What’s the worst that could happen?

I’m so sick of hearing this phrase.

The worst has already happened and it’s that experience, that memory and that trauma that’s holding me back.

My friend convinced me to sign up to online dating on Friday. Something I vowed I would never do again after meeting a guy in 2017 who I genuinely believed was a nice, honest and decent man who on our second time meeting raped and beat me. Something that still haunts me to this day and something I just can’t get past.

What did I miss? What did I do wrong? Why did he do that to me? How did I get it all so very wrong?

So when I started speaking to a guy, who seemed nice enough, I started to panic. I just felt sick with fear. On Sunday, we spoke on the phone and I just didn’t feel like I could be myself. I feel vulnerable.

He asked to meet for a walk and I froze. I can’t do it. I just can’t put myself in that position again.

My friends keep saying I need to get back out there and “go for it” and so many times I’ve heard “what’s the worst that can happen” the problem is, the worst has happened. The most horrific and terrifying experience of my life has happened and I just can’t shake the thought it could happen again. I can’t trust anything anyone says. I can’t help but look for the signs that they’re not being honest or that they’re a bad person. Which I know sounds so unfair but I just can’t help it.

The thought of meeting someone is terrifying but so is the thought of spending the rest of my life alone all because of one cowardly, cruel and vile man who didn’t care how much he hurt or damaged me.

I don’t know how to get past this. Each time I think I’m making progress, I get knocked back and I feel like I’m back to square one.

Do I listen to my gut and retreat or are my friends right, do I need to get myself out there and try and work through the fears and the pain and just pray that nothing bad happens? Because I really don’t think I’ll survive it if it does.

My gut is always going to tell me something is wrong, that’s what living with PTSD does, a high alert of fight and flight with no ability to rest or let your guard down.

This is causing my so much pain and upset that I really don’t know if it’s worth it.

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