I shared my last post on Facebook. Sometimes I do things just to see what will happen to me if I do. The Facebook thing may have been a mistake. I might not have been ready.
Because I'm me, and I assume I'm invisible unless present, and Facebook has changed its policy so that the newsfeed things that are promoted usually have video or pictures, and my post did not--I decided that only a few people (meaning only 4) would see the Facebook post and then it would be over. I could say I did it, be really, super proud of myself, and go on with life.
So four people saw the post and liked or commented on it. And I liked the comments back.
And then more people started saying things and adding likes and I freaked out. Over a Facebook post. I am ridiculous.
No one said anything remotely unkind. Everyone was enormously supportive. But I have stupid PTSD, which means I started to feel a whole bunch of feelings at once, got really confused, didn't know HOW to feel at all, and today, when all the traffic has gone away and no one remembers my post anymore, I'm still feeling grouchy and out of sorts and panicky.
And I keep stupid crying. I hate crying.
Sorting things out:
1. Some of my nieces and nephews commented or liked the post, indicating they read it. That makes me uneasy. It's a little silly. Most of them with Facebook accounts are over twelve and should be talking about rape with their parents, if only to help them understand that there is always help and protection available--regardless of what is said by the perpetrator. But I'm still confused about what I feel when I know they've read my post.
2. Friends who grew up with me--people with whom I lost contact who later found me on Facebook--indicated that they love me. This is a good thing. But a few of them also intimated regret that they had not known about the crime when we were growing up. They would have loved and supported me, if only I had told them. They don't understand. I couldn't tell. I didn't know how. I didn't even have the words to express to myself what had happened, let alone share it with others. But I feel guilty that they wish I had told them. I feel I was a bad friend, somehow, because I didn't know how to utilize available support--or maybe they think I just didn't trust them (which is true because I trusted no one)--or maybe they cared about me more than I cared about them. Regardless, while I appreciate what they're saying, it still causes a great deal of anxiety.
3. I have Stupid-Facebook-Game friends. Please note that the "Stupid" modifies the games, not the friends. I have never met these people. I know nothing about them. I play Scrabble, or other games with them on Facebook. We enjoy playing. We're Facebook friends. That is all. But some of them also read my post. Some of them responded. And some of them share an experience similar to mine. I want to tell them that one day it will be okay--but maybe it won't, so probably I shouldn't say that. I want to thank them for taking time to read and respond kindly to a post by a complete stranger. But that means I have to talk about the post again. With strangers. Who play games with me. That's weird.
4. People responded with things like, "You're a hero..." or "I'm proud of you." I'm not a hero. I'm a survivor. I did what I had to do to get better because the alternative was intolerable. I didn't save anyone or make history or cure global warming. I'm just me. I'm insignificant and I took care of myself. Heroes are people who endanger their own lives to save others--like firefighters. Or people who rescue children from sex slavery, or abuse, or hunger. Or teachers who help kids learn to read and write. Or really great parents who don't have PTSD, who actually understand how to parent, and can raise wonderful, healthy kids. Or people who figure out how to cure global warming. I know--I already said that. And I don't understand why anyone would be proud of me for finally figuring out how to state the obvious. Admitting and accepting that one has been used by another in a traumatizing way is difficult, but it usually doesn't take a couple of decades for the person to be able to talk about it. I'm just a very slow learner, I suppose, when it comes to talking and sharing. It's nice that they're acknowledging that this was difficult for me, but I still don't understand.
5. Part of me wants to help others with similar experiences make it to the point where life feels "normal." But I'm hearing people say things that make me want to scream. Things about my experience being "meaningful" or saying that my being raped will help other people or that it's made me stronger, or more empathetic, or a better person. LET ME BE CLEAR: Being raped has not made me a better person in any way. It has brought so much chaos and anger and pain to me, that there are days I'm left gasping and curled up in a ball because I cannot process the memories without reacting that way. It has not made me more empathetic or more loving--I was already empathetic and loving and I believe I would have continued to foster those traits even if some stupid person had not hurt me sexually. In fact, I believe those traits would be easier to access because I wouldn't have to work through fear and mistrust to get to them. And I was already strong--ask anyone who knew me as a child. I was physically and mentally strong, and also very strong-willed. I was born with those traits, I did not earn them because someone repeatedly forced his penis in my child-body and hurt me beyond what I could comprehend. Rape is wrong and horrifying. It does not make people better in any way. If they recover and appear "better" it is because they had what they needed, or were able to find it through therapy and support from other people, to survive and to heal from an experience that should never have happened. Stop telling me I am a better person because I was a victim. That is untrue. If I am a better person than I was yesterday or the day before or a year ago, it is because I chose to become so.
And now I'm left feeling that I am childish because I can't seem to make myself just gracefully accept the kind words that were written on my profile.
This is PTSD. One moment I feel calm and accepting and strong enough to talk about my life in a semi-public forum. The next I feel aggrieved and misunderstood and afraid--for no reason at all. I haven't even read more than halfway down the comments. I haven't looked at the names of the people who have liked the post. While I don't necessarily want to take it back, I wish I knew how to process what's happening in my guts.
Maybe it's time to talk to Therapist again. It's been a decade of therapy. That's a really long time.