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Expressions of Shock; a Subtitle

Severe extremes of emotion swing from rage to silence in the shock period that follows a SV event.  Motivated by a remark that I should be be grateful because it was my husband who was having “a hard time,” I was trying not to feel what I did in fact feel.  I didn’t even cry until six years later in a therapist’s office.  At last, my battle to bury the feelings was lost.  I cried for a week and became seriously suicidal.  The floodgates were open.

Physical shock symptoms are also common after SV.  They include dizziness, trouble breathing, chest pain, nausea, grinding teeth in sleep, fatigue, and headaches.  There are others too.  In the rare instance that a friend asked me what had happened, my whole body shook uncontrollably.  I felt unbearably cold, unable to get warm until the episode passed.  This chill is quite similar to the shock that can kill someone after a severe accident, the kind that needs to be treated right away.

My quivereing chills lasted for years until I was finally able to connect the appropriate feeling of rage, anger and despair with the attack itself at the first therapy session where I finally cried when I was held and comforted.  Prior to this connection, my anger had been displaced onto my husband and children.  Displaced anger is very, very common.  Many survivors stay stuck here.  Each survivor’s symptoms are unique.  Some may even have to recover from a beating or from physical damage due to anal, digital or gang rape.

In many instances SV can be totally blocked out of the mind.  However, the unconscious wound is still there, along with unresolved emotions such as anger.  With help though, the brain is able to form the connections needed to lead to healing where and when needed.  The Holy Spirit will lead to specific memories needing to be targeted as objects of healing.  (Please see Cory’s testimony in her blog post).

Initial shock can be as short as two to four weeks, but may end typically at about three months.  Usually, the initial signs of coming out of shock begin as you try to return to normal.  If you are aware of feelings appropriate to what has happened, there may be moments with pain flooding in and lots of tears, then swinging back into the shock.  Anger is often out of proportion to a given everyday situation.  You will be trying to return to “normal,” but whatever normal was, life will never be the same again.  This fact remains true no matter what age the violence has occurred.

This morning I was reading about Dinah’s rape in Genesis chapter 34.  We aren’t told anything about her feelings.  If we fail to acknowledge the effects of SV today, it was probably even a lot worse for Dinah.  Not only was she in shock, her whole life changed with the actions of her revenge-based brothers as her father Jacob said his name now ‘stinked’ to the surrounding tribes.

Next time:  A New Life to Come

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