I just feel so broken..Am I?

Questions and discussion about sexual or other abuse or assault, and support and help for survivors.
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by 0PT1M15T1C »

I finally ended up having a conversation with my mom about the way I've still been feeling and that went a few different ways.

In general, my mental health hasn't been the greatest lately, and I have like actually been doing the things I'm supposed to for therapy as well as acts like self care, and just in general things I enjoy. Still, it hasn't been the easiest or best time in the world for sure and it's kind of frustrating having my mom decide what I need when all I want her to do is listen to me. A lot of it is she wants me staying into my normal routine but the way she's going about it is actually restricting that. So for example, the research projects I've kept up she's saying I'm looking at all the bad, when actually, I'm focusing on the things we've learned for different points in history and keeping up the writing. She seems to really think that I'm exhausting myself doing that, when it's been the thing I enjoy, not to mention she didn't have a problem with me researching a murder for like 6 months but suddenly now it's an issue? I can recite every detail of a gruesome murder, but me researching gender or the AIDS crisis is an issue now? She did give me an idea for doing something like the whole rules in Zombie land, step one: never run out of TP. I think quarantine is getting to everyone at this point.

I probably cried for a good two hours last night and an hour of it was with her, just talking. It's frustrating, so much of this people are leaving up to me to just figure out on my own and figure out how it's all done when I'm still the kid. She's mad at my friend for telling me what she did and wants me off social media (not happening). She doesn't fully understand all of this or the fact that she found out about all of this in like January, I've been dealing with it for a lot longer - so to her, it's really not all that hard. She also doesn't understand why this bothers me so much, and her going through sexual assault herself, I thought might make her more understanding. But she doesn't listen to what happened or see it as a big deal and I wish she would imagine the boys that raped her following her everyday. She finished high school in two years because she couldn't stay there and for me, I'm just supposed to deal. She showed me the whole video of "look for the helpers" (I don't know if anyone else knows what that is but it's been around a while apparently) a few times over and wants me focusing on the positive in everything, I'm doing my best at that, and it's not easy. I kind of wish she understood it all a little more rather than telling me what I need to be doing when she doesn't have any idea of all that's happened or even why I'm so scared. They think the sleep problems are all because I have my phone and lizards in my room, when if I didn't have my phone, that's a risky move to take away considering I can call someone after a nightmare and have an app for grounding.

I dealt with this for so long on my own, and I let my parents find out because I needed support not feedback and restrictions. I told them because I couldn't keep doing this on my own and what I was told was that I had to make things happen. I need someone to do something for once because in all of this I'm stuck, I was doing everything alone, making things happen for myself, I need someone else to do something. Or at least be that person to listen and not provide judgements on everything I'm doing.

Either way, maybe getting back into the whole school routine might help, I start online today and it's up to our teachers to structure it so it's pretty confusing. Basically my mom wants me doing school, an hour of exercise and learn something like cooking or on the guitar. So yeah. She did say she'll call to the psychiatrist and see if they are willing to take me on during all of this though, so like, there's that.
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Sam W »

That sounds like a really heavy conversation to have had with your mom. And it can be doubly upsetting when someone you know to be a survivor seems to not understand what you're going through. I think being sure you still have access to tools, like your phone, that help you ground or access supports, is a good thing to lobby for. And if researching times similar to what we're going through now is helping you, that's definitely something to keep exploring.

I'm familiar with the helpers video (it originated with Mr. Rogers). I think it can be useful to encourage people to look for those doing good or trying to care for each other in times of trouble or disaster. That being said, it's not always helpful to tell someone to focus only on the positive when the scary or dangerous things are still making themselves very present in your life.

I agree that getting back into the school routine will likely help. Many people find that having familiar routines, or pieces of routines, during tough times can make you feel less like everything is collapsing. For me, having a routine lately also helps me focus, which means I don't spiral off into the "oh god what's going to happen next" train of thought.
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by 0PT1M15T1C »

Okay, I've had to be pretty adamant about the phone thing, thankfully I think I've gotten them to a point they might just shut off my wifi at a certain hour (they really seem to think I'm on social media, late, I'm not however, I do other things. If shutting off my wifi is the way they want to go, it shouldn't impact everything too much, I would still be able to text or make a call, as well as like access that app. I'm curious to know what taking my lizards out of my room will actually do, because that is a bright light. I love my research, she told me to learn, so like, I've been learning and I think that's awesome. I think the main thing is she doesn't want me researching one thing for hours on end.

Ah, I couldn't remember the name, but she had me watch that a few times. It's a good message though, but it kind of made me ask my mom like alright then, can you help me pick this up and help me with my situation a bit more? I'm half tempted to go to the police station (we have no statute of limitations) because as much as I love the constable, talking to a few different people it just doesn't sound accurate that they wouldn't do anything. Specifically because if they don't, I'm a liability, so after talking to the guy I like, he brought up the few times he had issues, went to the police and they got things solved in a matter of days. It's been almost a year.

The school routine is certainly interesting, and my mom didn't have accurate information, so I got to wake up at 7:30 for a class that doesn't start until 1 PM or something. That being said, I got lazy with my science project so now I get to learn how to draw a "zhino" (rhino + zebra). I think it's kind of nice working from home though, new for sure, but nice. There's a lot less stress here and I'm not scared about someone showing up with a gun or what will happen if I leave the classroom, planning a safe route home, etc. Plus, I called dibs on the office so like, this is awesome. I also get to be a historian for Humanities, so looks like my research on the AIDS crisis is going to set me ahead for this one. I'm honestly loving this more than I thought.
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0PT1M15T1C
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by 0PT1M15T1C »

I got an appointment!!

Well, my parents do, with a psychiatrist (the one my moms boss recommended). So like, that's amazing. On the phone they asked my mom if the father was in the home, she obviously said yes and when she repeated that question he burst out and said "NO, you're supposed to say NO, the father is not in the home!" It sounds bad, but the whole discussion had me laughing so hard. So yeah, they have an appointment on the 8th to discuss whether or not the psychiatrist needs to meet with me or if she'll just give me a referral.

I'll remind my mom about the whole meds thing which is why I needed to see a psychiatrist in the first place because I feel like that was forgotten. Either way, I'm so glad this is finally happening, I'm trying not to get my hopes up for anything but like this is a really big thing for me.

EDIT: on the form she had to fill out about me (digitally) she mentioned "He is experiencing extremely high anxiety and gender dysphoria as well as bullying and death threats at school" so like, although she's referring to the stalking as bullying she got that in there and hopefully it'll come up during their session.

I have to admit, I don't like the idea of my parents talking to her first because a lot of the time that's swayed and they really don't know everything. If it's just about my gender, that scares me a little too, because my dad doesn't really accept me but my mom does and that might cause a clash here. The idea that I'm relying on my parents to explain a lot that they really don't understand at all, makes me worry this might be another let down, or just, I don't know what'll happen there.

My panic attacks have been getting worse/more frequent honestly -from when school ended anyways-, and I can't identify a trigger every time for those, also, if I don't catch them in time, mindfulness doesn't help at all. It's a really scary thing. I think flashbacks have been a really weird one for the past few months anyways, though. Before they were just of what happened mainly that first night, but now, there's such a mix. It goes from that first night, to the person showing up with a gun, to pieces of the stalking, and the person giving me the beating he described. What has been happening at home more though, is thinking I see this person out of the corner of my eye, or when I close my eyes, it's them walking towards me staring me down. Those ones end quite fast but they're terrifying when they happen, especially the ones where she's walking right at me, because those are like on repeat. It feels really strange because although I can identify that it's not real, it's still not fun.

In the moments that happens, it can be really hard to think straight and make the best decisions so it's been a lot of just letting myself cry rather than make a mistake. Before, I had my friends to help ground me, I got in the habit of being able to hold onto my friend and look at her, with her talking and telling me to breathe. Doing it on my own is a lot harder. It's a lot of really trying to hold on because I want things to change. There's really been times though where I just think "I'm done" and so I'm really grateful this meeting with the psychiatrist is soon, because at least that might mean SOMETHING for me. I just keep thinking that if someone would have taken me seriously at the beginning of the stalking, or even if my teacher at the time picked up on some of those red flags, that I wouldn't be dealing with all of this.

Also, people online are just freaking weird. Like I can't count the amount of ADULTS to contact me with interest in me, I didn't think that was such a big deal before but wow, it really is. Especially being trans because I look younger than I am, so they think "Oh well, technically he's 15 but he looks 12 which is what I like" It's freaking gross and I wish I recognized that earlier. Like even this year, I had to cut that off with someone who was 26 because they were being gross. Sadly, with this whole quarantine, that's actually been more common to see.

Oh yeah, also, the constable checked in yesterday just to make sure I was doing alright and that was really nice. She said she'll be doing patrol soon and might stop by, which I could totally use right about now - I just wish I was old enough to do a ride along.
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Jacob »

I have anecdotally heard from friends and younger folks in my life that the creeps in their inboxes seem to have dialed it up a knotch. Which is just what we all needed! Well done for cutting such people loose.

I am also so happy you might be a step closer to getting the care you need! Even with all the potential bumps in the road it's nice to hear some good news about any that moving forward.

With panic attacks and such: That sounds so so stressful! There is a lot happening in the world and I really wouldn't be expecting anyone to be keeping it together at this point.

It sounds like things are a lot better for you if you can catch a panic attack bubbling up in the early stages; it's so great that you have learnt that. But for those that you don't catch and maybe won't catch, please don't feel like you 'should have' or anything like that. If sometimes (or always) it goes south for a person that is not their fault, and it's not yours.

It sounds like you are doing amazingly to have such presence and awareness especially now; to have been torn from your safety net, and left to feel so groundless, and to be reminded of all the whatifs.. by a pandemic, of all things. It's unrealistic to think that this wouldn't have a negative impact on our ability to keep up with our usual responsibilities or self-care.

Finally, the part about letting yourself cry reminds me of how lucky I think we are to have you here and able to share that piece of self-compassion. I see you giving yourself the space, care and self-belief to keep moving through it, even when the environment has worsened and I recognise that its something I hope for in myself and in the many people who I know are experiencing what you are experiencing now! So thank you!

Hopefully deleting some Internet creeps and looking forward to some professional involvement will help to make things a bit easier now. I hope each day gets better!
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I'm never lonesome when I go there." Connie Converse - Talkin' Like You
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Karyn »

Jacob posted while I was writing, but hopefully some of this is helpful too.

I'm really glad to hear there's been some progress on the psychiatrist front, although I understand your hesitation about them seeing your parents first. If that's a hard requirement - as in, there's no way around that - maybe one thing you could do would be to sit down with your mom ahead of time and make a list of things you'd like her to bring up. It doesn't necessarily guarantee that she will mention all of the things you'd like her to, unfortunately, but it may help emphasize to her what's important to you. If you feel up to it, too, you could possibly call the psychiatrist's office yourself and ask about why they want to see your parents first, and if there's any flexibility on that.

As far as dealing with panic attacks and flashbacks, I'm sorry they're getting worse. It can be frustrating not to be able to identify a trigger all the time, but that's just how that goes sometimes: it isn't always obvious what the cause is, and we just have to deal with them when they happen as best they can. It's a pretty stressful time in general at the moment though, what with all the changes from COVID-19, and it's possible that that's playing a role. You're certainly not alone in finding that your mental health has taken a bit of a dip; there's a huge amount of extra stress that's been put on pretty much everyone over the last month or so and we're all learning how to adjust to that and deal with it.

It is hard though to have developed a strategy for dealing with panic attacks or flashbacks, only to have circumstances change and that strategy isn't an option anymore. One thing you might do is make a written list of things that you know or think might help, and keep it around so that you can refer to it when you're in the middle of one: I've found sometimes having a list of options to try can make it a bit easier to remember that I do have strategies to cope. (And if sometimes all you can do is cry, that's absolutely okay too.)
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by 0PT1M15T1C »

Thank you, Jacob and Karyn.

It feels good to have cut that guy out of my life, before it was text messages from the second I woke up all the way until about 2 in the morning, as well as him frequently asking if I was alone and wanted to video chat so he could watch me. It got pretty weird to the tune of him asking me to describe the porn I liked as well as what I was doing when I watched it, he also insinuated a few times that he would want to do "more than cuddle and kiss" - All of which I was clearly uncomfortable with in the chat. It's just gross, I realized he was really trying to guilt me into continuing to talk to him by saying I was the only one he trusted and felt close to, that he had no one else. It's just gross honestly.

I think I'll definitely write down those suggestions/important pieces, thank you for that Idea, Karyn. I can't call the place, because honestly, I have no idea where that's through or anything, I could probably figure that out, but right now I'm sick of having to get help for myself and she can handle this one. The reason I'm in therapy is because I dealt with that whole process, she can deal with this one. I'm really glad that I might be able to get on the waiting list or be referred to the gender clinic as well as possibly start on medication for anxiety, because this really isn't a normal level of that. I passed out the other day because I was pacing during a panic attack (usually why I sit down, but the thought didn't even cross my mind). That shouldn't be happening though. At least I'm getting to see a psychiatrist, and soon so like if it doesn't work out, I guess I'll have to cross that bridge when I get there, for now I'm just going to try and not stress about it, this is good news.

I'll try to remember that about the flashbacks/panic attacks, thank you Jacob. It's so weird, because I really am practising a lot of self care and doing things I enjoy during this time - not to mention how productive I've been - but still, panic attacks really freaking suck. Yeah, I think COVID-19 definitely has a role in this, primarily because my mom still has to go to work every day and seeing her as stressed as she is, certainly isn't fun. Not knowing what will happen with anything (like apparently school just got extended to August and I don't know what they think they're doing, but like, we missed a week, they aren't adding a whole month to school for it - I don't care, just not happening) let alone the situation with the stalking, what this may change with my case, or how I'll survive with my brother.

On the productivity note, for being a historian I got like nine pages (slides, technically but set up in like a blog format) done on that and having my family read through, they were quite impressed as well as my teachers comments made it sound like she enjoyed it. It's those little things that are really nice, like being able to work without being in fear that I'm going to be killed, that's nice.

It was nice having my friends, but a lot changed with that, like typically when I was with them and would have panic attacks, or anything really, it was while the stalking was actually happening. I miss them in general though, not just because of the security they provided, but because they are MY people (greys reference). Like if I had to rob a store like in Good Girls, they'd be my gang, I'd totally start up a money ring with them. Also, I want more than anything right now, to be able to go get bubble tea and play "don't scramble the egg", to do weird tik tok dances, or prank my mom, even being lectured on how I make pancakes wrong sounds great to me. I think finding new ways to deal with it on my own, like I know Karyn mentioned the list (which I currently have a form of right now) really does help, specifically reminding me to do the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 grounding exercise because that works for me. And both of you on the crying piece (that sounds so weird), thank you. A lot. I didn't really expect to feel as heard as I did (and do) when I made the initial post, but it's really nice, especially when there's a lot of people in my life who either don't understand or don't believe me.

Karyn, or anyone else who's been through something similar, may I asked how long it took you to like be okay after what happened?
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Karyn
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Karyn »

Yep, COVID-19 has really thrown all of life out of whack in a really stressful way, so even though you've been able to do some things you enjoy during this time, it's understandable that this situation is having an effect on your mental health (particularly with a family member whose work is directly involved). The uncertainty is tough, for sure: not having any idea what's going to happen tomorrow let alone two weeks or two months from now is just difficult, especially if it adds even more uncertainty to what you were already dealing with.

I so hear you too on not having regular social contact and interactions. I miss seeing my people in person too, and talking about things that aren't the pandemic. It's not quite the same, but maybe a regular phone call or something with some of your friends might help a bit with that? Not being able to see each other in person doesn't mean you can't keep in touch.

To answer your question about how long it took me to be okay...a while, honestly. It's tough to put a time frame on it, because my experiences are very different from yours, and I was a lot older than you are now before I really got help that clicked with me and felt able to put in the work needed. But I'd say once that happened, it took several months to start noticing small differences, and then well over a year before I felt like there was a real shift in terms of my overall level of well-being. I still have ups and downs, the main difference is that I know now that the down periods end and that I have the tools to cope. I don't say any of that to discourage you, but it is a process. Trauma, mental health stuff like anxiety, those are things that stay with us in some way for our whole lives, but you will get to a point where those things are just part of your life, not all of it.
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0PT1M15T1C
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by 0PT1M15T1C »

She'll be able to work from home at least one day a week, but sadly she has to go in to do safety testing in the labs or something, or educate a bunch of workers, idk really, I just know it's been hard on her. Thankfully she's not at all that high risk of exposure though. Seeing her as tired and worn out as she is, that's weird so I think I'll do some baking for her and maybe set up some little jokes around the house that usually make her smile.

We do our best to FaceTime as often as possible and have been texting a bit, it's just not the same, really. Either way, we're doing the best we can during all of this. One of my friends step-dads shuts off her wifi a whole bunch usually for stupid reasons and for long periods, while the other, our sleep schedules are basically opposites and she sleeps in a lot more.

And thank you, for that piece. Like it kind of hurts to know that it will most likely take quite a bit more time to start to notice changes, however it's really awesome to hear that it did get better for you. I just really wish I could feel better NOW you know..? Like damn, it's been so freaking long and I'm just starting the whole thing of healing from it. It's so hard. I really hate that they did this to me. I'm trying so hard, but damn, I really want to be at a place where I'm better. I can't wait for the ups and downs to be a little more manageable and to be at a place where I know I'll be okay at the end of it. I can't wait for it to not be every part of my life, rather just a piece of it. I really like hearing though, that you got through this and like are doing okay, even if there's ups and downs, it gives me some hope for me in a way, like I really want to get to that place.
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Jacob »

Oh I feel you on this too. My mum's a trained nurse who has been doing non-clinical office work in hospitals, and has been working from home, but as things get worse they're going to need her to put on her blues and go into the front line.

I often wished I could just flick a switch to stop having a feeling which just aint helping me any more, but sadly they aren't currently an option. Which I'm sure you'll agree, is incredibly annoying.

I do think that just going through the gestures of going to see a psychiatrist, trying medication is a really powerful way to reflect to yourself how there are new things happening, and you aren't stationary, even if it sometimes feels like it. On top of that the medication itself can be helpful!
"In between two tall mountains there's a place they call lonesome.
Don't see why they call it lonesome.
I'm never lonesome when I go there." Connie Converse - Talkin' Like You
0PT1M15T1C
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by 0PT1M15T1C »

I'm sorry to hear about your mom, that must be scary. Mine's an civil engineer, so thankfully she won't have to go into the hospital to work, that can't be fun. I wish both you and her the best.

A switch would be nice, but yeah, not an option sadly. Also, it would be incredibly cool if that's how feelings worked. I really hope this psychiatrist will be able to help me out with this a bit. I still hate the fact that it's gotten to the point that I need medication for it, but like I can't keep doing this on my own I don't think. It's kind of just weird, although I've been in therapy for 6 months now, my situation hasn't even been stopped a full three weeks. I'm just starting to be able to process and heal from everything and it's so strange and hard for me to do. Like it's kind of like I'm back at square one with this one, before I was learning how to continue to cope and stay alive with it all continuing and now it's entirely different in a way. I'm hoping the arrest comes soon, and also hoping that this quarantine doesn't mean my stalker gets away with it all over again. Like they shouldn't be able to do what they did for so long and get away with it, and I know this has been mentioned a number of times but it's just wrong.
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Heather »

Hey there, 0PT1M15T1C. I don't know if any of this will be helpful to you or not, but I've had to live with someone (more than one someone, unfortunately, but I'm thinking about one person in particular here, though some of this is about any of them) who abused me and did me a great deal of harm for going on four decades now. So, I thought I'd offer you a little bit of what I have done to deal with that in the hopes it might help you right now. I'm sure hoping your wait for justice will only be that, a wait, not a situation like mine, where it's just never going to happen, but it might be that some of what I've done to resolve my situation can help you in your wait right now. (If not, feel free to leave it here where I dropped it!)

• I have found that keeping tabs on them in any way is not healthy for me. I was originally doing searches every now and then out of concern this person might have abused others, with the notion that if he did and there were reports, I could potentially help those other victims by backing them up with a report from me. But not only did that never happen, looking at how well this person seemed to be doing -- running successful businesses, being seen as a good person by their community -- really only made me feel worse. So, I've done all I can to detach myself from it (which is also hard because hypervigilance is a big behavioural issues for me with trauma, but so it goes: all we can do is our best).

• When I get those feelings you've described here, that it's not fair they have gotten away with it, I try and remind myself that I don't live in their head, and that not having to take any legal responsibility and such also doesn't mean they feel free. I feel pretty certain that we're probably pretty scary to people who have done us harm and who haven't had to "pay for it," and that they probably feel, if not fear, a pretty pervasive worry that they might, and that we might do something to make it happen. I know they might look comfortable, but I'm betting they're not. It seems more likely that they probably never get any kind of real, total, peace, because some part of them, even if it's tiny, is still always worried they WILL have to pay. We, on the other hand, can -- even if you're not there yet -- find that kind of complete peace in moments, you know?

• People who abuse are seeking power, power over the people they victimize. I know it's a cliché, but I really do think living well is the best revenge, as it were. When we go on with our lives and ourselves and use our own power, I believe we are engaging in very powerful acts of resistance against those who have sought that power, even if they don't know it. *We* know it. We can prove to ourselves every day that they didn't actually get what they wanted, because here we are, with our agency and our own power still intact.

• Similarly, I focus on what I am doing, and what impact I am having on other people's lives. That person has done harm and had a harmful impact. I have put my efforts and heart and energy into improving peoples lives. I know that's not usually the kind of balance we're seeking in wanting justice, and it can't replace that kind, but I also think that this has felt like a kind of balancing of the scales to me, if you get me. In my case, I also know I have done things in the world that have made it considerably harder for abusers to abuse, so if you have a chance to do anything like that, I encourage you to do it: in my experience, that also feels like a very powerful balance.

Hang in there. I don't think that I got any good at living with this kind of injustice for a good decade or so, which is hardly surprising, because it's really, really hard and, of course, we shouldn't have to! But in the end, especially given how often we don't get justice from abuse, we often have to learn to flex so that we can move forward with our own lives and focus on ourselves separate from our abuse and our abusers. <3
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
Amanda F.
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Amanda F. »

Hi Optimistic,

Your posts reminded me of this quote/image: "Healing is not linear."

When trying to move on from trauma, loss, and pain we often have an expectation of "well, I'm working on it, so I should continuously get better," or "time is passing so things must improve steadily." And in the long run things DO improve! However, it's often more slow than we would like, and, frustratingly, healing can be up-and-down.

There will be days which feel like total victories, days that feel like difficult and like nothing has changed, and a whole lot of days that feel just okay or even meh. This is normal. Our brains and bodies take time to learn that we can rest; our situations take time to change. But it will happen.

In the meantime, try to be gentle with yourself. Having anxiety now or in a year doesn't mean that you aren't moving forward in life. Feeling panicky doesn't mean that you aren't actually getting better. Healing just takes time. I know it is profoundly unfair to have experienced the trauma, and now to have to be patient as you heal. Like, the trauma was enough! What the heck, life! But you're doing all the right things and taking all the right steps. Sometimes acknowledging that healing won't always be easy can make the process less painful.
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by 0PT1M15T1C »

Thank you.

I'm stuck on really how to reply, so I'm sorry if things are a little jumbled.

I'm sorry you've had to deal with that, Heather. I hope the charges are laid, but sadly that would only be on the boyfriend for the death threats. The stalker and person who abused me, nothing can happen there. I do my best not to keep tabs on them, I've gotten a lot better at it, I used to check their social media pretty often to ensure nothing was about me, making sure there were no threats or anything coming up from my past, it kind of really just hurt me in the long run. My friends all know that I don't want to hear a thing about them unless it pertains to my safety (for example, they get another threat, notice that person is in my area, or they are posting information about me), and they've been respecting that. I would do the same thing you mentioned about checking up on them to make sure there was no one new, talking to the people that I was worried about, and that almost got me stabbed, so I cut that out pretty quickly. It sucks to know they're popular, but detaching means I don't have a sense of just how popular or whatever they're doing. I know that they don't get good grades (We were "close" when we were younger, and it's likely that the grades haven't changed), are into drugs, never go to school, steals her mom's credit cards, and that doesn't usually play out. My mom would have called the police on me, no joke if I pulled any of this.

With the second bullet point, part of that's really hard to believe. They would walk by eyeing me, looking me up and down and start laughing as if it was this amazing thing to see me scared, they really acted as if they enjoyed it. I think that gives me the impression they feel pretty free to be able to do that and not get caught, and the threats only exemplified that. Saying things such as "because if it happened she would've told someone who cared not a bunch of students for attention" (btw the quotes say "she", it's still referring to me, the person just wanted to take a low blow and call me a girl, also, I told one person I trusted, we got in a fight and that's how they got back at me) and proceeded to lecture my friend on how if I was telling the truth something would have come of it, saying if I took her to court (and I freaking tried) I'd end up owing her money, that there's something called proof that's essential to a rape investigation, and saying I have no proof because it never happened. Part what he was saying could have been more to try and keep me quiet about it because they are scared, but with the person laughing and the threats, they could actually believe that they are just entitled and really are getting away with it. The messages are pretty confident in saying that I'm in the wrong. I hope they feel poorly for what they've done though, and I guess that's all I can really do right now. I hope she feels scared, because that's how I've had to feel for the past few years of my life for something I never asked for.

And in the third piece, Heather, you're starting to sound like my mom lmao. She's got a lot of "show that you're better than them, you've got great things going for you". Anyways, I'm trying, there's a lot I have been doing for me and doing well at. Like my sports for example, or my grades, maybe my plan for the future, I've always been a loud person (which I guess can go back to the last point, maybe that makes them feel worried) and stand for what I believe in very adamantly, point is, although I'm still terrified, I've got things going for me, things this person would never in their wildest dreams be able to accomplish. The fact that they had to go low enough to target me for my gender, they couldn't even find anything in my actual life to comment on so they had to go down that road.

I love what you've done and accomplished, by the way, that's pretty awesome. I want to be able to do the same one day, but I don't really know how. It's pretty scary, because I can't really be loud or do a lot of the things I had hoped to (although, that's an issue for a lot of people right now with the virus), it might get me seriously hurt, or worse. I think helping others is a great thing, rather than bringing them down or hurting them. With what you've mentioned, I have no idea how I'd really start on that as far as like making it harder for abusers to do those things. It's great you've been able to though. If I speak up or do anything it might end with a number of things from being shot, to getting my tongue cut out, to being beaten within an inch of my life, or even being killed or having my family and friends being hurt. I can't rely on the fact that he might be all talk when someone's pulled a knife on me before, or when I have quite serious threats, as well as the police and school telling me I'm not allowed to talk about it really. Like I take a risk putting it here, even but I also know I need a place to just like vent sometimes and most likely, they won't find this.

The graph thing has certainly been mentioned a few times, and yeah, it's pretty accurate. And thank you, for all of that, Amanda. I know it's a lot of time, but ahh, time seems to move at pretty slow pace, and I guess that's fine, for now I can work on other things I enjoy too. And yeah, acknowledging I know this won't be easy at least makes me feel a little less surprised when times suck. I'll just keep taking it day by day.

I still though, can't wait to get the news that he's been arrested though, like the constable described how that would go, and damn, I love it, I also know she'd be the one to make the arrest and she's a total badass. I have more than enough for charges it's just the judicial authorisation is a pain. Hopefully that'll make the actual person feel a little more scared and realize they need to cut it out or otherwise they'll have the same consequences. Also, if this starts back up again, I think honestly I'm just going to head down to one of the stations and say "alright, I'm done, help me out here". It's kind of crazy looking back at all they've really done, like they put my number on craigslist for a freaking hookup at three in the morning one time, they sent around pre-transition photos, would show off their cuts to me, would blame me for suicidal thoughts or whatever they had going on. They really had me feel like anything that happened was my fault and I deserved to feel pain for it, they sent around a video of me that got 8,000 likes in just a few days, had their friends corner and threaten me in my own classrooms, posted side things about how I hurt them and how "they knew I enjoyed it". It's gross. Following me, and clearly showing almost like a clear switch in personality when they saw me in student services that the adult picked up on and moved me until they brought back the key in order to keep me safe, enough that people that had no idea about it could pick up on, that's crazy. If she continues that, I have a lot of witnesses that can say "yeah, something was clearly going on." As it turns out, she has no idea I've even been talking to the constable, so like she has no idea that the police know about what she did to me, or is continuing to do, and if she thinks for even a second I'm backing down, even if it looks like that, she's crazy because she doesn't get to do that.
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Jacob
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Jacob »

It's great that that's something you could consider!

With the laughing, I'd say laughing really can be a defense mechanism and an extention of the same abusive crap they were pulling before. It can even be a way of avoiding all the feelings of guilt, or whatever other demons they have, that have to be stamped right down when someone continues to be abusive. So, if anything it shows the pain that waits for them when they are unable to hurt you. On the other hand though, that's about them... who knows what's in anyone's head? A part of this for you can also be a bout practising what it would be like to not care about their thoughts, feelings, failures, achievements.

When someone is abusive, and has spent so much energy making US feel guilty for their abuse, they make themselves the person whose feelings we worry about. At one point their biggest fear tends to have been that we wouldn't notice them or care about them, their happiness or their sadness, any of it.

I don't think exacting the revenge of forgetting an abuser's existence is actually achievable, at least not intentionally, but I think it can help us frame the progress we make as we make it.

If we bring charges, it's because their feelings are less important to us than our own and the safety of others... if we don't and move on with our lives it's because their existence is less and less relevant to our lives. Same cake, different icing.

Even when you feel 100% miserable and doubt your healing altogether, remember how at that moment it's your misery and your healing. The fact that you're thinking about yourself and your feelings is a HUGE leap away and is one of the biggest forms of healing that is taking place. The fact that you're getting help, and you're making all these other steps is just a cherry on top!
"In between two tall mountains there's a place they call lonesome.
Don't see why they call it lonesome.
I'm never lonesome when I go there." Connie Converse - Talkin' Like You
0PT1M15T1C
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by 0PT1M15T1C »

I get how laughter can be a defense mechanism and such, but wow, when that's happening it doesn't feel like it. It feels like they find it hilarious that they're able to hurt me, as if it's some sort of game. But yeah, I don't know what exactly their thinking and I hope that what I've been thinking isn't the case, that eventually they'll have to deal with the things they've done. Right now, it's not really a simple thing to practise that, I wish it was. I don't want to care, all they've caused me is hurt so I don't want to care what they're thinking or feeling but for so long I've asked myself why they're doing this to me - and I think that's where that comes from. In time, I'm sure I'll get better at not caring, and I am trying but it's certainly not easy. At the same time, it also stems from, when I would notice they were the most unstable, that's when things would get bad for me and I'd use it as a way to learn how to protect myself.

I get that that would probably be the fear, and it's not the first time it's been mentioned to me, but not caring, is a lot more difficult than saying "I don't care" and leaving it, especially when I have so many rooted behaviours/habits that depend on that. It doesn't make sense though, why they are so obsessed with me that they feel the need to stalk me, and I guess part of that would be the power aspect... I keep going back to thinking about what I could've done to ask for this, and although I know it's not my fault, it's hard. I really don't think I'll be able to forget them or what they've done, after 5 years, it's pretty engraved. That being said, I am trying to stay away from them both in person and in the ways that I think.

The charges are for me to some sense, they're also to make it a lot harder for him to do the same thing again, so I guess that's my way of making it harder. I also know that one of the conditions will be that he won't be allowed technology, and although this may sound selfish and strange, it's kind of like taking away the thing he used to hurt me, that he clearly enjoys. He can try being a teenager without being able to have technology when I know that's extremely present in his life. I think I have every right to that though, like he did send me death threats and like, that's a good way to put a stop to that one (I don't know if I've mentioned this, but he also placed threats against a school, I believe gun threats). I think it'll also be nice having it be a lot harder for him to find information about me, and also it gives me some protection, there's a lot of things that this puts limits on, especially because I don't get to know who it is. - which is still insane btw- It's also something only I can choose, my parents can't make the decision, teachers, the school, the crime was against me and so finally, I get a choice in what happens and I'm using it, he doesn't get to say those things to me and have the impact he's had. I should be able to leave my house alone ffs.

And thank you, I'll try to remember that because it does make sense. I don't want to keep thinking of them, and it's a lot better being able to focus on myself and my feelings around it, even if it feels miserable.
You have the power to say "This is not how my story will end".
Jacob
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Jacob »

I'm glad that was a little helpful at the end!

To be clear I wasn't saying that you should stop caring, I don't think you 'should' do anything. I think you're doing so so well. I meant to use the idea of not caring to highlight the progress you're already making in caring more and more for yourself, or to be an optional tool you could use for short moments, to help make decisions like: "...but if i really didn't care, what decision would I probably make about x, y, z? Is that something I can do now anyway, even though I don't feel that way?"

I'm so sorry it came accross as an unachievable recommendation for how you should feel! Nope, your feelings, your choices! You also get to be as selfish as you like right now with regards to him; you have my blessing!
"In between two tall mountains there's a place they call lonesome.
Don't see why they call it lonesome.
I'm never lonesome when I go there." Connie Converse - Talkin' Like You
0PT1M15T1C
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by 0PT1M15T1C »

That makes more sense, thank you.

I think for right now, there are a few things I can try to start practising that thinking. It'll probably get a little easier when the weather gets better to push myself to do things like go out. If I didn't care, I wouldn't be scared to post on Instagram for once, so I'm going to start there for right now.

I'm glad the whole selfish piece with the charges didn't come off poorly, I was a little worried about that. There's been a lot of ways I could've gotten back at these people, primarily the stalker but didn't, and I'm grateful I didn't. Going down the legal route with charges is the much better idea, and the safer idea. I've been in cuffs (the constable asked me if I wanted to try them, I wasn't in trouble) and even though she put them on loosely, those things aren't comfortable. It's the little things in the sense that this is going to suck for him. Something is finally happening and someone is finally doing something about the pain this person has caused, and that's nice.

As far as other things though, I'm not so happy with my family in the states (my mother's side) who I found out are still partying and getting together. I love them and although we disagree on some major things, they're still my family and I really wish they'd be safe. Thankfully everyone on my dad's side are taking this seriously, and I'm really grateful for that. I know like my sister is being safe, although she still has to go to work, I think she'll be okay as well as my cousins who are high risk I believe are staying home.

Things at my house have really kind of taken a hit and that sucks, and so hopefully, the appointment they have with the Psychiatrist will help. Things got really bad, my mom caught me doing some stuff, and we had another long cry sesh. I don't know what to call them at this point, things have just been really hard all around. I think I basically ruined my relationship with my dad for at least a little while, and that's stinging a little, my mom is doing her best to be understanding but wow, this is anything but easy.
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Sam W
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Sam W »

I'm glad you've got another appointment scheduled with the psychiatrist, since it sounds like things are getting pretty stressful at home. It's extra-hard right now because everyone, adults and young people alike, are dealing with unexpected and intense stress. Which means family flare-ups are to be expected (though that doesn't make them suck less). Are you finding those cry sessions with your mom to be helpful, or at least leave you feeling like she's understanding you a bit better?

I feel you, by the way, on worrying about or being annoyed with family members who are not following the recommendations or orders around social distancing. It's exhausting to have that worry on top of everything else.
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by 0PT1M15T1C »

I think for the most part yeah, they're helpful. It sounds weird (to me) to call them that, but I don't think "late night breakdowns featuring my mom" is any better of a name. I think she's really kind of seen the amount of pain I've been in, we're all (dad, mom and myself) frustrated because none of us really have a good idea of what to do about it, but last night she wasn't sounding like upset or anything, she just listened and spoke in a really calm voice. I just really felt heard by her I guess. It's hard to shake that feeling of letting her down, because I know all she wants is for me to be happy and it hurts her to see me the way I am. She's trying her best to understand all of this, but just doesn't really know what to do. It's also nice to be able to just let it out sometimes and know my mom doesn't want me to feel embarrassed and just really cares. Yesterday it was kind of a full blown panic attack, and I couldn't breathe, but slowly she brought me down from all that hurt and I'm grateful for her doing that.

Like the amount of pain I'm feeling when that stuff happens, is insane. And I can't imagine it's fun for my mom to hear her kid begging her to make it stop. That's all that goes through my head during those times is just that I want it to stop.. I know she's really worried at this point, and thankfully she's not mad. It's nice finally being able to go to my mom though, like before I would deal with it on my own by numbing it, in really unhealthy ways, and although crying is less than ideal, it's better than before. She's finally there for me while all of this is happening and it's nice to not feel so alone in those moments.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with that too, it's certainly anything but fun. I've been trying to check in and see how my mom is doing and feeling, but she just feels really stuck and powerless. They don't listen and so, there's really nothing we can do. What sucks is that my grandma is most likely staying home, but they're still having the grandkids over, and my grandpa won't stay in the house so...
You have the power to say "This is not how my story will end".
Alexa
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Alexa »

First of all, so glad you got a psychiatry appointment! I hope it gives you some clarity.

I'm really glad your mom is there for you and that you're not feeling as alone. It's so important to have someone at home to hold you, physically and/or emotionally, when those breakdowns happen. I don't think that seeing you in pain is "letting her down" -- as hard as it is for her to know she can't fix everything, it is important to remember that this isn't a thing *you* did to her or anyone. But I get that it can be hard to shake.

I'm so sorry this feels so painful right now. Like Amanda said earlier, healing is not linear, and I'm sending you all the biggest hopes that this hard part passes soon and gives you a bit of a break. <3

What are your favorite distractions/healing activities at home right now? I know you are working out pretty hard with your team, and I'm hoping that helps you to feel better. Have you been able to go on any more walks/feel safe enough to go on walks? Are you playing games? What are your favorite hang-out-online apps/sites/activities? (We could always use more ideas for those, too!)
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0PT1M15T1C
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by 0PT1M15T1C »

Me too! I'm feeling pretty confident at this point my mom will be able to talk well on what's been happening (I'll probably still give her the note that tells her stalking is different from bullying) but yeah, it's nice.

It really is a lot nicer being able to go to her when they happen, partly because they don't last as long that way, but also I think moms are magic. I used to think it was stupid when people were telling me to have open dialogue with her, and that people were just telling me that because technically she's an adult, but no, talking to my mom is one of the greatest things ever sometimes. We talk a lot about like everything at this point and it's really nice. Yeah, shaking that one is pretty hard, but like it's getting easier in that sense. I try my best to remember that this isn't something I did, but it doesn't always work.

Thank you <3 Me too, honestly, it'd be pretty sweet.

I actually took a walk with my family yesterday (we left my brother at home, though - he didn't want to come anyways) and I love that, my dad wasn't mad at me still and we joked around a whole lot. I think like not being alone really kind of helps to take my mind off of it, because I know I'm safe with my parents, my dad and I also linked arms the whole way so like, that was nice. I hope the weather picks up, because it's still pretty chilly here. Although, yesterday a friend of my moms had a birthday and so we all got together (and stayed apart) and sung her happy birthday, we added our own little touch to it at the end which was great (my family mooned her, which like the whole group knew we were going to do, it was hilarious honestly. Also, that friend is like the most inappropriate person we know, like this wasn't weird.) We also went by my friends houses and said hi, blasted some music and did some dancing, and seeing them smile was awesome.

I don't really play a whole lot of games, I've never really been that type of kid, everyone's been telling me to get Animal Crossing though. I might start playing Minecraft with my brother some more or like maybe do a raid with him in GTA. I'm pretty sure at this point I'm addicted to tik tok, really though, a lot of the time I spend doing writing, like I'm not really doing anything out of the ordinary. I've been playing my guitar some more and working out. And Good Girls, I started binging that. I should probably like actually finish my project report, but bibliographies are annoying and the site we're supposed to use crashed and deleted some stuff so like, not happy. My sleep has been really weird, we moved my lizards out of the tank in my room, so my room is actually dark at night (also much cooler), but also for a few reasons it's not really getting any better, partly because of this next paragraph.

The other thing is that my friend told me he was assaulted by someone he had previously been hooking up with, so it's been staying up late to walk him through all of that. Last night it kind of hit him that it actually happened, so I stayed with him while all of that was happening and got him calmed down and to a point we were joking and just able to talk. There's a lot of guilt and shame from what happened that he talks about and like it's hard to see your friend in that place feeling like it's his fault because he should have just gone home (which hit a few strings for me, personally). I'm one of the few people he's told, I encouraged him to go to the police, but he doesn't want to, so I have to respect that. The guy ejaculated inside of him in the end, and so there's a pregnancy risk there (from the sounds of things, when they're having sex - not this-, they use a condom), but because of current situations, he couldn't get plan b so I told him if anything happened I could let my mom know and she would most likely be okay with taking my friend to either get an abortion or any care he needed that way. He let me know he already had a friend who would take him and stay with him, so I told him if he needed a backup, we were there in case. I did also mention Scarleteen and made some jokes around that, also gave him some other resources I found helpful when I realized what had happened to me.

It also kind of gave me an idea of the fact that I have made progress, most of the time, I can honestly say that what happened wasn't my fault, I didn't know better, and also I don't have to feel ashamed of it. Although those things come back sometimes, it's not always, but it's progress! I'm not just coming to terms with what happened to me anymore, although I certainly haven't processed it all, I have made some serious moves forward (and a few back along the way but that's fine). I don't know, it's nice to be able to help him out a bit and be there, but it's certainly not easy. It was also really nice to hear some of the things he had to say about me, as far as me being confident, tough, that not a lot of people would mess with me (clearly one person likes to, which ahhh) but also even commenting on the fight I got into, I stand my ground and I don't let people mess with me - it was really nice to hear someone say that sort of thing about me. Knowing that although sometimes I don't see it, he thinks of me as pretty badass and scary (not like, in a bad way, I don't know how to put it) and admires that confidence, it's really nice. By the way, this is a friend I didn't used to get along with very well, and we've been talking a lot more even just about random stuff, so those comments didn't come from last nights convo.
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Karyn »

I'm so sorry about your friend: it really is so hard to see someone you care about so much in pain, but it's good that you were able to support him and point him to some resources. He's lucky to have you as a friend.

On a more positive note, it's so good to hear that you're recognizing that you've made progress! Sometimes it can be so hard to realize that, so the fact that you can remind yourself (and believe others when they say it) is awesome.
"Where there is power, there is resistance." -Michel Foucault
0PT1M15T1C
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by 0PT1M15T1C »

My friend seems to be doing alright (as much as he can be anyways) with everything and I've just done my best to be there. I still wish he'd go to the police but that's his choice.

Yeah, it was really weird to kind of realize that when I was talking to him to say damn, I was here a year ago and I'm not there anymore, I made a report, I got tested, I started therapy, and believe that what happened was wrong and not on me. It felt pretty great.

Speaking of police, the constable came by on Monday just to check in and make sure everything was going okay which was really nice. I appreciated that for sure and so we talked a little (kept distance and all) and filled her in on just everything. My AP also checked in yesterday to make sure everything was going alright as well, I also mentioned that I needed to call the school to get on the list for the counsellors to override the system as far as classes and she took care of that for me. Basically because I took Spanish 9 and have a 95 in that class, I don't need Spanish 10, I can go right to Spanish 20 so that's awesome. Also, I asked her what would happen as far as classes next year and brought up that I knew earlier in the year she had said that I would have to move on and might have that person in my classes and that I would have to get used to being in the same environment as them basically, so I asked her about that and if she could please try to ensure that I wouldn't have any classes with that person, and she said they will definitely do their best to ensure that doesn't happen. So that took a whole lot of stress off knowing they would do their best that way.

Yesterday my parents had the meeting with the psychiatrist (although I was told actually a psychologist so I'm going to look up her credentials) and they really like her and think she is an amazing fit. My mom said that like "She might actually be able to help us, she just seemed to get it, I connected with her more than anyone we've seen." which is good, because I need someone that'll really explain things to my mom and all of that. She said she'll certainly need a few sessions with me and she might be able to get me in as soon as next week - she'll call today and figure all that out. There's a few things kind of on my mind with all of that, and part of it was what was mentioned as far as dysphoria, that it might not be that but rather an underlying issue that's contributing or something - which isn't a fun thing to hear. Granted I'm hearing this secondhand so I have to take it with a grain of salt, my mom said she wasn't doubting the whole trans piece but it'll take some sessions to get to the bottom of that one. I kind of worry about though, because like I've been living as male for 5 years, and I talked to someone about this last night and I think they explained it well, but I still kind of fear that like I might be wrong, I transitioned fairly young and this is all I really kind of know well... I don't really want to hear that someone may not believe that's the case or know like I made a mistake or something or that this was just a way I coped. I'm not sure if that makes sense or not. I just really don't want to be making the wrong decision here or anything like that.

It also means I have to work on trusting someone new. Like I know it's going to be a lot of hard to answer questions and explanations about a whole range of things, that's always I think the worst part of seeing someone new. I also have to figure out what this means as far as my regular therapy, because I might not still be allowed to do that. It's complicated and annoying quite frankly. I have therapy on Monday though so I'll bring it up then. I'm glad I'm getting somewhere though.

Things have still been weird I think, and part of that is that I've been off school for almost a month now, so wow... I miss my normal life (minus the stalking and other bs) but like, it's going up to 41 degrees today (5 Celsius) so that's better than the last week, and hopefully a lot more of the snow will melt so I can hit the field soon, and also go longboarding with my dad. Everything is weird, and so I'm trying to look after myself as best as possible that way. I had a Zoom meeting with my class which was hilarious and that was nice just to have most of us back together talking, the same jokes all of that. Nightmares have been sucky, and same with the flashbacks but that's nothing new really. Oh yeah, I actually like slept last night without a nightmare and so I'm holding onto that, it was awesome. I wish that happened more than it does.

I'm getting a little better at the mindfulness piece though which is nice, and for the most part I'd say I've been able to catch panic attacks when they are first coming on and ground myself which is nice. There also haven't been too many triggers around which is nice. School is stressful, like before 9am (they are allowed to post starting 9am, not before and should really only be posting on their day according to the schedule) I had 6 notifications from teachers about work which isn't fun and is rather stressful when it's every day. As much as yeah, I'm doing my best with schoolwork when there's a lot of outside stress getting that many notifications and work assignments aren't fun, like this isn't as if we were just attending school normally and I wish teachers would get the memo that way. I had to get my bibliography done which had 50 citations and still have multiple other assignments just for that class. We should be getting 10 hours a week from all of our teachers in total - the assignments right now are adding up to more than that. I'm not the only one stressed out by it though so at least there's that.

I still just feel really kind of nervous around the new person I'm supposed to be seeing quite honestly, the gender piece of it as well as just knowing that I'll have to talk to her about my story. She doesn't want to like throw meds at it unless she knows exactly what she's treating which makes sense, she also doesn't want to refer me to the gender clinic unless it's actually that. My mom said she was very open and honest about everything with her which is really nice, I'm glad she was able to do that.
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Re: I just feel so broken..Am I?

Unread post by Amanda F. »

Hi 0PT1M15T1C,

So glad to hear it sounds like the psychiatrist might be a good fit! I hear you about having to explain everything all over again and build trust with a new person. That aspect of finding a new support person is exhausting. I hope that it turns out well. And ultimately, this psychiatrist is supposed to be for your benefit, not your mother's. Although your family is involved, the most important relationship here (and the one that should be serving you) is the one between the doctor and YOU. You can advocate for yourself, and remind everyone that this is about getting your needs met.

I'm also happy to hear the mindfulness has been helping. That's fantastic. Small changes over time add up to bigger changes overall. :) You may still have days or instances when it doesn't feel helpful, and that's okay; it seems like overall this is a positive change and a good tool to have in your mental health toolbox.

For your school - it's too bad to hear that teachers are assigning too much work. I imagine they're all thinking that they are below the limit, but when it adds up it goes over. For your peace of mind, could you just not check the notifications before 9am? Can you decide when your school day starts, if you're working from home anyway?
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