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I just got home from the dog park. Jessie and I had a great training session on the way home and she walked at my side almost the entire time. 

I am home. I am safe. I am happy with my dog. And I realize I’m okay. 

And the second I think ‘I’m okay.’ I feel a little piece of me crumble. 

I think this might be common for people who survive trauma. We go into shock and survival mode and sometimes it takes a long time to come out of it and process what happened. 

And when people write about it or even the way it is portrayed in movies, they make it sound like this big one time thing. I was in shock and now I am not and able to process my emotions and move on. 

But nothing in recovering from trauma is linear. And I am not currently having a big, devastating cry as the reality of my situation settles in on me. 

I am experiencing a tiny crumbling. Like the outer layer of sand falling from a sandcastle while it is being built. It’s not e crumble that sets back my progress, but I can still feel the pieces falling away. I am not the person I was. I am not able to hang out with people or focus on a conversation with most people. I am my version of happy at the moment. Happy that is mixed with shades of sadness because the tension in my jaw reminds me I am not symptom free at the moment. My version of feeling relaxed isn’t actually relaxed. 

But I am home. I am safe. I am happy with my dog. I am okay*.

Reading the news and seeing all the victim blaming talk is wearing me down and it feels like I’m slowly sinking into depression. I am trying really hard not to let it get to me, but it does. 

Here are some friendly reminders:

You are not alone. If you were assaulted: you are not alone. If the news makes you super depressed: you are not alone. 

You deserve to be believed. All victims/survivors deserve to be believed. 

Drinking does not justify assault. If you were drinking, it does not give people permission to assault you. Also, being drunk is not an excuse for assaulting people.

People who experience trauma have gaps in their memories! Experiencing trauma is an overwhelming thing for the brain. A lot of details get lost, but the ones that tend to stick with you are the moments of being in danger/fearing for your life. It is normal to have gaps in traumatic memories. It does not mean a person is making it up. 

You do not owe anyone your story. There is a lot of “Why didn’t they come forward sooner?” being talked about in the news lately. People do not come forward because of fear/shame/any other reason. But it is important to remember that you do not owe anyone your story. It is yours to tell if or when you are able to. 

There is no timeline for healing. It does not matter if something happened decades ago. If it still hurts it still hurts. I have heard so many people talk about their traumas. Some more recent traumas and some that happened over half a century before. I can tell you I have never heard someone not sound hurt when talking about their traumas. There is a lot of healing that can be done, but people do not “get over” their traumas in the way people might expect. 

Sexual assault/rape is about power. It is not about having a high sex drive and it is not about raging hormones. Those are not excuses for assaulting another person. 

It is okay to take a break and walk away from the news. It is hard when it is everywhere, but it is okay to actively avoid these stories if it is hurting you. 

Please remember you are loved. You didn’t deserve what happened to you. You deserve to be believed. 

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