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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Sexual Assault and Menstruation

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Author Topic: Sexual Assault and Menstruation
Cherokee
Neophyte
Member # 36488

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Some quick background info - I was violently sexually assaulted 7 months ago but have only begun to deal with the aftermath. I was hospitalized due to suicidal ideation/self-harm. I have bipolar disorder and the assault has severely affected my mental health. I have a few supportive friends and an understanding partner but am still waiting for professional counselling. I am on a waiting list for individual and group therapy. I hope that helps somewhat in understanding where I am coming from.

My problem is that ever since the assault I have found my period to be incredibly triggering. The feeling of heaviness, the blood and the pain are very upsetting but I don't know what to do to make it easier.

I'm currently menstruating and for the past three days I've either been emotionally unavailable or a crying, shivering mess of a person. I'm having
difficulty being present in my body/dealing with my emotions.

There are some things that are triggering for me that I can safely avoid but I can't stop my period from happening. Has anyone else experienced this? Any ideas or suggestions on how to deal with it or dealing with triggers in general?

Thank you.

Posts: 9 | From: Canada | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

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Is there anyone that you're in touch with per getting yourself into counseling? Someone that you can get in touch with in case of an emergency? I understand that you are on a waiting list, so would it be possible to get in touch with those organization/doctors/etc and let them know that you're having a difficult time? If they cannot help you out at this point, they would at least be able to provide you with adresses and resources of places that you can go to in the meantime.

There are the obvious ways of dealing with triggers (distracting yourself, focusing on a hobby that lets you deal with your emotions -such as painting, or writing-, engaging in sports, etc) but it sounds like you're already pretty in tune with how to identify and avoid your triggers, you might have already tried those. If not, give them a shot, but it does sound like your triggers are affecting your life pretty severly, so you'll really want to get professional help for that.

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Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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Cherokee
Neophyte
Member # 36488

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The women's center I am on the counselling waiting list for told me that I should be able to see someone "soon" - which is a relief even though waiting is still difficult. They also have a 24 hour crisis line which I'm going to call if I start to feel overwhelmed.

Distraction does help and I'm trying to stay occupied. Thank you for your advice. I know I need professional help and I hope that happens soon. I thought it might also help to post here. At times I feel as though I am alone in my feelings when it comes to dealing with this. I know that I am not alone when it comes to being sexually assaulted but I worry that the things I worry about or feel aren't normal. So even just mentioning one of the things I'm going through makes me feel a little lighter.

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September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

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By all means, do keep posting here. Our triggers are all individual and unique to us and there is no need to feel like you're wierd for your particular triggers. And, really, if posting here and just venting a little helps, keep doing that. It's hard to find a place for that, but this is definitely one of them.

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Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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cool87
Activist
Member # 29292

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If you think posting here might help, then you are more than welcome to do that.

You said you're worried that some of the things you feel/are worried about aren't normal, is this something you'd like to talk more about ?

(Edited: Ooops, I'm too late.)

[ 01-11-2008, 04:35 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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One other idea I'd suggest considering with some counseling, Cherokee, is some body work. Acupuncture can be a good one for reducing menstrual pain and helping with pain from body trauma, but often, survivors aren't that comfortable with even those thin needles (likely because the idea of ANYTHING penetrating the body after a sexual trauma isn't so great).

But therapeutic massage might be something very helpful. Not only can it help with menstrual pain, it may also help you deal with some of those body memories.

You might also try and prepare yourself when your period is going to come on, mentally recognizing it is difficult for you, but making some peace with it so the feeling of dread doesn't make things worse. Taking extra-special care of yourself just before you menstruate may be a help.

Lastly, you might try switching to a menstrual cup, or to washable pads that are not white. Sounds weird, perhaps, I know, but blood looks a lot more intense on stark white things than it does on other colors or in a cup.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cherokee
Neophyte
Member # 36488

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Thank you Heather.

I'm looking into finding a massage therapist as I do find that kind of touch soothing/brings out feelings that need to escape. In the meantime I've found that lying under piles of blankets or asking my partner or best friend to give me a massage helps tremendously.

Next month I'll be more prepared and try and set up a plan for how to deal with my emotions and flashbacks. Oh and make sure I use my diva cup instead of tampons.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Glad to be of help. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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