel like a change is coming. I don’t know if that’s because I have started therapy or because things are finally going to change for the better. I just want everyone who follows this to know that even when things are dark and it feels like there is absolutely no hope left, there will always be something to hold on too. Whether thats family, friends, a pet (my animals have saved me so many times from letting the darkness win), just find something to hold on too. Even when it feels like everything is ruined, like life is never going to get better, there is always a reason to continue.

I tell myself all the time, even if it has to be minute by minute or hour by hour, each minute or hour passed is another minute or hour worth living. I am seriously getting by on the motto of one day at a time because one day is all I have to give right now.

I love you guys so much. Everyone who takes the time to read these diary like posts and give me kind words of strength, you guys are incredible. I am so appreciative of my tiny little community I have created here.

To be continued,

Reba G.

Blogs

Surviving Assault

And she’s back, since I obviously can’t keep a consistent blog uploading schedule.

Hi guys! I wanted to come here and chat about something really serious. It’s something I feel like not enough people talk about, and the after affects that literally ruin your life. I want to talk about this because I can feel it eating me alive. I have people I can talk too in my life about it, but for the last month that’s been the focus of my life and I feel like I’m annoying everyone around me.

Let me walk you through what happened.

On September 18th, 2021 I was sexually assaulted. And it’s absolutely ruined my life since. So let me give you the back story of what happened.

I was on bumble, because I used to love swiping through that dumb app, and I happened across this man I thought was super attractive. He also had a pretty funny profile so I was super intrigued. I swiped and we ended up matching. So we started chatting. I think we had talked for like two weeks and decided we should meet up.

Just a heads up, the next part I feel super, super stupid about, and I blamed myself constantly for what happened because of these next few details. Back to the story.

So we set a date. We were going to head downtown and grab some drinks. He had the idea to get a hotel downtown because he has kids and he wanted to have a spot to hang out after we got our drinks. He asked me to book it since I used to work for this specific hotel company and I can get discounts still. So me being the naive idiot I am, I booked the hotel.

The day comes to meet up and I’m a nervous wreck. Now that I look back on it I think my intuition was trying to tell me something was off about this date, but I chalked it up to being nervous. As I’m getting ready, I’m shaking super bad. I realized I had this feeling something wasn’t right but all my friends kept telling me it’s just nerves so I pushed through. I am finally finished getting ready, so I head downtown to check into the hotel. I wanted to be the one to check in just in case things went south, I’d have a place to go back too and not have to worry about finding a ride home. So I get to the hotel, get checked in and I wait for my “date”. He finally gets there and we take a few minutes to figure out where we wanted to go. He asked if I wanted food (which I did) and we head out to find a place to eat. He notices a piano bar and decides we are going to do that instead of getting food. So we head in. The first thing he wants to do is get some drinks, which he did all night. I was never allowed to go to the bar to get my own drink. Being naive I though this was him being a gentlemen, but now I’m thinking it was something else…

Honestly, at first I thought things were going great but at some point in the night I blacked out. Let me just say that no matter how drunk I’ve gotten in the past, I have never blacked out. I always remember what’s going on around me. However, this time was different. I don’t remember leaving the piano bar and everyone I was talking to that night said in an hour span I went from sober as could be to completely and utterly wasted (which is weird for me because even when I’m absolutely plastered, I can still carry on a conversation and I know what’s going on around me).

So we leave at some point, I don’t know when but we do. We went back to the hotel and I had texted my friends I was going to sleep. Next thing I know, there is a huge man on top of me and I felt severe pain. I remember yelling “NOOO!” But I still felt the pain. It was awful, and terrifying. I couldn’t do anything, I felt like no part of my body was working. I didn’t feel in control of anything which led a lot of people I’ve talked too about this think I was drugged. I have never felt more scared than in that moment when I felt I had zero control over my body and something terrifying was happening to me.

I think at this point I chose to zone out because the next thing I know I was texting my good friend that I was just raped. Said friend, who we are gonna call James, starting blowing up my phone, I’m sure he was scared to death too… He said at some point I answered the phone but I was whispering and sounding scared before “someone” took the phone and hung up on my friend. James said he just kept calling, blowing up my phone like crazy (which we appreciate and love him for). James said one of the times he called, my rapist answered, this is when James asked where I was and my rapist said I was showering to which James replied, “she said you raped her”. At this point I can remember his rage. The anger that was coming from this man was insane… and I never want to experience something like this again.

Let me bust in to the story really quick and say, I don’t remember showering at all. I don’t know if it’s a coping thing or if I really was drugged and just kept going in and out of consciousness.

Anyways, the next thing I distinctly remember was me laying in bed. I just remember banging, things slamming and my rapist yelling, “WHAT THE FUCK REBA” “GOD DAMNIT” “WHO THE FUCK IS JAMES SMITH” and more things like that, he also mumbled things under his breath. At this point I’m curled up in the bed and pretending to be asleep just hoping this man will leave. Absolutely terrified of what would happen next.

I finally heard the door slam and I jumped into action. I’m running around this room looking everywhere for my phone so I can call my mom, and then I realized one of the worst things ever… he stole my phone!!! He not only stole my phone though, he took anything that wasn’t my personal items like cloths and my purse.

The thing that scared me the most at this point was my only source of contact to the outside world, this man had stolen from me. Being that I was very in and out, it took me a second to remember that hotels still have phones in the rooms, thank God!! So I grabbed the hotel phone and just called my mom over and over and over until she finally answered.

When I tell you hearing my moms voice was the most incredible feeling ever, I’m not kidding. I was in that hotel room, bruised and hurting, feeling absolutely terrified because I didn’t know if my rapist took a key to the room and would come back. But as soon as my mom answered I started bawling from the relief and just said he raped me. I told her where I was and she said she was on her way to get me. After I got off the phone with my mom I threw on whatever cloths I could find and ran downstairs. I told the hotels front desk agent what was going on and he hid me in the back office. I should give that boy the biggest shout out because he listened to me cry, hid me while I was terrified and gave me his number in case I need anything from the hotel for the legal case.

My mom finally got to the hotel and I was a mess. Crying, hurting, terrified. Her and my brother went up to the room to get all my stuff and make sure I didn’t just misplace my phone (I didn’t, my rapist did steal it) so we could leave. I don’t remember everything that happened after my mom got there, I was in and out. I think that was due to my survival instinct kind of calming down and I was hit with this wave of unimaginable exhaustion. Anyways, my family gets my things and we get ready to leave, but not before my mom and James convinced me to go to the hospital.

I wanted absolutely nothing to do with getting the rape exam. I know that 99.9% of the time, sexual assault cases don’t get a conviction, so in my mind the rape exam was just a waste of time. I didn’t want to go through it, not with the way rape is looked at all the time. I have to say though, my dear momma was able to get me to go. It did take a lot of convincing though. My mom asked me where I wanted to go and the only place I trust is the hospital I work at. So that’s where we went.

The exam took around 4 hours. It was so traumatic. Having the relive everything to ensure the police had the most information for the case. During the exam my nurse found so much evidence. Things that are to personal to discuss, but when I say I was beat up down there, I was beat up. My nurse thought I might need stitches. It was awful. However, I had the best team of people around me. My rape exam nurse was incredible and I owe so much to her. I don’t know how I can ever thank her for what she did for me that night. I had so many of my team leads protecting me every step of the way and it made me feel like I might actually be able to get through this.

Now let’s get into how the assault has had this lasting, miserable affect on me…

No one really talks about the after of sexual assault, in my opinion anyways. These are the things that I feel like I can’t get people to understand. I am never, ever going to be the person I was before my assault. I am never going to be as bubbly and outgoing as I was before. Everything has changed. My mental health is on a steady decline and I don’t know how to make things better.

The after I think is worse than the actual assault itself. Ever since the assault I’m terrified all the time. Every little noise when I’m alone, outside of my house obviously, absolutely terrifies me. I can’t go out by myself anymore because I get the most intense panic attacks. If I hear or see anyone who reminds me of my rapist, I have a panic attack. The room I had my sexual assault exam in is a huge trigger for me, so anytime I’m at work and I have to walk by that room, I power walk. I get freaked out in public now, so I avoid being out by myself. I’m hyper aware of everything going on around me. It’s been miserable since this happened to me. Constantly being on edge, constantly being ready to run and constantly thinking everyone is gonna do these things to me.

The previous statement makes the next information, that my mental health has also hit the lowest of low, seem pretty normal. I’m so beyond depressed that I can no longer find the light in my life. I can’t find anything that is worth living for. I am so depressed I genuinely think that I would be better off dead. I mentally can not handle what this man did to me. He took more than just my phone from me. This man took everything from me. He took my sense of security. He took my ability to trust other people. He took my ability to be a social butterfly. He took my ability to be alone and go places. He took my joy. He took my happiness. He took the parts of me that I loved the most. He took me… This man has absolutely destroyed what I used to be, and I don’t know how to get that back.

I don’t feel happy anymore. It’s like every positive emotion I’ve had in my life no longer exists. I get moments where I feel okay, but for the most part now my life is just sad. I don’t feel like there is a reason to be alive anymore. No matter how hard I try to not think about what happened, it has consumed my life. Everything I do has been completely reworked because of the fear this man left inside of me. I’m just tired. I’m exhausted from fighting this, I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t want to feel like there is nothing in this life to look forward too, yet that’s how I feel. I feel like I’m not only fighting what this dude did to me but like I’m fighting myself too. Trying to be happy in a body that refuses to forget what happened. Constantly reminding me that I am small. That a man could overtake me at any point and I can do nothing about it. That no matter where I am or what I do, something bad could happen.

I know this is a lot of very personal, raw and emotional content. But this is my safe space. The space I created to talk about everything I want/need too. And this is something huge that’s taking over my life, so I need a safe space to let out these feelings. Don’t be rude in the comments and remember; every women knows another women who’s been sexually assaulted by no man knows a rapist.

PS: I did give the cops all the information I had on this guy. And this dumbass dude left my “find my iPhone” on so I was able to track my phone to his address. And if this ever goes to court, I am prepared to take this man down.

Hope this wasn’t too much. Kisses…

Reba G