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Oh Boy...*may trigger*


SongBird
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So I've been seeing a therapist for about 6 months now for depression and anxiety, both of which I've suffered for a very, very long time. My therapist is amazing, and I've been making real progress--but there's something at the heart of my anxiety (more so that than my depression, anyway) that I couldn't bear to bring up, even though he's a very smart man and no doubt put the pieces together long before I brought it up: I believe I was sexually abused as a child, and have almost no memory of it now. There's a variety of reasons, but here's the main pieces that made me come to this conclusion:

1. I've always been very paranoid about locking my windows at night and keeping a weapon close at hand--I'm convinced someone is going to break into my house and rape me.

2. Touch scares the crap outta me. I have a boyfriend, and he's amazing, and I'm not scared of him, but every now and again I'll still flinch when he touches me. He's never hurt me--he's so careful and sweet and I feel sooo guilty when that happens.

3. I have absolutely no feeling in my breasts--none.

4. When I read certain books (I read, rarely watch TV), I leave those books feeling shaken because the characters who act just like me are victims of sexual abuse.

5. I've been known to try to tease my boyfriend into a state of desire when I'm stressed or scared (he never takes the bait though--and I am relentless. I'm so lucky to have him!).

6. My hands will start to tremble violently when I'm afraid--they also lash out of their own accord.

7. On the occasions when my boyfriend and I are making out (we never go past that--we're both Christians, and want to wait until after we're married to have sex.), I sometimes become very afraid or 'blank out;' kind of drift away from the situation and react automatically, without any real thought put in it. For the record, when I become afraid, he almost always notices and pulls back. I haven't had the heart to tell him about the blanking out yet.

8. I did sleep over at my boyfriend's house once--the roads were really bad and it would have been very dangerous for me to get home. I was afraid to sleep alone, so I curled up with him on his bed. When he got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I half-woke right when he was climbing back over me (the bed's pushed against the wall, and he was sleeping closest to the wall), and I COMPLETELY flipped out--slammed up against the headboards, started sobbing 'I'm sorry' over and over again, had a very violent panic attack, the worst I've had yet, and suddenly I 'remembered' another time (the remembered is in quotes because I'm not sure if it's a real memory or not), when I was little and crying and apologizing while an adult man I didn't recognize was crouched over me, saying I'd been bad and was being punished.

There's more, but those are the big ones--for the record, my boyfriend is the sweetest man alive, and he also is a victim of physical abuse when he was little and his father would get drunk and beat him. His younger sister was sexually abused by the man, and he saw some parallels between his sister and me. He knows that this is a possibility, and he has been supportive and kind throughout the ordeal. When I panicked in his house, he brought me back to reality and didn't leave me. I am really, really blessed to have him.

But back to my question--I'm pretty sure these are the signs of someone who has suffered abuse--what do you think?

Thanks,

SongBird

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I don't know, songbird. I'm not an expert in these things. Many of the items in your list could have other explanations and your mind might be putting them together to build the case even if they aren't related. You mention one possible memory--do you have anything else that you recall? What period of time/age do you think this occured? Is there anything else odd you remember from that time period?

Personally I had a combination of abuse I remembered(that occured later) and abuse I did not (that happened when I was younger). Looking back, it's odd to me now that I didn't remember the stuff that happened when I was younger, because it all fits so well into everything else. But those memories didn't come out until very recently and they are still kind of fragmented(stuff that happened when i was around 5, but didn't remember until I was 31). I have a lot of anxiety, problems with nightmares and flashbacks, and self injury.--those are the main things. I could make a more detailed list, but that would just be depressing.

Has your therapist said anything about this?

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If the abuse happened, it most likely occurred when I was in 1st grade, so I was pretty young. My reason for this age is that that year of my life is totally blank--there are no memories whatsoever. My therapist agrees this is abnormal, considering I do have memories from earlier time periods. He also agrees that the likelihood of something having happened is very high. There are also large chunks of my middle school life missing--more specifically, my science teacher (what he taught, what he looked like, etc), is completely erased from my memory. I do know that the general consensus of the man was that he was a creep, and rumors say he was fired for sexually molesting a student. Not sure how true those rumors are, but...it's something to consider. I have a lot of panic attacks and anxiety associated with being attacked, and I rarely have nightmares, but when I do, they are very violent and involve me being chased down/attacked/raped. I struggled with self injury for a time, and am still dealing with depression. I also have to be very careful, because I'm prone to eating disorders.

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Guest SomethingOrOther

Hi songbird,

I obviously don't know if you suffered abuse as a child. I think it's possible, but I also think it's worth being very careful with just buying the assumption. You seem to be aware that it is possible to make memories up, if you pressure your head to do that. I'm also aware people are oftentimes interested in finding causes, because anxiety as a free living thing seems too irrational. (:() So even if your therapist acts totally convinced, he doesn't know more than you do, and I would be real careful with his suggestiveness, which I find a bit worrying. I hope you don't focus all your therapy on a past that might have been. Take care.

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Pesud, thank you for the warning and the reminder about the support system. Not many people know about my concerns, but those who do have been amazing. I'm hoping that if the memories start to emerge, then they'll be around.

SomethingOrOther-Thanks for the reminder to be careful--I've been trying not to 'push' my mind to remember, but goodness it's hard! However, I guess there's a little misconception about my therapist--he is anything but suggestive on this manner. He's actually been amazing at not really offering his input, but he does agree that there's a likelihood something happened. However, his concern isn't 'helping' me regain the memories, but dealing with the aftermath. To put it in his terms 'It's like a weed in a garden. It's more important to get it out than figure out how it got there.' Seems like pretty good advice to me :o

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