Wow. I can't believe I've reached the twentieth post already. It's been a really tough journey from the beginning of my ordeal with Theo until now. These past few months have been incredibly difficult, as if I'm going through some regression in healing. Sometimes it feels like old wounds are so easily opened up with the most trivial and insignificant things, and it leaves me feeling vulnerable and alone, like I need to hold on to someone or something to save myself from drowning in crippling trauma. I find myself slipping into that dark chasm of fear, anger and regret more often than not and have to constantly remind myself that these scars will not go away or heal easily. In fact, they may never heal.
Some time last week, I was gripped by the worst anxiety attack I have ever experienced. My heart was pounding, my chest was tight and I couldn't breathe. My thoughts were racing, I was nearly in tears as my mind ran out of my control. My boyfriend, Tanner, happened to come visit while I was in the middle of the hellish episode. I couldn't articulate what was going on: couldn't verbalize the destructive panic tearing me to pieces. Usually I had been able to physically talk myself out of the episode, tell myself all the good things I had going for myself and crush the irrational thoughts as they grew, but not this time. I'd lost control, and I was pathetically trying to pretend, to no avail, that there was nothing wrong. I had to be strong for my son, for Tanner, but the act shattered within minutes of Tanner's arrival. He was unconditionally patient for a good portion of an hour, but, as some of you may know, it's no easy task to try and talk logic to someone who is paralyzed and so far gone like I was. I kept dwelling on the awful things Theo made me do and everything I'd struggled with during my time in Washington. Tanner finally lost his patience and asked me if I would ever face the anxiety; if it would be him, me and Theo for the rest of our lives. It sent me over the edge, which is what we both needed to snap back to reality and realize that it was just us and my beautiful son--the child who is practically Tanner's own.
Although harsh, his words got me thinking. I bitterly regretted falling that far, losing my mind to panic, even though it was mostly out of my control. A few days later, I found a sign that reaffirmed Tanner's guiding words: a rubber bracelet engraved with the word "survivor". I put it on and wore it, knowing in that moment that the rape and sexual trauma I experienced will always be a part of me, but I don't have to let it define me. The word "victim" now seems so weak. I know there are women out there who are fighters, survivors: I've met people who had gone through similar or worse experiences: all over the spectrum, just trying to survive and pick up the pieces. We all lay claim to the Phoenix inside us: living and dying in the fire of what happened to us, each time growing stronger and more glorious than before--a truly marvelous transformation. Whatever we have to do to survive, we do: we fall only to rise again.