No strings attached

I’m starting to feel more comfortable with intimacy and sexual contact. I discovered this earlier this summer, after a lovely weekend away with a very attractive male friend.

To give you a bit of background about my friend, we met on Tinder a few years back. Our friendship was never platonic but it was never romantic either. One thing is for sure it has been entirely uncomplicated from the beginning.

I like uncomplicated.

There is comfort in knowing we can enjoy each others company, and then go our separate ways. It could be months before we make contact again and this how we like it.

I consider this weekend away, a major milestone in my recovery from domestic abuse, but I have ways to go yet.

I’m still incredibly tetchy around men. So much so that on the drive to meet him I found myself catastrophising and getting anxious, but it was fine. He was an absolute gentleman and we had a lovely time.

But I still have ZERO self-confidence at the moment.

My abusive relationship ended in February, just 6 months ago and it still feels like yesterday. As a result of the abuse I’m struggling with PTSD (chronic anxiety, inability to sleep, etc.), and severe self-esteem issues.

I know I need to cut myself some slack but I feel really shit about myself right now. My old hang ups about things like body image are now tenfold.

I feel utterly undesirable and unlovable.

On top of this I have discovered all kinds of new baggage that I didn’t have before. Baggage that is causing me to arrange a “first date” with someone from a dating site and then cancel it at the very last minute.

Right now I have ZERO faith that I’ll ever be happy in a loving relationship.

I need to be brave now. I’m trying to be brave.

I have identified that I have unhealthy coping and avoidance mechanisms, where I deny myself physical contact.

I’ve taken a bold step and I’m trying not to shut myself away from the world. I’m trying to be more sociable but it’s so hard.

Im finding that spending time with people, even friends – is either boring or emotionally exhausting.

All things considered I know it will be sometime before I can embrace a new relationship – but I can take baby steps.

I am taking baby steps.

My weekend away has shown me that maybe I should start “seeing” someone regularly, BUT there are so many caveats to this.

First of all it would need to be very clear that I would not be looking for anything serious right now.

In my case of being Autistic, having PTSD and recovering from an abusive relationship – I think I’m asking for too much.

He needs to be laid back, reliable and predictable. I need to be in control of the pace and he can’t make and any emotional or sexual demands from me.

So, last weekend was major milestone in my recovery – but I still have ways to go when it comes to intimacy and relationships.

I feel like I’m drowning again

Im having a PTSD episode as I write this. I don’t know what happened. I was doing so well but but the last three days have been awful.

The most visible physical symptom is that I’m crying all the time.

I’m having waves of anxiety where it’s hard to breathe and it feels like my heart is going to explode.

I’ve just messaged my friend (my guardian angel). I hate worrying him, he’s stressed enough as it is as he is touring at the moment and it’s been a rough one for him.

He’s going to ring me back in an hour or so. I just have to wait.

Breathe.

Calm down.

He’s just sent me a link to a song On YouTube, Lola by the Kinks , because we would listen to that song when we were sixteen and it always makes me smile.

I’m calming down a little bit but the tears are still streaming down my face as I write. I don’t think it’s helping but I’m going to keep writing.

I look over to my little man, Leo who is sleeping beside me on the sofa. He’s making funny noises and I think he’s having a nightmare.

Apart from Leo and I, the house is empty.

As I sit here weeping uncontrollably, I’m recognising that yes I have PTSD but I’m also depressed and feeling so alone right now. I wish I had a boyfriend who loves me and cares for me.

I want to be in love with someone with the security that nothing bad is going to happen.

I want to feel safe but I’m asking too much because for me, feeling safe is to be in a loving relationship. Maybe this is part of my Iranian upbringing but I want to be held every night, to feel cherished and looked after by a man who loves me, and I love him back.

All I feel now is emotional turmoil, anguish and heart ache from what is missing from my life.

What’s worse is the that deep down I think I’m going to be alone forever.

I’m remortgaging my house to pay for cosmetic work to be done on my teeth and face. Im doing this because the last time I was in a committed relationship, I was made to feel like I was ugly and worthless.

If I’m honest, I really don’t think I will ever find what I’m looking for. I’ll never be truly happy and in love.

I can distract myself with appointments and forking out to fix my teeth and my face. I can lose more weight and feel prettier than I do right now but what does it matter?

I’ve been broken far too many times.

I’m damaged beyond repair.

Paranoid that I am pregnant

I took a pregnancy test this morning and thankfully, the result was negative. Last night before bed I noticed that my tummy was really bloated and rock solid. I started worrying I was pregnant and ended up having horrible nightmares that his baby was growing inside me and I was trapped and alone, unable to decide what to do.

The problem I am having is that my period is late and the last two have have been abnormally light, like nearly non-existent. I am really bloated, tired, tearful and constantly craving sweet things. I do not have much of a sweet tooth and this is not how I normally experience PMS.

I know that I am paranoid and that I’m not in my right might at the moment.

I know that my paranoia is completely irrational because I am on the pill. Ironically, he is the reason I am on the pill. He pressured me to start taking it. I explained to him that the pill doesn’t agree with me and I really didn’t like messing with my hormones, but he was having none of it.

Apparently, orgasms hurt when wearing a condom so I gave in.

It has been just over two months since the police removed him from my house so I am wondering if the stress and PTSD is not only affecting my reasoning but also my menstrual cycle? I don’t think it is the pill because I started taking it in December. I don’t know…I mean, I don’t want to stop the pill now and mess up my hormones again.

I need to sort out my anxiety.

I am catastrophising and hyper vigilant at the moment which explains the nightmares and poor quality of sleep.

I need to sleep more.

I just really need my body (and brain) to start behaving itself.

I am taking my brother and sister-in-law on holiday and I am trying really hard to make it special and for everyone to have a nice time. I know I am putting pressure on myself but this is something that needs to happen because my last holiday with him was traumatic.

I need to get better and I need to make new holiday memories, happy memories.

I wanted to jump to my death

Towards the end of the relationship I had thoughts about killing myself. This was the first time in over a decade that something like this had crossed my mind.

My brother and his wife asked me to organise a 7 day trip for the four of us to stay in a cottage, somewhere rugged and beautiful.

As I sifted through the hundreds of properties on AirBnB, some of them had some pictures of the surrounding landscape so I could visualise the experience. The property we went for is coastal and the listing included gorgeous pictures of the nearby beaches and cliffs.

I started imagining the inevitable that either one of us, myself or my brother or his wife would end up pushing his buttons and the trip would turn sour. I imagined a scenario whereby after an awkward confrontation, he and I would have to go outside for a “time out”. We find ourselves walking along one of the nearby cliff edges. My thoughts then moved on to the tears and feelings of despair that he’s upset my family and there would be no way of reconciling. I imagined how I would feel if this happened. I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself so there was no option other than for me to die so I jumped off the cliff.

I was suddenly fantasizing about suicide which absolutely terrified me. I told him about it – not fully – just the jumping part.

He didn’t bat an eyelid.

At the time, I think I told myself that perhaps he thought I was lying or something…I don’t know. When I think about it now, about his blank stare, I try to remember if there was ever a time he showed any kind of genuine regard or concern for me. I tried to remember any relevant facial expressions, body language or words. I am finding it difficult, he rarely ever made eye contact with me.

I always ached for him to look into my eyes so I could see that he loved me but he wouldn’t.

I do however remember some actions that showed me he really cared – on a couple of occasions, when I was sick.

There was one time when I was really sick with a nasty nasty cold. I was in so much pain and I started weeping. He immediately stood up, put his shoes on and drove to the shop and returned with a bag full of medication, vitamins and chocolate. I saw the shopping and wept even harder, this time from gratitude. The fact that he did something utterly caring and nurturing for was something I craved so badly and in that moment it was there.

The time before that I was sick with a UTI and he behaved in a similar way. It was when I was at my weakest physically that he really showed up for me. He was tender and he genuinely made me feel protected, looked after, like he really did loved me.

I miss that guy.

Nearly two months on from the breakup and my feelings about him are still so very complex. At night my dreams about him are sweet and loving but during the day the intrusive thoughts run wild with his nasty words, the mindgames, manipulations, his unpredictable outbursts.

My complex feelings are confusing and draining my energy. I’m so tired.

How is it possible that the traumatic events are persistently and uncontrollably playing back in my mind, yet-a big part of me is still deeply in love with him?

Why does that part of me see nothing wrong with letting him tear down my world, until the only thing left for me to do is to take my own life?

Trauma bonded

The GP prescribed me Propanolol to help with the anxiety.

My counselling session on Friday was a very difficult one.

I’ve reaslised that I have become extremely hyper vigilant around men. I explained to my therapist how how the subtle displays of aggression from men leaves me feeling anxious and paranoid. They advised that I am experiencing the effects of trauma and it can come and go like waves.

I have been really out of sorts and I feel like I am unraveling. Intrusive
thoughts, anxiety and bouts of depression. Some days are okay. Work and gaming
are useful distractions. But then some days I am completely disoriented or
crying like the drop of a hat.

I was with my brother and his wife this weekend. We went to see the new Dumbo movie which was my favourite Disney cartoon when I was a child. I pretty much cried from start to finish. My sister in law was like, “I don’t understand why you were crying all the time”. It was her birthday and I was really struggling to keep my shit together.

I must have been terrible company. I only had one bottle of Corona, hardly touched my pizza, cried for approx 180 mins and walked out of the cinema with mascara and eyeliner all over my face. I didn’t even realise how bad I looked until we arrived back at my brothers house and I was handed a baby wipe so I could clean up.

I thought about him a lot during my drive back home – nothing in particular, just random memories rushing through my mind. At one point I did think about how I would spoon him and fall asleep (I was the big spoon), and then my mind wandered to the night he smashed my bedroom furniture. That was last year, the 16th of December. I know the date because recorded that incident.

The recording of the 11th of January is a from another incident. I think that was the time he smashed my TV and went AWOL for a week. I am not sure – I can’t remember exactly, I don’t want to listen to it.

On my drive home, I wondered if I would ever have the courage to listen to the recordings again. I thought about what it would be like to publish his emails and the recordings online and to disclose his identity so that his blog readership could see that he was a danger to women. But no, I wouldn’t dare do that.

I then thought about all the ways he can get revenge on me. He made it very clear to me that he gets revenge on if anyone who fucks with him.

If he wanted to hurt me himself, the easiest thing he could do would be to hack me. He even gloats about it on his blog, claiming that it would be very hard for him to resist doing this to anyone who pisses him off. It’s worth mentioning that he wrote that blog post the same week that the police removed him from my life. But he didn’t have to warn me off – he had already secured my silence before writing that post. I had already told the police that I was too scared to charge him because of what he might do.

He could do a lot worse than hack me.

He joked a couple of times about setting my car on fire if we broke up. He buys his drugs from the dark web and one evening he showed me this “services” area where you can pay for people to do bad things for you.

He made a big deal about all the ways which earning lots of money is advantageous due to the power it would give him specifically.

We were watching the American Crime series about the OJ trial and he said: “This is why I am going to be rich baby. Money buys you good lawers…you can get away with anything”.

He isn’t OJ-rich at the moment but he does earn a lot of money and has a pattern of spending it impulsively on whatever he wants in the moment.

I will keep my mouth shut.

I wish I could stop thinking about him…erase everything from my mind.

So this is what PTSD feels like.