Today, when reading a blog which I follow closely, I tried to respond but the server hiccuped and would not allow it. Shauna… I am reposting my response to your blog right here. I pray you will read it. I hope that others in our situation will also find it and that it helps them in some way. Be kind to yourself, my friend xx
Shauna’s initial post is located here.
Yeah…. I know it all too well. The panic attacks. The feeling of his eyes on you when you walk to the garden, regardless that you now live on the other side of the world and have a new name. The nightmares when you wake up screaming. The urge to strike out when another person touches you unsuspectingly. I live it daily.
It was many years before I was able to start to deal with it. By that, I mean knowing that he cannot find me or get to me any more. I am married now and have also changed my first name. I live in Finland – no longer live in Australia with my family close by. I am Deaf and legally blind due to the injuries he inflicted on me and he stole a lot of my memories which I will never regain. I know the fear.
What I am about to tell you is not a selling speel – just advice on how I dealt with my own trauma years later. After the nightmares and flashbacks continued, even eight years after being married to a wonderful and loving man, I decided to write a book. Initially, it was so I could process what had happened… maybe even regain my stolen memories. I couldn’t think of a title, so I named it after what I had actually done… “Change Your Name and Disappear.” I had to write it in the third person, in order to distance myself from the images that kept playing inside my head day after day… night after night. I had panic attacks as I relived it. I wondered how I would deal with the parts where he left me unconscious after a beating or rape, and decided to write the fog into the book as well. By the time I had finished, my husband was as much as I was, and I am so grateful he was there to see me through it. I eventually released it to the public – I wanted women out there to know that there are others like them… those going through hell and beyond… those who made it out against all odds.
After releasing the book, he found me online under my new name. It was then that I realised something I had never done so before. I put things into perspective, distanced myself a little further, and realised that my “best friend” who still lived in Australia had come into my life just after I’d left him. Had been in my life up to (and sporadically, after) I’d left Australia. On the release of the book, she contacted me, asking for a postal address or a phone number, and advised that she wanted to be able to get hold of me always. Trustingly (with her only), I gave both. And shortly after, I received SMS messages (yes, on my Finnish phone number) from an unknown number in Australia. He’d found me. After all of these years, my heart was crushed when I realised that my “best friend” had been his own personal spy. I think that was the sucker-punch which even bested his abuse.
I no longer trust people. Being unable to communicate any more (with a phone) is even more difficult, with my dad being unable to use a computer. I miss my family so badly, but the fear that bubbles inside me, I don’t know if it will ever pass. I left him when I was 25. I am now 46 years of age, and have since moved once more, with Finnish police and border authorities on high alert.
Although I am now living in a bubble – me, my two cats, my husband who works 7 days per week – I can go outside, do the gardening, make myself useful each and every day. A few weeks ago, I bought an electric bike and a dog trailer to pull behind me. Local storekeepers know of my communication problems, but I carry a Deaf card so new staff also are aware that their flapping lips will never reach my ears for processing. The electric bike allows me to pick up parcels or groceries when my husband is working. I can ride long distances to do this. It is also good to have in case one of the cats needs a vet and my husband is working.
Although it may not be original advice: Take one day at a time xx ❤ xx