Contains sexual abuse - Could do with some support.
As some may know I reported to the police the fact I was raped a few months back & for a while after the interview process I didn't hear much & I was kind of able to function more as a human being because I pushed it to the back of my mind. Every time they contacted me though, it all came to the forefront of my mind & I was pushed backwards into this deep, dark place.
The police contacted me yesterday & told me they have found the men responsible & all I need to do is identify them. They are coming around next week for that. & I have not only been pushed back, again, I feel worse than ever & I'm feeling so fragile & I'm not sleeping & I'm so exhausted & just hopelessly lost in this ocean of anxiety, flashbacks & fear & I'm unsure what to do with myself or my feelings. I'm terrified of what the photographs of the Men will do to me, I'm terrified of seeing them again & I don't know what I'm supposed to do,, how am I supposed to cope with this? Its bad enough when its just in my mind, but the photos will be real,,,, I will be able to touch the photos & see them & it will be really painful & they will arrest them & its all just too much. I'm too overwhelmed. My brain is just stuck on this auto mode & I feel like I'm dreaming.
I'm not even sure what I want from this post or what anyone can do,, but I suppose I could just do with some support around this time.
I really wish I had comforting and/or reassuring things to say, but for now I just want to say that I read, I care, and I really hope you manage to safely navigate this difficult time.
Do you have support systems in place to reach out to while this is going on? Do you have any grounding techniques for the flashbacks? Is there a support person who can be there with you when you have to identify the pictures?
I'm so sorry you're feeling in this awful state right now - I have felt similar in the past and it is all consuming and extremely difficult so my heart goes out to you.
Do you ever find mindfulness or grounding useful? Maybe when the thoughts get overwhelming you could try to focus really, really hard on things in the present and remember that now you are safe, you are strong because you survived.
(I know this is all easier said than done when you're so distressed).
Do you have any support people?
Seeing the pictures will be hard. Once you identify them though they will get arrested for their horrible crimes and go to jail, where they won't be able to hurt you or anyone else. It's an extremely hard thing but a brave and powerful thing you can do - they tried to take that power from you but now you can point at their photos and all the power is in your hands.
Would it help to think about that, and other differences from when this happened to now (on the day) to really separate that it isn't happening again and maybe reduce flashbacks?
Can you take a support person with you?
And plan something safe and comforting after - maybe also a debrief with the police or a counsellor?
Just a few ideas but please know we are beside you this whole way, you're not going through this alone. And I'm so proud of you for reporting it and getting this scum caught. Without your strength and bravery that would not have happened. You are strong xxx
Hi lovely, this sounds so incredibly difficult but I'm so so proud of you for how strong and brave you are being *gentle hugs*. I'm a little low on words at the moment, but I just wanted to say that I'm here and I'm care, and I'm here if you want to talk <3
I wish I could be more helpful, but I believe in you, take care of yourself *offers more hugs*
Have you ever looked fear in the face and said "I just don't care"?
I'm alright,, well I'm not, but its habit to say that... I'm actually really struggling,, still, just waiting for the police to call to give me a time/day that they are coming to show me the photographs is driving me insane... I feel like I'm just waiting for a tidal wave to hit & drown me. Its awful.
I'm sorry to hear you're struggling so much. It's completely understandable that you're anxious whilst waiting. It will be a really difficult thing to have to go through. Remember though, you are being incredibly brave and also very likely to help others by doing this. It sounds like your brain is on autopilot to just get you through this horrible period without having to think or feel too much, and that's normal.
Have the police been kind and helpful in offering support to you so far? It sounds like you're definitely going to need someone you can fall back on or talk to during the process of identifying. I know you have a MH team around you but it sounds like someone more experienced in trauma/police work would be useful.
It sounds like you're still mainly struggling with the anticipated reaction you will have to the photographs. Do you think you can use this time beforehand to actively put in place some things to do once you've seen the pictures? It depends on how you tend to cope with things, but if you're the sort of person that distraction works for then maybe plan to go out the day after (cinema, people watching from a café, getting a tattoo/piercing, visit favourite shops). If you think it would be healthier to just curl up inside with your cat, then maybe plan to watch certain DVDs, give yourself clean bedsheets and sleep in, or Skype/text friends from home. Don't put any expectation or pressure on yourself to act in any particularly way; whatever your reaction is, that's fine. Just try to make sure that you'll be safe as you possibly can be.
I am sorry to hear that you're struggling with this. I hope that you're able to get through this in one piece.
Would it help to remind yourself that these are just people, flesh and blood people who can be hurt and who will eventually die - not all powerful things that could control you or simply hurt you through their pictures as they did before?
Would it be possible or helpful to you to have someone there to support you? If it's being done in your home, could you get the room ready by filling it with soothing/grounding things?
These are all good ideas! I was going to have my Mum there, I asked her today, but she also has MH issues & doesn't feel she'd be able to cope. My other option was my Nan but she's on holiday & my therapist is at a conference. My Mum did however offer to have me stay at hers afterwards so I'll be safe & she also said she'd ring the crisis team for me if I'm not coping...
In the meantime I've been given some PRN but I feel weak & guilty if I have to take it... I don't know why, I feel like they have defeated me if I 'give in' & take it.
That sounds like a really good idea to stay with your mum after, though I'm sorry that it sounds like you might have to go on your own. Could you delay it at all so that your nan or therapist can accompany you?
Don't feel anyone has defeated you if you need to take medication. It is to help make things slightly easier for you whilst you go through a really difficult time. You're not weak for that.
Would it be helpful if your mum prompted you and encouraged you to take it, ie, gave it to you? I understand feeling like you dont deserve it or feeling weak for using it, but this is not the case at all, using it is you making the best of every resource you have to survive this terrifying situation. And by heck you DO deserve respite. *hugs*
Yes, you definitely deserve respite. And don't be afraid to ask if if can be delayed, I would have thought the police would understand you wanting to feel as safe as possible and doing things at a pace that suits you best.
I'm so sorry you're going through this, lovely Helen. In terms of the PRN, don't feel bad for taking it. You wouldn't tell someone with a headache they were 'weak' for taking painkillers, and this is just the same - because it has the mental health label it's stigmatised, but it shouldn't be. You absolutely deserve to take them and you're not weak - if anything, you're strong for trying to move forward.
Do you have any other people you could possibly take with you when you see the photographs - a friend? The police may even be able to arrange someone for you if you ask - I know sometimes in hospitals they can arrange for a staff member to be an escort during potentially scary procedures so the police may offer something similar.
Like J said, I'm always up for a coffee if you just need to get out. Thinking of you x