Friday, December 2, 2011

Therapy #8: I handed over some journal entries

I had therapy on Tuesday, and I think it went well. We actually only ended up having about 20 minutes to talk about "therapy things" because  we are still ironing out a plan for me to get back on track academically. I will...keep your fingers crossed...finish 3 of my 5
courses by the end of this semester. The other two classes I will likely finish the first week of next semester.

I printed out two posts from my blog ("Most intense trigger from college" and "A moment to vent") and took them to therapy with me, not really knowing exactly what I planned to do with them. I talked around what happened for about 10 minutes and didn't breakdown in the process - huge step for me in therapy!

Strangely though, when my therapist commented that we would "talk" about the pages next session if we ran out of time during this week's session, the emotions started bubbling up (but I'd like to add that they were contained, halelujah!) - what the heck is it about the word "talk"  these days that sets my emotions astir?!

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. TALK. TALK. TALK!

Not a problem writing it. If you were to say to me, "I'd like to talk to you," or in any other context other than my therapy setting or about any other topic, I'd run into no problems. I've never been so locked up in therapy before. Strangely, I really believe that if this were 9 years ago, I would be talking up a storm. This stuff actually used to come out like word vomit sometimes.

For example, when I first started dating my now husband at the end of our junior year in college (a year and a half after my rape), I remember telling him a brief history of what happened. Very brief because I was talking very fast. Like I had to get it out. Off my chest. I puked out the gist of my story, rushing to get to the end, the main point of why I was letting him in on my secret - "So now do you think differently of me? I understand if you do, but I need to know."

I had yet to come to terms with the fact that I had been raped. I mean, I had the emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms of someone who had been raped, but I was still trying to rewrite history. Still trying to convince myself that the guy, whose presence on campus was causing me to have panic attacks (I checked myself into the emergency room on 3 occasions because I kept thinking I was having a heart attack due to these panic episodes...I know, a little kooky), but I thought THIS guy wasn't capable of knowingly violating my body. It made more sense to me that all of the disruptions in my life that followed that night were evidence that I was weak. Crazy. Not worth of respect. He must have seen this side of me and thought what he did was okay because he knew I was a lousy person.

Thankfully, I have the wherewithal to realize that these accusations, my own accusations, are not true. Although I still struggle with some of these same confidence issues and lack of sense of self, the rational side of me can at least see through the fog of lying emotions. Now, it's just time to get all sides of me caught up to this revelation! Anyway, I diverge...

Had my now husband said, "yes, I think differently of you, and I no longer want to date you," I would have accepted it in a heart beat. I was trying to put up a tough front, but the truth was that I didn't really think I was worth dating. If he couldn't date someone as tainted as me, I would have sadly accepted that as a legitimate reason for not wanting to be with me. You see, I still had a broken record playing through my mind at the time ("whore, whore, whore, whore"), and I really felt like everyone around me had the same critical tune playing through their head about me. My husband and I were falling hard for each other - it had only been 2 or so weeks since we'd started dating, and here I was gushing out all of my emotional baggage in one giant tornado. Looking back, he probably thought I was being "open" and "honest," letting him in on my personal life because of our blossoming relationship.

But the truth was simply this...I had a gapping hole where my sense of self once was. Since that night - that damn stupid night - I had been filling that hole with self-loathing and fear of people. I could tell that my husband was falling for me fast, and it scared me. Surely, he would change his mind when he realized I was a fraud of a person? Dirty. Used. A means to an end. I truly felt like that night defined me as a person. If he was no longer going to be interested in me once he learned the truth about me, well, I needed to know up front. I needed to protect myself. My wall was not strong at that point, but I was already building the foundation.

Now, here I sit, years later. I still don't feel "like myself." I think I've just been trying for years to accept this other person, who I don't know very well, as my new self. Forcing her to be my new "normal."

Well, luckily, I realize that I'm worth more than settling to be a ghost. Somewhere in me is the person who is passionate about life - not just pretending to be passionate about it. I'm not going to settle for anything less. I. am. sick. of. pretending. I want to be me - and free! It's clear to me looking over what I've written that I am in a much better place now mentally than I was my junior year of college. I find it funny though that I could have this major revelation and dedicate myself to healing, but no longer have access to the words that were readily available when I was at my worst! I'm hoping that handing over those papers will help me regain access to my voice. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.....!


  1. Talking about this stuff is way harder than writing. It always have been for me and it will be for the foreseeable future. Writing about this stuff allows for a measure of dissociation from our emotions. We write so freely because we can more easily (seemingly) pretend to be the strong person on the outside. Talking about this stuff isn't rehearsed, we can't hit the backspace button and delete the words. Once we speak the word rape, it is out there and can't be taken back. It is the fear of not being able to delete what we said. Also our fear and emotions are more profoundly displayed in voice as opposed to text. We have become so tired of feeling weak, that the last thing we feel we can handle is feeling vulnerable and weak to people who respect us.

    I bet you something, and I bet you could ask your husband about this. When you told your husband way back then about what happened to you, I bet that was one of the moments he realized that he was falling in love with you. It was probably the moment he realized that he cared deeply for you.

    I am glad you are sharing some of your blog posts with your therapist. I think it will help her understand YOU better.

    Melanie, this is for you. (((hug)))

    Keep up the good healing work. You are doing so good.

  2. worth waiting for... your husbandDecember 3, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    Melanie has given me permission to read some of her posts and also comment on this one.

    Jayme, you are absolutely right, within the first two weeks of dating I cared deeply for my future wife, and that moment she told me what happened, all I could think about was how I could make her know that what had happened to her was NOT her fault and didn't change the way I felt about her then or now, that is, I was CRAZY about her and still am. Soon after that conversation, I realized that these feelings I felt were more than a crush or infatuation. It was love. It took me six weeks to tell my best friends that it was love, but it took me 6 more months to tell my wife. How stupid is that?

    Melanie, these words and these entries you write show how beautiful, strong, spirited and wonderful you are. I am so proud of your strength and so lucky that I get your love in return.

    I miss you. See you on Skype!

  3. Hi Jaime, thank you for reading and commenting. I agree with everything you said about how/why talking is more difficult than writing. I'm determined to figure out how to jump this hurdle because I do believe that it will be helpful...well, maybe not initially, but definitely in the long run.

    Interesting point you make about my husband. I will share this post with him and see what he says. Your comment was very kind and brought a huge smile to my face. I have only really ever associated negative emotions with that moment so it was nice to think of it in a different light.

    Thank you for the encouragement regarding therapy. I don't know why I have been so freaked out by it because I'm guessing sharing some of what I've written can only be helpful. I will report back how it goes.

  4. worth waiting for...your husband [nice screen name, by the way ;-) ] I have a huge smile on my face after reading your comment. I am going to continue to work hard to see myself the way you see me. Thank you for seeing past all this stuff.

  5. I have a huge smile on my face after reading these comments too. Melanie, you have a wonderful husband and the two of you are so good for each other. The two of you make me believe that happiness, true intimacy, and love can exist after life's tragedies. The love you two have and openly share for one another is an inspiration.

    This is for the both of you as a COUPLE. (((hug)))

  6. Thank you, Jaime. And there is no doubt in my mind that you will find all of the above as well.

  7. You are welcome. Although I can't even imagine wanting a relationship right now, I do hope to be as blessed as you are someday.