I know I was sexually abused when I was very young. I have two images, one like a still photo and another like a snippet of film, of the abuse.
I also have physical scars with no memory or context around them.
I went to therapy briefly about 18 years ago because I thought the abuse should be dealt with. But I stopped going bc I had so few memories and it seemed like it really wasn’t relevant to the present. Plus, therapy hurt. It seemed easier to just move on.
And then this weekend happened. I was standing on my back apartment patio with a friend. A mover was pulling things out of the outside closet. The containers were filthy, with dirt, leaves, cobwebs. Suddenly, fear hit me like a truck. It knocked the wind out of me. I couldn’t breathe. I ran inside the almost empty apartment and tried to calm myself but I couldnt.
The logical me first thought I was having a panic attack. I’d read about those and with my uncontrollable heartbeat, it seemed like this was probably what was happening.
But there was more. I was terrified. I couldn’t breathe and I suddenly started crying. I began pacing, in circles, like a caged animal.
I felt crazed. I knew there was no rational reason for the sheer terror I felt but I couldn’t stop feeling it. I felt like one of those dogs you see running in traffic, just running and running, running past people trying to help them even, because fear overrode all of their senses.
I went into a bedroom. And I completely disassociated. I felt like I was up in the corner of the room watching myself lose it. I felt crazy. I couldn’t stop the fear. The overwhelming fear and wanting to escape but knowing I couldn’t. And I just wept and wept because I was so scared.
I kept trying to calm myself. My friend was trying to get me to focus on the here and now. Intellectually, I knew I was safe and I needed to be back in body but I couldn’t control anything I was feeling.
Eventually, I calmed down. It took about 30 to 40 minutes. It took about an hour to feel like I was fully back in my body.
I knew immediately afterwards that I was at risk for this happening again.
I feel like this is the first crack in the wall between my conscious mind and my memories.
I feel like there are memories, like monsters in a lake that has frozen over, pushing up against the ice from below, determined to break through. This emotional flashback is the first crack in the surface. And I’m terrified.
I’m going to research therapy options now because it is clear that I can’t outrun the things I thought I’d forgotten.