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Sexual harassment in a game triggered my flashbacks

LabraBellLabraBell Art is my passion :3Posts: 203 Trailblazer
PTSD trigger warning. I tried to water it down where I could but I know from experience that even a watered-down explanation can bring on the feelings.

I was playing an online game with my friend for his birthday today, when a hacker came online and started messing with us. The hacker kicked my friend off the session, leaving only us in there, and started to send sexually explicit messages to me, and using in game emotes to make it to the point that he was virtually raping my character. I left as soon as I could but seeing the action take place triggered an instant flashback to when it happened to me for real, stronger than I've had in a long time, and now I fear that the flashbacks are going to return again.

I always prided myself on not having any triggers, because I forcefully exposed myself to them again and again until I stopped responding. But seeing that vision again, after almost two years of being 'clean' in a way, It's brought everything back. Emotionally I feel fine, but whenever I'm coming across previous triggers I'm getting a horrible tightness in my gut, like I'm cramping up. I hate it, that feeling. But I'm at a loss as to how to stop it. I can't expose myself this time; I'm not stable enough to be able to cope; I can tell. 

I don't want to let my past control me. It's been almost exactly five years since it happened, I don't think I could cope if I relapsed completely. I need to fix the problem, but I'm too weak to fix it, so I have to find some compromise, and I have to find it soon. 

Sometimes it just feels like life is trying to throw every possible obstacle at me before I can get a break. The light at the end of the tunnel is certainly guiding me, but that light also makes the dark seem so much more stifling, if that makes sense. I'm finally realising that I'm not going to be able to do this alone. Which is why I'm here now. I need help, I just don't know how.
What do you mean I have to think of an intelligent signature?
peachysooTheAprilFool

Comments

  • Lucy307Lucy307 UKPosts: 971 Part of The Mix Family
    Hey @LabraBell

    I'm really sorry to hear that happened and was triggering for you, people online can be really insensitive. It sounds like you have been really strong working to try and get over what happened to you, but it's totally normal to have triggers and flashbacks regardless of how long ago this experience was. It doesn't mean you are weak, it just means you are human <3.

    Have you ever reached out to speak to somebody about what happened, or confided in any family/friends about it? 

    - Lucy
    Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend
    peachysooTheAprilFool
  • LabraBellLabraBell Art is my passion :3Posts: 203 Trailblazer
    Lucy307 said:
    Hey @LabraBell

    I'm really sorry to hear that happened and was triggering for you, people online can be really insensitive. It sounds like you have been really strong working to try and get over what happened to you, but it's totally normal to have triggers and flashbacks regardless of how long ago this experience was. It doesn't mean you are weak, it just means you are human <3.

    Have you ever reached out to speak to somebody about what happened, or confided in any family/friends about it? 

    - Lucy
    I understand what you mean, but I conditioned myself not to respond to triggers. The issue now is when I have one of these triggers it's pulling me back to the dark time when I was exposing myself over and again. It's taking a lot more out of me now to respond to triggers than it has before.

    There aren't many people I trust with the knowledge of my past. The first person I ever confessed to spread the confession like a rumour, so I find it hard now. The people I trust are aware that it happened, but I don't think there's a single person I know IRL that knows my whole story. 

    What do you mean I have to think of an intelligent signature?
    peachysooTheAprilFool
  • Candlestick56Candlestick56 Posts: 90 The answer to life, the universe, and everything
    Hi @LabraBell,

    I just want to reiterate Lucy307 in saying it sounds like you've been really strong in coping with what happened to you, and that relapses are normal and not a sign of weakness!

    Even if you don't have many people you feel you can talk to, it's good that you are able to share what happened on here. 

    Having this trigger does not mean you have to go back through the process of forceful exposure. It doesn't mean that that didn't work. I can understand why you are worried that this experience will knock you back, but please try not to be so hard on yourself. The thing is, rebuilding your resilience after something like what you went through takes time. You will experience set backs and difficult times, like now, but you need to remind yourself that you are strong enough to overcome them and no matter how stifling the darkness seems, it is temporary, because you will come through it. The only thing you can do is accept the emotions you're feeling and allow yourself to experience them. They will not break you. You are stronger than that. 
    peachysooTheAprilFool
  • LabraBellLabraBell Art is my passion :3Posts: 203 Trailblazer
    Hi @LabraBell,

    I just want to reiterate Lucy307 in saying it sounds like you've been really strong in coping with what happened to you, and that relapses are normal and not a sign of weakness!

    Even if you don't have many people you feel you can talk to, it's good that you are able to share what happened on here. 

    Having this trigger does not mean you have to go back through the process of forceful exposure. It doesn't mean that that didn't work. I can understand why you are worried that this experience will knock you back, but please try not to be so hard on yourself. The thing is, rebuilding your resilience after something like what you went through takes time. You will experience set backs and difficult times, like now, but you need to remind yourself that you are strong enough to overcome them and no matter how stifling the darkness seems, it is temporary, because you will come through it. The only thing you can do is accept the emotions you're feeling and allow yourself to experience them. They will not break you. You are stronger than that. 
    I understand. Thank you. But it's not just the once, and it's happening with triggers I was previously immune to.
    What do you mean I have to think of an intelligent signature?
    TheAprilFool
  • Lucy307Lucy307 UKPosts: 971 Part of The Mix Family
    Have you thought about seeking help from a counsellor or talking to somebody on a site/helpline like  Rape Crisis? It may just help to get it out, as I understand that you feel that others are unaware of your story? In my experience, I didn't tell my family/many friends but talked at length with a counsellor, this was the best thing I did and really helped. Won't be the same for everyone but just a suggestion in case you hadn't thought about that yet. Hugs <3 
    Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend
    TheAprilFool
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