Feeling like you lost control
Last week at my support group the team lead asked me what was the first loss I felt after the attack. I answered CONTROL, as every other woman in the group nodded their head in agreement. Everyone in the room knew what it felt like to be powerless and overtaken by helplessness.
My whole life I have been a planner and felt I was always in control of what was happening (this was obviously not true). The loss of control over my own body the night of the rape was earth shattering to me. I felt invaded physically, emotionally and mentally. Grasping for control after the fact felt like grasping at shards of glass from a mirror that was beyond repair. A daily anxiety became consuming as I tried to control everything around me. Years later I still suffer from a feeling of loss of control in my life. I try to avoid anything that is a trigger or potentially could make me feel at war with myself but there will be times, despite my proactive lifestyle, that I feel victim to my body's memory. The unsolicited: shaking, vomiting, flashbacks, fight or flight feeling, memories and emotions such as anger, sadness, anxiety and helplessness can catch me off guard. They feel like my body is betraying me; doesn’t it know I just want to move on?
Will I ever feel like I am in complete control again?
It is not possible to be in control of everything around you and sometimes you cannot control the events that are happening to you. What I have learned, is that I can control how I process these things. I will have set backs in my recovery but I will not let those setbacks determine my future or make me give up. I make it a practice to try to take the negatives I am presented with in my life and turn them into something positive. Yes I was a victim of rape but I am also a survivor. I am alive.
Do I wish I never had been raped? Of course I do. But would I change it? Probably not. It has made me the person I am today. I have made countless connections by embracing this lesson in empathy. Especially with mental illness you do not see physical evidence of the pain or struggle that someone is going through, it is important to remember that unless you have walked in another's shoes there is no way to know their full story.