I feel as if I'm falling off the edge.
I lock down. I'm absolutely alone here, returned to my past, a ghost in my present. Different feelings, different phases: terror; muteness; the futility of actions or words; and when all the energy's gone, a hard cold empty feeling of detachment that nothing really matters including me, that they can't really touch me. They can do what they want to this body, they may laugh and taunt and threaten, call names and shout and shake and beat and fuck the body, but I've gone. I'm floating on a sea of nothingness.
Some things my mind blanked out, though in recovery, and over time, some of these blanks have filled in. I couldn't always detach myself, and even when I did, I can still have memories, just one step removed. It's like watching myself on video, I am a voyeur in my own life. The images remain, technicolour, replaying when I sleep or sometimes anyway. Something triggers me and I'm gone, magically transported back there, no tardis required.
I sleep with the light on, and barely even then. Scared of dreaming, but scared of my thoughts lying awake hour after hour. The night looms, interminable, the fragile grip on sanity of the day stretched to a mere thread, at breaking point. The body, that is to say my body - the splitting I did to survive what they did to me continues - doesn't help. Muscles tense and tire, old injuries ache, and now the exhaustion from night after night of broken sleep has taken it to the point of fainting, of collapse. Both body and mind work against me, telling me I am in danger now, making me re-experience what happened then now.
Words like 'horrific' or 'nightmarish' seem inadequate. Vocabulary offers only some approximation for what I am experiencing. Without the drink and drugs I see and feel things more clearly than I did when they were happening. Beginning to talk about the pimping, the constant violence and abuse is terrifying, even if I know it's the right thing to do, which I do. Hearing my voice saying this stuff aloud, naming stuff, and hearing it spoken back, someone else's reaction, is painful beyond measure.
Am I glad not to be on my own with all of this? Hell, yes! It's taken more than four and a half years in recovery to find the right person to talk to, someone I can trust. Knowing it's the right thing does help - to a degree. Alone with the knowledge of my past, with the PTSD and constant replays, coping alone has been an incarceration of the worst kind. Isolated with the wreckage of my past, the scars, the humiliations, the beatings, the rapes have eaten away at me like a cancer. I have always known that this was something I needed to sit down and talk about face to face with someone just to have some shot at survival, should that chance ever arise. The writing helps too. I am freer in my writing than in my speaking with this stuff, though I knew it could never be instead of talking with someone.
Now I am beginning to talk and it's scary and confusing. So many emotions! So many voices tangling in my head, messages tangling in my head. Say it, don't say it, I'll kill you if you ever tell anyone, no one'll believe you, they'll hate you, they'll think you're disgusting, they'll judge me, they'll think I deserved it, you did deserve it and they'll know it, what if they say the wrong thing and belittle it, you could get crushed, trust no one they'll always let you down in the end, this stuff'll kill you if you don't talk... on and on. The thoughts are endless. They circle and confuse, round and round they chase in this tired head, while this tired body hurts and aches, vomits and shakes.
It's hard to get much clarity of thought when both body and mind are trapped in a nightmare. But I have one major thing going for me, for which I thank God. I am a Survivor. I know what I need to do to stay clean and sober, to survive, and I am bloody minded about my recovery. Nothing and nobody will de-rail me from that. So I may get abusive comments on my blog; I may live in a society saturated with porn and churning out pro-sex industry shit 24/7; I may be struggling to sleep and function right now. But I shall continue to survive and to do what is right for me even when that is difficult and I feel lost and like I'm going backwards. I shall continue to challenge the sex industry's lies in whatever small way I can by giving voice to the reality of being prostituted, being sold. I have faith in myself although at times I doubt even that. Because what you gonna do? Give up, shut up and fuck yourself up as the men who abused me would wish? I don't think so. I'm beginning to build a life and find a voice because they may have taken everything they could from me but they couldn't take that. I'm still here, battered and fragmented and exhausted, but still here.