I am afraid

I live in fear

Never safe

Always alone

Safety is illusion

Coldness prevails

Needing warmth

Hugging a cat

Why was it done

What did they get

Who were they

I have names

I hate them all

Every one

All people

Let me down

10,493 days

When does it end

Yes, it really has been that long, 10,493 days with the same thought in my head. Have I gone insane yet? I think maybe I have, I’m just high functioning insanity. I shower, I go to work, I wear clean clothes, I don’t make too many enemies as I go. My bills are paid on time, my yard is mowed semi-regularly. Yes, I managed to buy a house and fix it up. The outside and the inner workings are in fabulous shape, the interior decorating leaves a bit to be desired.

I read this post tonight, written by a girl at Stanford who was raped while unconscious. This is what she said to her attacker after he was found guilty and sentenced to six months in the county jail because the judge didn’t want to unduly impact his life. She’s been living with the impact for a year, with a supportive family and boyfriend. She’s still alone with it even with their support because they have no idea what it’s like to live inside of the body that was violated.

I didn’t get to face my attackers. One was found guilty and the other pled guilty, there may have been a third one who got away with it. I don’t know his name, though I used to. I didn’t find out about his involvement until long after I forgot who he was. I wonder if I could get the information from the OSI, do a FOIA request for the investigation and trials. I heard that he’s a colonel now. He was a hotshot fighter pilot 10,493 days ago.

Where do I go from here? I started writing on that topic a few days ago and couldn’t come up with an answer. Writing about what happens makes my head hurt. Should I write more? Until it doesn’t hurt any more? When will it quit hurting? How many times can I replay it before I am stark, raving, mad? Or until I am stark, raving, sane.

It’s been a litany for 10,493 days inside of my head. I have blogged about it for over five years, the first few years at Open Salon which is now defunct, the last few years at Our Salon and Medium. I’ve even created a Facebook page and I tweet my posts. I’m not even close to being a household name, I haven’t tried very hard because I am afraid. Some of the people I’ve met blogging haven’t been friendly, I’ve gotten a decent number of people asking me why I’m not over it yet. There have been a few who have been vicious and called me a whiny loser for still dwelling on it. After all, I can’t even remember what happened. And there’s always the chance that if I put out too many details, they who did it 10,493 days ago will be able to find me.

I just have nightmares of being trapped in bedrooms. I have flashbacks, the worst one was at physical therapy when I was doing exercises with the stretchy band around my knees and three men were at the table near me doing various exercises against the wall. The most recent flashback involved a cop after a traffic accident. I fear going to bed and have to follow a ritual to get through the anxiety of falling asleep.

I am going to try to be more proactive. I get counseling, so that’s covered. I keep reading how yoga and meditation and exercise are supposed to help settle the brain so I am going to spend the next year working them into a solid part of my routine. I really want to learn martial arts but couldn’t get any of the local centers to call me back. All of the ads were kid centric so that could be why.

Maybe someday I can quit remembering. Going on to 10,494.


Views: 216

Comment by alsoknownas on June 3, 2016 at 6:20pm


I'm not much for giving advice nor do I think you are asking for it.

We've "talked" in chat and you are one of the nicest people I've come across on the 2 blog sites we both have used.

You don't deserve this.

I would encourage your participation in yoga. One of my best friends in this life instructed yoga for 25+ years. He's gone now for about 11 months. He didn't tell me he was dying when I saw him a year ago. He was most often at peace but was a wild guy at heart.

Martial arts can be fun if you connect with the instruction method. I worked a long time at it and have a black belt in hard style Okinawan karate. Nothing spiritual about it. But I have had to put it to use in a surprise street confrontation and for that I am much more grateful than the fool who thought I'd be a soft touch.

I don't think that is what you are looking to achieve.

Best to you.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on June 3, 2016 at 6:39pm

I never counted the days since I was stabbed in the chest.  Rape is a whole other thing and so I can't speak to that.  I still recall the stabbing and can rewind and review the action frame by frame.  February 1975, over 40 years ago: 1975: Psycho, Janine & Brian, Longhair, Hallucinations & Tu...

I worked my way through it, eventually made myself a career, married and helped raise of kid; but to tell the truth it has never gone away. That's all I got for you, kiddo.  Wishing you some peace.

Comment by Phyllis on June 3, 2016 at 7:53pm
aka, I actually would like to know how to beat people up. I would feel more safe. I would also like to explore the meditation aspect of them.

JMac, I haven't actually been counting, I used a date calculator to add them up. I was surprised at the high number. Stabbing sounds pretty awful, at least rape isn't usually deadly.
Comment by koshersalaami on June 3, 2016 at 8:26pm
I'd be useless here. There are different martial arts - if one doesn't work, another would.
Comment by Token on June 3, 2016 at 10:23pm

as Kosher says, there are many ways. If you want to feel safe and be able to defend your self, I recommend carrying a small can of wasp and hornet spray ( actually chemically the same stuff used in bear repellent) and hosing down the face of anyone who attacks you.

of the various Do ( Dao's) of martial arts, the fighting aspects are founded in the Dao..

  Judo  -  "soft way"
[Kendo] Kendo   -  "sword way"
[Karate] Karate - do  -  "empty hand way"


not so much the way of the warrior ( one of the ways, or daos) as the way of living in harmony with the universe. Daoism is not a religion in the sense of empty mental gyrations, it is a guide to experiencing life not as a burden, but as an en JOY ment.

Which path you choose is not so important as how you choose to follow it.

Comment by Phyllis on June 4, 2016 at 2:40am
Thanks, kosh.

Token, my current problem is finding a place to study. There used to be a group on campus so I can look them up and see if it still exists, maybe someone there would be willing to teach. I will look at the link.
Comment by greenheron on June 4, 2016 at 5:21am

Trying to feel safe does not work because the truth is, we are never safe. Some lucky people live most of their lives giving lip service to the old adage about perhaps getting running over by a bus at any time. PSTD means knowing with full certainty that the bus is real, because you have tire tracks on your ass.

The past twelve years I’ve been living with rogue cancer cells circulating in my body. Two years ago, I developed a heart condition that hospitalized me four times in 18 months. Every time I leave the house, I’m never be sure I’ll get to come home or if that day will end with me in the hospital again. I carry my toothbrush and cell phone charger and even herbal tea bags–things I know from experience I’ll need if it’s the hospital. It’s a form of PTSD for sure.

For more than twenty years, I’ve had a dedicated daily meditation practice, and am fully aware that is what has kept me sane. I’ve meditated through countless unpleasant invasive medical procedures, including a four hour heart surgery last fall where I had to be kept fully conscious while five catheters roamed around in my arteries burning stuff. Meditation makes it possible to focus on the experience of terror, to examine it without resistance–or if there is resistance, to examine that. Meditation likewise makes it possible to focus on moments that aren’t terrifying, because there are so many. The proportion of terrifying and painful moments is actually very small when compared to the moments spent not terrified, not in pain. During terrified moments, you remain aware that they will pass, that other moments will arrive, but you’re not attached to either. It’s hard to explain.

How did the practice begin? Not by thinking about it. Not by viewing meditation as a solution to anything. No resolve. No goals. No expectations. I just sat down one day on a couch cushion in front of the fireplace, then again the next day, and the next day. Something happens over time, the whole thing changes. All you have to do is keep sitting down and paying attention, pretty much all meditation is–paying attention.

Some people seek to be healed by meditation, which it won’t. Meditation teaches you to accept things exactly as they are, an outcome most people don’t want or value. They want new lives, calm peaceful lives without anger, fear, anxiety. That’s not what you get. What you get is the ability to be curious about your anger, fear, and anxiety. Doesn’t sound too sexy, does it?  People with twenty/thirty/forty years of practice still get angry. The only difference is that they say howdy to it, smile, and then move on to whatever comes next.

There is a kind of satisfaction, or validation maybe, in using the things we’ve survived to define ourselves. I recognized this about cancer, thinking of myself as a cancer survivor. Could you explore the dividends of defining yourself as a PSTD survivor? With cancer, people think you have lots of courage, which is bullshit, really, what else can you do but endure the treatment and the terror–it’s not like you have a choice, but there’s a little bit of payback in that, some tidbit of meaning applied to a horrible random situation. Meditation reveals that nothing means anything. ‘Meaning’ is our thoughts, which we can choose to believe, or not believe. They’re just thoughts, the products of the mind, same as farts are the products of the GI tract.

Having just written you all this, it’s still just words, still just thoughts, which is why talking about meditation is something I don’t do that often. As the Buddhists say, it’s just pointing at the moon. Only you can look at the moon. Maybe it will be out in your backyard tonite. Go see.

Wishing you peace,

Comment by alsoknownas on June 4, 2016 at 7:39am

The answer from greenheron is eloquent and on the mark.

The sense of feeling safe is a manufactured delusion. Making life work for you after extreme fear or trauma is different than if one did not have those experiences. I've been surrounded on the street by 5 people at a time with bad intent and a large knife. I've been taken hostage at gunpoint. I managed to get through both with luck only and an inexplicable sense in the time that I was in a puzzle from which I could extricate myself.

All of this is that puzzle.

Comment by Phyllis on June 4, 2016 at 8:14am

GH, thank you for taking the time to comment.

I had never considered that I had adopted PTSD as an identity before, I have spent the past 16 years trying to figure out who I am besides a job title, am I an artist, a comedian, a quirky person (note that they're all positives), and I have worried if I'm a meanie or a depressive or just not likeable. Maybe I spend too much time on trying to be an identity. And maybe I am all of them and more.

I didn't see yoga or meditation as a cure, although I guess that hope is always there, but I did hope that they could help me find a better outlook and some hope that things can turn out well. My current life should be proof of that with my house and job and kittens, except I am still lacking in real life humans and that makes for lonely. Having been told all my life that I am too picky and too smart and too demanding I have internalized that it is my fault that I am alone.

You said that people tell you how brave you are to have survived cancer, it's the same with rape and PTSD, as if it's some marathon that I chose to enter. It's either take care of myself or someone else will do it in ways I wouldn't like. I have a huge fear of being confined in a jail or mental ward. Huge fear, so I do what I have to to appear sane and competent.

I like how you describe meditation. Thank you for sharing the words. It is the new moon weekend so no visuals, but I get your point. I'm actually waiting on fireflies because I've been negligent and didn't get the kittens outside last summer to experience them. 


aka, solving puzzles is something I like to do, I approach every situation with that mindset. I like resolution, though, and trying to figure out how to quit feeling like this has been a tough one. Maybe with no answer except to just accept that it happens and be curious. I did find out something, though, and it's that I have to write. The periods of not writing are when I get down.

Comment by Rosigami on June 4, 2016 at 8:33am

The way of looking at things that GH describes is very much how I do it, too. Looking at things with that kind of objectivity took me a lot of time and practice but I have found it to be profoundly healing. So many negative things have lost their power to impact me. Some things I previously saw as positive, too. That was a surprise but it makes sense to me. I am still working on others. It can be very very difficult to let go of anything that has wrapped itself around one's psyche and sent its tendrils into every part of your life. For me, meditation is a fluid and integral part of my life. 


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