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Triggered Serious Anxiety Again?


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Hello everyone,

 

This is a bit of a complicated thing to explain...but I'll give you as much context as I can.

 

I am an American student taking the year off to spend time and explore the world...I am currently in a rural part of an English-speaking European country and am working on a farm out here. Simply put, I'm trying to do a 'getaway' of some sort for a while and have been very content with doing this...I am also looking to grow in many ways since I have spent the past year in a lot of depression and anxiety. I am quite happy here and really feel like its been helping improve myself in many ways, and identify qualities I want to keep in my life...etc etc.

 

A bit of my 'background' for context:

-I am 21 years old, female

-Have had depression + serious anxiety (anxiety attacks, etc) in the past

-Have been sexually assaulted before (reason why this is listed will make sense in a bit)

-Traveling alone

-Goal is to learn about the world, develop self, exchange culture, etc etc

 

I was down at the local pub out of sheer spontaneity and went there alone (had never done that before!)...I hung out with the locals and had a great time. I was the only girl there but I didn't care much because I was there for the culture exchange/drink/conversation. I ended up sitting at the nearest chair the first night and talked to a 70 year old man who gave me a ride back to my place (the people I stayed with told me this was normal, and recommended I get a ride back). Everyone at this pub was old (45+) and were there for the conversation/humor. I really had a great time the first night I had been so I decided to go back down there alone (mind you, this is a very rural area) again and discard the idea that a girl can't go to have a drink and a proper conversation on her own. I met with the same crowd and one man who was about 50+ held a very serious conversation about politics, religion and etc. Since people generally gave me a lift back home (everyone generally knew each other) I decided it would be fine to go with him. We had been having an intense conversation about politics and he asked if I wanted to go to his place to continue it. Mind you- my mind didn't even fathom the common connotation that is associated with that, due to the age gap, the context of our conversation, and the fact that everyone in this village is friendly with foreigners. I said I wouldn't mind going back for a cup of tea, and so we went and had a proper conversation. I literally was thinking of my own agenda, which was to continue a conversation and chat. I did that and it worked out just fine. We talked and he gave me a lift back to my place. Yes, it was quite 'dangerous' with reference to what people usually say, but I think that that is part of traveling alone, and I literally just wanted to talk and not assume the worst of someone (and everyone in this small village knows each other).

 

The next day, my host family asked about how it went at the pub and they were shocked to hear of what I had done because it was so dangerous. I immediately felt really stupid and started getting serious bouts of anxiety. They were telling me that he could have forced himself on me.... all other related matters. Hence, the resurfacing of sexual assault...

 

I remember washing the dishes at home today and I literally couldn't even breathe from the anxiety I was having and I felt like passing out... I keep asking myself why I would put myself in a situation like that (again-ish??) where someone could have killed/raped/hurt me but I think that the reason why I did it was to make a point to myself that not every conversation/person has to be sexualized and not to assume the worst of people. I don't want to be a victim of my past, and so I didn't want to assume that this guy was 'out of get me' because I did have that phase for a while. Maybe now I am doing too much of the exact opposite? My host (a woman) was telling me that men are different and naturally saw me as a single, 'available' female and that is the way all men think...and how they can't control themselves and obviously assumed things of me because I 'led him on' to his own home. She said if he had done anything then I would still be at fault (from a legal perspective) because all signs point to how I probably validated that I wanted to have sex with him since I went home with him past midnight. I feel really nauseous and I can't stop thinking about it. She told me that I can't change men and I need to realize that its okay to assume the worst of someone.

 

I feel like this is all related subconsciously to how I am trying not be look like a victim of my past, and be as independent and self-sufficient as possible. I obviously had no other agenda other than holding a conversation, but he probably did. I saw him as nothing more than a human being I was having a conversation with...he could have easily been my grandfather.

 

I don't know. I just feel like this is making me feel really sick and overanalyze everything. It's bringing back the idea that every guy, of every ing age and denomination is immediately sexualizing me and assumes that I will be giving them something in return for even the conversation they give me. I even have another one of the people that I work with here do the exact same thing, as even though he was a co-worker of mine (and younger than me by 2 years), he asked me really sexual questions even though I barely knew him. I'm so ing tired of being seen as an object, and I feel like I carry myself with enough confidence and forwardness that would imply that I am not looking to be seen in that manner. I feel like I might be having a downward spiral of anxiety and its triggering a lot of dark thoughts/feelings. Simply put, I keep telling myself something along the lines of: "I am a dumb ing who is trying way too hard to be independent, and run away from my past by trying to desexualize scenarios that obviously have other connotations to the rest of the world and doing this is very stupid and will cause me to be assaulted again and it will make sense because all of this openness in conversation with people (of any ing age) point to the fact that I open up that space to look naive so that I will then be seen in a hypersexualized manner and further put myself in danger's way than if I conformed to societal standards." It was more of a run on, anxiety related sentence but I hope you get the point.

 

Am I overthinking this? Was I/To what extent was I wrong?

 

I hope this makes sense as this is the briefest way that my wordy style possibly could...

 

Any help/context/thoughts would be very much appreciated.

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Not sure of the laws in your host country but your host seems overreaching. You don't sound anxious whatsoever in fact you sound extremely adventurous, independent, rebellious and seem to enjoy risk-taking.

My host (a woman) said if he had done anything then I would still be at fault (from a legal perspective)
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Yes, I do think you're thinking too much about this. However...any woman at any age, needs to have the right balance of having some trust that people are okay BUT to not be dangerous or smart about things.

Take the pub example...nothing wrong with being there and talking to people, but not a good idea to go home with them.

Just make sure you are around people you genuinely know and trust or in public places and you should be fine. Don't go off with people you really don't know, especially to their homes and make sure that you are safe and in control of the situation,no matter what it may be.

This is rules for everyone of us...we all need to be smart about things.

I'm glad you were okay and I hope your anxiety settles back down. ((hugs))

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First, breathe. Second, start thinking about things rationally......

 

99% of men are decent, normal people who are not out to molest any woman against her will and won't, who don't see you are a sex object, etc. Having said that, that 1% out there can sure mess up your life, as you well know. The problem? You don't know if you are dealing with the 99% or the 1%.....sooo.....

 

 

Give yourself some simple, blanket rules to follow in order to give control over your life back to yourself:

 

1) Don't put yourself in a one on one situation with any man where sex can happen unless YOU actually would be good to go with that and would like that.

 

Yup, that's it. One simple rule that puts you in control of your life and your choices. It's not about trusting someone you don't know, it's not about guessing what someone's intentions may be, it is simply about you making choices you can live with. Outside of that, you can be friends, you can talk to your heart's content, you can do whatever you desire, just keep things public, in mixed groups of males/females, etc.

 

Hope this makes sense to you because the sense of rebellion and emotions can land you right back into a dark place. When it comes to this kind of stuff, it's a good idea to discipline your emotions and rely on a simple rational rules.

 

Also, being strong and independent when it comes to traveling solo, doesn't mean disregarding basic precautions for your safety. Like walking into a bad neighborhood with your wallet out and being surprised you got mugged is not going to do much about your well being and anxiety. It's not about trusting other people, it's about you taking care of yourself and there is a big difference between calculated risk and just plain unnecessary risk. In other words, don't place your well being into the hands of other people and don't make it about trust, respect, etc., etc., etc.

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I think your percentage is too high DancingFool. Watch the daily news or dateline and so on, women need to be more careful. In this day and age no one can be foolish and think that all people are nice or okay. Do to so, could leave you wound up in a very scary situation.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yes, Dancing!

 

"99% of men are decent, normal people who are not out to molest any woman against her will and won't, who don't see you are a sex object, etc. Having said that, that 1% out there can sure mess up your life, as you well know. The problem? You don't know if you are dealing with the 99% or the 1%.....sooo.....

"

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Say it again, Dancing.

 

"Also, being strong and independent when it comes to traveling solo, doesn't mean disregarding basic precautions for your safety. Like walking into a bad neighborhood with your wallet out and being surprised you got mugged is not going to do much about your well being and anxiety. It's not about trusting other people, it's about you taking care of yourself and there is a big difference between calculated risk and just plain unnecessary risk. In other words, don't place your well being into the hands of other people and don't make it about trust, respect, etc., etc., etc."

 

Caution (not fear) is the name of the game.

 

For a smile:

 

 

Edited by Hermes
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