A Journey from Victim to Survivor…to Living Freely

Another Anniversary

on April 22, 2014

April 13th brought the two year anniversary of the rape…which (apparently, obviously) brought back memories…and “only” a few flashbacks.  What was interesting to me (and I can write about it more clearly now that I am not in emotional mind) is that the Friday prior to the 13th was more difficult (the rape occurred on Friday the 13th).  I found myself working through the day and thinking and thinking and thinking.  It helped to meet with my psychologist on that Friday to work through a plan for the day and the weekend.  Memories that previous week had threatened to overwhelm me…and Friday was no different…I slept in my cocoon sleeping bag to ward off nightmares and to remind myself I was safe.  In fact, “I am safe, I am safe” was playing on my lips as I went to sleep Friday night.  Saturday brought a, much debated, date.  It’s someone I have gone out with once before (one of those 6-8 hour first dates) and we had made plans for Saturday.  However, given the tears and my inability to know if I’d be ‘okay’ at any given point on Saturday made me go back and forth with whether to keep the date.  With the help of my psychologist, we decided on an afternoon date–one that would be over before the sun went down.  And, the plan worked.  It helped that the weather was beautiful (April in Ohio has brought snow and an 80 degree day….meaning that March and April had brought a nearly non-ending migraine with a number of ER trips–hence the lack of updating…just being a somewhat functional adult was all I could manage)–and I was nearly headache free that day–a gift.  We spent the day outdoors exploring the historic area of my town.  We laughed, we held hands…he knew what the weekend was and was ready to support me however I needed.  I worked on being mindful and enjoying all of those moments…the laughter, the sunshine, the company…and even managed to eat an early dinner (on a patio–a favorite place to eat for me)–which was nice given that food has become difficult with the migraine, nausea and anniversary all converging.  I was doing it!  I was proving that I was healing.  I was showing myself that this rape is part of my past and doesn’t define my living today.  However, I was being skillful and accepting the emotion and the sudden tears…and I wasn’t judging it.


Sunday arrived and it felt helpful that the actual anniversary fell on a Sunday–Palm Sunday.  I was doing a reading at church, I had my children with me…I could get by by thinking in short bursts and moments.  In getting home on Sunday afternoon, however, I was overcome by a Rip Van Winkle exhaustion.  And, my ‘nap’ turned into a three and a half day sleep.  I wasn’t up for more than an hour or two at a time and was sleeping 12 hours at night.  I was terrified that something was horribly wrong.  My neurologist got phone calls, my psychologist got emails and phone calls…when would I stop sleeping so much?  The answers came from various members of the team.  Apparently, the brain has been working overtime, as it does with trauma recovery.  The migraine activity added to it.  My brain got my through the the week leading up, the Friday, Saturday…and half of the day on Sunday…and then it just couldn’t do any more.  It needed sleep.  And, I slept.  And I cried.  And I tried to imagine a time that I wouldn’t need so much sleep…it didn’t seem possible.  It helped that the week was Holy Week and I was able to attend a number of the evening services.  A few of them included the healing of hands which I eagerly accepted…please, let me heal my mind, body and spirit.


And yet, I awoke on Thursday…not feeling completely rested, but not feeling quite so exhausted.  And I have spent the last week trying to get into a ‘groove’…one that involves taking in the sunshine when there is some, spending quality time with the kids, getting good sleep at night, attempting to figure out if this new relationship is the one for me, doing 1-2 things around the house each day (today is bathrooms and laundry), trying to stay hydrated…and, trying to get on track with my meal plan.


Today brings some rain…but my eyes are not crying with the skies…and I feel I can breathe easier, knowing that I have made it through another anniversary.  And, this anniversary wasn’t as utterly painful as the last.  And, I didn’t hurt myself.  I kept myself safe and treated myself with compassion.


Healing is possible.  I haven’t erased the past, but, as my pastor has taught me, I can write over the past with how I live each day now…and, I have come so far.  I am not recovered, but I am recovering…and that counts for quite a bit.




10 responses to “Another Anniversary

  1. Mandy says:

    So many ((hugs)) for you today. I’m so very sorry you have this “anniversary” to mark your calendar. Hang on to all your support beams. They’ll hold you up when you need them. ❤

  2. thank you for posting this. Your hope, and the relief from the intense struggle and crying and flashbacks that you experience, is encouraging to me. If you can still keep going, I can at least try.

    • It is possible to heal…and, truly, the flashback and a couple nightmares were rough…AND, it wasn’t as bad as the non-stop flashbacks and nightmares during that first year….it’s not easy….but it is easier. I know how to use skills…I know how to keep myself safe…I am so much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for–and so are you ❤ You can do this!!!! You really can. Step by step….XOXO!

  3. Lori Lara says:

    hugs to you, brave one…what a great display of the process of recovery. Up and down, processing, reaching for the good, and all the choices in between. Good for you…

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