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Fear. Pain.

Yesterday, after writing about the "new normal" and my complex trauma, I was left all day with chest pain and fear in my stomach, and a very tense back. When I finished the Spanish translation, I listened to music and then I prepared my lunch. Friends of my flatmates arrived, and I joined them for a while on our roof terrace. I was there, but I wasn't really there. My mind was elsewhere, and it was hard to follow the conversation, not to speak of participating or talking. I needed to be in alone, by myself, and I went to my room to listen to more music, this time with headphones at a very high volume. The pain and fear continued, and I decided to take a little walk camouflaged by shopping (I bought tissues and hummus). On the way I was on the verge of crying. When I came back, more music, and then I took a long bath (90 minutes), which also did not help me to calm down, nor to relax the tension in my body.

I went out for another walk (it was already the allowed hour, and it wasn't raining), and went to the river. Because of the rain there were less people (luckily!), and I walked slowly along the river, and then returned home. All along the way both the pain and the fear remained. I don't remember what I was thinking about, or if I was thinking about anything at all. At least the walk served to relax my back a little.

The rest of the afternoon I listened to more music and had a few glasses of wine. At midnight I went to bed, and felt a little calmer, but I was afraid of the night, the pain and the fear. And so it was. I put on some quiet music (Jan Garbarek Group: Rites), but when I turned off the light the pain and fear came with force. I cried, probably half an hour. I tried to concentrate on my breathing and breathe more deeply. I opened my eyes and lay on my back. With my hands I grabbed my futon on both sides, tried to breathe more deeply, and started to say to myself "Aquí estaś segure" ("You are safe here"), or "Este es un/tú espacio seguro" ("This is a/your safe space") and "No pasa nada" ("It's OK") or "No eres este niñe" ("You are not this child"). I didn't just think it, I said it, albeit quietly. I started to say "No te toca nadie" ("No one touches you"), but at first it was hard for me to say it (I said something like "No pocata nadie", which doesn't make sense). And it didn't help either, on the contrary: pain and fear went up. Then I switched to English: "This is a/your save space". I also turned on the light. I couldn't even think or say it in German - just thinking about it in German increased the fear and pain. I thought about something my father wrote to me four years ago, that "my problems" started when I was one and a half years old, my sister was born and they had to throw me out of their room and put me in a bed in a room shared with my older brother (one year older). Was the fear and pain I felt in bed yesterday the fear and pain of this little boy? I don't know. I don't remember anything. I just felt this fear and pain.

I cried again several times, and said to myself in English "This is a/your save space", in a louder and louder voice. I felt like shouting, but I didn't do it to avoid waking up my flatmates. I thought of making myself an infusion, but I didn't trust my legs to climb down the stairs of my bed.

I don't know how much time I spent like that. Two hours? Three hours? Every time I closed my eyes the fear and pain increased. Finally, still with the light on, I found sleep, maybe 15 or 30 minutes. I woke up at 3:30 am with the light still on, but a bit calmer. I had to go to the bathroom to pee, and then finally I was able to turn off the light and found sleep quite soon.

I woke up too early, at 6:30 in the morning, with my back very tense and my stomach contracted from fear, but I didn't feel the pain, at least initially. It was too early to get up. Probably an hour later I put on some quiet music again (Pat Metheny: As falls Wichita, so falls Wichita Falls and Works II), and tried to relax. I cried again a little, but not much. Some pain came back. I got up to make an infusion, and went back to bed. Finally, the pain and fear subsided, although they didn't disappear completely.

I briefly thought about the address of the house where I lived in London for six years with my then partner. It was a safe space for a long time, but it was no longer safe in the end. Something happened, and it brought back the memory of me in the shower and my mother coming in, opening the curtain and looking at my genitals (did she touch me?). From this moment on I was not able to enjoy sex, until I finally refused it completely. It took me months to realise what was happening to me, and I was never able to express it, to talk to my then partner about it - out of shame, lack of confidence, I don't know. It was the beginning of the end of our relationship. It was a slow and very painful end. For me, and even more so for him. I feel very sorry.

Shortly before 10:00, I finally got up for real, and I had breakfast. Now, I'm a little calmer, but my stomach is a little tight and my back is a little tense. Thinking about today scares me.

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Article | by Dr. Radut