Filed under: fear, night, survivor, Uncategorized | Tags: anxiety, fear, phobia, PTSD, survivor of child sexual abuse
Last week I did something incredibly courageous. I took a shower when no one else was home. I really wanted to take a shower, and gosh darn it, I took one! It was WONDERFUL. Generally, since the shower is such an issue for me (see this and this post), I have to wait until someone is home so that I can feel safe enough to shower. But not last week! I fucking showered! And it was fucking great!
With every step forward, there is a step back. Sometimes the steps forward are like giant steps, and sometimes they are more like baby steps. Last week’s shower was a fucking giant step. But progress is never linear. It doesn’t follow a straight line up. It’s just not how progress works. Not with surviving child sexual abuse, and honestly, not with anything else either. So this week there was a minor setback.
Last night when it was time to go to bed, my ex checked under the bed and in the closet for me. She turned on the house alarm, and checked all the doors in our home to make sure they were securely locked. Then she said goodnight, and went to her room, and I stayed alone in my bedroom. This is our usual routine. Even though I saw her check in my closet, I still couldn’t shake the fear that someone was in my closet. I knew it was my own fear, and I knew no one could possibly be in the closet, but I was still so afraid! I kept reminding myself “She checked the closet. I saw her check the closet.” I reminded myself that when I was in the bathroom, I had my bedroom door closed. I would have seen someone go into the bedroom. Or I would have heard them open the door and walk in. No one could possibly be in the closet.
Then I thought about how someone could break into my home and take my son. Or rape us both. G-d forbid, G-d forbid. I am afraid right now even typing these words.
But you see what my mind did there, right? Once I couldn’t be reasonably afraid of the closet anymore, my anxiety went to the next logical place of fear.
My therapist says that if you have done everything you possibly can to keep safe, like have a house alarm, lock your doors, and own a dog, then that is all you can do. At that point, since you have done everything possible that you need to feel safe, you can rest assured in your own safety.
But last night it wasn’t enough. No amount of calming self-talk was enough. I was too scared, and logic couldn’t fix my fears last night. It was probably about 3AM when I finally fell asleep, after four hours of trying to calm myself enough to be able to go to sleep.
And that is the rub of being a child sexual abuse survivor. No one sees this part, the part where we are forever scared of night and darkness and sleeping and showering because those are all things that make us vulnerable, and we understand all too well what happens to us when we are vulnerable. No one but those who live with us or those we let in to our little worlds get to see this part of us. For instance, I am meeting a friend for lunch today. She might think I look tired, and she will assume it is because I have been working so hard at work. I have been working hard at work, but you and I both know that I have also put a lot of hard work just into surviving every day and night.
Being too afraid to sleep, to the point where I only got 4 good hours of sleep last night. This is yet another effect of surviving the incest and child sexual abuse that is hidden from the world. This is why you shouldn’t fuck kids.
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