Acceptance of My PTSD Symptoms

Last night I had a mild nightmare about running into a few of the people who have sexually assaulted me. It only bothered me a little bit and didn’t seem to affect my day very much.

And that made me realize that I’m really starting to accept my PTSD symptoms. I view them much like the traffic: an unavoidable inconvenience that I have to accept every now and then.

I used to dearly miss being mentally healthy, but thankfully I haven’t had useless thoughts like that in a long time.

In the last year I don’t think I’ve had more than three difficult episodes of PTSD symptoms. It’s possible that I’m finding this easier to accept now that I’m not getting constantly harassed by symptoms. Whatever the case, I’m just glad that I seem to have accepted my new reality. Wishful thinking will do nothing but make me miserable.

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“There is no easy way to be a survivor. If I only tell you about the pain, I fear I will perpetuate toxic stereotypes of the victim who is broken.
But if I share with you only about my healing, I fear you will believe that time heals trauma, that healing is linear, and that it will minimize the damage of sexual assault.”
-Sarah Super

Accepting My New Normal

I’ve come a long way in the process of healing from sexual assault. It almost feels manageable at this point. However, I think one main thing at this point is holding me back from making peace with my past: I haven’t accepted my new normal. Continue reading Accepting My New Normal

The Little Victories

Here’s an ode to some of the little daily victories this year in my battle against almost-mental illness. I don’t celebrate these accomplishments nearly as much as I should.

  • Swing dancing last Saturday at the house where I got sexually assaulted last November. It was awkward being there, but I did just fine.
  • Getting a little triggered a few times while at said dance and getting it under control in a matter of minutes despite being tipsy at the time. Usually alcohol makes triggers hard to handle
  • My PTSD symptoms flared up during a night of drinking. Despite being actually drunk, I was able to slowly talk myself down.
  • Last fall my PTSD symptoms twice went through month-long phases of them being out of control. Last month I prevented it from happening again. (I guess that doesn’t count as a “small” victory. It’s a big deal. But I’m going to leave it here anyway)
  • A while ago I made a goal to stop thinking about being sexually assaulted unless it’ll actually help me heal. I’ve done a pretty good job of sticking to that.
  • My friend recently touched me on the side of the ribs, forgetting momentarily that getting touched there is my biggest trigger. I looked down at her hand and smiled. I felt nothing — no fear whatsoever.
  • I don’t get triggered as often as I used to and when I do get triggered, I have a lot of coping mechanisms at my disposal.
  • I’ve written a lot of posts I’m proud of in this blog!

Thanks for reading this post. You can find my backstory here.

Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger: Our story of rape and reconciliation

Trigger warning: Rape

“In 1996, Thordis Elva shared a teenage romance with Tom Stranger, an exchange student from Australia. After a school dance, Tom raped Thordis, after which they parted ways for many years. In this extraordinary talk, Elva and Stranger move through a years-long chronology of shame and silence, and invite us to discuss the omnipresent global issue of sexual violence in a new, honest way. For a Q&A with the speakers, visit go.ted.com/thordisandtom.”

This gives me so much hope ❤