Monday, February 6, 2017

Saving Face

Trying to Survive PTSD

Hmmmmmm . . . here goes!

You know, I fought decades to see the man who raped me during childhood arrested. The man who told me he was God while he violently raped my siblings and friends and fooled everyone around him. The man who deserves to be where he is right now.

In December 2016, I was notified by Phoenix Police Department that he was "finally" arrested and in the same breath, I was told he was not arrested for what he did to me as a child but he was charged with what he did to another individual. Charged with two counts of Sexual Conduct with a Minor in 1980 and 1982. The crimes so heinous, the judge declined to set bail.

I made my first police report in 1979 in NY, then another in 2004 when this individual began threatening me and tried to have another family member kill me. Phoenix PD put him in a psychiatric facility but failed to investigate the sexual assault charges. Due to this failure, the statute of limitations for me ran out in 2011. I got the news on December 27, 2016.

He is in jail. I should still be happy you say. Well, whether rational or not, for years, I had placed so much emphasis on having the opportunity to face this individual in court and to finally read the "Victim Impact Statement" I had written in my mind a million times . . . just waiting for that day. I was stripped of that moment of justice everyone says is so empowering and healing.

Despite this setback, I have tried to put my best foot forward and prepare to be a key witness. I can handle this I remind myself. Taking several steps forward for all to see . . . I hide that slide backward hoping I can recoup before anyone notices. All my life I have never wanted to burden others which has resulted in a life pattern called avoidance. I only communicate, answer my phone or go out in public when I am feeling okay.

I have tried to put my best face forward so to speak. My life began really spiraling out of control in 2004, while trying to endure the threats and harassment and experiencing significant fear for my life and those I love. It never really has ever been the same. Eventually, I lost the company I was CEO of for nearly 20-years, sunk into deep depression, paranoia, and began being treated for Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but I am one of those that has been extremely proactive in my treatment and avoiding becoming a statistic.

My family has seen me at my worst but I don't share but a fraction. I don't regularly tell them I drove to the grocery store but could NOT go in, then proceeded to drive to three more, to only go home without groceries. I did that just this week. See, I would rather starve some days than interact with others. Much of my time is spent alone at home bordering Agoraphobia at times. I don't tell them I didn't sleep the night before because I heard a noise and opted to stand guard with a tactical shotgun until daybreak and safety.

We are supposed to save face. We are supposed to be strong, not show our weakness. We don't want to burden others and by God I have wanted to believe I will get through this so I keep telling myself it will be better tomorrow. Don't show vulnerability! You know where my failure to tell anyone about my bad days has gotten me? Disability terminated. They say I have improved. Truth is, I only got better at hiding my bad days to the detriment of my own well-being.

PTSD is an injury that creates fear-based physical, emotional and psychological reactions that are debilitating. I am not sure where those advocates are but if ever someone needed one . . . it is me.