Attending a group therapy session is an interesting thing. It's easy to read the statistics that say one in four girls will be sexually abused at some point in her life but when you sit in a roomful of women and hear your exact thoughts coming out of their mouth, it takes your breath away.
While what we say in group is bound by confidentiality, I am interested in exploring certain topics that are brought up a little further. One thing that we talked about was post traumatic stress disorder. I've had a couple people tell me that they thought I was going through it and my conversation in the group really led me to see how much it's affecting me.
Although three predominant things that I've been going through are sleeplessness (even though I never sleep well, now I'm lucky to manage four or five hours a night), misplaced rage (thankfully only against inanimate objects, the rotten bastards!), and lack of appetite, probably the hardest thing to cope with is my response to certain stimuli.
When I see a black car like my STBX's, I immediately start shaking. My hands can shake so hard that I have difficulty holding onto the steering wheel. My heart starts to pound as well and I feel nauseated.
By the way, do you realize how many old black cars are out there?
I get the same reaction when someone says my last name. It's not MY last name, it's his. It symbolizes everything that he has done and I despise it.
Another absolutely wonderful thing that happens is that I get this same response when I drive by one of the many branches of the pharmacy where he works as a delivery driver. Or even when their company car passes me on the road. Or when I walked by their company booth at the Women's Expo this weekend. I actually stopped dead in my tracks and started shaking so bad I couldn't move. Not a good thing when you're cheek to jowl with twenty thousand rabid women bent on collecting the most cheap plastic give aways/future landfill.
Of course, the most difficult thing is the awful visions I have after having read the charges mailed to me by the St. Louis County Attorney's Office. I told the police woman that I wasn't up to reading the police report but then I got all the facts from reading the charge sheet.
The thing is, I'm very good at hiding it. Occasionally, I'll hold my hands out in front of me and show a friend how it looks like I'm having a bad case of the DT's, but mostly I'll just disappear into my office or the bathroom or my car and fall apart on my own. I have so many wonderful friends but when it comes to absolutely losing my shit, it's a very singular experience.
I haven't had a literary reference in a long time and this strikes painfully close to home:
"Thus I visited each of my friends in turn, trying with fumbling fingers, to prise open their locked caskets. I went from one to the other holding my sorrow - no, not my sorrow but the incomprehensible nature of this our life - for their inspection. Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends. I to my own heart, I to seek among phrases and fragments something unbroken - I to whom there is not beauty enough in moon or tree; to whom the touch of one person with another is all, yet who cannot grasp even that, who am so imperfect, so weak, so unspeakably lonely."- Virginia Woolf