One day, I might actually develop this skill of ‘listening to myself’; listening to what I need and what I want, listening to what my body needs and my body wants. Right now, at the start of writing this, I’m supposed to be on public transport somewhere, on my way to therapy and well, let’s just say that I’m really, really not.
From the moment I woke up this morning, I knew on some level that I wasn’t making it outside today. I kept light-heartedly saying things like ‘I’m just not ready for the outside world yet!’, thinking that maybe I just needed more coffee, more time to recover from nightmares, more time to wake up properly before leaving. But it was more than that, it was much more than that and I ignored everything that I was telling myself.
The thing is, I have a distinct habit of avoiding therapy. It’s hard work, especially as at the moment I’m in Stage Two of trauma therapy, which for those of you that don’t know, is when you go over the flashbacks and the memories and the trauma; where you release that pain and you ‘get it out’ so as to be able to process the memories, reintegrate them into a part of the brain where they’ll become less raw, less painful. But today wasn’t just my normal habit of avoiding therapy, avoiding exposing myself to that pain, today was much more than that, but I ignored everything I was feeling.
Frustratingly, I actually wanted to go outside today. Well, I’m never exactly over-eager at the prospect of therapy, but I am really trying and I was so determined today. I want to evict Dom from my head and I know I need help doing that. I was also supposed to meet up with a friend today and I really was looking forward to spending time with her and I can’t even bring myself to do that. And that’s not even bringing into focus all of the little things I needed to do today like food shopping or other shopping or going to the Post Office etc.
I just really hate myself so much, I really needed to be able to get outside today and I just couldn’t do it. I ignored everything I was feeling and tried to force myself to do it anyway. I ended up having a huge panic attack when I got anywhere close to the door and actually leaving, a panic attack that could have been avoided if I’d just listened to myself and what I needed today.
I know why today’s especially so bad. I usually have nightmares, that’s a given part of my life (at least for the moment), but they usually centre around my abusive relationships and incest, it’s not as often that I get nightmares about the actual trafficking (I guess my brain’s willing to limit at least some of the crap it puts me through – thanks brain) or at least I tend not to remember them quite as clearly when I wake up.
Today I did remember, and clearly and I know that’s exactly why I can’t face going outside today. When you’ve spent the entire night remembering the multiple rapes and pains and traumas that a multitude of men have put you through, you don’t feel particularly inclined to be outside around men. I mean, granted, I never feel safe around men; I know too much about the violence and the abuse that all of them are capable of to ever feel safe around men, but on days like today I just can’t face it.
After a while, their faces blur, their names long forgotten (if you ever knew them), they can be literally anyone. Any man you pass on the street can be a former ‘client’, a john and if not one of yours, then probably someone else’s. And that’s a fucking terrifying thought. Knowing that there’s a chance that any man you walk past on the street is one of your rapists, or has at least jacked off to watching one of your rapes and that you’d never actually know because you can’t remember their faces.
I know that this is partially paranoia and C-PTSD, but it doesn’t change how terrified I am to even think of leaving and going outside, at least for today. And the thing is, whilst it may well at least partially be mental health, it is something that’s happened before. I’ve been stopped on the tram, asked if it’s me (using my old porn name), been told that he loves all my work, especially my very early work (said with a wink – both of us knowing he was talking about child porn). I wasn’t able to leave the flat properly without having huge panic attacks for a long time after.
I know part of this is my own fault; I know that I haven’t moved anywhere near far enough away so it’s always, always, always gonna be a fear, I’m always gonna be looking over my shoulder. But the thing is, my entire life is here. I’ve moved far enough away to not be anywhere near them, I deliberately don’t go into the city centre, I know that this isn’t an area that any of them come near, at all and never have. But I’m still close enough for ‘clients’, who quite often travelled quite far, mostly because my family offered ‘services’ most other local places didn’t, to be around and it terrifies me. But my entire life is here. Before I left/escaped, I had a therapist I felt I could trust, I have friends that became my family, I had a sense of security and safety in those things. Even just moving the distance that I did felt like too much of a step.
I know that, one day, I’m gonna end up moving further away, to a completely different area so I don’t have to feel like I need to be always looking over my shoulder (we’re just gonna ignore the fact that I was sold around the country so I’m familiar enough with a good chunk of the cities in the UK) but right now, there’s a lot here that gives me stability and security and logically I am far enough away to be safe (at least I have been for the last three and a half years).
I don’t even know where I’m going with this any more. I just know I’m far too scared to go outside right now and I can’t bring myself to do it without panicking.
I am just so frustrated with myself, though and I know in theory it’s not my fault; that today’s just a day where I have to listen to myself and accept where I’m at, but I am still just so frustrated.
I feel the need to force myself to be productive whilst I’m inside, at least, to clean the flat or something, because heh, I still suck when it comes to taking care of myself and my sense of self-worth is still so wrapped up in achieving something and being productive.