It’s been awhile.
I had two weeks off of counseling and I had been putting off “being sad.” But one day, I sucked it up. I crawled into the safest place I know – my bed – with a new box of tissues and my journals. I re-read the story, the details, MY story. And for the first time, I didn’t relive it. I just read it. I knew it was my story, but it didn’t hurt like my story used to.
That night I made love to my husband. And I cried. I cried, not from flashbacks, not from fear, but I cried because I felt safe, I felt whole, and I had missed him so, so much. I had missed feeling sexual.
I told my counselor all this. I told her how I felt good. Really, really good. I introduced a rigorous exercise routine into my life. I was eating really well. I finally felt good about my body and my soul. And yes, I finally felt healed.
She told me to come back in two weeks to see if it sticks.
I went back… and, no, the trauma is no longer traumatic. I can claim what happened to me as sexual assault. I no longer deny the act or push it out of my mind. I acknowledge the assault as part of my existence, part of my story, but I don’t dwell any more.
But that one sexual night with my husband? Seemed to be a fluke.
I told my counselor how I just don’t feel it. I wanted counseling and healing to be a big bandaid over my heart where my libido once was. I felt asexual, unable to exude sexiness or even playfulness. I felt cold. Truthfully, I felt like I was jeopardizing my marriage because I was turned off by sex.
My counselor and I talked about automatic thought. When sex was initiated, up to this point my automatic thought has been “no no no no” because it triggered anxiety and reminded me of my trauma. Now that that’s behind me, my automatic thought needs to catch up. Instead of immediately thinking “NO” when my husband kisses me passionately, I need to remind myself that he is my husband who loves me and I trust him and sex is a meaningful part of our relationship.
Admittedly, I struggled with that. Rewiring your automatic thought isn’t easy. It took a heart-to-heart with my husband, discussing my fears and anxiety, what turns me off, what turns me on, what triggered flashbacks, etc. It was the heart-to-heart that did it.
I don’t want to say I’m 100% healed. But in two days, I’ve had sex twice. That’s more than we’ve had in two months. All of the sudden, I feel like a teenager again. I can’t wait to get my clothes off.
And that’s what I was missing.
I’m writing this from the other side. My story will never have a conclusion. My struggles will be ongoing. I will share them with complete honesty. Please, if you have questions, leave me a comment. If you’re not comfortable with a public question, let me know in your comment and I will email you in private.
I feel healed. Thank you for your support.