Trying to heal from a physical assault is like rubbing alcohol on a third-degree burn.
It hurts inside and out.
It has been well over a year now since my assault in March 2011. When it first happened, the nurse at the hospital assured me that in “no time flat” I would forget all about what I endured. I don’t know how her measurement of time works, but there are some days when I feel like it JUST happened.
The sun doesn’t set on a day the attack fails to cross my mind. Even with therapy and tons of medication, I dwell on it. I think about what I could have done differently. I go over that night again and again and again in my head. I also dream about the assault. Sometimes I wake up happy because it feels like it WAS just a dream—surely no one should go through something so horrendous—but reality slaps me in the face soon enough.
I only have to look in the mirror, at the scar my attacker left on my lip, to fall back into that desolate place. Officially, I have PTSD. I also have panic and anxiety as well as severe depression.
If someone knocks on my door, even if I expected a guest that day, I still break out in a cold sweat and start to shake uncontrollably. I put chairs under the doorknobs of my front and back doors. Sometimes I push the loveseat against the back door instead of the chair.
My home no longer feels like the beautiful safe haven it was when we purchased it. At the foot of the steps where I was assaulted—I shiver when I step into that spot and remember. Always, I remember.
My peace of mind is nonexistent. And I’m tired of that feeling. I’m tired of staying in my house under lock and key because I’m scared I will run into my attacker. I’m tired of giving up small pleasures—the movies, eating out, grocery shopping—because I am paralyzed with fear to think about what I would do if I came face to face with him again.
Most of all, I’m tired of seeing our money go to medical bills. I’m tired of robbing Peter to pay Paul because this animal took something from me that I can’t seem to get back. Even with our health insurance, we are stretching every single dime we have. It’s an endless rotation of co-payments, prescriptions, EMDR therapy, and gasoline to run me all over the place for these appointments. I no longer drive because I’m so medicated.
I feel as if I’m trapped inside a prison I don’t even feel safe in.
In an effort to help, my friends have organized a fund-raiser for me. Their goal is to not only help with medical bills, but if enough money is raised, to get security cameras and an updated alarm for the house. There are also reinforcements that can be utilized in the door frame to make it impossible for anyone to kick the door in. Having those security improvements may seem frivolous to some, but to a person whose home became her hell, anything that can help to alleviate the ‘what if’ scenario would be a Godsend.
I was raised never to take a handout. I alternate between shame and hopefulness about this fund-raiser. Shame because my hand is out there, but hopeful because not having to worry where the money for meds or gas or prescriptions is going to come from for a while may alleviate some of my stress.
And the possibility of having a way to see what is happening outside my house via security camera, if enough money is raised, would calm me. I could stop sleeping in the living room on an air mattress (so I can hear if someone is breaking in) and go back to my bedroom upstairs.
Peace of mind is just out of reach for me.
So, I am sharing the link to the fund-raiser here. I verified with Brande Poulnot that it would be okay. There are photos on the fund raising site of some of my wounds. There is blood. Please be aware of that when you click. If you cannot help out, I gladly accept prayers. If you can help out, please know that whatever money comes in will be used to make my home more secure and help offset medical fees. I plan to update, with receipts, so folks will know how they helped me.
I truly hope that no one you love ever has to go through this constant paranoia and worry. The way I feel on a daily basis is not something I would wish on my worst enemy.
Thank you for reading this.