The Anniversary

Posted: July 22, 2015 in abuse, anxiety, domestic violence, fear, ptsd
Tags: , , , ,

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Today is the six-year anniversary of the day I left my abusive husband. I didn’t even realize that was the case until I found myself wondering why I was having a PTSD flare up. I couldn’t pinpoint any triggers, but the last few nights I’ve been up with insomnia. I’ve been anxious, irritable, tense, and then today I started feeling paranoia set in, and I found myself trying to track my ex down online, and trying to make certain I wasn’t traceable through my old name. Nothing had happened to cause me to feel triggered.. and then I realized the date.

Six years ago today is the day the events in my blog post “Don’t Look Back” took place, and today I feel myself constantly looking over my shoulder, checking out my window, flinching in response to shadows. I feel a “twitch” insisting I look up a background check on my ex, just to be sure he’s still living in the same place, still hasn’t moved, still hasn’t come looking for me. I feel an obsessive need to find something, anything he’s posted online recently, just to be sure he hasn’t gone off grid. Just so I know where he is and what he’s up to. But to what end? How long will I keep having to deal with this fear?

I haven’t gone anywhere today. I’ve stayed inside, only stepping out long enough to let the dog use the bathroom. But that’s only seemed to increase my sense of paranoia. I’m near tears. Why do I feel this way? After everything I’ve been through, all the progress I’ve made, all the healing, all I’ve accomplished, all the time that has passed… How does my biological clock pick up on nothing more than a date and trigger my body into a panic?

Why don’t I feel safe? Why am I still terrified by his temper? Why am I still haunted by his angry eyes, the sense of his fingers pressed into my throat, his raised fist, his massive bulk? Why do I keep expecting to hear him pounding on my door, breaking my window? Why am I overcome with a desire to flee, to wake my son and leave everything behind and just drive away?

And as I contemplate that feeling, I realize I’m constantly preparing myself for the possibility I may need to flee. Minimizing my material possessions, avoiding social interactions with neighbors, avoiding community involvement, keeping disconnected emotionally and socially, keeping an emergency fund on hand… Without a moments notice, I could be out that door and driving half-way across the states. I’m used to starting fresh. Comes from being raised a military brat.

But there’s no need for me to feel so afraid. There’s no need for me to remain disconnected. There’s no need. I’m safe here. Aren’t I?

It’s been six years. I have a new name. I live somewhere he’d never think to look for me. I have a protective dog for a companion. Most days I’m happy and well and “free”. I don’t even think about him, or when I do I know it’s just an unrealistic fear triggered by something trivial that reminds me of one of our fights. I write about it, talk about it with my therapist, and move on. And then I have days like today… and I realize I’ll never really be “over it”. My PTSD isn’t going to go away. Healing doesn’t mean I’ll get “all better”. It means I’ll learn to cope, I’ll learn to deal, I’ll learn to handle the bad days and live for the good days.

On the anniversary of my flight from abuse, I want to remind myself that I made the right decision, that I have grown and changed in so many ways! I’m a completely different person now. A stronger person. A more confident person. A happier person. A more passionate person. I’ve escaped so much more than an abusive marriage. I’ve escaped the prison of my own closed mind and self-inflicted limitations. While it has been a struggle, I’ve not lost the idealism of my youth. I’ve overcome the threat of death itself, and I won’t let ANYTHING hold me back any more.

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Comments
  1. jennymarie4 says:

    You are a strong woman! I guess the memories of the abuse won’t completely go away, but I hope they lessen as each year (each day) goes by.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mohawkyo8 says:

    Bless your heart, I have been there, 25 years ago. I still have those same feelings, but I can get over them because he’s remarried and torturing someone else. I still wake up afraid some mornings and I have to force myself to function. The one thing that has helped me the most is the decision I made, I will not give him another day of being afraid, not another hour, not another minute. I deserve to be happy, and thoughts of him negatively affect my happiness. You are doing very good in dealing with your situation, give yourself credit for facing down the bad and go do something to celebrate your strength and another year of freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. betternotbroken says:

    Congratulations on your escape and gaining your freedom in the real world. It is amazing how flareups can keep a better calendar than we can consciously. Keep going, you are doing a great job and are a brave wonderful person!

    Liked by 1 person

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