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To ask if anyone has ever had a really delayed response to a traumatic life experience? *TRIGGER*

(19 Posts)
choccywoccywoowah Mon 13-Mar-17 00:55:46

So I was raped as a 13 year old by a much older man (15 years ago now). Police were involved but not sure why it didn't go to court - memories are hazy. Don't feel strong enough to ask family why.

I have NEVER even given this incident a second thought so it's really unexpected that I have been having nightmares, panic attacks and crying about it at night. I havent even wanted my small children to touch me - anticipated contact is fine but not 'intrusive' touching - not that they even can comprehend that at 2 and 4 years!

I was burgled whilst we were all in bed asleep and under huge pressure from uni - so can only think that's part of it. I also think I actually didn't recognise it for what it was and almost felt that I had had 'grown up' sex (this makes me feel ashamed) rather than a rape at 13 so intoxicated and too young to consent. After a few horrific weeks, I have been prescribed antidepressants and start counselling in the next few days, so I am taking steps to look after myself. Tablets kicked in now so I feel OK.

I'm just trying to understand my own feelings and wondering if anybody else had had similar experiences?

choccywoccywoowah Mon 13-Mar-17 01:28:10

It''s like tonight. I'm meant to be at uni tomorrow for the first time in weeks to discuss mitigating circumstances but I have drank alcohol and am awake anxious as fuck. OH and children sound asleep. I feel like my life is spiralling out of control. I have never had mental health issues before.

SignOnTheWindow Mon 13-Mar-17 01:31:45

flowers to you choccy - and good on you for seeking help.

To answer your question, yes - a major bereavement 7 years ago (plus some other stuff a few years before that) plus some par for the course work stress = huge mental breakdown.

Counselling has helped a bit and so have the meds.

Good luck flowers

SignOnTheWindow Mon 13-Mar-17 01:33:45

Can you focus on something right now? I find that making a hot drink and sipping it slowly helps with the spiralling out of control feelings. Or staring at a crossword and failing to do it.

SignOnTheWindow Mon 13-Mar-17 01:34:58

Are you safe?

choccywoccywoowah Mon 13-Mar-17 01:41:08

I am safe. Just feel like I want to wake my partner up for comfort but that wouldnt be fair. I feel like I am just constantly on the edge. I don't feel suicidal but wouldn't care if I didn't wake up tomorrow if that makes sense?! I am probably going to fuck up uni when I am on track for a very comfortable first class degree. Partner doesn't know what to say to me. Plus sometimes I am absolutely fine and then can crash in mood which makes me feel like a complete fraud.

choccywoccywoowah Mon 13-Mar-17 01:44:04

And thanks Sign for sharing your experience

SignOnTheWindow Mon 13-Mar-17 01:48:20

Oh, that definitely does make sense. I have said almost exactly those same things. According to the psychiatrist, Dr and counsellor I saw, the feeling like a fraud thing is very, very common. I actually tried to convince them all that I didn't deserve any help.

The anxiety to me feels a bit like the moments when you think you've left your bag on the bus or something and your heart just leaps into your mouth.

Do you have the Samaritans' number? You don't have to be 'actively' suicidal to chat to them. 08457 909090.

If it helps, a friend of mine had to take a year out of uni because of mental health problems. She got her first in the end.

SignOnTheWindow Mon 13-Mar-17 01:49:05

P.S. not at all. I'm awake if you need to keep chatting.

Ginkypig Mon 13-Mar-17 01:54:36

Ok so I don't want you to feel like I'm minimising anything because I'm absolutely not!

What your talking about is normal, in fact common for very many trauma survivors.

The trauma happens to them
They minimise or ignore it to cope either because they don't want to or the circumstances of their life (like family) means they feel they must put it away.
That sets of an unhealthy cycle of unresolved emotions that happen under the consciousness of the person because they have got "stuck" in step 2
Then months or years later something happens that triggers the emotions that had always been there but because they didn't know they were there and had never acknowledged the truth of how big the trauma they suffered was they have a massive reaction to them.

The trigger can be tiny or big, it can be something you recognise like your example of a new trauma or it can pass you by and you never find out what "set you off"

The good thing is though you have recognised it and by coming here you realise that it's not something to ignore.

There is help out there and I think it would be very helpful if you tried to get some. There are organisations like rape crisis, there are specific organisations for childhood sexual abuse (which you also qualify for) the gp etc.

I'm very very sorry your finding things tough. I can't tell you it ever goes away but things can be much better than they are now. I know some people who after they have done some therapy they can put it to rest for 99%

most of all I'm very sorry you went through such a horrible experience

MrsA2015 Mon 13-Mar-17 01:54:47

Awake here too and hoping you pull through this awful time. Similar circumstances happened to me and I spent 2 years really struggling to understand everything, eventually with the right help and learning to love myself again I've pulled through. You can do thisflowers

mimishimmi Mon 13-Mar-17 01:56:18

Yes. I was molested at eight. For years I thought the police dealt with it and he went to jail. So I didn't think too much about it. A few years ago my dad had a bit of a breakdown and said not only did the police not do anything after pressing charges, he didn't go to jail and did it again many times and years later Dad found out his father was a wealthy 'protected' pedophile.

We seem to live in a society filled with war criminals /predators supported by some of the most powerful institutions who are supposed to protect us. I've had some serious MH issues related to this over past 16 years.

WesternMeadowlark Mon 13-Mar-17 02:23:26

It would be totally understandable if being burgled triggered this; having your house broken into is often, even usually, experienced as something very violating, like the home is an extension of the self.

If you let your partner sleep, you are doing something constructive by making sure that at least one of you is well-rested and in a good place to help keep things together. If you wake him/her up for comfort, then you're achieving something by reaching out for help, which is often not easy. Either way, there is something positive to be found.

You can be ok again. Be kind to yourself. flowers

choccywoccywoowah Mon 13-Mar-17 18:52:19

Thank you all for replying to me last night. I managed to get to sleep around 4am. It's really difficult when it's just so unexpected. I'm trying to be kind to myself. Sending strength to all who are going/have been through similar issues.

JoJoSM2 Mon 13-Mar-17 19:42:29

Good luck with the therapy. I hope you manage to work through this. My experience was very trivial by comparison, but my mind acted similarly a while ago. I once fell out of a boat. Seemed not to have been affected at first but a few months later I started having nightmares about it... I can't even begin to imagine what an impact your experience must have had on you and can completely imagine that it can haunt you years later. So good luck with everything again.

joystir59 Mon 13-Mar-17 20:00:55

Therapy will help you safely access the experience you had as a thirteen year old, process the feelings and move through them. Try to reach back to your thirteen year old self and give her a huge hug. You did whatever you had to do back then to survive- which meant locking the emotions away until you could deal with them. I was sexually abused 13-15 and also locked the whole experience away for many years- therapy and talking about the experience with someone I trusted helped me understand the reality of what had happened to me- which I too had thought of as a 'grown up' experience.

Sending you much love choccy

NolongerAnxiousCarer Mon 13-Mar-17 20:32:40

flowers choccy yes it is very common for PTSD to occur, months, or years after the trauma. I highly reccomend a treatment called Eye Movement Integration. A similar treatment that is more mainstream is called EDMR.

DearMrDilkington Mon 13-Mar-17 20:44:15

I've experienced similar. Slightly different circumstances but very similar to you. In my case I didn't realise how bad it was until many years later, then it suddenly hit me like a train.

I've moved on from it all, but still have anxiety about having sex and I dislike being touched.

Sorry you've been through it, remember your not alone.flowers

fassbendersmistress Mon 13-Mar-17 20:55:00

Similar happened to me. I had a breakdown a few years back triggered by a period of really extreme work stress. What I hadn't bargained on was it also triggering PTSD and me recalling an attack that happened 20yrs earlier when I was a child that I had completely buried and convinced myself had not actually happened. I suffered a horrendous period of constantly reliving the attack and being very depressed. Like you Ads and counselling helped. Talking therapy, as hard as it is at times, will really help. In the meantime, try and find the time to start practicing mindfulness if you can - it can really help with managing the intrusive thoughts and anxiety Whilst you go through the therapy journey. I also found writing things down helped take the edge off sometimes and let me enjoy moments with my family instead of being constantly overwhelmed and anxious. It's a long road, but the fact you are now on it is strangely a good thing (for you, your future and your family). You just need to trust the process. Be kind and patient with yourself (and the DC will be absolutely fine).

Good luck flowers

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