This morning I woke up with a sense of abject terror. My heart beat ferociously in my chest, my stomach muscles clenched in anticipation of some unperceived danger as soon as I was awake. I lay in bed feeling the raw terror.
Where did this feeling come from?
Nothing bad has happened recently to warrant this fear, I went to bed relatively early last night and there was nothing strange or untoward that had occurred between putting my head down on the pillow and waking up this morning. The room was unchanged and I could hear the soft, steady breathing of my son as he slept. It was 5.30am.
Since I have started therapy to confront and process the sexual abuse I suffered as a child I have noticed that before I go to bed I sometimes feel agitated and restless, irritable and even angry sometimes and I wake up with sadness and sometimes terror like today.
My therapist says that these could be the feelings that I felt as a five year child just before bed and in the morning all those years ago when I was being abused. I think she is right. I have opened myself up to all these feelings because I am facing it all for the first time.
This morning I sat with the terror and soothed myself and the little girl:
‘We are ok’
‘The abuse is over’
‘We are safe’
“I am here to look after you”
‘You haven’t done anything bad or wrong!’
‘You are good!’