Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rape and Post Traumatic Stress

Well it finally happened yesterday. While I was working someone opened the door behind me I turned to look to see who it was. When I turned back there they were. Apparently, I looked one way and they walked around the other.

I turned back and scream "Oh my God" and to make it worse it was my boss. I froze, I quickly recovered but thoughts were still streaming through my head. To make it even more unbearable my boss thought it was funny (she doesn't know) and was laughing and said "BOO." I was pretty disappointed in myself.

That was just the most recent example of a PTSD symptom that occurred but other things have been happening that I have not mentioned. Since the rape I have been seeing things. Not delusions, more like things out of the corner of my eyes. I look and there is nothing there.

I am not quite sure if this is a PTSD symptom but believe it is. The reason I mention it is that it has gotten worse. For example, last Thursday, I was walking up the stairs to the apartment and when I got to the top out of the corner of my eye it looked as if the door was open, I looked up in worry and it was shut. I can't say I was afraid ( I don't experience to much fear anymore) I would say more shocked. I will research this issue to see if it is a symptom of PTSD but if it does have to do with the rape it is happening more often now then a year ago.

The only thing that has changed is that I started a new job. I certainly hope the stress of the job is not causing these things to get worse.

The one positive thing is that my fear of the rape and rapist is gone thanks to some great self-help tips I have been using. In regards, to what is happening now, I don't have a clue. I am thinking maybe I should get back to counseling but I believe they will say it is normal and I just have to wait it out.


Victoria Placeo

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Secondary Survivor of Rape - The Rocks Birthday

A week ago today, my Rock, the main secondary survivor of the rape, had a birthday. No one deserves a special celebration like the Rock. Those who do not know who the Rock is, he is my best friend, and basically the main person I could count on after the rape.

I am sure others thought about how I was doing, but I did not hear from many people after the rape. In fact, I heard from less people then I normally did. This is not to be about how hard it was for me, but to extol the virtues of my Rock.

He was there for every flashback, every nightmare, every legal proceeding, whatever I needed he was there. I could never imagine a person being as kind as he was and is. I often would focus on the loss of friends and family after the rape, when what I should have been doing is focusing on the Rock and his support.

The Rock obviously knows that I blog about the rape, however, I don't think he knows how many caring people read it and email me. I would like to ask a special favor.

If you do read this, and care enough to give an applaud to a great secondary survivor and person in general, please leave a comment and wish the Rock a belated birthday. It was one way I could show that I care as well as others.

You see the Rock had lost some faith in people after he saw how I was treated after the rape, and I would like to show him the other side.

I know it may seem an odd request, but if you would leave him a belated birthday wish. Thank you so much for reading.


Victoria Placeo

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Irrational Emotions Since The Rape

I have an overwhelming sadness today. It is like the little egg on the anti-depressant commercials followed by a cloud. I have learned with my new coping skills and things that I have read that it does no good to try and go back through your past and try to figure out why you feel bad. It is better to look forward and decide that you want to feel good. As well as that works sometimes I do not follow my own advice.

I believe I am sad today because tomorrow I work. I believe that my sadness is really not sadness at all but fear. Fear of the upcoming day. I thought about why I would feel fear or sadness about a job and I came up with a few possible reasons.

With a traditional job I "have" to be there, that perhaps in my mind is a not wanting to be controlled issue. Along with this fear I also "have" to be ruled by a boss and do what I am told. I think it is obvious why that may be an issue.

Finally, at work I am doing two jobs, the job I am there for and the job of controlling my mind. I have to stay mindful of when people touch me and realize they mean no harm. I have to keep bringing myself back to the present when the loud noises occur. Although, I have been doing these things quite well so far, I am exhausted which I know does not help with depression or fear.

These emotions are probably "normal" as my counselor would have said. However, it is frustrating to me that I have brought myself to this point of healing through counseling and other self-help techniques and I still have these little hangups.

I don't expect to be fully operational already, but perhaps I should put some expectations on myself. Perhaps I would achieve them quicker. One side of me wants to put those expectations on myself and the other wants to take things in stride.

I would love any one's opinion on this one:)



Victoria Placeo

Friday, September 18, 2009

The 16 Month Anniversary of Rape

You wouldn't think I would still remember what the happened on the 18th in May 0f 2008, but I still do. It is different now however, I know what happened and at times reflect on the rape and what I was doing after it happened, but it is not a traumatic.

There is so much to say on so many things that I feel on certain days and especially rape anniversary days. At times, since the one year anniversary date, the 18th would arrive and I would acknowledge the day and then go about my day. Remembering throughout the day that it was the rape anniversary, but not remembering ( or trying not to) what actually happened in the early morning hours and the days preceding it.

On other anniversary dates, like today, I feel not fear, but do feel guilt and loss. I am not the same person, in fact if I take the time to remember how I was before the rape, I would not even recognize myself today. This is not a good thing, at least in my mind.

Before the rape I was confident, thinner, prettier, I felt good about myself, I had confidence in my friends and family. Now I feel none of those things. I used to dance and have fun, now I go to work, and think my world into positivity.

I believe my thought processes of needing to feel grateful for what I have, take up alot of my mind. That is a good thing with less focus on the rape and the events that followed.

Today I feel like a melting pot of emotions. I feel grateful, loss, insignificant, guilt, and acceptance. It almost seems like it was not me that was raped and I just know the story of someone who was. When I try to remember the rape purposefully, the main emotion I get is a tremendous sense of loss. Loss of life (although I am alive), loss of family, loss a lot of loss.

Victoria Placeo

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dateline - The Man Behind The Mask

On September 4th, 2009 Dateline aired "The Man Behind The Mask." It was about Donna Palomba who was raped in 1993. Apparently a man wearing a mask broke into her home while her husband was away and raped her.

A horrible tragedy, but what doubles the horror is that after reporting the rape, Donna was the one looking at jail time for lying to police. The police that were in charge believed she was making it all up.

I will not go into to the entire story about Donna Palomba, there are links at the bottom of this post where you can find her full story. What I would like to touch on was how watching the program effected me and how I could relate to Donna regardless of our different circumstances.

Unlike Donna, I knew my rapist and got criminal justice immediately, without being questioned about my report. However, there were many areas that Donna spoke of and were part of her life that I could relate to.

Donna did not know her rapist therefore she could look at any man and think maybe it was him. That in itself is quite a fear to live with. I have that fear when the release of my rapist comes. Although, I try not to think about it, it will come and I may have fear.

Donna also had trouble in her town, with people questioning whether she lied or not. I had crude remarks, suggestions to leave the town I was in, and eventually did.

I was jealous of Donna at one point (which I felt guilty about) because of the family and friend support she had. I did not have that. I feel guilty for saying I was jealous because her situation was nothing to be jealous of and I can only imagine the fear and frustration she lived with day in and day out.

There was a section of the report that stated that the police did not believe her because she did not sound convincing enough on the 911 call. She also called the rapist a "gentleman" on the call. After being raped and making a 911 call myself, I know full well that there is so much shock that you really don't know what you may be saying.

There are so many more aspects of Donna's story that I relate to, and there are just to many to go into them all. But one final area of relation is knowing the rapist. Years later Donna found out that the man behind the mask was a family friend. Obviously, someone she would never expect to do such a horrid thing. I too never did expect that my rapist that I knew would do such an act.

Donna is very strong and has created a site entitle Jane Doe No More, you can find out why she named it this by visiting the links at the bottom of the page. Her strength amazes me and I admire her so. I only hope that one day I will be strong enough to help people as much as she is.

You can find out more about Donna Palomba by going to:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18405518/

http://janedoenomore.com/


Victoria Placeo

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Working After Rape

As some may no and others may not, less then two months after the rape I was fired from my job while on medical leave. I did not receive unemployment, or anything really so I lived off my savings and had The Rocks help.

I started a job a week ago working with children. I decided to stay out of the mental health field which I was employed in before. I made this decision because in the mental health field I was working in there were usually violent outbursts and did not think I could take it.

In the job I am in now, I must say it is not easy and that is very discouraging for me. I have tremendous anxiety before and at work and it takes every ounce of energy I have.

This is or was not like me. Prior to the rape I had confidence. I had my insecurities like anyone else but now I feel like a child in an adults body. I am so disappointed in myself.

I am exhausted after a day of work but it is unlike before the rape. I can't think, remember things, or do much after the day is done. I am trying to stay positive, thinking things like this is just an adjustment phase. However in the back of my mind I feel something is wrong with me. That I will never have the confidence and lack of anxiety I used to have.

It has only been one week and I feel like giving up. At work there are loud noises, constant chatter, I feel so overstimulated. I cry everyday after work, however I will not give up.

Once again I feel remorse for any rape survivor who had troubles afterwards. I had no understanding until this happened and now I realize how it feels to be on the other end with no one else understanding.

It has been over a year and I am still having issues.


Victoria Placeo

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Never Meant To Stop Writing

If you have not noticed I have not been writing hardly at all since the one year anniversary of the rape. I did not mean to stop and probably should not have. It was very theraputic.

I stopped because I entered a world of depression and confusion. This would have been the best time for me to blog due to one main reason. I started this blog for me but also for others who may be experiencing the pain and suffering that rape survivors do.

For that reason, blogging through my confusion would have been best, but I did not and I can't get the time back. So much as happened in my life relating to the rape and I intend to go back an cover the important aspects but for this post I will try an explain the deep confusion and loss of self I have been experiencing.

Since the one year anniversary, I have found that I wasn't sure what I wanted anymore. I was confused about who I was and where I am supposed to be. I had a great deal of trouble making decisions (which was never my strong suit anyway:).

I felt lost, alone, unattractive, and confused in almost every area of my life. Some of those areas I am still struggling with but I have found some great tools that have assisted me in healing and I hope I will be able to share them.

One great thing that did happen (which I am sure many will disagree with) is that I quit going to counseling. The main reason for that was because I had counseling in the town I was raped in and I did not want to go back there anymore.

However, since I have quit, my nightmares have lessened, my memories are there but not as vivid, and in general I feel a little better. I contribute this to not having to talk about it every week. I cannot take it back, I cannot change it, so why talk about it. That is my theory.

I am still struggling, but not as bad, well I guess it depends on the day. A quick update, I still live in the small town miles from the rape town, I still have the support from The Rock, and I still survived.


Victoria Placeo