Finding peace – Part 2
Four months after her successful session of human givens therapy, Katherine wrote down the benefits she was still discovering.
It is now [Feb 2016] more than 4 months after my initial rewind (for a gang rape trauma I experienced 5 years ago) with Sue Saunders of the Human Givens Institute, and I feel great. This piece is a brief update on changes I have seen in myself over the last 4 months that exhibit the lasting effects of that rewind.
I am able to appreciate my male coworkers more without feeling threatened or enraged by their jokes or offhanded comments. The people I encounter most in any typical day are male construction workers, given that I am in the construction management field. Prior to my rewind, this posed a bit of a problem for me. I was in an almost constant state of hyper-vigilance and alarm, making it difficult for me to be as productive as I could be. This lead to longer hours at work and sleep deprivation to complete my tasks. I now get in at a normal 8am and generally leave around 5pm, which would have been very difficult for me before.
Now that I am giving myself the time to actually get enough sleep, I do. My sleep is generally of good quality. I wake up rested and refreshed most of the time. Like everybody else I have the occasional stressful night worrying about a deadline at work, but after that I go right back to my normal sleep pattern.
As I mentioned in the first article, after the rape I started clenching my jaw in my sleep and would wake up every morning with it being very tight. Immediately after my rewind, that stopped. I only notice it coming back on those aforementioned stressful nights, but even then it is a fraction of what it was. I don’t remember the last time I had a nightmare, while they were quite frequent for the 4.5 years prior to the rewind.
Prior to my rewind ... I was in an almost constant state of hypervigilance and alarm
Walking Through Harlem
I am now able to walk through parts of the city that I was unable to before. Being in certain parts of the city was highly triggering for me prior to the rewind. I would be constantly looking over my shoulder and just race to my destination in a state of fear, or avoid the areas completely.
After the rewind, parts of the city have been opened up to me that I would have never visited before. I remember walking from the train in Harlem to my friend’s apartment, maybe 8 blocks away from the stop, both before and after the rewind. The experiences were vastly different. Prior, as previously mentioned, I was in a state of hyper vigilance and just raced to her apartment. Post rewind, I remember strolling and actually seeing the neighborhood. I noticed little stores and restaurants that I may want to return to, making mental notes of their locations. I even exchanged a smile with a passerby, making me feel even more comfortable! I was able to actually experience the vibrance of this neighborhood that I was unable to before.
This was probably the most empowering milestone yet
Any female who has ever lived in New York knows of the street ‘compliments’ that are howled at you from all directions. They are sometimes offensive and crude, but sometimes are sweet. No matter the kind, I was not able to tolerate any of them prior to the rewind. They were a huge trigger for me, given my experience with rape, and truly had the power to ruin a perfectly good mood. I could go from happy-go-lucky to furious and terrified in the blink of an eye. Since my rewind, I don’t notice them as much. I am able to filter them out for the most part and actually even appreciate the sweet ones every time and again. Those can even BRIGHTEN my day! That was unheard of for me before.
For the past 4 years I have dreaded the anniversary of my attack. The stress and anxiety would start months before and worsened leading up to it. I was afraid of how I would feel, what memories it would drag up, worrying that all the great progress I made over the year would be lost. I even tried to relabel it one year by deeming it my ‘day of power’ when I would celebrate how far I had progressed. That was a bit better, but it was still a landmark on my mental calendar.
This year was different.
A short 3 months after my rewind, I saw a date written down and thought… hmm that date looks important for some reason — as I do if I think I forgot a friend’s birthday. Then it hit me! It was 3 days before the anniversary which I had consistently dreaded for the past 4 years! I hadn’t even remembered it this year! This was probably the most empowering milestone yet. It can no longer have any power over me if I don’t even remember it. Of course it is an experience I will unfortunately never forget, but it no longer takes up valuable mental bandwidth on an every day basis. It feels like any other unpleasant memory and I no longer feel as if it could dictate my destiny.