Mr_Turtle

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About Mr_Turtle

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    female
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    UK
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    Knitting, reading, science, cute animals.

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  1. Medication-wise, sleeping tablets or haloperidol. Anything with a strong enough sedative effect to knock me out. But medication wasn't a huge factor for me. For me, the crucial change was finally being well enough that I remembered what it felt like to feel normal-good, to give me something to aim for. For years before that I either felt depressed or SO AMAZING I COULD JUST CRAWL OUT OF MY SKIN AND PUNCH SOMEONE. So whenever I felt myself lifting out of depression I did everything in my power to encourage that process, consciously or unconsciously, and ended up sky high. In my heart of hearts I WANTED to be hypomanic/+, because genuinely it was 100x times better than feeling depressed. There are lots of little behavioural things I do now to short-circuit that high feeling, but ultimately I had to want in my heart for it to stop and then eventually the rest began to fall into place. And I don't mean that flippantly! I napalmed my life in order to lower my external stress levels, and even then it took 3+ years for it to even begin to work. I debased myself by giving up my dreams of having a career, an intellectual life, a romantic relationship and children. I gave up on everything I cared about. But the payoff has been a sense of healthy happiness that I thought would never be possible - for 20 years I couldn't even imagine feeling both normal and happy. I still have periods of a few days when I can't stop laughing/dancing/singing and stay up half the night devising incredible new projects, and it's only been about 8 weeks since I last phoned my doctor in tears because I couldn't make it stop and was terrified. But at least know I know that feeling normal-good is possible and it's worth the pain of pushing those intense good feelings to one side. For example, if I feel I'm getting too high: - Don't sing, at all, or even tap my feet to music - Don't plan projects or go on Pinterest - stick to boring housework - Set an alarm for 11pm and get into bed with the lights off at that time, whether or not I am able to sleep. Having a strong routine before the episode starts is phenomenally useful when it comes to resisting excitable impulses. Knowing my bus leaves at 17:13 can be enough to make the difference between going straight home and going off on one of my 'adventures'. - Use breathing exercises/stretching/relaxation tapes etc to clear my mind, even when the thoughts that want to come in feel AMAZING - Avoid aerobic exercise (weights are fine) - Avoid social situations, or basically anything fun - Stay indoors and sit down quietly - Absolutely no alcohol - not even one sip!!! This is the most important one by far. - If it gets far enough that the demon shows up at my house, it helps to sing to it to pacify it enough that I can sneak past and go to bed, even if I have to keep the lights on and pin my hair under my collar so that it can't grab hold of me tl;dr: remind yourself constantly of the good things in your life that are made possible by resisting hypomania, and hopefully all the little tips and tricks that work for you personally will become apparent. Genuinely wanting to come down is the most powerful force, but it's easier said than done.
  2. I've always had an extreme fear of being abandoned by people close to me. Even just people disapproving or not connecting with me over things. That fear has shaped so much of my adult life it's embarrassing. It's what made me vulnerable to domestic abuse. The only thing that has made any difference is spending time alone, and realising that the world doesn't end. I've lost some poeple along the way though.
  3. Do you really think that someone who makes a few errors deserves to be burned? That is ultra extreme. I don't even know you and I can tell you don't deserve it. You just don't. Apart from anything else, if you genuinely did deserve it, you wouldn't take so much care to hide it from everyone, would you? What exactly do you think you're doing wrong anyway? You can only do what is within your capability, and anyone who expects you to be some kind of smooth 100% perfect James Bond figure is just being dumb. The average normal person screws things up all day every day and they don't even care, so unless you're deliberately running over people's dogs then probably you're doing just fine. Think of all the times other people screwed up at the bank, or at work, and you didn't think they deserved to be burned. At the moment it must seem like things are never going to get better. I know that feeling. It took me 20 years of HARD work for a little sliver of ok-ness to appear - but the point is, it did happen eventually, and it was worth the wait, and it only came through when I let go of keeping score of hat things I got right or wrong (which was NOT easy). Your wellbeing is more important than whether you feel like you deserve this or that punishment. Nobody apart from you is keeping score. Anything that makes you feel strong and worthwhile and at peace is valuable even if you don't yet understand how you deserve it. The last time you felt like you were maybe doing ok, and the world was maybe an ok place, what were you doing
  4. A friend of 7 years called me "mentally sub-par" because I stopped speaking to him after he told me that he almost raped me while I was unconscious. He graciously offered me as much time as I needed to understand how actually it was totally fine, and anyway he discussed it with this massively sexist guy I hate, and sexist guy thinks he should have just gone for it "while he had the chance". Yeah. My ex's father accused me of lying to the police about the times his son had raped me. He demanded to know "why I had done that to his family after they had invited me into their home". Because if you give a girl a few roast dinners it means your firstborn has the right to rape her????? Apart from that, it's been more a case of nasty (or even close) people insinuating things rather than saying them outright. Paintedsky: WTF HOW DARE HE. That is a disgusting thing to say to a partner. That is just beyond awful. OOOH THAT HAS MADE ME SO ANGRY.
  5. It really does take a lot to suffocate. I had an asthma attack at the same time as a dissociative attack last year, so I couldn't breathe but also couldn't reach for my inhaler for >6 hours. I honestly thought I was going to die that day. My whole body was screaming at me that I couldn't breathe, for hours on end, and yet it managed to pull through. So if you find yourself having an attack then don't panic - just try to breathe steadily and not panic until it passes. That said, the asthma nurse was very forceful that asthma can suddenly worsen, so if you're having problems then it's vital that you get properly checked out before it gets to a bad stage. Don't be a hero.
  6. I kept having spells where I couldn't breathe, but my abusive ex convinced me I was just making it up for attention and shouted at me if I couldn't keep up with him (especially on icy mornings). When I finally broke up with him I went to my doctor because I couldn't breathe well enough to stay asleep, but she was too lazy/incompetent to do anything sensible like actually measure my breathing or explain how to tell if you're having a potentially fatal asthma attack. It got worse and by the following summer I had three asthma attacks severe enough to need a course of rescue steroids. One of them happened while I was abroad and the doctor had an absolute fit and gave me a preventer inhaler on the spot. I also feel breathless when I'm anxious and, conversely, if I do 'relaxing' breathing exercises it brings on a panic attack. What helps me is to go outside, stand up straight, with my feet solidly planted on the floor and my shoulders back, and let my breathing gradually calm itself down. Don't force it or try too hard to fit some 'relaxing' breathing pattern from a book. Just stand comfortably and confidently, and let the air gently wash out all the fear hormones. It takes about 60 seconds (or longer if I'm super wound up). Sometimes channelling the panic energy into something useful/energetic can help short-circuit the cycle, but that's easier said than done sometimes! And if that doesn't work then I take my inhaler. Did they give you a peak flow meter to take home, so you can measure your breathing while the problem is happening? What sort of readings do you get?
  7. If you find out what to call that, let me know! When I got really ill a few years back there was definitely a connection between the dissociation and the (mild/transient) hallucinations and delusions, and the anxiety too. It was like I got so anxious that my mind retreated back into itself for comfort and came into contact with some weird old brain junk that would normally stay hidden away. It very much had the feel of being stuck in a Japanese horror film that I couldn't switch off - a relentless sense of uncanny dread, with occasional gut-wrenching jump scares. I'd feel high as a kite but also be able to feel my heart hammering and the deep muscles in my legs trembling, and be dimly aware that it probably meant I was anxious. Walking down stairs was a nightmare. FWIW Haloperidol wrestled me back into shared reality very effectively, but TBH I'm not sure that was much of an improvement at the time.
  8. Haha, cool. Is s/he the smart one? Mine is. Even if I ever tell anyone about feeling like there are two of us in here, I will NEVER admit to it being called the Oracle. [huh, I never thought about what pronouns to use before right now...I guess he/she/it/they will let me know at some point?] because there is a crappy shopping centre in the UK called the Oracle. I had never heard of it happening this way until recently. I was so used to flashbacks being to something I had known memories of, that were triggered by certain sights/sounds/smells/feelings. But the way you've described it is spot on - I've felt safe for the first time just in the past few months, and it was the sheer adrenaline burst of all the bad news that took me back to the really old stuff. At first I thought that proved it was just a brain blip, but all the first-hand accounts I've found of people who spontaneously recovered memories (which were sometimes corroborated) described an uncannily similar set of circumstances. I always thought repressed memories was a load of garbage for people who had poor taste in movies! Which books would you particularly recommend? I'd rather start by myself, so there's less risk of someone putting ideas in my head. It's so hard to know what to do with all of this. Part of me wants to confront him and judge his reaction. Part of me wants to keep this a secret for the rest of my life. The Oracle wants me to get to the bottom of it and then decide what to do, and is patient enough for me to take that process slowly and not do too much at once. If it was someone else I would tell them to push forwards to find the truth, and if it happened that way to cut that person out of their life. It's easier to be that casual about someone else's life. Could you possibly tell me an example of a memory that was symbolic? I think all of my memories are essentially visual, which is why I thought there was no childhood stuff to remember. Now that I have three specific visual scenarios it's very difficult to tell myself I'm just being silly. Usually what gives me the worst flashbacks to the domestic (adult) abuse is fairly abstract triggers, like the written word 'consent', or that creepy divided feeling you get when someone is deliberately messing with you but with a smile on their face. Although someone with his haircut or the sound of keys in a lock will do it just fine My dreams are generally metaphorical, but often pretty heavy handed! If they were dream sequences in a film, you'd roll your eyes at how obvious they were. Although I must admit it was a spooky coincidence that I dreamed about ISIS blowing up Manchester two days before it happened in real life. I'm sure it was only (only!) meant to symbolise my own life being figuratively smashed to smithereens. Urgh...what with all this stuff at home and in the news it's a wonder any of leave the house in the morning!
  9. I've started experimenting with two approaches that seem to be working surprisingly well: * Formally declaring (to myself and the cats) a state of mental emergency, where the normal rules are suspended and my main goal is to do a fantastic job of relaxing. I make a point of saying 'well done' to myself for each relaxing thing I do, such a listening to soothing music, or wearing comfortable socks, or whatever. * Committing to doing something totally unproductive (e.g. watching medical dramas) but at the same time doing 'undeclared' productive stuff like mild aerobics or folding washing. Yeah, that's a pretty familiar feeling! Especially when they want to get into all the backstory before even getting to the present complaint. Urgh.
  10. I've had longstanding issues with dissociation and always saw it as a bad thing. As a teenager/student I beat myself up a lot for being stupid/useless because I couldn't focus and remember information in the way other people did, but never suspected it was anything medical because I would have periods of time where I felt totally normal too. While public speaking or really stressed I would become really peaceful and feel myself float away, then snap back into my body and not know how long I'd been 'gone' (which people commented on). It got worse when I chose partners who were emotionally and sexually abusive, and I would frequently leave my body during sex. Eventually I started having blackouts where I'd wake up on the floor with an hour or so missing, or realise that my body had been crying hard for a while but I hadn't realised. After I went to the police I started having periods of total paralysis where I was conscious and in quite a cheerful mood, but unable to move anything apart from my eyes for 1-16 hours. Sometimes I would be looking down on the body while it screamed or cried, and I'd feel sorry for it but also a bit frustrated because it's boring to be stuck in limbo. A few times I had blackouts where I would send nonsensical emails and wake up covered in scratches, but not remember anything. I don't feel like I have other fully-formed personalities, but there are certainly two parts living inside this body. The part I always thought of as 'me' is the bit that is generally in charge while I'm awake, and is very focused on 'what SHOULD I do?', which has led me into a lot of hugely self-defeating behaviours. The other part, that I call the Oracle, communicates with me via dreams, via song lyrics that get stuck in my head, and via me asking it questions. At first its voice was quiet and I had to ask binary yes/no questions with my eyes closed to get an answer. The more I trust myself the louder it gets, and now we're at a very comfortable stage where we can have a bit of a chat. Sometimes it tells me things I don't want to hear, but it has never, ever gotten it wrong. It told me to leave my abusive husband and it also told me to renew my antivirus software Sometimes the dreams and song lyrics are metaphorical, but the Oracle always clues me in to what it really means. This past year is the first time I've felt safe in a physical, sexual and emotional sense. It's been amazing and I've felt more normal than I ever hoped would be possible. I've been doing physical and mental exercises to get me back into my body and have made a massive amount of progress. My co-ordination and memory have come on in leaps and bounds, and I feel like a normal happy person who makes good choices about my own life. HOWEVER, I had one extremely stressful week and it seemed to kick-start some flashbacks to something happening to me as a small child that I wasn't aware of. I mean, I always had this creepy little inkling but ignored it because there were no specific memories to link it to. I had a very intense two weeks of flashbacks that revealed themselves a glimpse at a time, like when you've been super drunk the night before and something embarrassing you did comes back to you in dribs and drabs throughout the day. The three flashbacks I've had so far are just fragmentary: 1) I'm in the bath with him and something has just happened that really upset me. I'm trying to climb out over the side but he stops me. 2) We're on a sofa in front of a window or possibly shelves, with an open doorway to the left and probably another door (to the kitchen?) ahead. He is sitting on the right-hand seat with his left leg stretched out along the sofa, and I'm sitting just in front of him. He has his right hand over my mouth to shut me up. 3) I'm in my single bed in my new room wearing a too-big white nightie made of soft synthetic fabric that is all bobbled. Maybe it has a bit of turquoise applique or a pocket? Someone lifts it up. The flashbacks are accompanied by intense distress and all-out FEAR. The only other time I've felt this gut-wrenching deep-in-the-soul sickening horror is in dealing with my ex who raped me. That feeling of not being safe in my own home with the door(s) locked, and that if he so much as makes eye contact with me I'll shrivel up and die. The Oracle is telling me that this is real via multiple channels, and it is L.O.U.D. I dreamed that I was standing on a bridge and a bomb went off and shattered everything underneath me into smithereens. Before that, I dreamed that all men in the world came out and admitted that they're all rapists or wannabe rapists, and this man was like "YES, MR TURTLE, EVEN MEEEEE". I went through a long phase as a teenager of freezing and turning myself into a stone if he so much as touched my head/arms. He once made a really chilling comment about how a 13-year-old girl in a book we had both read was actually ok with being abused by her step-father because he gave her money afterwards and she took it. My sister has always thought I was his favourite and resented me for getting special treatment. I don't know whether the flashbacks are literally true memories I had buried, or whether they're figurative in the way that dreams often are. Am I remembering childhood abuse, or is this some hideous transitional phase in healing from the abuse I experienced as an adult? What if I'm crazy and imagined all of this? What if I'm really the nasty attention-seeking bitch my ex always thought I was? What if it was someone else and I break his heart by accusing him? What if I'm right and he either admits or denies it? What if this is all I ever remember? What if I remember worse stuff? What the hell am I supposed to do? I can hardly ask him, and everyone is starting to notice that I'm avoiding him. Today I hid round the corner from my house and phoned my housemate to make sure he wasn't there before I dared to go home. This is far from normal behaviour for an adult. I'm so, so scared. I just switched my music off so that I can hear whether anyone has let themselves into my house. Has anyone else been in this situation? What did you do? How did things work out? tl;dr: having new flashbacks, unsure if they're real memories or something more metaphorical.
  11. Not sure whether I can offer and tips you haven't already tried, but just wanted to say that I feel in the same situation right now and it's rubbish. For what it's worth, here is what I'm planning to do: - Get outside for a bit each day, and do weights at home - Cancel all non-essential activities and tuck myself up in bed with a turmeric latte, the cats, and some Netflix. Maybe book a couple of days of annual leave next week. - Speak up to my doctor(s) and the people around me about not doing so good, while understanding they are unlikely to help - Focus on low-level things that make me feel good, like showering, or wearing comfy underpants, or buying some fancy cheese, or listening to some soothing music - Laying off things that make me feel good in an over-excited way It sounds like cancelling your trip was an excellent idea - enjoy your rest! And don't be too strict with yourself about getting off to a good start in your new state. It's nice when it happens, but even without mental health problems that sort of upheaval can be bumpy for all sorts of reasons. Do you have a plan in place with your doctor about what will happen if you realise you're sliding into depression? And has s/he sent that plan ahead to your new doctor, so that you don't end up having a gap in your care at exactly the time when you need extra support? Do the people around you know how to tell if you're getting worse, and what to do about it?
  12. The thought is still there, and it's still really bothering me. I decided to re-bury it whether it was true or not, because it would create such a colossal smoking crater in what life I've scraped back together if I ever said it out loud. Even if I was 100% certain, in my heart of hearts I would prefer to let them get away with it. And yet my brain keeps throwing the thought back up every time I think of them, like that annoying error message that comes up every time you open a PDF if you haven't got Acrobat installed properly. No matter how many times you click close, there it is back again. It's someone who is a major figure in my life, who I've always been very enmeshed with. I always felt like I was being groomed to be their mini-me, to compensate for their gnawing existential angst (which they kindly passed on to me). Doing all the enmeshment behaviours kept his spotlight on me, but as I've gotten older I realised that he was also trying to stay in mine. Two lost souls dancing around each other. When I grew up I sought out very intense relationships (romantic or otherwise) because it was the only thing that neutralised my crushing fear of death. That's probably the underlying cause of why I have a borderline alcohol problem and why I always leaned heavily into hypomania instead of trying to balance it out, even when both of those things have caused me to function badly and look like a complete mentalist. There is an uncomfortable dynamic in that they are often verbally mean and undermining to their partner, and as an adult I step in to soothe and distract him to keep the peace. It's exhausting but I can't stand him talking to her like that. I feel exploited and grubby when I pour so much of my own emotional energy into pacifying him, when he should just act like a decent human adult. But when he talks to her like that it feels like a tear in the fabric of reality has opened up and if I don't close it up we'll all be sucked in and die. So I fix it and we all act as if it never happened. Even though people from outside the family have commented on it so I know it's not just me being oversensitive (I defended him because admitting it was to huge). When I was young I sometimes joined in with him in being unkind to her. It felt good to be 'on the winning side' and I never stopped to think about the effects of my actions. She rarely says anything back, and I thought that meant she didn't feel bad. I am so deeply ashamed of that now. But I'm also angry with her for teaching me that the right thing to do when someone treats you badly is to disappear into the back of your own mind and always cover it up. I'm so angry with both of them, especially when they continue to do all that stuff in front of me. As an adult I've allowed/caused two partners to treat me in a way that is clearly over the line into abuse. The pattern and emotional timbre of pacifying them was exactly the same. Except I didn't get special treatment for being the enmeshed partner - they just behaved worse and worse. My current thinking is that one of the following is the truth: 1) He did touch me inappropriately, but it was sort of an experimental thing that only happened a few times. The memory has resurfaced now because I've been doing work to reverse the dissociation that has become such a huge part of my life, combined with the acute stress of having several bad things happen in the same week. The emotional stuff was certainly unhealthy but it was the behaviour of a flawed human being who sought comfort the wrong way, like half/most of the human beings in this world. 2) Something happened, but it was something or someone else and my brain hasn't stored the memory accurately. It's very disturbing, but ultimately not useful. 3) My brain has constructed the memory as a transitional symbol that will help me understand how emotionally unhealthy interactions in a formative part of my life led directly to me being vulnerable to sexual abuse as an adult, in order to stop it happening again. Whichever of these is correct, I want to keep it private. I want to discuss it with someone really knowledgeable about memory and abuse, but I don't think I'll realistically be able to find anyone who knows any more than me. But I don't want to napalm my life to the extent as before, when I told the police about the domestic abuse. I want to start challenging him when he is horrible to her, which will involve either lessening or tolerating that rift in time and space. It involves saying the unsayable, and possibly changing the dynamic in ways that scare me. But I've reached the point where I have the mental resources and assertiveness practice that I can start experimenting with giving him proper feedback, instead of cowering in fear or exhausting myself in glossing everything over. I might test the waters and see how I react if I mention memories coming back to me. I think I could tell if it gives him a fright. Last night I dreamed that they were going to start blowing up all the bridges in the UK, starting with 'London Bridge' which I was standing on. Except I was the only one that knew. And then the person this post is about had a massive stroke and I don't think he made it. It was a very emotionally charged dream, and in retrospect it was about this. I've been not right all day.
  13. Yes, that was definitely rape. He knew you didn't want to so he used a level of force that caused you pain. You getting confused and saying a couple of things that didn't quite make sense had nothing to do with why this happened - it wasn't your fault. You did NOT let it happen - you clearly said no a load of times and physically resisted. He knew you didn't want it and he decided to do it anyway. Trauma does slow down or scramble your thinking. It sounds like you dissociated, so your body went onto a sort of autopilot. You can be walking and talking but something about it isn't quite right. Your higher thinking gets totally switched off but you can still do basic thinking and answer simple questions - that's why you said you could do it in your room, even though you didn't want to do it at all. I used to get this a lot during sex, after all the bad stuff he did to me. My body would keep responding sexually even though my mind had completely floated away, and if you asked me any questions while I was in that state I could only answer "I don't know". Also the feeling of shame and not feeling able to tell anyone, and of not being sure if it 'counted' as sexual assault are dead giveaways of trauma. I'm so sorry this happened to you. Please tell someone in real life about it, or you may be at risk of it happening again. Please don't risk being alone with him again out of shame.
  14. Something weird happened last week that never happened before. I'm not sure what to make of it - has anyone here had anything similar? If so, did it turn out to be a genuine memory or just some weird intrusive thought thing? Over the course of a few days I had this strong feeling of remembering that a particular person might have done something to me when I was very small. It's not the first time the idea has crossed my mind, but I always just assumed I was being paranoid because I didn't have a specific memory of anything happening. But this time it was stronger and there were visual and contextual details that bubbled up piece by piece, until somehow I felt a sense of completion. Also I had a very emotionally charged dream on the subject which generally means my brain is in overdrive and trying to tell me about something my conscious brain doesn't want to hear. Each detail came to me suddenly and clearly, while I was very stressed and also in a sexual situation (that is what I think might have triggered it). I have intrusive thoughts plenty of the time and it was absolutely nothing like that. It was a very strong, clear feeling and when I asked my back brain (sorry, not sure what to call that bit) whether it was a real memory it told me yes. Also the way it followed a clear arc of development, that felt so URGENT as it was happening. The feeling was exactly like when you've been really drunk and at 11am the next day you get the strong feeling that you embarrassed yourself in front of a particular person, but no further details. Then at 2pm you get a little more detail. Then a little more again at 4pm. Just a little drip feed of memory bubbling up. Or like after I had a dissociative episode and woke up covered in scratch marks. I just assumed it was the cats and put a jokey pictures of it on Facebook, but then the word "tweezers" bubbled up and I realised the scratches looked nothing like cat scratches, and my cats have never done that before or since. So I'm pretty sure I did it myself, with the pointy end of my makeup tweezers. Until the word bubbled up I had no clue, and afterwards I totally freaked out and took the picture down. The sensation is exactly like bubbling mud going 'blup', and then there's a ZING as the new piece of information takes me by surprise. I don't know how to feel about this. My general principles in life is that it's best for the truth to come out, but right now I feel like even if it's true I maybe just want it to stay buried. If I told anyone it would ruin what's left of my life, and I don't even know for sure whether it really happened. My gut tells me it was a one-off/experimental thing that happened when I was about 3 or 4, and that it didn't continue. Urgh, this is so weird and uncomfortable.
  15. I only get tactile defensiveness in situations that remind me of living with my ex. It's very lonely to be single. He used to tickle me for extended periods every day as part of the abuse. He freely told me that he enjoyed it on a sexual level, which is pretty chilling when you think about it. At the time I would be saying over and over "please stop, I really don't like this" but there was nothing I could do because he was bigger and stronger than me. He would say really creepy things like "you keep saying 'no' but I know you secretly like it". Or he would smirk and demand praise if he had "stopped himself" from tickling me for 2 or 3 days. His favourite thing was to create a dynamic where he would do things to me (by sneakiness or by force) that we both knew full well would massively upset me, but he would find ways of making me superficially smile while he did it. Either it would be in public so I felt like I couldn't make a scene, or he'd be verbally nasty if I looked sad or cried. He did later progress into traditional sexual abuse (unwanted groping, horrible sexual comments, coercion, also rape a couple of times) but that only came up later, once he felt like he had me on the hook. If any future partners tickle me after I've said no and explained why, I'll ghost them immediately. I don't care if we'll have been together for a year, I'll just block them and that's the end of it. Tickling is genuinely weird and scary, because it gives the other person complete control over your body. If it's an adult you trust it can be kind of fun to explore your limits, but if someone's doing to humiliate or degrade you then it's worse than physical violence, in my opinion. Plenty of people enjoy sex or S&M, but it should never be forced onto someone who has said no. Anyone who gets off on carrying on after the recipient has clearly said they don't like it is fucked up in the head, and I would be watching them closely for signs of other messed up behaviour. If you felt like you were going to die then I'd call that pretty traumatic! No wonder your body is still on high alert, if that happened and the people around you are still touching you in ways you don't want. It must be very frustrating that your mum doesn't understand.