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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Rape and PTSD

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Author Topic: Rape and PTSD
mistake girl
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Ive been raped multiple times and now suffer from PTSD. I did attempt to receive some counselling for this but it turned out to not be a safe or comfortable place for me.


I dont really have any questions right now, but I was feeling pretty alone lately and I was just wondering if anyone else is dealing with these issues.


Im trying to adjust to thinking and talking about this in depth and am just trying to learn how others have dealt with these problems to maybe figure out how to help myself some.


If you have and would like to share anything about your situation or anything about what has helped you get through it or any thoughts on this subject at all, I would appreciate the input.

Thank you.

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Alyssa

Posts: 14 | From: Georgia | Registered: Feb 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Well, I'm at over 25 years of dealing with PTSD on and off. My father also has battled with it his whole life from his abusive childhood, and I've cared for him in my life with this as well as for myself. For me, I've had years where it seems to be no issue at all save in very triggering situations, then years where it was almost constant. At this stage of the game for me, this far down the road, it tends to be very situational, and also tends to depend on how emotionally open (or not) I am at a given time and place.

My first suggestion would be to see if you can't find yourself another counselor. How well counseling works for us tends to have a lot to do with if a given counselor is or isn't a good fit for us. Mind, good counseling is rarely comfortable, but it should always be safe. Is finding someone new possible for you?

Want to fill me in a bit more on how long you've been dealing with this and the way PTSD is manifesting for you overall?

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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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mistake girl
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The counselor I had was not a good fit for me. He was inappropriate and very unprofessional. I'm not sure if I am ready to try that again right now, but I think that in the future I might be a little more open to it.


My PTSD is still confusing to me. Ive been dealing with it for about 4 years now. Flashbacks are a major issue. I experience these very often and everything feels so real. Insomnia for the most part. When I do happen to sleep it almost always involves night terrors. Panic and anxiety attacks are a problem when I am reminded of my abusers and the places I was abused in some way.


I also experience many mood issues now. I go from being content and okay to being filled with rage, anger, and hate. Im trying to learn to control this. I also have a very short attention span now. I will try to concentrate on something and then I daze off and begin to think about things that have happened.

I do not have much trust or faith in people now. My relationships with everyone that I get close to diminish with time. My daily life tends to revolve around me trying to control my emotions and issues with the situation.

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Alyssa

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Heather
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Let's start with the insomnia, because when we don't get sleep, the whole works gets worse. Sleep deprivation/sleeplessness is actually something that causes more people to function poorly than nearly anything else.

Have you talked to just your general doctor about your sleep issues? You wouldn't have to say why you were having them if you weren't comfortable doing that, either. But your regular doctor can potentially give you some solutions, including medication if you feel that's something you want.

If you can improve your sleeping, you'll probably have fewer flashbacks and your moods will also probably be more stable. It will likely also help with your attention span.

With the flashbacks, have you been able to identify some of the things that trigger you? Do you have any tools or behaviors you use to manage your triggers?

Let's talk about those things first, then we can move on to talking about your relationships.

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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

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Heather
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By the way, do you have the ability to buy books or get to a library? If so, I could suggest some books.

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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

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mistake girl
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I don't like to take medication. After the first few times, I started taking drugs and drinking alot. I was just doing that to try to deal with things but I started taking more and more and I got to where I would just blackout or pass out. I realize now that some of the things I did back then were subconsciously most likely suicide attempts. I dont trust myself with medicine yet.

Most of my triggers are directly related to people. Touching, even in the most innocent of ways, can cause them. I do my best to avoid all contact, but at times I still see my abusers. Not by choice, but by them finding me. If I see them, and especially if I hear them, then it triggers it almost instantly. But soon I hope that this issue will be resolved. If someone, especially guys, make any rude comments toward me it makes me think of them and the way that they speak to me and it triggers it. I get flashbacks at other times, times that seem almost random and without cause to me, but maybe I just havnt figured out or recognized that cause yet.

As for dealing with the triggers, I avoid touching. I dont like to be touched in any way. I dont welcome hugs. I dont permit any type of physical contact whether out of affection or out of anger.

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Alyssa

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Heather
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I hear you on the medicine. Glad to hear you've gotten yourself out overusing drugs and have a clear sense of what you can and can't handle. [Smile]

Just know that's not your only option: there are also other treatments and tools for insomnia a doctor could help you with. Since getting back to sleeping not only is likely to help a lot with all of this and is important to your health, it's also possibly the easiest fix of the bunch.

Just avoiding triggers usually isn't so helpful in managing them, especially when our triggers are things that are really hard to avoid. By all means, even if you didn't have PTSD, expecting people to only touch you if they ask you is reasonable and smart, but as you know, sometimes people will touch -- even accidentally -- so avoidance by itself isn't a good long-term solution. All the more so since working through triggers and learning to manage them is part of healing.

When you get a trigger, what do you do? How do you ground yourself and re-center now?

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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

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mistake girl
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To be completely honest, I'm not entirely sure. It usually takes me a while to calm down after I become upset. I run alot nowdays and whenever Im having a rough day Ill go run until Im too tired to be upset anymore. I guess that could be considered a way of dealing with it or maybe just stress in general. I'm not really sure.

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Alyssa

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Heather
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Okay, so it sounds like you could use some help learning to manage your triggers and developing a few different ways to do that.

We can certainly help with that, but I'm heading off from work here for the night. So, if you want to come back tomorrow, I'm glad to continue the conversation.

For tonight, one thing I'd suggest with your sleeping to see if it helps is just doing something that feels really safe and peaceful for you before you go to bed, anything at all. Relaxing better before sleep might help you out.

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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

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mistake girl
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Yes, I would appreciate any suggestions in managing triggers. Also any suggestions on how to relax before I go to bed would be nice. Ive tried reading, soaking in the tub, exercising, but so far no success. And I do plan on talking to my doctor about sleep issues. Thank you for the help.

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Alyssa

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Heather
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One quick suggestion that might sound silly: have you tried rearranging your room? Sometimes changing the environment in which we sleep can help with sleep troubles.

As well, is there anything in particular that makes you feel safe in general? If we can identify some of those things, that can possibly help with both the sleep issues and the triggers.

In terms of the triggers, what we're really going for when it comes to managing triggers is doing whatever gets us to a quick point of recognizing that a) we're safe, not at risk of harm in that moment, b) we are in the present, not in the past or in our abuse, and c) that we are in control of the situation at any given moment, not out of control like we were when abused and/or assaulted.

For some people, words or phrases work best, for others, certain kinds of movement, for others still a given scent, or something to touch or hold on to: there's a range of things, and finding them usually comes down to what we tend to feel we respond most strongly to in general. In other words, some of us as people are very much word people or sound people, others of us are people who resonate most with movement or visual images, etc. Do you have any sense on where you're at in that regard?

--------------------
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

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mistake girl
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The only thing that I can really think of right now that makes me feel safe is being outside. I dont like to be in closed spaces, makes me feel trapped.

And as for what comforts me after triggers, I have a few objects that help. A ring from my best friend that passed away a while back. A pocket knife that my grandpa gave me, which I find kind of crazy since I have an aversion to knives now but I guess it is more out of sentimental value and the fact that I have control over it and im holding it, not someone using it against me.

I can identify certain smells and things that do the exact opposite of relaxing me, but not many that calm me.

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Alyssa

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Heather
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Okay. I, myself, feel the same way about getting outside. So, if and when I get triggered, one of the ways I manage my own triggers is to either get outside and just walk around the block, or just get to fresh air: even just moving closer to a window where I can take a deep breath. That might be something that works for you.

The ring is probably something you can more easily have with you everywhere than a knife, so when you feel triggered, touching it may be a help.

With things like this, the more you can get in the habit of doing them without thinking about them, the easier it will get to manage triggers. Over time, you may find that even thinking about them just when you're triggered, or even right before you know you might be decreases the impact of a trigger.

Adding some words to things like that is something I find very helpful, even just a simple phrase like "I'm safe here in the present," or "I have control," may help you.

--------------------
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

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mistake girl
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Thank you for helping me consider these options. I really do appreciate it.

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Alyssa

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Heather
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You're so welcome. I'm also happy to keep going back and forth if you try some of these things, and need help refining them, or if they don't help much and you need some other suggestions.

Did you see where I asked about your access to books? Would still be glad to give you some suggestions.

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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

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Ecofem
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[Hi mistake girl, I don't mean to butt in but I wanted to say that I've read your thread here, that you sound like a very strong person, and that I'm glad you posted more-- and so quickly at that! Heather's got such excellent advice but I wanted to drop by because we've talked before and I've been around tonight. I hope you have a restful evening. [Smile] ]
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mistake girl
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Thank you [Smile] I appreciate the reply and I hope you are having an enjoyable evening yourself.

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Alyssa

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mistake girl
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I was just wondering, if I did decide to seek further counselling, how might be the best way to go about this?

I do not want to be forced to speak to my parents about it or to have to report it to the police. I'm only seeking on ways to better deal with it. I was afraid that if I sought out counselling through the school or hospital then that would happen.

Any suggestions, advice, or ideas are appreciated.

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Alyssa

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Ecofem
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Hi Alyssa,

Let me think about this and also ask Heather, who'll surely have good suggestions. How old are you? If you don't mind sharing it here, what part of Georgia are you in, like a general area or a zip code? If you don't feel comfortable sharing that on the boards, you can use the "Contact Us" link at the top of the page and I'll give Heather a head's up. [Smile]

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Ecofem
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Also, I just thought of a great, confidential resource you could contact online or call toll-free: By phone or online. [Smile] In-person is best but I'd recommend starting there because RAINN -- the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network-- is a great organization. They could also help you get in touch with some local resources.
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mistake girl
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I'm 17, I wont be 18 until September. And I live near Savannah, if that helps any. I will look into RAINN, thank you.

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Alyssa

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Heather
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Look what you have near your city: http://www.rccsav.org/victimservices.html

[Smile]

--------------------
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

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Heather
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And just so it's clear, no counselor can force you to report, and as well, any counseling you get regarding this would not involve reporting your parents unless you were literally in danger at the time you are getting counseling. In other words, if you were in a relationship now where you were being raped, one you wouldn't leave, then a counselor is obligated to report. But for a part assault/abuse, nope.

--------------------
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

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mistake girl
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I am not in an abusive relationship right now, no. But the problem I have with this is that my abusers still come around and although they havn't done anything in several months, that doesn't mean they won't. And that could very possibly just be me being pessimistic or paranoid about the matter. This is not something that I want to report and if I did attend counselling and that would be an issue, then I would leave out the details that would cause them to be obligated to report the situation.

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Alyssa

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mistake girl
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Thank you for that link, I will most definately look into that [Smile]

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Alyssa

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