Living with Trauma Pt. 1

First Session of Therapy — 5/17/2017

You would think after your first session of therapy you would feel much better considering the fact that you are discussing your mental and emotional issues with a licensed psychologist, right? Nope. Wrong. I felt horrible when I walked out of Dr. Nelson’s* office! I had a headache and I felt emotionally warped. I went to work upset and overwhelmed. That’s when I realized this was going to be a long process, but I was glad I went. Dr. Nelson* said he is 90% positive I have PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and was going to consider giving me medication to help me cope. Trust me when I say that there is A LOT to cope with. Although I’d rather not go into full detail about what happened to me, I will tell you this much…

On September 30, 2016 I was a victim of a violent crime — physical assault. I was dating a guy who had shown several signs that he was not all there, but I stupidly looked past everything because I chose to see the “good” in him. Well, there was never any good in him and I learned that the hard way. He assaulted me, took me hostage in my own car and drove around recklessly while threatening that he was going to kill me. After about 5 minutes of driving erratically, he stopped in front of a building, got out and came around to open the passenger door only to continue with his assault. He even assaulted a random woman who inadvertently walked into what was happening! He ended up dumping me off at home and then went to break into his uncle’s auto body shop. Of course, the police were called so he decided it was a good idea to lead them on a short pursuit that ended in him crashing MY car into two parked cars! Nevertheless, he was arrested and sent to jail, but he wasn’t there for long. He told the police that he wanted to kill himself (oh, how I wish he had) so they transferred him to the nearest hospital with a mental and behavioral unit.

As a result of the assault he left me with facial contusions, a ruptured left eardrum and fear. He also left me with an insurance claim that I had to fight over because he was an unlicensed driver and I didn’t file a Grand Theft Auto report. Seriously! Are you fucking kidding me?! They denied my claim a month later so I reported them to the Department of Insurance, the Better Business Bureau and I gave them a bad review on Yelp. Would you believe that they re-opened the claim and approved it a week later? Well, believe it. As if that wasn’t stressful enough, I still had to worry about leasing a new car before my credit was affected and I wouldn’t be able to get anything! My car note was $18,000 and the insurance company paid out $14,000. Luckily I had GAAP Insurance so they covered what was left owed. Then I had to call my lender to discuss the negative credit inquiries. They said my insurance reported the vehicle a total loss within 30 days of my payment coming due so I was never late. Once again, I was lucky that they were able to remove those inquiries so my credit score was restored.

Five days after the assault my sister took me to the Courthouse to file a restraining order against him. Looking back now, I was stupid that I felt this way, but I didn’t want to have it filed. I just wanted it all to go away. I didn’t want to do anything that had to do with what happened. Can’t I just sweep it under a rug and leave it there? Untouched and undealt with? So we filed it and on our way back to my house the detective working on my assault case called me. He was asking for information and I willingly gave it out. My sister ended up taking me to the station where we stayed for about 4–5 hours. There were so many details I went through that I didn’t want to, but I knew I had to. I didn’t want to be that stupid girl that didn’t do anything about something so serious, but at the same time I wanted to be her. I wanted to ignore everything and just move on from it. The detective was getting ready to send a unit to the hospital he was at so when he was released they could grab him and take him to the County jail. He said they have a mental hospital there and “pretty little dresses he can wear”. That made me laugh. Coincidentally in that moment he called me from his mom’s cellphone to say he was just released…just my luck. He was out. I probably should’ve been worried, but I wasn’t. I didn’t know how to feel. My emotions were mixed and it was overwhelming for me.

Within the next three weeks, I had seen him three times and every time I saw him I just felt hate and anger towards him and myself. Why was I seeing him? Because I’m stupid. But why? What was there for me? Nothing, but I’m stupid. After the last time I didn’t want to be anywhere near him. I was going through so much while he pranced around town without a care in the world. What did he have to worry about? What did he lose?

The sheriff’s tried serving him with the restraining order and of course he dodged them. He ended up leaving the country with the help of his mother. I honestly think the only reason she did it was because she didn’t want to deal with him. It was clear throughout our relationship that he had mommy issues. Why did I ever feel the need to help him? He knows the system. So he knows that after two years the statute of limitations for assault will expire and I know he will be back.

This entire experience has caused me anxiety, a heightened awareness of my surroundings, and an array of emotions — hate, anger, sadness, weakness, stress, fear, and the list goes on and on… It got to the point that I thought about fatally hurting him so I called my priest. He assured me that it was all normal. He said everything I was thinking and feeling was coming from a “place of pain and fear”. After our conversation, I felt so much better. It was as if God took all that was in me right out.

Then weeks later I had two dreams about him and BAM! Those thoughts rushed back into my mind, but this time I felt nothing. I was numb. There was feeling of sadness, but nothing like before. That’s when I decided I should seek help. Talking to my friends and family wasn’t helping. Maybe a therapist can help.

*Name changed to protect identity