Hi all - I am new to this group. Have been on this site for a little more than a month. Was diagnosed with PTSD at age 21. It all stems from being beaten, raped, and left for dead at age 15. The person responsible for the attack was caught after doing the same thing to another girl, but she died. I testified at the murder trial at age 17. AT age 21 I was diagnosed w/ Crohns and was sent to therapy where the assault came out. I am writing today because I have rec'd letter from Attorney Generals office that there is "movement" on the case. Since testifying 30 yrs ago the AG's office keeps in contact w/ me when the defense makes a move, as I am the only living witness. Some times yrs go by, or like this week, the dreaded letter... I promised the family of deceased girl that I would do everything I could to keep this guy behind bars, and that has made me a target for the defense. PI's have shown up at my home and work, trying to get me to "change" my outlook. Of my current 3 docs, only 1 is aware of this trauma, as I don't go around telling every one my story. Other than family and a few very close friends, most people in my life have no idea. The nightmares come and go, the "survivors guilt" hits me from time to time.For the biggest part of the last 20 yrs my way of coping is to just not live like a victim. I am a survivor. Other than showing up for meeting with the current asst AG who is handling the case, out of state, so no local knowledge is in papers where I live, I am able to keep it a secret. I know this is a lot to put out there, but, I really can't be helped unless you know. Please share with me your coping stratigies. The wound has opened up again and, by choice, the closest people in my life now don't know. And, My Mom, who worries, of course, is against me having anything to do with it at all. And I don't feel comfortable talking about it w/ dad.So, here I am, heart on my sleeve, looking for some tips, ideas, words of wisdom. Best of luck to you all!!
This is awful, I'm so sorry. With that said, I hope that you understand that you're not just a survivor, but really are a hero. You were able to put that scum behind bars. You did something that very well may have saved many lives as he would surely rape and kill again. I hope that you have pride in what you've done. Thank you.
As far as coping goes, well, seeing that ptsd is a disease that feeds off of the past, depriving it of the past will make the illness go away. I know that in your case that that may not seem like much of an option, however, by working with a therapist again they can help you do this. For me meditation worked well, it keeps a person placed in the now.
Another strategy that is being currently utilized is memory modification. Every time that a person recalls a past event, that event becomes fresh, reburned into the present. By recalling past events while under the influence of lets say Valium, you recall the past in a calm manner, and the troubled past becomes re-experienced and redefined in the calm of Valium. It changes the way that the past is experienced. It gets rewritten. I don't know the success rate of this.
There is of course also medication. Therapy in conjunction to medication has been proven to be most effective.
I sincerely hope that you feel better soon, and that you have pride in what you've done. Thank you.
Your story sounds like it belongs on the pages of the fiction I read, not in someone's life. What a horrible thing to have happen to you. I agree, you're a hero, you had the courage to get up there in court and testify against him. Talking to a therapist might help you deal with it.
Your story has brought me to tears --- for you and your bravery, and also for this scumbag's other victims. ChelleKay, you are my hero today! Although I suffer from PTSD, my story is not nearly as horrific as yours. I was in counseling 3 times a week for 2-1/2 years. Still, now 15 years later, something will happen to cause me to relive the incident. I feel the anxiety, fear, helplessness all over again. So, I know in a much smaller way how you are feeling right now. I have allowed myself to become selectively delusional. Meaning that when I get these flashbacks, I change the scenario to one where I am the victor. I make him regret he ever messed with me. It makes me feel stronger and more in control, but delusional thoughts are not healthy either. You are one tough cookie, girl, and I have a huge respect for you! We will only be perpetual victims if we allow ourselves to be. Thank you for trusting the DC family with your story. I would recommend that you file for an injunction against the defense to stop them or their representatives (PI's) from contacting you directly. By trying to get you to change your story, they are guilty of witness tampering. The defense knows that, but they think they can get away with it. I don't know a judge who wouldn't grant the injunction to you. I know that I have not given you any great words of wisdom or solutions. What I can give you is my support, deep respect, love, and a listening ear. You are a survivor and I am in awe at your strength of character. I am honored to call you friend.
I'm just so sorry that this happened to you.
Kathy seems to have a decent handle on this type of situation. I think her to be quite smart, yet I've not had anything like this happen to me.
I hope you take Kathy's advice and go after the defense team.
You are a hero!!!
First let me start off by saying I am sorry for all u went through and glad the scum is behind bars... I have a simular story that I never shared on this site well if it is going 2 help u I am going 2 share it... I was pretty much in your situation only much younger I almost got raped at 10 yrs old the guy threatened to kill me when he was done but someone walked up alley n scared him off..they never caught him... following yr I was raped from 11-14... never told anyone in my family for u no how it is u well at least how I felt that it was my fault..help it in till age of 42... and when it came out in the open with my family they were divestated I never told them... I couldn't for it was a family member and I was scared to death of them and they threatened me all the time if I told anyone..but I still did..my point I am getting to sorry is you need to continue counseling... and also do what u feel is right for u n not no one else..if it were me even though it's going to open wounds etc, but u have a counselor working with u... I would do whatever to keep that soab behind bars, and I think u will do it u no why... cause if u don't and he gets out u never will forgive yourself and it will make your ptsd and anxiety and so on so much worse..u r grown now and can make your own choices and I think deep down u will make the right one for I no u don't want this animal out in the streets. As far as coping I think letting it out to your mom n dad is a step in the right way u r the victim here, and u r only wanting to do what is right and keep animal behind bars..I would think they would want u to do so as well for he can get out and start up all over again like a lot of most of them do... Don't let anyone and I mean anyone deter u from doing the right thing..also discuss this with your counselor if u haven't all ready and ask her/his advice... also going to groups on these type's of issues r very very good, for I wasn't going to but finally joined a mental health group and one of them was about this kind of thing..that was the first time in 40 yrs I said it to anyone other then my psychiatrist after that my family..trust me the more u talk about it u get stronger and stronger and better able to cop... I wish u a like of happiness and joy..n keeping that trash behind bars is part of it... GOD BLESS U and keep the strength, don't let this scumb take away your power, u r stronger then u think... your friend ... I will add u as a friend in case u would like to talk one on one through pm if u have any ?? don't hesitate to pm me any day any time n I will get back to u...
Dear ChelleKay, I am also diagnosed with PTSD. Unlike your testimony of
strength and charecter, mine fills me with shame. I spent alot of years doing
illegal drugs, crack in particular, What I saw and went through is terrible.
So Grateful to be alive. But the flashbacks and dreams can be terrifying..
It is my own fault and that is my cross to bear. Hang In There, I am very,very
Proud of you. Fondly, DD I pray that DC family doesn't judge me...
I started coping as a very young child. My earliest memories were of my father beating my mother in front of me while pregnant with my brother. I was 18 months old.
My strategy was simple. I fought with a fierceness to make things right. I have done so ever since. As a child I understood I could not change them, because I tried. I walked away from them when old enough. I did not know normal, made huge mistakes. Eventually I found a purpose. I am still,doing it. I reach out and help people. Not for my ego, but for their needs and benefit. By putting others first with compassion, though I am far from perfect, I can't run those old tapes through my head. I know survivors guilt. I left my sibs behind. The ones I raised. I saved myself first. There is no other way to break that cycle. The nightmares ended. The guilt left by forgiving myself. I stopped the victim mentality, a most seductive trap of the mind. I saw therapists. Some helped. One was a monster who hurt women. I reported him and it lead to a state law change. I pushed it. Ferocious. Trial was tough. Worth it.
This was my way. I was angry, frightened, zero self esteem. In spite of endless nights alone, crying, I pushed myself. I finally found a real man to love me. It took time. My body pays the price now. A life of tension., fear, confusion. I found the real me and things stopped sticking. Like the way I talked to myself. What a loser I was. we all know the self talk, right? I realized I was the one calling me bad names. Others weren't.
Step by step you and others can get out of this. Don't let that cruel man run your life. Don't focus on unforgiving vengeance or that it isn't important. It was a brave, bold act to stand up for your pain and that of the murdered girl. You have the strength and will feel very good to keep him behind bars where he will not hurt someone again. Do it for you. Do it for others. That is compassion and that will do all good. Your emotions are valid. Your goal will be set only by you. You are not his victim. You are your own person. Love to you and your loving self. It is time to heal. Karen
WOW! for you and for everyone that responded. God does work in mysterious ways.
PTSD from trauma is a life time of coping. I suffer from it. I also was beaten, held captive, stabbed,sexually assaulted and brutalized for days by my attacker.
Your mother's job is to protect you. Your job is to get better and if that means doing what you need to do, then do it. For me every time I push my comfort zone I grow a little more confident in my ability to manage my PTSD. If I push too far so be it. For ever 10 steps forward, there may be two steps back. The odds are in your favor.
I handle my 'survivor guilt' by looking at why I survived. I survived because God has a plan for me on this planet, one I should not feel guilty about. The smallest jesture can change the life of another in a positive way we may not even be aware of.
We are survivors with a purpose in life.
I feel blessed to hear your story and to read the compassionate, caring thoughtful responses from the wonderful loving people on this site.
It just does not get much better!
You are a brave young soul, so take your badge of honor and be proud.
With love, janie
They say things happen for a reason, even horrible things and you would not be the strong woman you are today without this in your past (not that I would ever wish that upon anyone). You are truly amazing and an inspiration for all to be so strong after such an event!! I admire your dedication to the girl who lost her life to this jerk and that you are going to keep fighting no matter what because you are doing what is right! And you are absolutely right when you say she didnt want to be left dead at the age of 21 to this perverse individual. It just absolutely astounds me that lawyers will fight for SO long to get this loser out of jail. If you ask me,he should have gotten the death penalty for taking that girls life! Why should he be allowed to live when she didnt even have a choice or a chance! Too bad he is old and in prison! It doesnt make me feel sorry for him at all. Too many lawyers are scum to represent a man like this.
I know it is a good thing that our country allows everyone to be innocent until proven guilty and everyone is allowed a fair trial but this guy has already been proven guilty!! He is done! He gave away his right to live when he took her life and almost took yours! Not to mention the pain you still have to live with every day! You are an amazing person and I really admire your commitment to do what is just and right! Keep that scum behind bars where he belongs! I am so sorry you had to go through all of this at such a young age and I agree with Kathy that your mother is seeing all this through "mother" eyes. It hurt you and so it hurts her. Most mothers bleed for their children. We want to prevent any harm from ever touching them plus I am sure it was a traumatic event for her too and she wishes to not relive it and that makes me admire you even more that you are steadfast even in the face of your family! I wish I had an answer for you for coping. I have never had to go through anything like this. I think the advice of meditation is a good one. I think counselling and letting it out to someone helps too. Perhaps family counselling will help if your mother is willing. It might just help all of you to get past this and strengthen your relationships. I cant help but admire you and I support you in your steadfastness and commitment to the other girl who died! I would be proud to call you friend!
Hello my friend Now I understand why you are anxious about going to court this week. I applaud you for keeping your promise even though this puts you through the pain you experienced. I'm sure everyone here supports you with prayers through this stressful time. Take care of yourself. Please be sure to contact me when you return. Kitty - Judt
I am so sorry this happened to you. One of the things my therapist asked me to read was a workbook on DBT counseling. I am active in CBT
This books helped me to learn more coping skills and different ones than I had in place
If you would like how to find it in amazon, please let me know
I am so very sorry that you have had to carry this burden with you for all these years! I hope you realize that you are a role model for all women and that your story helps many young women and teenage girls (and even some boys and men) who have suffered from sexual abuse. You help them to realize that their lives are not over and that they too can be survivors and live meaningful lives! You are a SURVIVOR, Girlfriend! You are strong and beautiful inside and out! You could have said no and refused to go to testify to give a deposition in this matter, but you didn't. You chose to go and tell the truth and see to it that this monster can't hurt another person in his lifetime.
I suffered some of use from my biological father as a child and into my early teens. It was not physical abuse but it was sexual in nature. It has affected me for my entire life. Like you, I don't share this story with many people. No I don't know if that's good or bad, but that's the way I choose to live my life. My father, who was old enough to be my grandfather, has been dead for many years now. You are a blessing in my life and the lives of many others, I know! It's Thursday night right now, so your first day of the deposition is over with, and that leaves only one day to go.
We all stand behind you, and we are praying for you! You will survive again, and you will be back to help others as you have been doing!
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