This time of year is normally difficult for me, particularly in recent years. While last year was the first year I’d admitted my past, the years before had still often been difficult, I was just in denial I guess.
I have a number of anniversaries in Autumn and Winter. I am not sure if it is a PTSD thing, or an abuse/ rape survivor thing, or perhaps just me (though from what I read I doubt that), but anniversaries of trauma really are a big deal.
A lot of my past is a blur in terms of dates and time. Some sort of merge, some are missing completely, but there are a few however, that I just know when they took place. I wish I didn’t, it’s no choice, I wish I could just not remember. It isn’t as if I mark them on a calendar and count the days down. How do you un-remember something? How do you not remember a date that is significant for whatever reason?
The time of year is triggering in general. The smell of the air, the weather, the way everything looks as the seasons change. What makes it especially hard is that I actually love this time of year, Autumn, particularly. I love Halloween and Firework night. I love Christmas too. That just seems absurd, how can I love a time of year that reminds me? How can I love what reminds me of such traumatic times or even of (what I considered to be) good times that now sicken me? I suppose it comes down to how I’ve handled this for so long. I always had two different sides of me. There was me who was abused and then the me who had no real awareness. That me, loved all the things about Autumn, those I’d loved since I was a child. Right now, I feel those two sides of me competing again. I dread this time of year, while also feel excitement at what these seasons bring. I look forward to crunching in the leaves with my boys, to the smell of Bonfires, to the Fireworks, to the school plays, the pretty lights etc. Yet I fear it all at the same time.
This weekend marks several anniversaries for me. The lead up is often worse, but that doesn’t mean the days themselves are easy. There’s something awful about knowing what went on that particular day years before.There’s something horrible about remembering what was done to me on the same day and at the time. It means a whole lot of grounding for me this weekend, which can be exhausting. It means that anything I bring out in my therapy session tomorrow, will be on the back burner, while I ground and contain.
One of the anniversaries I dread the most. I haven’t finished dealing with it in therapy, I have a long way to go with it for sure. So to say I am afraid, is an understatement.
Another, I have dealt with, in fact I would go as far as to say that it no longer controls me. It hurts and I feel anger for sure, but it is not consuming. It has not caused flashbacks or nightmares in a good few months now! I suppose there’s some anticipation at how I will feel this year, as it’s the first year since I’ve faced it in therapy. I am fearful that I will find it difficult and then will feel disappointed in myself for that.
I am so hoping that this year will be easier, different at least, somehow. Am I healed? I would like to say I have healed from it, yet that seems too far of a reach still. Can you really fully heal from rape? And if not, can you move on without being fully healed? Surely, there are some things in life that you just cannot completely heal from? Instead perhaps, you learn to live with them, to let go enough that it no longer rules you, in order for you to move forward. I do not expect to get over any of this. To take control, deal with the issues, feel as I need to and learn to live with it (without any denial), is what I am aiming for. Any more than that would be a bonus.
I am not over that night by any means (and as above, nor do I expect to be), but I am sure some healing has taken place. I know I am safe from the perps, I know it is over now. I know that night was not my fault. I have owned my actions, I have owned my feelings then and now. I feel pain when I remember, for sure. I wince even, when I talk or think of it, but it is massively different to what it was. I feel no need to go back into the depths of what went on that night, no need to describe the intimate details, yet I have and continue to find it helpful to share some of the story of that night with my husband. I hope when the time is right, I can share some of it with others that I trust too.
Time will tell, as always. Hopefully, time (and a whole heap of effort and pain!) will bring more healing too.