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Do I have PTSD..? Long

kytux1103kytux1103 Posts: 2 Literally just got here
A little over a year ago I was sexually assaulted by someone whom I thought I could trust. He was my best friend and I told him everything. We had a short intimate relationship (nothing sexual, just emotional) in the past and that's when we decided from there that it was best that we stayed friends, we worked better together without all the complicated emotions. I went to visit him on my day off, he lived 4 hours away, since I hadn't seen him in months and I really needed a friend. My anxiety and depression was really bad and I just needed to be near someone I trusted. He took advantage of that. He tried to kiss me and when I pulled away and told him no he got all huffy. I had a boyfriend and I didn't like the guy like that at all any more. We started watching a movie, paranormal activity, and he tried to kiss me again except when I tried to push him away he held my hands down with one hand and put the other around my neck. He was a high school state champion wrestler so no matter how much I struggled I couldn't get him off of me. That's when he pulled my pants off and ripped my boyfriends shirt off of me and raped me. 

I drove home in the rain and showered immediately. I felt gross and used and broken. I didn't tell my boyfriend about what happened until months later and he was really supportive about it. He respected my decision not to press charges, not to tell my parents, and not to tell him his name. He's no longer my boyfriend but now my husband, and he's a marine. So I feared that he would go after him and try to hurt him then end up in jail and stripped of his title as a US Marine. 

But because of that night, if my husband lifts my hands above my head and holds them there I have a panic attack, if he tries to choke me (he can be kinky, sorry) I have a panic attack. He knows now and doesn't do anything that sets me off. But I can't drive in the rain, I can't watch any of the paranormal movies, I can't hear the town that my rapist lives in without my anxiety spiking, I'm constantly in fear of the men around me. I always have some sort of weapon on me and I never go out alone at night anymore. Sometimes I have nightmares where it just replays the night over and over and I wake up screaming. 

I don't have flashbacks besides the nightmares, and those don't really happen much anymore, and I don't really have PTSD episodes.. But some things do trigger me and cause me to have awful panic attacks. Do I have PTSD? Is this a normal reaction to this kind of teams? Will I ever be able to get over it...? 


  • EyepatchEyepatch Smol Bean Posts: 666 Incredible Poster
    What happened to you was awful, your mind has probably associated those memories with certain events, (choking, driving in the rain) You can avoid doing those things but you can also try to over write the memories. Its human instinct that we remember traumatic events so that we know how to avoid them in the future, but of corse those memories have an effect on our overall wellbeing. 

    I used to start sweating when on a certain street due to having a very bad event connected to it, I would walk the longer way around town to avoid it. But once I was chatting with my current parter and we drove down that road, I froze up, then noticed they had put their middle finger up at the street. (low down so no people would feel insulted) It made me laugh so much because I remembered telling him how me and my sister would do a similar thing to a place she had bad memories off. My parter had remembered something I told him ages ago and thought of a way to make me fee better. The next time we went down that street I remembered him doing that and it made me feel a little better. I still avoid a few other places but luckily I don't have to go to them for anything, and if I ever did I would make sure my parter was with me. 

    Is it possible for you to find something else in that town? You don't have to go there, but associate it with something else, like if it has one of your favourite shops, a good view or anything really. When you find yourself thinking about the town you can say, 'no, thats the town with a lovely park.' Over time this might help lighten your triggers. 

    Its a good thing you have identified what sets you off because you know what to avoid and what to try and change. Perhaps your husband could gently touch your neck, not in a sexual way, just so that you get used to him touching there and can start to feel safer because he is with you. You could also find a parody of paranormal activity on youtube and try watching a little bit with him, parodies make fun of the film so you can laugh at the jokes and start to associate the film with those jokes rather than bad memories.

    It may also be good to see a GP anyway, you don't have to give them details about what happened if you don't want to , but you can explain that due to some past events you get triggered attacks by certain stimuli and nightmares. They might be able to find you something that could help. You may have Anxiety which is triggered by certain stimuli, a GP will be able to give you more information. 

    Your reactions are normal, and you can help with the reactions you are having. Plenty of people have certain events that cause panic attacks, I can't ask a shopkeeper how much an item costs without stuttering and I won't watch movies with a certain actor in because they remind me of someone who was awful to me. But I will still try, I don't have anything to be afraid of in shops and try to remember all the times a shopkeeper was really friendly to me so that I can muster up the courage to ask. I watched two films with the actor in with my friends and we made fun of them a lot. Now when I see that actor I still feel a little nervous but I also laugh because I think of the memories I made with my friends. 

    You can get through this, for me its been 7 years, for others longer and for some shorter. But one day, after some hard work and determination, one day you will feel okay. Perhaps not everyday, we all have our ups and downs after all. But you can do this. 
    "Sometimes we find ourselves stuck between choosing what is right, and what is easy." 
  • PuffinEthicsPuffinEthics Posts: 74 Moderator
    Hi @kytux1103,

    Thank you for sharing your story, I'm sorry you've had to go through something so awful. Such a betrayal of trust must be very difficult to deal with and very difficult to share, we're listening and we appreciate your openness that must take a lot of strength. 

    @Eyepatch has given a great response, thanks for sharing too Eyepatch.

    A visit to your GP may help you, with either a route to counselling or other support. So that could be an option for you. Some of the coping methods Eyepatch has suggested sound like they could be helpful, but it all really depends on how your feeling. 

    I have a friend who experienced a similar thing and she experienced very similar things to you after in a similar time frame. I don't think what you are feeling is out of the ordinary considering the gravity of what happened to you, and you shouldn't feel bad or weak or anything negative for feeling that way and reacting as you are. Reaching out on here is a great step, reaching out for professional support could be the next one? 

    You say you want to know whether you have PTSD? Is this because you feel a diagnosis would help you understand your feelings and reactions? Or is having a name for what your experiencing helpful ? Or is it both? 

    I'm really glad you have a supportive understanding partner that you can feel safe with. Do you talk about what your going through now with him at all? 

    Let us know how your getting on, and maybe take a look at this for some information if you'd like. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/

    Take care, we're thinking of you,  

    Puffin Ethics 💚
  • mdkmdk Posts: 3 Literally just got here
    I was sexually assaulted a few months ago (March). Everything I associated with that night would cause a panic attack. The person who hurt me was white guy with dark hair who was about my height. So anytime I saw someone who had that build, I would panic. Living in the UK, it meant that I was panicking most of the time. 

    I didn't trust any men who I didn't already know bc the guy who hurt me I had met the same day as the assault. Anytime a guy tried to speak to me, I would start internally panicking and then I would have to get away from them. I stayed away from anyone who showed interest in me bc it reminded me of him. I suffered many panic attacks. I knew where the guy lived bc he had stopped off there before coming to mine (opposite the student union), anytime I walked past his house, I would panic. 

    I suffer from depression and anxiety anyway but after the assault, I went downhill. So I went back to the GP who referred me to SARC (sexual assault referral clinic in the UK).They had someone who I could speak to and who went through my options with me. I decided not to press charges but it helped so much to talk to someone who understood what I was going through. When I was assaulted, I just shut down and stopped protesting. In SARC, they told me that when something happens there are 3 responses our brain can go to; fight, flight or freeze. Freeze is what happened to me - I learned that it wasn't something to be ashamed of. My brain picked the option which I thought had the best survival chance. 

    I'm not a violent person and never have been. But I had so many feelings of anger and just wishing him pain and death. 

    It was very difficult. The reason I got through it is because I had so much support from my housemates, dad, GP and counsellers. My friends helped me through my panic attacks, one friend introduced me to mindfulness which helped a bit (an mobile app called Headspace). It was an awful few months but slowly my panic attacks reduced in number. 

    I no longer panic when I see a white guy with dark hair. I can walk past the house he lived in without panicking. I walk straight and with confidence, knowing that if he dared to try anything, that I would break his fingers. (He is a boxer). And I would make sure he got charged for touching me.

    I still have anxiety but no longer bc he assaulted me. :) I just want you to know that it will get better. I'm living proof. 

    What you went through is awful but you won't always feel like this. It is so great that your husband is supportive and is there for you. I can understand not wanting to tell anyone else but, unless there's the risk of someone being hurt right now or in the future, counsellers keep confidentiality. It helped me a lot to speak to someone who was impartial and who I knew wouldn't go behind my back.

    Getting help especially for this will help you to feel better sooner, than if you didn't. All the best. Xx

    (Also, I don't know whether you enjoy kinky sex as well as your husband but it's still possible with someone who you trust immensely). 
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