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Jul 14

3:51 am

It’s 3:51 am, I have my first interview for a position in my field after graduation at 11:30 am. I should be fast asleep, not staring at my ceiling as if it were an empty void. Sleep sounds wonderful in theory, but my PTSD refuses to let me be the prey of an attack in the sleep. I must be awake at all times to prevent what could happen while I am not alert and ready to fight back. PTSD is protecting me from my past repeating itself. “The exhaustion is worth being safe and secure” it reminds me in the form of alarm-like lullaby’s ringing from my left to right ear.

In reality, safe is the last thing I feel. After moving home, I am now sleeping in the same bed where both of my assaults happened. I try to forget, I do. I’m waiting until I get a couple of paychecks so I can buy new bedding and perhaps that will be enough to distract the horror that occurred here. The abandoned battlefield that I lay my head down to sleep in is one I cannot run from. I can’t run or hide from the horrors that exist beyond these sheets.

It’s now 4:11 am. All night I have been tossing and turning, battling a mind-numbing headache that can’t seem to pass. I stare off to the other side of my room where my bed once was, watching my voice and life be stolen by someone I was supposed to be able to trust. I hide my heads under the cover and close my eyes before the tears can escape. I breathe in and out. In and out, keep breathing, FOCUS. You’re okay, just focus on something else. I hold myself while staring at my bottle of melatonin at my bedside. I haven’t been able to take it for months. Even though melatonin helps me sleep, my mind restrains my hand from reaching over and grabbing the bottle. The fear of sleep prevents me from helping myself. Instead, I return my hand to my chest where I hold it and try to relieve the pressure and return my airy breaths to normal. I hold my head and wish with all my heart to just escape this life. Help. Help. Help. HELP. I then feel myself starting to cry. In that moment, although the world was quiet and at peace, the hell I created was up in flames around me. I finally sat up and opened my laptop, and here we are.

It’s 4:21 am, and right now this is where I am. The road to recovery isn’t always an inspirational one full of hope. Sometimes, it’s the heartbreak and dread knowing I have to return to the exact place I fear the most. It’s the anxiety that drapes over me like a heavy blanket, the anger that boils deep in my chest. It’s staring blankly at my phone, trying to find something of interest to keep me awake for just five more minutes. It’s mindlessly eating to fill a void in your heart that was hollowed out by two boys.

Post-traumatic stress disorder isn’t always loud and in your face. Often, it is silent and mysterious. PTSD is having flashbacks in the middle of the sales floor at work for no given reason but having to hide it. PTSD is the anchor tied to my ankle when your friends ask you to go out and have a drink. PTSD is the alarm ringing in my head when I try and sleep anywhere besides a locked room, alone. PTSD is the wave of shock that surges through my body after any loud noise in my vicinity PTSD is the movement of my finger mindlessly scrolling through Instagram at 6 am when I should be sleeping. PTSD is sitting at your desk at 4:27 am writing with no direction instead of getting a good night’s sleep for your interview in the morning.

 

It’s okay not to be okay. This statement is true; I stand by this statement so wholeheartedly and I will continue to tell myself and any other brave survivor recovering this. However, in this moment, with all the honesty in my heart, I wish I were okay opposed to the latter.

About the author

Katie

I am a survivor of two accounts of sexual assault that I only recently discovered were assaults, and coming to terms with this has been the rockiest road I’ve walked. I have let my assaults conquer me and take me down like a house of cards, unfortunately I refuse to be blown over anymore.
I joined this team to use my voice and experiences to help others start their journey to recovery and happiness. Neither of my assaults were easy to identify and are ones we are not always educated on, so I understand from personal experience how hard it can be to start the process to recovery, especially when you don’t see the beginning of the path. I want to be that path marker, let me help you start!
Never allow yourself to be silenced, your voice will always be yours and cannot be taken away from you. I love all of you. <3

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