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I’ve been sharing a lot since I’ve found this site. It’s been very therapeutic for me. Anyway I’m writing about PTSD now because I’m not experiencing it. I’ve been raped 8 or 9 times. (The number’s so high because Justin would have sex with me several times while I was too drunk and high to consent. By reading the stories on here, I’ve discovered that if you are in an incapacitated state, you can’t give consent.) I’ve also been molested twice (once in childhood and once in adulthood) and I’ve been through a myriad of other things as well. With all of that being said, I don’t have any triggers or anxiety. I do struggle with depression but that’s been an ongoing battle since childhood.

I do have problems with sex, however. I don’t like being taken from behind (thanks to a violent rape that happened last October) and I no longer get turned on. I don’t think they’re symptoms of PTSD, I just think they’re a product of my rapes.

Anyway, can anyone explain to me why I don’t have PTSD? Maybe I’m too desensitized but people have been through way worse, yet they struggle with that form of anxiety. Thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I’m just writing this now to try and get a better understanding of what I’m not going through.

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  1. Leximcclelland Volunteer

    Hey Zelda,
    Everyone experiences trauma in different ways and copes with it differently. Have you ever tried talking through things with a therapist? It might help you understand what’s going on a little better through the eyes of a professional?
    In my opinion though, it’s a good thing, PTSD and anxiety are horrible things to go through.
    I hope you’re doing well today, and I’m happy to be here with the AVFTI team to provide you a place to feel comfortable talking about this stuff.


  2. Ashley Day Captain

    Hello zelda,

    It’s wonderful to hear that it feels therapeutic to confide in us. It sounds like you’ve been reading other stories that have been posted on the website to understand your experiences and to learn more about sexual violence, which is great.
    You might not have developed PTSD due to “hormonal or genetic differences” ( With that in mind, hormonal or genetic differences can also play a role in the development of other mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. Although you haven’t encountered PTSD, it seems like your body has responded to the sexual violence in other ways. From the comments below, it seems like other people have been able to relate to you in regards to not having PTSD and I hope that helps you feel like you’re not alone.


  3. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi zelda,
    I think the effects are different for every person who experiences trauma, which is why some people deal with some effects (such as anxiety, PTSD, etc.), and others cope with different effects (such as lack of trust, etc.) People may go through all or none of these effects – it really just depends on the person. It depends on their mental state, circumstances, etc. That being said, what you’re going through is valid, and your story matters. I think it would help to talk to a therapist about this and see what they have to say.
    Thank you for updating us, and we’re in your corner!

  4. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi zelda,
    I think it is okay that you don’t have any PTSD or anxiety. Everyone deals and handles things differently. For you this might be how your mind and subconscious deals with this what happened to you. Of course you shouldn’t down play what happened to you because it was something traumatic. I think it helps a lot that you don’t have PTSD because it is one less thing that you don’t have to worry about. I have it and honestly it is one of the worst things that I have out of my anxiety, depression, and ADHD. PTDS just kind of adds to all of that and makes it harder for me to function. I wouldn’t worry about not having it though. Thank you for always writing back and updating us. Continue to stay strong.

  5. Samantha Harris Volunteer

    Hi zelda,

    To help with your question, everyone experiences trauma differently. Some people develop PTSD or anxiety from it, and some don’t. Every person’s brain reacts differently to traumatic experiences. Personally, I don’t have PTSD from my experiences either. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, but you could talk to your therapist to see what she has to say from a professional viewpoint. Let us know if you need anything. We’re always here for you.

  6. grothkat8 Volunteer

    Hello Zelda,

    Sometimes when it comes to repeated trauma, our body and mind can go numb to anything around us. Sometimes stress and depression take over what you’re supposed to feel and you suppress the memories that have hurt you the most. I can relate to not feeling what you think you should be, and how hard that can be to deal with in every day life.

    Let us know if you ever need anything at all, and we are always here to listen and support you.


  7. Knina7 Volunteer

    Hey Zelda,
    Thank you for find us a safe community to share your thoughts with. I am not sure I have an answer for you but If you are comfortable with it maybe look into specialized therapy in Trauma, or even maybe a forum with people who have shared even similar experiences with you. Thank you for sharing with us and we are always here to listen to you.
    Sending Love and Hope,

  8. zoeyb

    Hi zelda,

    I’m sorry you’ve been struggling. I wouldn’t worry, if you would like to seek out these answers, my suggestion would be to look into counseling, possibly even with trauma psychologists. Regardless of diagnosis or symptoms, just being able to have additional support from a professional may be a potential step for you. Whatever you decide is always going to be the right choice. I am so glad that you are able to share your thoughts with us, we will always be here for you.

    – Zoey

  9. Jordan Volunteer

    Hey again zelda <3

    To help answer your question about maybe why you do not experience PTSD, everyone experiences trauma and stressful events differently, so while some people may have PTSD from being raped, sexually assaulted, abused, perhaps coping from battle in war, or even a car accident, some people may not. There are individual differences and we all react to situations differently. The examples I listed above are quite common for people to experience PTSD, but there is the chance that some people, such as yourself, may not. It doesn't mean that your body is not reacting in an incorrect way, perhaps it is just the way in which your body and mind has been able to cope with the awful things you have been through. As another comment mentioned below, perhaps you are experiencing some forms of PTSD but may not be aware of it. I do not know entirely too much about the subject, and I am not a therapist, so this is just mostly a generalization, but it is worth looking more into. Perhaps you could look into counseling, specifically with one that has a trauma focus, and discuss these issues with a professional in more depth to find out the why exactly.

    I think it is pretty common to not be turned on by sex after everything that you have been through, and perhaps not being turned on could be a combination of PTSD symptoms and the multiple assaults? Again, I am not certain, but it could be a possibility.
    I am glad that sharing your stories with us has been helping you in many ways. Please continue to do so, for we will be ready to listen and believe you <3 Sending more hugs!

    – Jordan

  10. Amysue43 Volunteer

    To give you an answer, PTSD comes in multiple forms. It could be generic reactions of anxiety or overwhelming feelings to a situation similar to the one experienced. Yet, PTSD can also be present with less complex reactions. What you’re experiencing is genuinely normal and something that I would suggest speaking with a licensed professional in order to get a solid diagnosis of PTSD. What’s most important is to direct your attention towards yourself and what healing might look like for you rather than putting a label on the feelings and concerns you are experiencing. I’m glad you’ve felt so comfortable and willing to share your stories here as we are here for you and would love to keep up with you and your thoughts if that is something you’d like to continue. I think your journaling here at AVFTI is a very healthy and beneficial way to express your thoughts and feelings, while getting reassurance from people who support and care for you.

    Stay strong <3

  11. Lizzi

    I’m so glad that you found this site and that you’re finding sharing your story helpful. I know it can be easier sometimes to keep stories to ourselves, but it can be so freeing to let them out and get support from other people that understand what you’re going through. Everyone reacts to their trauma differently, and just because you’ve been through trauma doesn’t mean you’ll develop PTSD. Why? I don’t know. Each person’s brain is going to act differently and your reaction to this abuse is going to look different than everyone else that has been through similar things. Your trauma and resulting struggles are still just as valid as if you did have PTSD.

  12. Megan Volunteer

    Hey zelda,

    I’m glad that you feel like you can share with us and it’s been helping you! There are a lot of different factors that go into developing PTSD, it’s much more complicated than just simply experiencing trauma and automatically getting PTSD. Some people that experience trauma get it, and some people that experience trauma don’t, so it’s not super out of the norm if you don’t have PTSD. However, it is also still possible that you might have it. PTSD doesn’t present in the same way every time, so just because you don’t have nightmares or flashbacks all the time (what people normally think of with PTSD), doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t still have it. For example, I had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety for years (didn’t think I had PTSD at all), and then I went in to a psychologist for testing because my therapist and I thought I might have ADHD, but the testing results actually said that my main presenting symptom was PTSD and that factors of it made it seem like I had ADHD. The diagnosis of PTSD didn’t change my experience at all, I still felt all of the same things I had been feeling before I knew I had it, but it did suggest that I use different treatment strategies that are more focused for PTSD in therapy. In my opnion, the diagnosis really only changes treatment plans (which if you don’t see a therapist already, I would totally suggest it. If you need help finding one, check out our “find help’ tab at the top of the page!). That’s why I think regardless of your diagnosis or whether you think you have PTSD or not, what you experienced and what you are feeling are all very real and valid either way. There’s nothing wrong with you if you do have PTSD and there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t have PTSD. It’s all just different reactions to trauma. Hopefully that explanation makes some sense and helps a bit!

    As always, we are here for you and we support you through it all,

  13. Harton.13 Volunteer

    hi zelda,

    I’m so glad you’re sharing your stories and that it’s been therapeutic for you. Though I can’t give you direct answers on why you don’t have PTSD, I can tell you that everyone copes with trauma differently. The fact that you aren’t experiencing certain symptoms doesn’t make your trauma any less valid. You have been through a lot, so what matters is that you are doing what you feel you need to do to heal. Seeing a therapist or counselor could help you get more clarity on this. Remember that you are not alone!


  14. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Zelda,

    I’m so glad that you found AVFTI and that it’s been helpful for you. Please continue to post as much as you need to. PTSD is a relatively “new” disorder. There are many studies and different research going on right now. We’re learning new things about it and how trauma affects different people every day. I can’t say for certain why or why not you aren’t experiencing the same symptoms many other people do in regards to the trauma of sexual violence. It’s important to know that you aren’t “broken” and there is nothing wrong with how you’re handling the situation just because you might not experience the same symptoms as someone else. You are an individual and your experiences are valid full stop. I’m sorry but I can’t recall if you’ve said you’re working with a counselor right now or not… If you are, they will be able to give you a better, more complete answer about PTSD. If not, please feel free to visit our resources tab. There is a fairly extensive list of service providers all around the USA.

    All the best,

  15. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    I am so sorry you experienced all that tramautic events. I know its been a difficult road. For PTSD i don’t know a answer for that but i hope you find what you are looking for and please let us know if you need anything.

  16. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hi again, zelda!

    Like some of the others below have said, trauma surfaces in different ways for different people. There’s also certain experience “criteria,” for lack of a better term, that defines what medical professionals diagnose as PTSD. While you might experience some of those, you might not fall into a full diagnosis. This doesn’t discount the trauma that you’ve been through; it just means that your body handling it differently than someone who has PTSD would. The discussion on PTSD and trauma is pretty nuanced–my last therapist didn’t diagnose me with it, but my current one has–and a lot of professionals have different thoughts on it. In your specific case, I would check out our Find Help resources and perhaps reach out to a counselor to further discuss this topic! They’re likely to be more knowledgeable and give you the explanation you’re looking for.

    Hope you’re working to find peace here! We’re glad to have you.

  17. kelly Day Captain

    Hey, zelda. As others said, only a doctor can give you that diagnosis. But I relate to a lot of what you’re saying. I feel numb and “desensitized” a lot of the time and wonder why I don’t have the same symptoms of other people who have experienced childhood sexual abuse. From what I’ve gathered in therapy and support groups is everyone reacts to trauma differently. I also think emotions and trauma can resurface at different times in a person’s life. For most of my life I was shut down emotionally, then a few years ago I began to have intense emotional reactions and anxiety. This caused me to get back into therapy and I learned how trauma gets stored in the body. Sometimes these emotions and triggers don’t come up until you’re ready to experience them. Your mind and body are very resilient. It doesn’t make your trauma any less valid.

  18. Jess Volunteer

    I am so sorry about everything that you have been through. I don’t have any direct answers for you about PTSD, as I’m not qualified to provide those. I do want to stress that while PTSD and trauma often coexist, they are not mutually exclusive. You absolutely experienced trauma, and not being diagnosed with PTSD does not discount the trauma that you have experienced. A therapist would be able to delve into this topic more in depth with you and help you address your healing process as well. If you need anything else in the meantime, we are always here and we believe you. Thank you for updating us. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3

  19. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hi zelda,

    Thanks for sharing. I am so sorry to hear all you’ve gone through but I am glad to hear that this is a therapeutic outlet for you. I work at a VA hospital doing PTSD treatment research, so I have some insight here. In the US, the PTSD diagnosis is based on the DSM-5, and to technically meet diagnostic criteria you have to have a certain number of re-experiencing, avoidance, negative thoughts/feelings, and hypervigilance symptoms. However, these criteria are frequently debated (i.e., 10 years ago you didn’t need to meet a negative thoughts/feelings criteria) because trauma is incredibly complex and different traumas can show different patterns in symptomatology. In my opinion, it is not the most accurate way to assess PTSD. Unfortunately, there are people who meet all of the criteria except for one (i.e., only having one hypervigilant symptom when a diagnosis requires two) and don’t end up receiving an official diagnosis. This does not necessarily mean that they don’t have PTSD, but that they don’t “check all the boxes” for the diagnosis. Other countries use different guidelines to meet a PTSD diagnosis, and that is to say that there is no “exact” definition of what PTSD is or how it looks like across different people. For example, a sexual assault trauma may show different symptoms that a military trauma (my boss actually wrote a paper about this).

    Not having a PTSD diagnosis does not mean that you haven’t been traumatized, and I hope that the lack of a diagnosis does not invalidate your experiences. If you are comfortable, maybe you can get in contact with a therapist and discuss this topic with them. I also recommend checking out the Find Help tab for more information. Stay strong, my friend!

    Sending you love and support,

  20. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi zelda,

    Thank you for sharing with us! I am sorry for all you have gone through and I wish I could offer you some answers. Unfortunately, I do not know enough about PTSD and am not trained to give you any answers on your situation. Talking to a therapist about what you have gone through could be the best place to get some advice on that. If you need help finding resources in your area, check out our FIND HELP tab at the top of the website. There is a lot of great resources there. And we are happy to help you find what you need to get some answers. Please stay strong! Know you are not alone.


  21. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear zelda,
    Those of us who are not licensed doctors cannot tell you if/why you do/do not have PTSD. The human brain is fascinating and our top scientists are still making discoveries about it every day. Resiliency has a lot to do with our brain’s ability to heal from trauma and from reading your posts, it sounds like you are extremely resilient. I work in early childhood education and my passion is on understanding and healing trauma. I think it has to do with understanding my own childhood and resiliency. Being resilient doesn’t mean that we don’t have “issues” or that we don’t need to heal from our past, it just means that we are able to bounce back a little easier or quicker than some because we had some strong neuropathways established in our brains when we were very young. Healing is different for all of us, just as coping is and we have a variety of resources in our Find Help tab. Try different things, find what works for you, and go with it.
    Sending you love and strength,

  22. Solongago

    I don’t know. We are all unique individuals and we respond to different things differently. I finally went to see the nice doctor when I was 26 or 27, to let them try drugs for my depression. He tested me and diagnosed PTSD. I didn’t believe him. I figured anyone who tells of sexual abuse to him, gets that diagnosis.

    To that point, I had exactly 1 flashback. It was a good one, though. I could see, hear, smell, and taste — ew. It lasted all of six seconds, approximately. At that point I had never had a panic attack. I may have not really had one to this point. But I have had a few panic-moments, much more recently. I had a few nightmares, night terrors. Usually someone trying to break into my house. But nothing that was so distressing that it caused me to fear going to bed, or missing work or anything like that.

    I think that I first believed the diagnosis last summer when I realized that my brother came very close to killing me in that pond and may have tried to kill me. I almost drowned that day. I blacked out. I don’t know how I got to the bank. I did not swim for 30 years after that. That incident could have given me PTSD. I don’t know that it did.

    When I went to see my newest therapist, she gave me a test where she asked me some questions and ran up a score and said, yes, I have it, but it is moderate, which means I have managed to work through some stuff. Good. I have had one more flashback, last summer. It lasted about 2 seconds. I have no idea what it was trying to tell me.

    Oh and shortly after I started seeing Karen (my X-therapist), she diagnosed me with a major depressive episode and anxiety. I don’t even know if she is qualified to diagnose, whether that is for doctors to do. I don’t know, but the anxiety surprised me. I have anxiety, mostly when I go to see people who are going to fuck with my mind and emotions. While I am not a social butterfly, I really don’t have even a lot of social anxiety. I was worried about losing my job, yeah, but anyone who lost two jobs in the six or eight months preceding would be.

    We ALL have anxiety or worry about stuff on occasion. That doesn’t get you into the DSMV until the anxiety is affecting portions of your life, your health, your work. And that wasn’t happening. Ok, I wasn’t taking my medicine, but not due to anxiety, it was due to depression. We can get a little too worked up about these diagnoses, especially when we self-diagnose or when we are diagnosed by someone who is questionable.

    My little sister had a baby who was born in March, but should not have been born until the end of June. So she spent all that time in the NICU. Two or three times my sister had to save her life — she came in and the baby wasn’t breathing and her oxygen was way low; she questioned the amount of medicine the baby was being given and made them recalculate so that they realized they were going to give her 10 times the dose. She made them test for MERSA which the baby did have, and got her treated. They tried to get her to abort the baby, militantly, and on several different occasions they pressured her to sign a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) and she would not sign. The baby is now 7 or 8 years old, she rides a bike, rides horses, barrel races, dances, swims, and is smarter than her older sister. But my sister suffers terrible nightmares, and anxiety. She is always afraid she will lose her. SHE has PTSD. SHE has Anxiety. Her hair is falling out, and she is losing weight. My sister has been through a lot in her 40 years. Alcoholic husband, Rotten Mother in Law, Cancer, a heart problem where she passes out if she barfs, and almost losing her baby that whole time. I don’t know if she has been diagnosed with PTSD or Anxiety though.

    Again, I think we worry too much about diagnoses. This X-therapist thinks I am borderline. The current therapist is like, no way, that lady sucked at her job.

    When I was your age, I read all kinds of self-help books about surviving sexual abuse. I couldn’t see myself in them. In the last two years, I read them all over again, and a few more, and I was there staring at me on every page. How did that happen? Was it self-fulfilling prophesy? Or was it just that time on top of un-treated sexual abuse, shame squared or cubed, or raised to the power of 10, or maybe shame raised to some natural exponent SHAME*e^(t/tou), and looking backwards, you can see the actual devastation done by incest and sexual abuse and how we try to bury it and have it seeping out all over the place, but being in the middle of it, you don’t see how it is effecting us. Looking backwards, we can see how it HAS affected our lives. And we tend to downplay that.

    Maybe you have PTSD, maybe you don’t. Maybe it takes some time to see how things have affected you, because seeing how stuff IS affecting you is really difficult, maybe impossible. Having a GOOD therapist helps, because being detached, they can see things and find patterns that we would have never recognized, but are as big as life, like an elephant in the living room.

    What was the question. It is getting really late, and I am afraid this computer is going to crash, and I am having anxiety about my appointment tomorrow.