A Journey from Victim to Survivor…to Living Freely

I am safe….I am safe….I am safe….

on November 9, 2012

When PTSD and flashbacks and tears and terror overwhelm me, my mantra begins…I am safe….I am safe…I am safe….

I am grounded by several other mantras, as well…and I find that I naturally use them at certain times “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me” for when I am struggling with ED…”Breathe…right now, all you have to do is breathe” when I am unraveling and am overwhelmed to my core.  With flashbacks and flashes and memories and excessive startle reflex and nightmares, it is “I am safe”.  I repeated it in my head as my eyes were covered for the facial, I repeated it as I traveled home from visiting my friend, I repeat it as I fall asleep.  I am safe…for the first time, in as long as I can remember…this is a true statement.

And, I have sat here looking at that…and thinking…and the tears come…that was never true….and it is now.  I am safe.

This is the first time in my life that someone is not berating or ridiculing me…that someone is not threatening to hurt me…that someone is not grabbing, pushing, shoving, hitting me…that I can walk around my house–not on eggshells…that I can take a shower for as long as I want…that I can wear jewelry or scented lotion or the clothing that I like….that I can go to the grocery store and buy the foods that I want (well, right now–the foods I need….I will get to the point that I WANT certain foods!)….that I can arrange furniture and paint walls the ways that I like….that my body is not always in an ‘alert’ position-ready for danger than could come from any direction….I am safe.

I didn’t realize I wasn’t safe…the ‘walking on eggshells’, make everyone happy, I don’t need anything–what do you need?, keep the peace, tow the line, smile and put one foot in front of the other….I had lived that for so long…the abuse had started when I was a toddler (or before…I don’t know….)…and continued throughout childhood and my teens years…and at 21, I moved from my dysfunctional home into a new dysfunctional home…in the name of love…and really–it didn’t feel dysfunctional.  It felt much better…and I was willing to lose those parts of me to make the relationship work…and the marriage work….and I knew how to ‘play the game’…I had lived it for so long.  It wasn’t until ‘getting out’ and beginning to feel safe that I started to gain clarity…I had never known that feeling.

And so, the rape then shook my newly formed foundation….and I came crashing down….and relapsed into the only ‘safety’ I knew….ED gave me the greatest safety net…that comfy coat….

Today, nine months after my ex moved out, seven months after I was raped, three months after starting intensive treatment for the eating disorder….I am safe.


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