Sobbing, I called my parents two weeks into Spring semester of my sophomore year of college.
I need to go home, and I need to leave here - now.
I'm...miserable. I can't take it any more. I'm actually losing my mind.
I had no idea what Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS) were at the time, but I had a textbook case. I was doing everything the doctors were telling me to do, which mainly involved reducing my alcohol intake and staying on top of my prescription meds; however, when I returned to school to begin my spring semester, there was something happening inside me that no amount of Zyprexa, Risperdal, Depakote, Wellbutrin, or Ativan could mask.
Even writing about this right now is making my heart pound in my chest. I have to breathe and remind myself that I am in a safe place. It's a weird concept to me - this telling myself that I am safe now - because was I ever really not safe?
I have difficulty describing what was happening inside me during this time. I was experiencing emotions, but they didn't feel like the traditional emotions - fear, sadness/hurt, anger, or joy. If I had to choose from the basic emotions, I would say that I was experiencing all four of them in a disorganized, chaotic sort of way. Even joy, I think.
It wasn't pleasant joy. It was more like weird waves of energy and dissociation. A feeling like there was no foundation upon which I could stand anymore. A feeling like if I didn't stop running, I would fall into a deep hole. A deep abyss where there was no...Me.
I felt a longing to go home. At home, I felt like I would feel safe again. I would be reminded of who I was. I could regain my footing in the world. Reestablish my foundation and feel whole again. I was 19, but I wanted nothing more than to run into my parents' arms and have them take care of me. I never imagined - never, ever, ever - that going home for that semester was one of the worst, if not the worst, decisions I could have made.
I used to think that there was some universal law that meant parents still loved you - for you - no matter how badly you screwed up. That parents had some remarkable innate quality that enabled them to see the best in their children no matter what. I thought fathers remained protective of their daughters no matter how old they were. And that if a guy ever harmed one's daughter, particularly if a guy ever raped her, the father would want to hunt the guy down?
Of course, there is no universal law that states this - I sure wish the One up above would write one! I can't control my parents any more than I can control the rest of the universe, but I am going to make sure that unconditional love is no stranger in the lives of my future children.
I had written out a lot more for this post and ended up impulsively deleting it. I'm going to listen to myself and recognize that I am not ready to go there. It doesn't mean I'll never be. Just not tonight.
And that's okay.