Cradles & Cupcakes

Dating My PTSD

Mental Health, LoveRachel LinetteComment

I've rewritten this post 10 times. 

One week after my 21st birthday I was roofied and raped. What follows is the last part of the Mental Health Mini Series, at least for now.

Trigger Warning

According to my nurse, someone had found me that way in the hallway of an apartment building and called for an ambulance.

I didn't tell my mother. Our relationship, that I wont psychoanalyze in this post has been complicated, but I was never able to share with her. I said just enough to explain the hospital bill she would be getting from the insurance company. "Well maybe now you won't feel the need to go out partying." Was her immediate response. That kind of summarizes that.

I did however text the rest of my phonebook with a satirical Guess who just woke up in the hospital after being roofied? This girl! 

My husband replied. Though, at that point, we'd only just casually texted. 

He asked to pick me up from the hospital. I lied and told him that I'd already left; even though they hadn't released me yet, and eventually hailed a cab to go home.

He insisted, still, on at least buying me breakfast and for whatever reason, this act of kindness, this concern, being so unexpected and warm, I accepted.

That breakfast was our first date.

It hadn't really hit me yet. What had happened.

I went out for my birthday, broken foot with a cast on, three layers to shield me from Chicago winter, and I was raped.

Following that day, I went to his apartment every Friday for movie night, we flirted, talked about being interested but he didn't make a move and neither did I. I wasn't ready. 

I was attracted to him, mind body and soul, but I just couldn't...and I didn't even realize why. I had pushed it so far back that I almost forgot.

He became my best friend. The greatest friend I'd ever had. 

And when the time was right I wondered why we ever bothered waiting.

It hit me months later. 

It took very little steps, creeping it's way up to the surface. 

I couldn't walk in the dark by myself. I'd be completely frozen in terror, crying to him on the phone blaming him for not being able to walk me everywhere I went. 

I wouldn't sit down on the bus, just in case a man might have needed the seat next to mine. 

Drunk people and crowds made me uncomfortable, especially rowdy drunk men. My social anxiety was at it's peak. 

Then one night we were fooling around and my bra got stuck on my face and blindfolded me. 

I screamed and cried for help and when he finally was able to pull it off, I curled up into a fetal position at his side. 

The nightmares started a few months later. I would see a shadow climbing up the side of the bed and wake up screaming. 

My husband is a saint. I've said this before. It is a feat, being able to love someone in recovery. He was patient and as understanding as he could be.

But I felt ugly. I needed constant affirmation. I needed to know he wanted me and desired me despite how ugly and broken I felt.

He couldn't understand. How could I have expected him to? There's no manual on How To Date After Being Assaulted. It's not something you ask your friends about.

We fought but not about the right things.

Our relationship had a surprising breakthrough thanks to Lady GagaTil it Happens To You had just come out and I got a series of texts from him after he watched the video, that I to this day, I still have saved.

"All things considered you're incredibly well adjusted." My last shrink said this. 

I've been seeing therapists since I was five (because my mother refused to accept anything was wrong with her and insisted I had a floury of mental health disorders that needed to be corrected) and they've all agreed, almost word for word, that I am surprisingly mentally stable.

And I am. I'm me again, now. Mostly. I still get surprised when I'm triggered but I don't wake up screaming anymore. I have a healthy sex life. I feel brave again. Strong again. Our relationship was and is effected by the scars and insecurities I was left with but we made it past that. We fought but we were fighting for us. My husband fell in love with me at my worst and helped me build myself from the ground up. I started over again. 

So, yeah. I'm okay. 

All things considered I'm incredibly well adjusted.