Life is stressful at the moment. I’m in the hardest semester of my program, and nothing is spaced out. Either I have one assignment in a week, or I have three exams and a paper due. There’s no in-between. This last week was one of the tough ones, and I was really feeling the strain despite starting to study for my exams two weeks in advance. My PTSD started making a bit of a comeback after its six month hiatus… and I got sick. Luckily, I made it through all of my exams just fine.
I think the combination of PTSD and my fever led to the… interesting dreams I had. The first fever dream was wonderful. I was in a room full of friendly kittens and had them all to myself.
The second dream, meanwhile, started off as a nightmare and ended with me being triumphant. Continue reading A Cathartic Nightmare
I’ve made large strides in my healing process since it started around five years ago. It’s been full of ups and downs, but five main things have helped me to get where I am today — a place that I’m pretty content with. I hope these strategies might help you too, if you’re a fellow survivor. Continue reading My Five Most Helpful Strategies for Healing from Sexual Assault
It’s been five months since I’ve had what’d I’d call a disruptive “PTSD” episode. Five months since an episode has thrown me off for more than a few seconds. I don’t understand. What’s going on!?!? This is blowing my mind! I literally never thought this would happen. I never dared hope that I’d arrive at a place where I could be mostly free from the shackles of almost-mental illness.
Continue reading An Unexpected Vacation from PTSD
Trigger warning: sexual assault
Most people know that the body goes into “fight or flight” mode when in a dangerous and stressful situation. What many people don’t know is that there are more possible responses, one of which is to freeze. A person can literally be involuntarily, temporarily paralyzed with fear. This is called tonic immobility.
According to recent research, the majority of female rape survivors do not fight back or yell for help because of tonic immobility. Another study found that half of people who survived childhood sexual abuse also experienced tonic immobility. Continue reading Tonic Immobility
13 Steps for Managing Flashbacks by Pete Walker, MA, MFT
- Say to yourself: “I am having a flashback”. Flashbacks take us into a timeless part of the psyche that feels as helpless, hopeless and surrounded by danger as we were in childhood. The feelings and sensations you are experiencing are past memories that cannot hurt you now.
- Remind yourself: “I feel afraid but I am not in danger! I am safe now, here in the present.” Remember you are now in the safety of the present, far from the danger of the past.
Click here for the full list.
Last fall, I saw sexually assaulted while swing dancing by a guy we’ll call L. He doesn’t dance much anymore, but it still shouldn’t have been a surprise when I ran into him yesterday. Luckily, I was able to keep my cool for the most part. I was shocked and uncomfortable when I first saw him. I even considered leaving. But why let him steal my joy? So I stayed and tried to stay on the opposite end of the room whenever possible. He seemed to be avoiding me as well.
My first few dances after he arrived were detached and the smile I had on my face was very fake. I tried to stay in the moment, think happy thoughts (such as putting the image in my head of A on one knee) and remind myself that L can’t harm me anymore. I hope I don’t see him again ever… but at least it was bearable to run into him. I’m so thankful that my PTSD has been giving me a break these last couple months.