Category: Telling My Story

Middle Age, Sexual Assault Recovery, Telling My Story

When I was an Alien

Being sexually assaulted, abused and/or raped is life-altering for victims. We feel ripped away from our former selves and forced to wander a strange and unfamiliar path trying to hunt for pieces of who we once were and getting to know the strangers we have become. All while trying to heal and feel safe again. All while our traumatized brains and bodies continually become dysregulated by events and interactions in a world that moves forward at its usual fast pace. Many of us lose friends and other relationships either because some people suddenly don’t feel safe to us — physically

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Justice, Telling My Story, Victim Impact Statement

My Victim Impact Statement and Why I Hope Releasing It Will Be Helpful to Others

Trigger Warning and Note:This piece includes a description of a sexual assault with a weapon, a “fight” nervous system response, and a description of acute PTSD symptoms. Please note that every person’s nervous system is unique and would respond differently to a life-threatening situation. … I am publishing this Victim Impact Statement both as a resource and sample/example for other survivors contemplating or going through the justice process, as well as to illustrate the profound effects of sexual violence. *** I have always intended to publish (eventually) the Victim Impact Statement I wrote for and presented to the presiding judge

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Telling My Story, Trauma & PTSD

The Invisible Faces of PTSD

(Trigger warning.) I took this selfie one week after a registered sex offender walked into a bookstore on a busy urban thoroughfare where I was working, engaged me (groomed me) in conversation about the literature genre of science fiction and other topics for 30 minutes, waited for the store to clear, lured me out from behind the check-out desk to show him a specific author’s books, and attacked me from behind. In this photo I was at the kitchen sink, cleaning the knife wounds and stitches on my hand, and it occurred to me for the first time at that

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Connection, Telling My Story

Grandma, “Why Did You Draw Yourself as a Superhero?”

I created this art back in February, and I made a print from it and keep it propped near the table where I write. Because I love it. I love how I made myself look like a superhero character ready to rock and fight and protect. My hair looks wild, like a lion’s mane. I am fierce, and I am giving a very firm boundary. I’m using my voice. My almost ten-year-old grandson noticed this art the other day, and asked me about it. He has always loved superheroes and action figures, and so – of course – this drew

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Healing, Telling My Story, Trauma

Healing Comes at Its Own Perfect Pace: Believing in My Own Power Took a Few Years

Content Warning: Assault Triggers It takes a long time for trauma survivors to process through the original event or events – as well as deal with what happened after, during the fallout period. I still discover at least monthly how I feel about “another something” related to the sexual assault I experienced in 2018. Healing is peeling back the layers of the trauma gradually and carefully, as we are able and ready, to deal with the next thing underneath. We can’t deal with the buried layers – or maybe even know those layers exist — until we’ve processed what’s above.

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Telling My Story, The Ordinary & Extraordinary

Our Brains Are So Cool!

(A bit of my story. Trigger warning.) “In the arousal response … the brain will focus on the threat, tuning out any nonessential input from the body and the outside world.” This assault or threat response explanation by trauma expert Bruce Perry was spot on for me, and I thought I’d share a little bit of this experience — now that I’m more healed — because I’ve always found it really fascinating (though a bit disconcerting). Maybe you never knew exactly what your brain is capable of. It’s pretty cool! When the sexual predator grabbed me, I had only a

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Everyday Stuff, Telling My Story

On Finishing: Making a Whole from the Fragments of a Story

I woke up early this morning, too early, with my brain already “writing” as I lay under the covers. I kept trying to go back to sleep, but because I was already composing sentences and phrases in my head, I knew it would be pretty useless for me to relax back into the realms of sleep. Yet I still tried, valiantly, fighting against “what is.” Get up, Dianne. Time to get things down. To download. Composing in my head is usually how I begin my writing process. Every day I’ll think of ideas for things I want to write about

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House Therapy, Telling My Story

House Therapy: Chapter Two

John and I grew up in Minnesota, surrounded by lots and lots of water. Our birth place is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and that’s not just a trite motto, though it is a misnomer: There actually are 11,842 lakes more than 10 acres in size, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and thousands of smaller bodies of water, plus wetlands, creeks and rivers. When you drive around the state, it’s nearly impossible to travel very far without seeing water of some sort. “There are five lakes within one mile of where I’m sitting right now,”

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House Therapy, Telling My Story

House Therapy: Chapter One

This afternoon I’m sitting, feet up and tucked under a white, down blanket, in one of my most-favorite spots in the whole world. I’ve settled in at one end of a Mid-Century style couch that’s dressed in a mellow Scandinavian-blue fabric and pushed up next to a picture window. Through the glass, I can peek through pine trees to see my beloved high-country lake ringed by mountains. It is full-on cozy with a view. I, in fact, specifically designed this spot to be exactly that: a place that allows our guests (and me) to be able to curl up against

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COVID-19 Pandemic, Telling My Story, Trauma

Is the Pandemic Affecting How Our Brains Interpret Touch & Human Connection?

I grew up in the 1970s and ‘80s as part of a Swedish-American family in a suburban home just beyond the city limits of St. Paul, Minnesota. The last sibling to arrive, I joined my older sister, two brothers and parents in a small, single-story house on a cul de sac of other starter homes built in the 1950s. In my generation, suburban homes did not necessarily equate to more space. We lived lightly crammed together, six people sharing one bathroom. But that didn’t seem particularly unusual to me when I was young. Nor did it seem odd that there

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