Triggered for an Entire Day

It started out with a dream — a rape dream, to be specific. It was the worst I’ve ever had, and was very long. No detail needed.

Then, matters got worse when I went on the internet and happened across some despicable hashtags: #ItAintRape if…, #ReasonsToBeatYourGirlfriend and #KillAllMuslims. My next mistake was deciding to read Speak for the first time. It’s a good book, but not a great idea unless my mental state is peachy when I crack it open.

These three things resulted in me feeling triggered pretty much all day. I tried cleaning the bathroom and listening to music (which temporarily worked), eating comfort food, trying to talk myself into a better mood (which didn’t do shit this time)… nothing worked for long. But at least a good night’s sleep should cure things.

I just felt numb and empty. At some points I was frustrated at the lack of control and sad when memories tried to push their way into my mind. I was also utterly unmotivated which sucks because I have to find a job NOW.

There was a part of me that really wanted to tell my mom so I could curl up in bed with her, but I was held back because I just didn’t feel like talking about it. So I just hid in the basement all day and barely ate until evening. When mom said good night to me, she hugged me and her hand was right under my armpit. I cried as soon as I reached the bottom of the stairs, where she wouldn’t see me.

I became afraid to fall asleep, knowing my mind would wander to scary places. So I stayed up for as long as I could and called A. He was hanging out with a friend but talked with me anyway. He could tell something was wrong. I don’t quite remember what he said, but it helped. I think he just helped me remember that I’m strong and have some level of control over this. How lucky am I to have such a supportive boyfriend who’s always there for me?

 

I woke up feeling mostly better. The morning started out pretty slow as I tried to finish nursing my mental health. I also finished reading Speak.

Mom called me up to talk and then asked what’s wrong. And so I told her. (She found out that I’m a survivor a few months ago). She could tell something was wrong and that’s why she left me alone all day. And then things went downhill. She started talking about how what happened to me is very common, how she’s concerned that this is still affecting me, that she’s under the impression that I’m scared of getting physical with a boy and she thinks that she made me scared. Yikes. She also doesn’t like my direct language. I understand that she doesn’t like a scary word like sexual assault but I have a problem with her sounding like she was trying to explain that what happened to me wasn’t really sexual assault. I know that’s not what she meant, but that’s what it sounded like.

Things went a little downhill for me after that conversation so I went on a walk to try to calm down. By the time I came back I planned how to tell her that she wasn’t being helpful. I explained that telling me that my experiences are common doesn’t help at all. It’s like telling someone with cancer that people go through this all the time. Yes, one in three people will get cancer in their lifetime, but that makes it no less scary. The only “good” thing about it is the amount of support groups out there. Second, triggers are hard to understand but perfectly normal.

Mid-afternoon I thought a good way to really get back to normal would be to bake. I went over to dad’s house and got started on some white chocolate macadamia cookies. And soon enough I was feeling decent again.

Thank you for reading this article. You can find my backstory here.

Related content:
Telling My Mom that I’m a Survivor
Imperfectly Supporting a Survivor (about my mom)

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