It seems that the past always knocks me for a loop. Yesterday, I attended an educational conference in my former college town. I was very excited about both the conference and returning to my former stomping grounds – I haven’t been back since I graduated 11 years ago. The conference was very informative and I learned a lot. Afterwards, I went to campus to walk around. I was really enjoying myself, remembering people and places. Not all of them were good memories, but the experience was enjoyable. As I was leaving, I took a wrong turn. I knew immediately what I had done and looked for a street sign of the crossing street. And suddenly, I saw it. An apartment building like so many others on college campuses – slightly run down, very basic and sterile. The difference between this apartment building and any other is that this is the apartment building where I was raped 14 years ago. I turned the corner and parked my car. I couldn’t breathe and I felt like I was going to vomit. My hands were shaking and sweating. I could feel the shadows swallowing me whole. That horrible night replayed in my mind as if it was yesterday. I don’t know how long I sat there, but I slowly began to realize I was driving out of town. The further away I got, the better I started to feel.
I can admit now that I didn’t deal with it at the time. I was young and very naive and just wanted the whole thing to go away. For 14 years I have put that night in its own little box in my mind. I think I have treated it as if it happened to someone else, like a story a friend had told me. It may not have been the healthy way to deal with it, but I didn’t know any other way at the time. And since then, it’s not something I really think about.
I plan on talking to my therapist about it next week. I’m not sure what he’ll say or what will happen now, but I have a feeling that some of the issues I’m trying to deal with now are connected to that night.