Paralyzing memory

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How do you tell your story & make it short? It seems hard to do that’s why I’m struggling with sharing.

My life was filled with abuse of all kinds. (rapes, torture, pregnancy at age 12 & domestic violence.) The abuse began at age 5 until 13 but continued until about 4 years ago. I have put many issues related from all my abuse to rest until now.

I was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea. I have to use a cpap machine for a minimum of 4 hrs each time I sleep. This brings me to a paralyzing body memory. I’m having a real hard time using the machine without having panic attacks & crying. I often take it off while I’m sleeping & don’t know it until I wake up. I can hardly leave it on for the required time. I don’t know how to get beyond this. 

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  1. Jordan Volunteer

    Dear dzreid,
    I am so sorry to hear about all of the horrible things that you had to go through as a child and adult.. I can’t imagine how difficult these memories make for even the most basic human necessity such as sleeping. Have you ever considered going to therapy to discuss all of the trauma that you have been through, and work on it with a professional together? This may help you out tremendously in regards to decreasing the panic attacks and bad memories that you continue to experience. Of course, this is something that I know everyone may not be ready for at the time, this is something that can take years to feel comfortable with. There are numerous health related apps that you could always check out that may make therapy much more of an easier experience for you, Better Help is a well known one. Check it out sometime if perhaps seeing a therapist in person is not the option for you right now, or perhaps if you are not ready yet. Keep your head up, the healing process is an ongoing journey. Thinking of you and sending many hugs your way <3 if you ever need anything, do not hesitate to come back onto our website and talk with us, we will always be here for you no matter what.

    – Jordan <3

  2. Jevati Volunteer

    Hi dzreid,

    Sometimes it’s really difficult to figure out how to share things we’ve been through… how many details to include, and how to put it all in an order that not only makes sense to us, but will make sense to other people. It’s totally valid and okay if you’re not sure how to do that. Whatever you’d like to share, and however long or short it is, we’re here to listen. What those people did to you is not your fault, and you didn’t deserve it. I feel like that’s important to say.

    As for the cpap machine, that’s tough. My spouse uses one of those, so I know how they wrap around the face and cover the nose and mouth, which can definitely be a lot to deal with, especially with body memories. I don’t know if this will help at all, but… when he first brought his home, he was really embarrassed about it, and I think he was worried I’d think he looked weird or silly. But I actually thought he looked just like a fighter pilot, so now we call it his fighter pilot mask. But when I think about you and that… do you think it might help to imagine yourself wearing a fighter pilot mask instead? You could maybe meditate about being high in the sky, doing some sort of routine fly-by or formation (so you didn’t have to think about combat), where it’s just you alone in the plane (knowing that there’s not enough room for anyone else to be there with you to hurt you). Maybe that might help you feel safe.

    Even if that doesn’t help, that’s totally okay. It’s valid for you to have a difficult time with this, and body memories can be a lot. We’re here for you.

    – Jev

  3. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi dzreid,

    Thank you for coming here to share your story. AVFTI is a safe space and we are all here for you. No reason to keep it short, we want to help in any way! If you want to come back and give more details and talk through things we would love to help you work things out. I’m so sorry to hear about all the abuse you have been through. What you are going through with the sleep apnea sounds really tough. Do you need the machine to sleep or are you able to get some without it? Maybe you could try using the machine every other night, to lower the panic attack frequency. Or maybe you can have someone help you set it up while you are asleep so you won’t even know the machine is being set up!

    Stay strong,


  4. Knina7 Volunteer

    Hey dzreid,

    Thank you for sharing your story! Your story that you share with us can be however short or however long you want, we are here for you. I am sorry about what happened to you, none of that was your fault, you are brave for sharing your story. I think that you should look into seeing a psychologist they may be able to help you get past this. In the meantime, I like to recommend journaling to help process emotions. Please feel free to write to us again, we are always here for you.

    Sending Love and Hope,

  5. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi there dzreid,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so sorry that you went through so much and at such a young age. You did not deserve that and you are not at fault in any way. You deserve so much and you are so strong for surviving! Your response toward the abuse is completely valid. I am sorry that you are struggling today with it. I do not have much experience with CPAP machines. Have you talked with your doctor or a therapist about what you are experiencing? I think that talking about what you are feeling maybe be very helpful to find a way to get around this while making your feel comfortable. Check out our FIND HELP tab for some resources that might be helpful for you!

    Please know that the abuse your endured does not define who you are. We are here for you always. Please come back and share more with us if you would like. You are so strong!

    Sending lots of support,

  6. Megan Volunteer

    Hey dzreid,

    I’m so sorry about everything that happened to you. You didn’t deserve any of it. I can imagine it must be frustrating trying to use your cpap when you take it off without even realising it and also have panic attacks. I really think a good way to get beyond this would be in therapy. I don’t know how much it can do for taking the mask off in your sleep but it can definitely help with panic attacks. If you need help finding somewhere, we have some resources in our “find help” tab at the top of the page that might be able to help you find a therapist.

    You are strong and you will get through this. I believe in you,

  7. Ashley Day Captain

    Although you were struggling to share your story, I appreciate your willingness to confide in our community. Hearing that you experienced various types of abuse for a significant amount of time is heartbreaking. You have the right to be treated with respect.
    To educate myself, I read about CPAP machines and I came across a website with FAQs. I found a question related to feeling discomfort while using CPAP machines. Some alternatives include using a different type of CPAP interface, a dental device, or changing daily habits ( I’m sorry that using the CPAP machine has caused an unsettling memory to resurface.

    Please know that you can keep us updated, dzreid. We’re here for you.


  8. tayestlack Volunteer

    Hello love, thank you for sharing your story with us. An idea you might wish to try with your cpap machine is seeking out a specialized therapist or cognitive-behavioral specialist. Be sure to take your time and stay within your comfort level to help yourself, and remember we’re all here to help you as well. Please come back to use if you ever find yourself needing anything. I hope you have a lovely day

  9. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hi there dzreid,

    I think that the first step towards wellness is feeling comfortable enough to share your story. I’m glad you’ve found us so that you can do just that! I’m very sorry to hear about the things you’ve experienced. You never deserved to go through those traumatic events. We believe you and are here for you. As for the issues with the cpap machine–it might help you feel more comfortable using the machine if you’re able to seek out a trauma-specialized therapist. They’ll have a variety of techniques that could help you with your struggles regarding the machine. I also have some PTSD-related memories tied to specific objects, and my therapist has helped me work through them and keep grounded when I have to interact with them.

    Remember to be patient with yourself on this journey! We’re here any time you want to share again.

  10. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi dzreid,
    I’m so sorry about the trauma and abuse you’ve been through. You didn’t deserve what happened to you, and you’re not at fault for any of it. As for telling your story, you can share as much or as little as you want. It depends on what you’re comfortable with.
    I’m really sorry that using the CPAP machine is not helping you sleep peacefully. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to experience these attacks and memories. I agree with the other volunteers; it could definitely help to talk to your doctor about other treatment options. It is your decision as to how much or how little you want to tell your doctor. I hope there are alternative options that work for you and that you’ll be able to sleep peacefully soon!
    Thank you for sharing your story. No matter how much or how little you write, we’re here for you. If you need resources, clicking on the Find Help tab may be a good start. You are strong, and you can get through this.

  11. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hi dzreid,

    I am so sorry to hear you went through so much abuse. I first want to say: none of this was your fault and you did not deserve any of it. You are incredibly strong for making through all of that. In terms of making your story short, it all depends on how much you want to share. I think what you wrote to us is short and a glimpse of your story, so depending on who you want to share with, that can work.

    I’m sorry the cpap machine is bringing up these traumatic memories. Do you think you feel comfortable to ask your doctor if there is another method you can use for your sleep apnea? You don’t necessarily have to disclose why – you can just say you want to explore your options.

    Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you. You can explore our Find Help tab for resources, too. We are here for you! And remember to be kind to yourself during this tough time.

    Sending you love and support,

  12. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear dzreid,
    We are here for you no matter what you want to tell us. It is okay if you aren’t able to put your story into words…we believe you and we want you to know it wasn’t your fault. What an awful feeling to attempt to fall asleep to every night! I cannot imagine what you are going through. Is there some way for you to talk to your doctor about the machine? Can you let them know that it triggers a panic attack (you don’t have to tell them why unless you want to)? Please let us know if there is any way we can help you. Our Find Help tab has a variety of resources and many of them are listed by areas. We are here to listen whenever you feel like writing to us.
    Sending you love and strength,

  13. Marissa Day Captain

    Hey dzreid,

    Thanks for sharing a bit with us. I’m sorry you went through such terrible abuse and I want you to know that nothing was your fault. You didn’t deserve anything that happened to you. Like Samantha said below, we will read your story, however long it is, and support you no matter what. We’re here for you. I think you should definitely talk to your doctor about what’s been going on. You need to sleep! If the CPAP machine is making that difficult, maybe there’s another method you could try to combat your sleep apnea. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do for you. We’re here for you! Stay strong.


  14. Samantha Harris Volunteer

    Hi dzreid,
    Thank you so much for sharing with us. I’m sorry that you had to go through that. It wasn’t your fault and you didn’t deserve it. Don’t worry about keeping things short. We’ll read whatever you feel comfortable sharing, regardless of how long it is. As for your issues with your cpap machine, I would suggest talking to your doctor about how you feel. There are some other ways to treat sleep apnea that are less bulky and intrusive. It’s pretty common for people to have issues with cpap machines. If there is anything we can do to help, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  15. Amysue43 Volunteer

    Thanks for sharing! It’s okay to feel stuck in thought when writing a post. It might be easier to just blurt whatever comes to mind, edit, then post. Honestly, we will read whatever you write down because we are here for you and want to support your thoughts and feelings. All is welcome here. I’m sorry for what you have gone through and what it has caused here. You don’t deserve any of it. I hope that these comments reassure you in this.

    In terms of your frustration with the new machine you’re using, I would perhaps suggest speaking with the individual who had recommended/required for you to use to help with your sleeping. There might be an alternative or something to help with the effects you’re experiencing with it. There can’t be any fault in asking.

    Stay strong. You’ve got this.

  16. Kayla Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing with us. You can tell your story however you want or need to, long or short. We are here for you however we can be. It sounds like your body is holding onto trauma, which is natural. Have you talked to your doctor about difficulties with the cpap? They would likely direct this to a therapist, if you’re not seeing one already. Do you have calming practices that you can use, to help you before bed? Journaling and yoga stretches are things I do to cam myself before bed. I also have a cat and dog that sleep in my bed and comfort me a lot. I’ve had nightmares regularly my whole life and knowing my animals are with me makes me feel safe. Just an idea. I’m very sorry you’re going through this. Please feel free to reach out to us more, sharing your story can be cathartic.

  17. zelda Volunteer

    I’m so sorry that you went through horrific abuse, and that you’re struggling with your sleep apnea treatment. I don’t know if I have any advice for you. Maybe try talking to your therapist or doctor about your concerns. That may help. Or maybe you could try to do some relaxing things before you go to bed, like yoga or breathing exercises, to get your mind in a better place. That may help too. As always, you can contact me or one of the other volunteers for support. We’re here for you and so is the rest of this community.

  18. Shannon Volunteer

    Hi dzreid,

    Thank you for sharing with us. I am so sorry for everything you have been through, and that your cpap machine triggers you. Perhaps your doctor can help remedy that ? whenever you are ready to share more of your story, we will be here for you. Be kind to yourself


  19. Lizzi

    Hi dzreid,
    I’m so sorry for the abuse that you’ve suffered. It sounds like a lot has happened, and I want to thank you for trusting us with this part of your story. It’s not easy to talk about these things, but know that we are always here for you. You don’t have to keep it short, as you can share as much or as little as you want. I’m sorry that you’re facing so much anxiety with the cpap machine. Would it be helpful to talk to a counselor or your doctor about these memories? Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help, or find resources on our Find Help tab. We’re here and we care.

  20. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi dzreid,
    Your story can be as long or as short at you want. You don’t have to say everything all at once if you don’t want to or if you want to write it all you can. This is your story and you can choose how you tell it. I’m sorry all this happened to you, you didn’t deserve it. We are here for you. Whenever you want to tell your story we are ready to listen.

  21. sam Volunteer

    If the reason you’re not sharing your story is that you don’t know how to make it short, you don’t have to worry about that here! We will read your story from the first to last word, whether it’s 10 or 10,000 words. We will support you no matter how much detail you feel like you need to go into. If it makes it easier, you can share on here multiple times and break your story up into “chapters” if you’re not ready to unload all of it at once.

    I’m so sorry to hear about all the abuse you went through as a child and that you’re having such a hard time with anxiety and triggers. What you went through sounds awful, and the fact that you’re still experiencing the negative effects of the trauma must be so hard. Have you talked to a counselor about these experiences? A professional may be the best bet in finding safe and healthy coping mechanisms and figuring out how to uses your cpap in a way that doesn’t cause so much stress.

  22. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi dzreid,

    I’m so sorry that using the cpap machine has stirred up all these difficult memories and feelings for you. Triggers like that can be so frustrating. Please don’t ever feel that you need to keep things short when you share here with us. We’re here to support you and listen no matter how much you have to say. Please feel free to browse through our resource section. If you haven’t already, speaking with a counselor about your triggers and memories can be helpful in easing the symptoms. They may have some tips and tricks to help you use the cpap safely and comfortably.
    All the best,

  23. musicislove

    Hi dzreid,

    I’m so sorry for everything you’ve had to go through. None of what happened to you was your fault and you didn’t deserve any of it. Have you considered finding a therapist to talk to? That could be extremely helpful to work through all of that trauma. And maybe talking to your doctor about an alternative way to treat your sleep apnea could be helpful so that hopefully your panic attacks don’t get triggered. It takes a lot of courage to share your story so thank you for sharing here with us. We’re always here if you want to share again.


  24. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi dzreid,

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Im so sorry that this happened to you. None of this was your fault and you didn’t deserve it. Is there a way for your doctor to modify the treatment for sleep apnea given your panic attacks? I agree with other posts that a therapist would be a good idea if you are comfortable with that. You’re going through a lot but remember that not only are you still here but you even shared this with us. You haven’t given up and you have shown tremendous courage and perserverence. You are strong. Please let us know how else we can help and feel free to share more if you are comfortable. It’s okay to share a little or a lot, the length can be whatever you want it to be. Stay strong, you are not alone.


  25. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I am so sorry for everything that you have been through. You didn’t deserve it, and it wasn’t your fault. Have you thought about seeing a therapist, or talking to your doctor about your sleep apnea in conjunction with your panic attacks? They might be able to help you further. Come back to share whenever you need-you can also text our crisis text line by texting VOICE to 741 741. Thank you for sharing with us.


  26. colton95 Volunteer

    I am really sorry about what happened to you but what did happen to you does NOT define who you are. You WILL be able to get through this. Just remind yourself that you are a strong amazing person. I am no medical experts but maybe using the machine isn’t what is best for you right now. Try consulting your doctor or someone else important about what to do about your sleep apnea. If you ever need to talk or vent, feel free to reach out to anyone here at avfti!

  27. rkr18 Volunteer


    I’m so sorry you are going thru this. Have you discussed it with your doctor as far as alternatives to a cpap? I commend you for having put your past abuse to rest. Do you still see a therapist or have someone you can talk to about the memories that are resurfacing? If not, please check out our website we do have resources you can turn to. Please let us know if there is anything we can do. And please keep us updated.
    With all our love and support