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Old 05-02-2013, 09:21 PM
 
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I was attacked on Sunday night while walking home from work. A man chased me home and ended up smashing in my front window. Luckily my boyfriend was home and the man ran off after punching out my window. I was obviously upset and took the next day off from work to recover and to get my window fixed. When I went back to work the following Tuesday I was having difficulties concentrating and found myself to be hypersensitive and overly aggressive with customers. I was very jumpy and felt sick, and was having trouble keeping food down. That same day while at work I had a man expose himself to me. I manage a clothing store and a customer in the dressing room pretended to try on jeans but instead took it upon himself to reveal his very erect penis to me while asking me inane questions and pleasuring himself. Because of the situation the previous Sunday I had a very severe reaction and since I was feeling so personally attacked I had what could be a called a full on nervous breakdown. I went home from work early and have not been back since. I am at this time having difficulty leaving my apartment. I am having excessive sleepiness which is very unlike me. I am not one to sleep during the day, but the past few days I can barely stay awake. I guess I just feel really depressed and am having trouble interacting with others. I just want to be left alone and I don't know how to feel better. I am supposed to go back to work tomorrow but am not sure that I can handle it. I was just curious as to whether or not this is normal or if anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with situations such as presented above. Is it normal to feel this upset or am I overreacting? I have a history of anxiety and panic, as well as depression. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:26 PM
 
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Wow, talk about bad things happening all at once. Seems like you just got kicked again while you were down.

It's too soon to call this a depression, but you are obviously experiencing some serious emotions. Can you take a few days, a week off just to help yourself cool down? A week of pampering and relaxing/reading a good book might take the edge off.

Other than that, getting attacked can leave serious scars. If you see yourself still feeling this way in a few weeks/months, you should go talk to someone. Good luck. And isn't it nuts and totally awful how we seem to get kicked while we are down? Hopefully this means double good luck to you sometime soon...
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:56 AM
 
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There is a condition called an acute stress reaction, in which a person has symptoms like PTSD, but it's immedicately after the traumatic events happened, and it tends to only last short term. You might want to seek help, if you don't start feeling at least a little better in a couple days. In some cases, acute stress disorder can progress into PTSD.

Experiencing a re-traumatization so soon after the initial trauma is probably what caused this. If you had had time to fully recover from the first trauma, you'd probably be okay either by now, or very soon. But when you're already traumatized, from an event in which your life or personal safety were at risk, and then right after that, something happens that's shocking and makes you feel vulnerable again, it's a double-hit. If you have a previous history of anxiety, depression, or trauma, a new trauma can effect you more severely than it would affect somebody else without that history.

A lot of people react to trauma with insomnia, nightmares when they do sleep, nervousness, fear, watchfulness, and other anxiety related symptoms. But some react with what you describe: withdrawal, hypersomnia, hiding yourself away, and other avoidance-related symptoms. Don't be surprised, though, if you go back and forth a few times, from the avoidance symptoms to the anxiety/watchfulness symptoms.

Does your job offer EAP services? That would be free short term (a few sessions) counseling that is confidential. Some EAP programs require that the problem is related to something that happened on the job (the trauma of being "flashed" could qualify) but other EAP programs don't have that requirement. The whole reason employers pay for EAP is to reduce people calling out, making work-related mistakes, or quitting their jobs due to some stress they are going through. your employer will not know the details of why you are going, they will just get a record that you showed up for the appointments. Ask your HR dept if you have EAP.

Apart from EAP, you might look into post-trauma counseling. If you have no coverage or money for therapy, check with your local agencies that offer support to crime victims. A lot of therapists offer services free of charge to people who have just been through crime-related trauma. Check with the police officer or dept that took the report on your assault and break-in, and see if they have a contact number for "victim services."
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:28 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Does your health insurance cover psychiatric? You should find a therapist who specializes in trauma. There are techniques, like EMDR, that can resolve your condition quickly and effectively. But it sounds like you have underlying long-term issues, too, which should also be addressed once you get out of the shock and trauma stage.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:30 PM
 
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Well I like to think positive. When everything is going bad all at once (and that is certainly your case!), I figure it CAN'T get any worse - things are bound to improve.

Anyway I would do little things which make you feel in control. Maybe your boyfriend will play along? Maybe for just a few minutes each day, tell him to do something (then he does that). Then tell him not to do something (and he does that). Perhaps you decide what is for dinner, what to watch on TV, etc.

That exercise might help you to feel like you are in control.

Then also you can get personal protective devices. Like pepper spray. An electric zapper. Or a very LOUD alarm. Some cities have security related stores which sell those items. Here are those things on the internet...
Personal Security Devices | Personal Protection Devices

That may make you feel safer carrying one or more of those items.

Also if you can, have someone walk with you. Don't walk alone. Or always try to be around other people if outside and alone. Take a taxi instead of walking alone if necessary.

For work, talk to your manager and arrange a signal (scream?) or a safe place for you to run to should that happen again. Hopefully you have an understanding manager and co-workers who you could go to for help if needed. That should make you feel safer at work.

So far as going back to work, they say if you fall off a horse, get back on it. Might want to consider that. And maybe someone could go with you to work? Maybe stay there for an hour while you are at work. And they would only leave when you told them you felt safe again? Also take you home. Maybe that would help things a bit?
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:49 PM
 
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Piggybacking on what Billy said, what could also help would be taking a kick-a$$ self-defense course.
I had a colleague a few years ago who had been held up at gunpoint and her purse and wedding rings were stolen. She had some pretty significant post-trauma symptoms afterward. She took a women's self defense course that was incredibly empowering for her. It wasn't any specific kind of martial arts, but it incorporated some of their ideas and techniques. But it was mostly about teaching women to 1.)always be aware and prepared, 2.) kick, thrash, scream, and seriously hurt an attacker (if you can't run away) as if you're a completely insane rabid pit bull on PCP, and 3.)have confidence about being a survivor.
My co-worker also had some therapy sessions and took meds to sleep briefly, but she said that this class was the most helpful.
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:09 PM
 
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Did you contact law enforcement in either or both cases? Are you working with authorities now to prosecute these criminals? I believe that is the most empowering action a victim can take.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:07 PM
 
2,970 posts, read 2,747,097 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
Piggybacking on what Billy said, what could also help would be taking a kick-a$$ self-defense course.
I had a colleague a few years ago who had been held up at gunpoint and her purse and wedding rings were stolen. She had some pretty significant post-trauma symptoms afterward. She took a women's self defense course that was incredibly empowering for her. It wasn't any specific kind of martial arts, but it incorporated some of their ideas and techniques. But it was mostly about teaching women to 1.)always be aware and prepared, 2.) kick, thrash, scream, and seriously hurt an attacker (if you can't run away) as if you're a completely insane rabid pit bull on PCP, and 3.)have confidence about being a survivor.
My co-worker also had some therapy sessions and took meds to sleep briefly, but she said that this class was the most helpful.

This. Take a basic self defense course. Practice 'nicely' with your boyfriend - it may be a nice bonding experience and draw you closer together. Run through worst case scenarios of your daily routine to isolate and recognize moments of exposure and be prepared, whether its a device (pepper spray etc..) or reaction as per Billy J's apt advice.

Seconding Zentropa's Q's regarding: Did you file reports with police? For example, does the clothing shop have security cameras that may have captured perv satisfying himself for your 'reaction'? If so, have him have his rap sheet extended. If no camera, think of any future situation as a 'visual assault' and an opportunity to use your newly acquired self defense skills.

Also, don't know how diminutive in size you may be as female, but, if your job responsibilities put you in high risk situations (closing up the store at late hours/ making night deposits etc...) depending on state laws where you live and your overall level of confidence, you may want to check out concealed carry (if its an option) a buddy would likely make more sense but you never know. Especially if someone is chasing you as you describe.

All the best in getting back to your level of normal.
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