I kept having nightmares. Truly vivid horrifying nightmares. I would find myself out of breath, screaming, sweating, and realized that I had jumped out of bed at some point and run away from my room. It still happens now that I’m married. The trauma, the PTSD—I wonder if it will ever be livable. It took years to understand what eight years of abuse did to me. It took me years to understand that it was even abuse because we were both so young.
We were eleven when it started. I realize now that the sex was rape, that no you aren’t supposed to bleed like that, or scar like that, or hurt like that. That someone who loved you wasn’t supposed to burn you, torment you, and tell you to take it without crying or screaming or moving from the pain. I still don’t even know where a person can get acid.
These are things I didn’t think of until I was raped by someone else. I should have gone to the hospital after the things he did to me, but I didn’t. I waited years to tell anyone and the first person I told told me all these things were all my fault. That I must have deserved them because I could have done more or fought harder or realized these things sooner. I think that’s why, in my nightmares, I feel like I can’t do anything. Like I’m stuck. I go through everyday with a mental block. Some days worse than others. Luckily my husband is a caring man. He holds me tight and waits patiently for me to be able to look him in the eye, to know that everything is okay. That’s when I feel like I can breathe.
I’m still trying to figure out how to get through the day without anxiety and panic. I’m still trying to get through the nights. I count it a good night if I don’t wake up screaming or waking up my loving husband. It’s been five years since the last assault. I count myself lucky and I refuse to let it own me. I will figure it out someday. I will overcome it, but today I question which will win.