I feel that it has taken me years to come to terms with my symptoms and reach a place where I can manage them. At first, I was a basket case, if someone just looked at me wrong I was either in tears or going for their throat. i had a boyfriend, named Curtis, who just loved to come up behind me and surprise me, make sudden fast movements like he was going to hit me, even though he knew it triggered me, and sometimes I would flash. He thought it was funny. And I stayed with him, because he had me convinced that I was lucky that he felt sorry for me. It is funny, I write because I ran into him last night at a SRO (single residency occupancy) hotel where I facilitate a Dual Recovery Anonymous meeting, and I had no reaction. This is incredible since Curtis stalked me for months after we broke up, he would convince me he had changed, and then pull worse shit the next go round. I was in an endless cycle. The more help I got, the more he would use my therapy against me, like when I was crying he would be all, I need a time out. just mocking me, you know. He was psychically abusive as well, though that was what I knew, By the grace of god, I finally got away from him, and resisted his games, and he finally just got sick of following me every where everyday. I am very lucky, a lot of times stalkers can become violent and whatever, but I think he freaked out cause the last time he got on me, I begged him to kill me, and then I laughed at him when he couldn't. But anyway my point here is that over the next several months I combated that voice in my head that told me I was worthless or I deserved it, by drowning it out with positive affirmations (that i didn't believe) until the voice gave up, and all that remained were the positive stuff. and I learned to set boundaries with people, and to speak up and tell people, don't move at me like that, it triggers me. And in speaking up and not having shame around my illness I found that people respected me, which lead to me realizing that all the things I'd believed or heard from bad boyfriends was all shit, and that I was somebody, and what I said and felt mattered. When I started this work, I couldn't get on a bus without a panic attack, or speak with someone and look them square in the eye. Now I speak in front of huge groups of people, making sure to make eye contact with every one. Crowds don't bother me. I realized that I am not responsible for what anyone thinks, feels, or says about me. It is none of my business, unless it comes into my comfort zone. And then I will defend myself. Which usually is never needed. Because I carry myself like a survivor these days, not a victim. I guess the tool that helped me come to know myself so well was journaling. I write in my journal daily. I actually, lately have more than one journal. getting stuff out of your head is important, but I find is equally important to go back and look at what I have written in order to understand my cycles and patterns, for knowing that is key to changing them.
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