Breathless

A Story Based on Trauma and Anxiety

Waking up into a hazy world...

What you are about to read is not a true story, but it gives you an idea about the theme of this story. This is a story about a girl who is traumatized by an incident which involves assault and rape that caused her to be afraid of people and acts paranoid around loved ones. This also features suicidal thoughts.

So, if you do not want to hear any or all of those triggers, please do not continue any further for the sake of your health and safety.

Introduction

I felt numb. I didn't feel any physical pain, just emotional pain. I looked around and noticed that I was in a hospital. I had machines hooked on me, and the unbearable feeling of emotions crawling through my own skin.

Then, I realized why I was there.

I had suffered from a panic attack because of an experience that made me breathless. My whole body froze as I panicked. I didn't know what to do. I thought that nothing mattered in this world. 

And all of this happened in the first few months since I've moved.

It all started about six months ago when my family was moving to a new home. My father got a job that is far away from our hometown, so we packed our things and moved to Toronto. It is a crowded place over there. The city is packed with people walk along the sidewalks, cars jam-packed in traffic, and buildings all over the city. It was a very crowded place for me to be in and I don't like walking on the streets with other people.

Thankfully, we moved to a district called North York in an apartment. It is a brown building located near a plaza, which is big and probably has about ten floors. Once we arrived, we had an icy welcome. One of the workers there is mean and always in a bad mood. I was too scared to approach him. I thought that he was going to do something horrible to me. My family noticed how petrified I was when I saw him. While we went to our new home, he still gave us a mean look. Most of the time, he was looking at me.

While we were settling down in our new home, I was horrified. This man we saw looked at me with fury in his eyes and I could tell that he didn't like our family, specifically me. I tended to run away from him because of his mean looks. After a couple of days of settling down, I was paranoid about him coming into our home, watching us like a security camera. Even when I went out from the apartment, his presence was always there, glaring at me like I'm a criminal.

The First Encounter

My first encounter with him was when I was heading out from the apartment. I felt a bit paranoid about him standing in front of me, asking me where I was going. The thought of it frightens me. I thought to myself: What if he does do that? What if he's going to question me about my behaviour or my personality? I started to tremble my way out of my home and head towards the exit.

When I arrived at the lobby, the man was there, cleaning the garbage up from the hall. I started to feel anxious, hoping that he didn't see me exit the apartment. I was five meters away from myself and the exit, and the man had a direct view of those two places. I decided to tiptoe to the exit, hoping he didn't see me. As soon as I did the first few tiptoes, he noticed me and yelled, "hey!" 

I froze in fear as he approached me.

Without thinking, I dashed to the exit without looking back. I was a fool. I didn't know why he yelled at me. Was it because I made a fool of myself? Was it because he wanted to question me about my act? Or, was it...?

No, he couldn't do that. He's mean, but I doubt he'd do that.

Paranoia

I'm still traumatized by the man approaching me. During class, one of my good friends was concerned about me and asked me what's wrong. He is very supportive and would not tell a soul if I told him. I told him about what happened recently and he said to me, "well, there are a few bad people here and there. People can be cruel. Someday, when they realize what they have done, they'll tend to change their heart."

Unfortunately, not everyone can change. Some people are cold-hearted. I was afraid that he'd angrily ask me why I ran off. I felt that sudden paranoia inside me. I couldn't bear the mental and emotional pain caused by him, even though I had done nothing wrong from the apartment. I couldn't even settle down in my own home. He would think that if I had done something bad to this apartment, he would evict me, separating me from my family.

In the past few months, I've always checked to see if he was in the hall. If he's not there, I would dash to the exit as quickly as I could. If he is there, I would head to the other exit, but it'll take me a minute longer to get to my destination. But as long as I managed to get away from him or avoid eye contact with him, I'd be fine.

However, my paranoia is getting worse. The more I avoid the situation, the more paranoid I get. My heart kept on pounding every time I get out of my home, and my breathing starts to get irregular every time I see him.

For once in my life, I would faint from a panic attack.

The Incident

Four months have passed. My mother contacted the landlord because of a broken lightbulb in the washroom and told me that one of the workers here was going to fix it. I was hoping for the man with the evil glare would not show up. He has been suspicious of me and my behaviour ever since we've moved here. I was terrified. But my mother was OK with anyone. However, she didn't know about the man that glared at me. I was afraid that she wouldn't care about what would happen to me if that man showed up.

A few minutes later, a knock was heard on the front door. When my mother answered it, I was deathly horrified. It was the man who was suspicious of my behaviour. He gave me a mischievous look. I thought to myself that he was going to cause harm to the both of us. I went into my bedroom when my mother escorted the man to the washroom. I opened the door slightly and looked at the man fixing the lightbulb.

Fifteen minutes later, he finished fixing the lightbulb. But what happened next petrified me. He knocked my mother out and tied her up. While he tied my mother up, I called 911. After I dialed 911, I plugged in mic-attached earphones on my phone so that the emergency services would hear the assault that was happening. 

He looked at the bedroom and I slammed the door shut on him. Since my bedroom does not have a lock, I put my whole weight at the door. Unfortunately, the amount of weight wasn't enough to keep him out. He forcefully opened the door and went into the bedroom. I was crying helplessly.

"No one can save you now," he said. "It's just you, me, and the big one."

I was shaken by his tone and scared to death. I stepped back from him while he approached me with a sinister grin on his face. Unfortunately, I reached the end of the room. I felt my heart screaming for help and my lungs gasping for air.

As he approached my comfort zone, I grabbed a heavy book from my bookshelf and hit him on the head with the strength I had. But it wasn't enough. He pinned me down and assaulted me.

Then, he raped me. I felt paralyzed. Once he stood up, he told me this:

"Well, looks like my job is done," he said, while putting his pants back on. "No one is going to believe you if you tell them the whole story. You know why? Because they don't love you. They hate you. That's the truth."

As he left, I cried. I was traumatized. I was too scared to move. I couldn't call my mother for help because she got knocked out. She couldn't help me. I couldn't stop him. I couldn't do anything. I was helpless. I was lost.

I didn't want to be here anymore.

Aftermath

An hour passed and the emergency crew arrived at my home. They saw my knocked-out mother in the washroom and my traumatized self in the bedroom. They contacted our family and took us to the hospital. My mother had minor injuries on the head, but she didn't remember what happened. As for me, I got treated for minor injuries, but I got severely traumatized. The doctors questioned me about what happened, but I was too afraid to give them any information about what happened in the bedroom. I'm afraid that everyone would hate me and label me as something else instead of the person they saw before.

A week later, the doctors sent me to a psychiatrist. She slowly developed my courage to tell me the story about what happened to me with the man. She also asked me if I had taken any substances or abused any drugs before and during my hospitalization. I didn't use any substances or drugs, even when I was on medication.

Because I was severely traumatized, I avoided taking medication. I avoided eye contact with other people who visited me. I couldn't make any eye contact with my friends and my family. I lost a lot of hope for the future. I suffered from major panic attacks by anyone mentioning the incident I was in. I didn't want anyone coming into my bed when I came here.

Another week passed by and everyone around me was very concerned about my mental health. I started to develop suicidal thoughts and thought to myself: Maybe everyone's lives are better if I die right now. I didn't think of any hopes for the future. I didn't hope for anything. I was thinking negatively about myself not being here or anything involving suicide.

However, it isn't as bad as what you think.

The Road to Recovery

Throughout the past two weeks in the hospital, another good friend of mine checked up on me every day and had never left my side ever since the incident. He said to me, "no matter what happens, I will always be there for you, and I bet that your family would do the same thing." I started opening up to him, giving him a few hints regarding the incident. He understood what happened in the first five hints.

He made a gift for me, a scrapbook of all the memories that we had with our group of friends. Throughout the first few months with my friends, I've never been proud of how many people I have made before the incident. But I haven't given them a chance to gain my trust. Somehow, my friend has given me the ability to breathe regularly again and he would always tell me every day, "you're a good person, and never forget that. Everyone here loves you. They will never turn their backs on you, as long as you keep being you."

He kept on visiting me at the hospital along with my other friends, and I had been healing my mental state ever since. I started to open up the incident with my family. At first, they were terrified and sad about the incident, but they were proud of me for recovering and opening up to them. They now noticed how vital my anxiety and paranoia was when it came to dangerous situations like this. In fact, my mother managed to recover her memory about the incident, but she only remembered me crying in desperation.

The doctors said that I have made great progress in my recovery and I would be able to return home soon.

Epilogue

Two weeks later, I had been discharged from the hospital and came back home. My father told me that the man who knocked my mother out and raped me was arrested because of another assault and rape incident. It was a seven year old female who discreetly called 911 in a washroom while her mother and her 16-year-old sister were both assaulted and raped. The man was sentenced to 20 years in jail from several assaults and rapes he had done. The news my father gave out has put a huge smile on my face.

A few months later, I improved my relationship with my friends and family, and even in the darkest times, they have never left my side. My friend who visited me at the hospital became my boyfriend, and I thanked him for being here and on my side. Despite my anxiety, I became successful with my studies and taking part in extra-curricular activities. Everyone has been very supportive of me. As a result, I have entered university with an average of 82 percent. 

I am thankful for all the help that I've been getting and I never looked back at the incident. The moral of this story is that there are people around you who love you, care about you, and are proud of your progression to an incredible success in life. We may have some bad days, but always remember the good times with the people that you care and love.

So, if you're having a bad day, just remember that there are always good moments, whether in the past or in the future.

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