March 4, 2013

Healing Love

As the timely process of healing continued I began to dissect the past years and examine what my life had become through all of it. Despite the mess I was inside, I managed to get married and have a child. I began to look back on the relationship from the beginning, searching for more understanding and to see where God played a role.

After filing the police report I tried to carry on as normal as possible. I was a zombie going through the motions of life. If I wasn't drowning in pain, I was completely numb. I couldn't look anyone in the eye because they would see my pain and I couldn't bear the thought of anyone knowing. I believed the lie that I was garbage and worthless. Used goods.

Minding my own business and not looking for any human connection, 4 months after I was raped someone unexpectedly showed up on my radar at the restaurant I was working at. I was a waitress and he was a line cook. We met on his first day of work. Our relationship was very intense right away. I fell very hard, very fast. Something about him made my soul hurt less. We functioned on the same frequency of humor and weirdness. When we first met I had a feeling that he was going to be the man I marry. He became my world and reason for living at the young age of 19.

Our relationship was rocky. I was immature and hadn't even begun to deal with my baggage. When he moved across the country from Washington to Wisconsin in 2005, I happily followed. I thought I could get away from everything and start new. As the symptoms of PTSD started to surface, our relationship suffered. We fought constantly. We broke up and I moved back home, just to make up and move all the way back. The old patterns continued and we broke up again, but this time I stayed. I had a decent job at the state mental hospital working the night shift, so I moved out and got my own place. I found out I was pregnant shortly after. There I was, alone and 2,000 miles away from home and pregnant. I was a mess. Slowly, I adjusted to the fact that I was going to have a baby and began to be excited. I thought maybe this baby would save me from the downward spiral. Just before the end of my first trimester, I miscarried. I went back to being numb. It was easy because I worked all the time, often getting forced to do double shifts. 

One day I recieved a voice mail from the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney's office. They found the guy who raped me and needed to talk with me to start the court process. Everything I managed to stuff inside was ripped out into the open. I thought I was going to be able to just forget it ever happened and move on. I quickly got on some anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds to try to help cope. I got worse. I started pacing my apartment when I was alone. I couldn't sleep anymore. I would take more anxiety pills to make me feel better and sleepy, and soon became dependent on them. One night it all came to a head and I had the bottle of Xanax in my hand and wanted to take them and end my life. I held that bottle so tight as I paced my apartment.  Every time I tried to twist the cap off the bottle, something deep inside wouldn't let me do it. Somehow I managed to call a friend at work and she had her husband come take me to the hospital. To this day I don't remember dialing the phone. I was then admitted to the psych ward. It was a blur of a few days, then my Mother flew out to help me pack up my things and move back home. 

I began therapy as I prepared to go to court. I went because I thought that was what I had to do to overcome. The court process was proving to be harder on me than the actual rape. I couldn't even finish the interview with the defense attorney. When I heard that there was such thing as a plea bargain, I agreed without hesitation because that meant I wouldn't have to testify. The rapist was sentenced 18 months in jail for 2nd degree assault. No rape charge. The fact that I didn't have to stand in front of a room of people and describe what happened in detail was worth it to me. With PTSD in full swing I was in no way ready.

I pretended I was doing OK, ended therapy and went back to being numb. My ex contacted me in 2007 when he moved back to Washington. We picked up right where we left off. Rocky, intense on-again off-again relationship. There was something powerful that kept pulling us back together. No other relationship compared to what I had with him. I became pregnant again in 2009. I was terrified, he couldn't be happier. We decided to get engaged and have a little family. I thought my life was finally turning around. Maybe I had a shot at being happy. As the pregnancy progressed my anxiety grew. Our arguments got worse and worse and the next thing I knew my fiance was moving out. I was  devistated, humiliated and empty again. I couldn't be a mother to a child when I was barely hanging on myself. I began therapy again, not knowing what else to do. Despite the warnings from my therapist, that pull drew us back together. I knew deep down in my being since the day we met we were meant to be together.

After my child was born, we decided to start planning the wedding again. Silently, depression crept back in. I became very good at hiding it this time. I didn't want to admit I was slipping again. I had a beautiful, healthy new baby and I couldn't be happy. Then the anxiety went out of control. I had panic attacks if I went anywhere away from my home. I finally spoke up when I reached the hopeless stage again. I got back on anti-depressants and started a new kind of therapy to help re-train my thinking patterns. It helped a little, but I still struggled constantly. 

As my wedding day approached I began to feel somewhat happy again. I thrilled myself in planning every last detail. When it came to planning the date of the wedding, I felt really strongly about August 6th. I didn't know why, just something felt beautiful and right about that day. After the invitations were sent and the last details being worked out, a thought occurred to me. My fiance kept every pay stub from every job he's had. I could look back and see when the first day we met was. To my utter astonishment, our wedding day was 7 years to the day that we met. On August 6, 2011, I married my best friend and soul mate.

As I looked back on it all, the sweet revelation that only God could have orchestrated the perfect wedding day had me on my knees. Then a sweeter revelation hit me so powerfully: When my innocence was stolen and I hated God for it, he still loved me so much that he redeemed what was stolen and gave me the most precious gift. I married the man I gave my first kiss to. God's abounding love began to transform me from the inside. A true metamorphosis continued to take place.