I think it's about time I tell Oppo something, because this seems to never leave my notifications lately.
I'm going to save this post as a draft for a night and see how I feel in the morning about it.
I, for one, would like to formally, outside of any other thread, express my deepest sympathies, as well as my support in whatever way I can offer if ever needed to our fellow Opponaut GeorgeyBoy. What your girlfriend went through, and what you went through is nothing short of terrifying and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I wish you the best on your road to recovery, because it will be extremely difficult.
I posted what I did in terms of support, and I'm hoping that it offers some help in his time of need. In reading it back to myself, I see that it does seem somewhat disconnected, but hopefully level headed and informational. Ultimately however, there's a much bigger picture behind this that I never thought I would ever share with Opposite Lock.
I spoke out of experience.
It's a haunting thing in my life, and it's something that I honestly struggle to cope with on a regular basis. This is something that I hate to say, but GeorgeyBoy will be experiencing. Trauma is difficult, you don't necessary have to be there in the moment to experience it, on some level, it affects you. It often isn't until after the fact, be it minutes, hours, days or months, it will be painful. It could come back in pieces, it could come back completely, seemingly out of nowhere. Take things slowly, carefully, and seriously.
My girlfriend, who I have every intention of making my wife, was raped. Twice. She had a series of very poor relationships that affected her very greatly, and even to this day, things are a struggle. I didn't really know her well when it was happening, it wasn't until after the fact that things began to change a lot for her, and myself. The emotional triggers are anything anywhere. It could be me, it could be nothing, it could be everything. It scares me like nothing else when she's even out of my sight sometimes. She suffers from severe anxiety, influenced by (though I'm still not quite sure if it's specifically a result of) the sexual abuse she suffered, which can, and often does result in some form of panic attack or flashback.
The flashbacks and panic attacks are bad. It's something you'd never understand until it becomes something you need to recognize. I still have immense trouble recognizing them. My girlfriend will seemingly go completely blank. She wont talk, she'll hardly move. She can't talk. It doesn't work. Her mouth opens, and nothing comes out.
She was officially diagnosed with PTSD late last year.
I was coming home from school one night, and hit a deer. The car was driveable, but was towed home anyway. I called her several times. Every single time it went to voicemail. Over and over. It's a fear unlike anything else you'll ever experience in your life. It started with wanting to let her know I was okay, but shifted instantly to "is she okay?" I kept calling, and kept getting voicemail.
When you're that afraid of what could have happened, it's because it did.
I got home, I sorted out my vehicle situation, I got the paperwork I needed for the next day to call insurance, and I tried to get sleep. Sometimes she goes out with friends and doesn't check her phone. I don't want to be controlling, I know things have happened to her in the past. I don't want to do the wrong thing now, but she needs to know.
Little did I know, she was in the hospital. She had a panic attack. She couldn't take it.
I didn't hear from her until the next day, she was finally home, and she had a lot of paperwork. Things were bad, but she was safe and okay. Safe is a relative term, if you consider safe not being out on the streets on a cold night in the beginning of November. No one in her house was happy with the situation. It's hard on everyone. Who wants to admit they have a problem that bad? The actual events occurred a few years ago, but the resulting anxiety will never go away.
For the next few weeks, I would make sure my phone was charged, and we'd take the Mercedes SL600 Sport to an outpatient facility so she could go through therapy care, ultimately, to get the official PTSD diagnosis. This wasn't her first time in Therapy Care, but it was the first time I would take her there. I'd sit in the waiting area while she was meeting with a therapist. It was weird to me, every time. I was glad to make sure she got to and from therapy safely and we would often spend the rest of the night together. But each time going to the facility, seeing some of the other patients, and just knowing why they were coming in, it confused me. How can someone get into that much trouble, how can someone be so addicted to drugs. But at the same time, how can something so bad have happened to my girlfriend? The list of things that start running through your head about how it could have been different, how things would be if it never happened. It's normal, but it's an experience that changes your perspective. My girlfriend's family couldn't afford different therapy, so she would go to the one facility, and every time we went, I wished we could be going anywhere nicer. The facility scared me, every time the door closed, I felt like I was a lost child, in sheer terror, waiting for her to come back out.
Why, you ask, is the Mercedes an important detail in this? The car is something you would initially consider beyond our means or needs. Because of that, the car is a step up, it's a therapeutic change that allows both her and I to escape "reality" and enjoy something better. It's such an important thing to have when dealing with PTSD. It's why many soldiers who return home have pets to help them cope. Everyone is different. For my girlfriend and I, it's the Mercedes.
So fellow Oppos, what I ask for is continuing respect about the situation that's being handled by Gawker. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Gawker can take as long as they need to in order to figure out how to resolve this matter. I do not believe that anyone, whether I agree with their beliefs or not, deserves to be flooded with what Jezebel was flooded with. Do I consider myself a feminist? By definition, no. I consider myself a supporter of equality. I don't want to support certain aspects of life that may or may not be my business, I support the equality of all humans to all other humans. With that said, I hope it never triggered any anxiety with any readers. People don't deserve that.
Until you get to the scum that thought creating this mess was amusing. I don't care, I don't want to see it. I don't want to see it be triggers for someone else.
I'd like to see Oppo do something meaningful in the wake of this happening, but I'm not sure what would really be appropriate. An Oppo Cruise for Awareness? Raise money to donate to trauma centers? I'd like to see it become a reality. This whole situation hits very close to home for me, and while I'm certain that months from now, Oppo will still be Oppo, and Gawker will fix things, there is a bigger picture to this. I think it's worth every Opponaut's time to consider what we could do as a group to show our respect towards the situation, and increase awareness to a very real problem.