Ninth post

Things have been a little back and forth lately. 

I know recovery isnt a straight line, but right now feels like its barely a line at all. Like i swam so far out to see i cant see the shore anymore and i dont know which way to go. 

Its not all bad, sometimes i can just float here and not worry about which way im supposed to go, what im supposed to do to “get better” – i can just exist for a while. 

But sometimes i get seasick and id kill to see some dry land but i just cant find any and my legs and my arms are sore from swimming and i just wanna sit down but i cant figure out how or where. 

things are so good – or they should be anyway. me and my boyfriend are seriously talking about moving in together, and we just got back from an awesome birthday trip to new orleans! everything is great!

or at least it should be. 

i know he understands, but it just feels so awful when im not as sexually available to him as i want to be. I want to, but my body doesnt, and its hard to explain that its not personal why i dont want to do anything, but if my brains stuck in the wrong place it just cant happen. 

at times, its almost like i need to be in a younger state of mind to have sex, like somehow my brain cant compute having sex as adult. even tho i enjoy it now that im older and its consensual, sometimes my brain doesnt get it, and its like trying to break your own arm, u /can/ do it, but u know u really really shouldnt and it hurts and everything in u says to stop before u do. 

and i know he understands! he has his own trauma, i know he gets it, but i still feel like im doing something wrong when i tell him to stop, or im not in the mood, or its starting to hurt. and its so hard to tell him those things. i know he’ll stop when i say to, but i feel so wrong, like im breaking a law. i spent so long feeling like that was my only purpose, to let men fuck me, and now i know im with something who truly loves me and cares but its still so hard to rewrite my brain, to not feel like im a complete worthless waste of space because i had to stop before my boyfriend orgasmed. sometimes i cry when i have to make him stop, not from pain but just because i feel so completely worthless when i cant do the one thing that got drilled into my head to believe was all i was useful for. 

but otherwise were fine! im just afraid that if i dont meet his sexual expectations he’ll leave me. i know he wont, i really really know he wont do that, but i cant help but fear it. my girlfriend i was with for five years cheated on me when i couldnt have sex very much for this same reason. im just so scared ill never have a healthy relationship with sex because of my past and that really sucks. 

aside from that, ive also just been in a constant state of dissociation lately. im floaty all the time anymore, constantly zoning out and feeling like my head is void of any thoughts, my consciousness feels slow and sometimes like someone scratching a record, starting and restarting the same thought over and over, never able to quite think the whole thing, or thinking it past when ive processed the thought, like a second later i already forgot i just thought that already. i dont know. 

ive been isolating a lot too. ive been physically with my boyfriend, but mentally ive felt so far away. ive barely spoken to my friends in weeks. i hide at work and pretend to be doing something important somewhere else but im usually in a bathroom playing sudoku on my phone cuz at least it can keep my brain focused on something and its easier to proccess numbers rather than feelings. 

i dont know. i feel like im just coasting lately, like im just on autopilot. 

i know part of it, looking back, is because one of my younger alters has been present a lot more lately, and thats causing some of the funk, but not all of it, cuz i know shes felt it a lot too. 

some of i also think is this time of year. ive always know my symptoms get worse in autumn. ive heard of seasonal depression, but i dont think thats what this is. its not because its cold and i cant go out, it was 90 degrees here today, but something about the way the world looks this time of year puts me on edge. 

which sucks because i love the fall! i love the trees, i love halloween, i love spooky stuff and pumpkin spice – but i just feel an incredible sense of dread looming over this entire season. itll go away in december usually. 

sometimes i think it goes back to my trauma. i think i have some memories that take place during this time of year maybe? i know i used to have this reoccuring dream of running through that neighbors backyard during fall and jumping in a gigantic pile of leaves and the house was empty and the yard was beautiful and i remember i would wake up and think about how prettier that house would be if it were empty, and them the house was empty, but i never wanted to do that anymore.

i dont know. maybe im looking too far into it. it probably doesnt really matter. 

its been a while since i saw my therapist, we went down to once a month but im starting to think im not ready anymore. i dont know. ill definitely tell her about all this when i see her next and probably ask to go back to every two weeks instead, but idk. 

it just sucks knowing that theres nothing currently wrong at all and yet here i am feeling awful yet again. 

happy birthday to me i guess 🥳 


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17 comments

  1. Ashley Day Captain

    Thank you for taking the time to provide our community with an update, Soundscape.

    You seem to have a lot of self-awareness and I’m glad that you feel comfortable telling us about everything you’ve been experiencing. Since our brains are complex, it can definitely be difficult to rewire them. It makes sense that having your mind in an upsetting place makes it challenging to feel comfortable with sex. From what you’ve shared, it sounds like you and your boyfriend have open lines of communication; you have the right to feel supported in your relationship.
    Since you have been dissociating and keeping yourself isolated, I support the idea of seeing your therapist more often.

    Happy belated birthday 🙂 Hang in there.

    Ashley

  2. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Soundscape,
    I’m really sorry you’ve been going through this. I understand that feeling of being lost at sea – about really needing a break from having to process everything. It’s so difficult to feel so exhausted. Yet you can do it. You can keep swimming. On some days, you might not swim far, and that’s okay. You can take breaks when you need to and schedule in some time for self care. As for the dissociation, you might have to work really hard to stay in the present moment at first. You may have to tell yourself, “Okay, I’m at this place and focusing on this task.” If it’s really difficult, break down the task until it gets easier and easier. Maybe even focus on the small details if possible.
    I think it might help to talk to your boyfriend about the fears you have. He seems understanding and loving, and I think he would see your side if you explained your fears. You’re not only good for sex, and you’re not a waste of space. I’m so sorry that you’re feeling this way. It may also help to go to therapy every two weeks again so you can process how you’re feeling.
    Thank you for sharing this with us. We’re here if you need anything from us, and we’re glad to help. I hope you had a great birthday and that you have a wonderful year ahead!

  3. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi Soundscape,
    Thank you for coming back and updating us. We are all here for you. We will get through this together. It’s hard feeling lost while you are working through things. It’s a really powerful metaphor comparing it to being lost at sea, not knowing where to go. I’m glad to hear that your boyfriend is understanding and supportive of you. I hope the birthday trip was awesome! He sounds so understanding, I’m sure he in no way thinks that anything you are doing is wrong. He won’t leave you. Sometimes it’s important to take some mental space away even from people you love. Sometimes we feel sad for nothing in particular. That is part of being human. Working through our mess of emotions makes us strong. Happy happy birthday to you 🙂 and many more!

    Stay strong,

    Tyler

  4. tinayoung Volunteer

    Hello Soundscape…Keep swimming! The land is close. The love and understanding of a good partner is awesome and I totally get you feeling like he deserves more. You deserve happiness and everything that comes with that.
    Therapy and sunshine helped me, keep it up. May all your days be filled with Daisies and Rainbows…

  5. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hey there soundscape,

    Your concerns in your relationship and with your mental health are all so valid. It sounds like you’re working towards a healthier mindset towards sex, and it’s wonderful that you have a partner who respects your boundaries. After experiencing the trauma that you did, it makes sense that your body would be hesitant to engage in anything that could be potentially triggering. It really is a process of rewiring your brain, and healing really is never linear. You are making great progress, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

    I think that, if it’s feasible for you, it might be a good idea to chat with your therapist about visiting more regularly. It might also help to ask her about treatments that you haven’t tried yet or about self-care techniques that she would recommend. Your brain is trying to keep you out of danger, so just be kind and patient with it through this journey (even though it can be super frustrating at times!). Thank you for updating us, and we’re always here for you if you need someone!

  6. Kayla Volunteer

    Soundscape,

    Thank you for coming back to us and trusting us with your thoughts and feelings. I’m glad to hear you’re in a healthy relationship, and I also understand the conflicting feelings you have with sex. It’s understandable that you feel this way and it’s important to be patient with yourself. It will take time to overcome this sense of guilt and fear of losing your partner, but it sounds like your boyfriend is understanding, patient and loving in this process. Show yourself the same understanding, patience and love as well. I find reclaiming ownership and power in your own sexuality can be really liberating. You deserve to enjoy consensual sex with the person you love.

    We are always here for you when/if you want to share more.
    Sending you love,
    Kayla

  7. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi there Soundscape,
    I’m so glad you feel comfortable enough to come on here & share! Healing takes time, & patience. It’s good that you’re thinking about seeing your therapist again. I understand about disassociation. If you want to talk more, you can reach me in SLACK. Continue to reach out. Wishing you the best.
    Dawn

  8. zoeyb

    Hi soundscape,

    I’m glad to see you share how you’re feeling with us again. Your emotions right now are valid- I understand you feeling awful when things in life are good on the outside, but you are taking so many strong steps to make sure you don’t keep your feelings stuffed inside. I think it is a good idea to keep checking in with yourself and your support systems. You are doing the right things for you- we are here for you always.

  9. Megan Volunteer

    Hey soundscape,

    Thank you for sharing with us; as you know, we are always here for you. I think I understand what you are feeling, I go through it myself sometimes too. The experience of having trouble connecting what you know in your head cognitively to be true (that your boyfriend cares about you and understands your limitations with sex) to what your initial knee-jerk reactions are that you can’t help sometimes (that he’s going to leave you if you don’t have sex). It can be really hard to resolve that conflict, but I think the more practice you have talking yourself out of your anxieties and worries and reminding yourself that your boyfriend understands and cares, the more it will feel like it’s really true and start replacing those knee-jerk reactions. As for the dissociation, here is a link to a bunch of options for grounding techniques you can try when you are dissociating: https://www.beautyafterbruises.org/blog/grounding101. About the isolation, try your best to stay connected; even when you don’t feel like doing anything, sometimes forcing yourself to go hangout with friends or your boyfriend actually turns out to be really helpful for your mental health. And finally, I think it would be a good idea to talk to your therapist about this and also consider moving back to every two weeks.

    I wish you all the best. You are strong and you will get through this,
    Megan

  10. Harton.13 Volunteer

    Hi Soundscape,
    I’m so glad you’re sharing your story and thoughts with us because it sounds like you’ve got a lot of complex emotions and thought processes that you’re trying to parse through. Even when we understand that recovery isn’t a straight line, there can still be a lot of internal pressure to feel like we’re healing and improving all the time. That pressure can make the not-so-great days, weeks, and months feel even worse. I think seeing your therapist will give you a lot of clarity during this time when you’re minding is swirling with all this confusion and fear. I hope you continue to seek help and support, whether that’s through your therapist, your boyfriend, or us at AVFTI. I guarantee you are stronger than you think you are and are healing in ways that you don’t even realize. We believe in you and are always here.

  11. Lizzi

    Hey Soundscape,
    You’re right, recovery and healing isn’t a straight line. But I hope that over time you’re noticing an improvement from when you started. It may not be noticeable each day, but healing is happening. I understand the struggles with your boyfriend. It sounds like he’s a great guy and that you have a happy relationship where he respects and supports you. Trauma is hard because even though mentally you probably know he’s not going to abuse you, your body still goes into a protective mode where you just can’t get past it. It sounds like he’s understanding about your challenges with sex. Would it be helpful to talk to him about your fears of him leaving because of this (if you haven’t already)? It might be helpful to go back to your therapist more often right now while you’re struggling with the dissociation and depression. Doesn’t mean you’ll have to go more frequently forever, but more sessions might be helpful during this more difficult time. Thank you for sharing with us.

  12. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Soundscape,
    Happy birthday! I’m sorry things for you mentally are hard. I think that if you aren’t ready to have sex, don’t push yourself. I know you might want to, but if it is hard for you to have sex you don’t have to. Your boyfriend like you said will understand. When you have ben through a lot of trauma like this, you have to take time and make sure that you are okay. If you aren’t ready to have sex it is 100% okay. It took me a while to even get back into a relationship after what happened to me. So the fact that you are able to be with someone and try you best to have sex is a huge set into recovery. I know its tough and it feels like you are in the middle of no where, but you are somewhere. Try to talk to your boyfriend too about this. Hearing his reassurance will help too. Thank you for updating us. If you need anything else let us know.
    -Alyssa

  13. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi soundscape,

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling recently. Sometimes our brain is triggered by something that we might not think about consciously and that’s okay. It’s good that you can recognize your symptoms and that your life currently is going fairly well. I think it would be a good idea to consult your therapist and get their opinion. It’s so good to hear that your boyfriend has been supportive of you through this phase of your recovery. I understand the feelings of apprehension and guilt when things get overwhelming for you during sex. It’s okay to feel those things and I’m glad that your boyfriend understands. We’re always here for you too. Anytime you need someone to listen you can post here or contact our crisis text line by texting VOICE to 741741. You’ve got this.

    All the best,
    Becca

  14. musicislove

    Hi soundscape,

    I’m sorry you’ve been dealing with these feelings so much lately. I think making your therapy appointments a little more often could be a good idea, therapy can be so helpful. Feeling low when nothing’s wrong happens, just try to be kind to yourself, maybe do something that you know you’ll enjoy or at least that will get your mind off of what’s bothering you. It’s good that your boyfriend is so understanding and it’s always okay to say no when you get uncomfortable, there’s nothing wrong with that. Thank you for sharing with us and we’re here for you if you need anything.

    Delaney

  15. zelda Volunteer

    I can relate to how you’re feeling. For awhile now I feel like I’ve been on autopilot. It’s hard for me to even get out of bed and go to work. Case in point, I took a sick day today when I really shouldn’t have. Tomorrow I go into work and I just can’t imagine how I’m gonna get through the day. It’s been a tough year for me so far. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through something similar. Just know that you’re not alone and that your feelings are valid. AVFTI has some resources if you need any additional help. But if there’s anything I can do, please feel free to reach out to me. I’m happy to help out a fellow survivor.

  16. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for coming back to share. I’m sorry that you are dealing with a lot of these difficult and at times confusing feelings. I know how you feel as a survivor/victim myself. I know therapy can be scary, but if you think moving it back up to every other week would help, I really encourage you to do so. Therapy has been really helpful for me in my recovery, including talking about the issues/complicated feelings I have with sex. Let us know how else we can support you, too-we are here for you.

    Erin

  17. rkr18 Volunteer

    Soundscape,

    Happy birthday! Thanks for sharing your feelings with us and keeping us updated. I understand how you are feeling, I still feel that way sometimes. It does get better over time. I did see my therapist for a long time. I found it hard to feel the feelings and not have someone to share it with. So do what you need to do to and see your therapist as often as you need. You are on the right track. Keep strong and continue to update us. We are here for you!
    -Marie