I had therapy yesterday. More EMDR processing.
Of my rape.
And I got to a stage where I just said, despite the tensions I hold in my body – and this one is different to the other traumas, in that I feel like a rod is passed down my throat, and comes out of my vagina, and the tightness around the length of the rod is juxtaposed against the softness, floppiness, fleshiness, all around it – I just kinda opt out.
Usually, I just feel tight all through an entire area – for example, my back, or my chest. Mostly my tummy and throat.
I said to Kirsty, it’s like I just want to fly away from it all, I’m BORED with this memory.
We talked some more about this, and I told her that when it happened, I seemed to process it quite well, and the trauma returned with a vengeance after I found out Roger had been cheating on me. I felt even more violated then.
And the feelings about the rape magnified, and I realise I must have completely dissociated from the rape, in order to carry on at university, and “get on with my life” after my virginity was stolen from me so violently and I was ripped to shreds, stitched up, etc.
Kirsty agreed. I dissociated almost completely to cope. I was determined that the actions of one arsehole were not going to ruin my future. I talked about how I tense up, and feel nauseous when I see my rapist on TV – as he has a leadership role in an industry I am involved in, and he does “pop up” from time to time. That is the trauma I have carried for over thirty years. And it explains my distress since the affair with Leanne was exposed by her, about the rape.
That confused the hell out of me, and I know Rog never understood the trauma.
If you’ve experienced depersonalization or derealization, you should be aware that such an extreme response to actual traumatic events can be triggered again, even long afterward, by events that may or may not be threatening. If this happens, you could “automatically” enter a dissociative state at the first hint of potential trauma. If the situation isn’t actually threatening, you may appear “spaced-out” to others. On the other hand, if there is a real threat, dissociating from it when escape might otherwise be possible could expose you to the risk of harm.
I definitely experience it like this. I tend to zone out at times at work or in social situations that feel overwhelming. Especially after I have a period of nausea. I just dissociate. As I did during the EMDR processing yesterday. I kind of tell my brain, “I’m BORED with this trauma. Imma just gonna fly away over here, look at the pretty flowers…”
It’s weird. How trauma can lie fairly dormant in the brain, for decades, and an event, or series of events (like a multiple cheating partner, discovered decades into what looked like an amazing love story) can open the whole can of worms, and you really are at a huge disadvantage as you are trying to heal from the betrayal, and ALL the things land on you at once.
Not bloody helpful, brain!
I sent the co-author of our book chapter an apology email last night. I really did kinda drop the ball a bit near the end of the editing process, and she totally picked it up and ran at speed with it, thankfully. She said not to apologise, that my cancer diagnosis, and subsequent trauma after my surgery and radiotherapy were obvious and totally understandable. I admitted to PTSD and she said, “I’m not surprised, you were handling it all so well on the outside, sorting yours and your kids’ lives out under huge shock.”
What a complete love she is!
Again, people around me to help me when I need them. I can’t tell you how blessed I feel and how incredibly grateful I am for the empathy, love, and care of my peeps.