Time went by, I settled in to the new unit.  Got all sorts of abuse from that woman-hating SFC female.  Rude comments, insults, once so bad that she had me in the front leaning rest in punishment for some imagined wrong doing, she left the room, and I went to my cubicle, swept my few things into a trash bin and left, to the 1SG office, telling him, that I cannot work with that woman.  She told 1SG that I was having troubles at home and yadda yadda yadda to cover up for her own abusive ways.  Now I could see why the girl who I replaced in the S-1 was suicidal and wanted an out at any cost.  I found a way to leave the S-1 when there was an opening at the tavern/recreation center.  It was a little better there away from the abusive woman.  I still had issues with flashbacks to the assault.  Certain things, like PT with the male soldiers, seeing a man in uniform, smells, people standing too close to my side or back, set me off.  I joined the “fitness” troop and did PT twice a day, throwing myself into intense physical activity to distract from negative thoughts, I bettered my PT score by over 30 points.  I counted the months till I could leave the army.  I figured when I was away from those triggers, my problems would be long gone.  I was still having issues with acting up, which I regret.  So many things I said and did, out of what?  Not thinking straight, something.

Months rolled by, the kids were growing fast, had one of them in preschool now.   My time in the army was up.  I was offered re-enlistment with a bonus.  Said not only no, but hell no.  I had no job lined up for me when I got out, but looked forward to being away from base and all the bad memories.   There was no friendship lost when my time was up, and I was even scammed out of my saved up leave which should have been bought out.  I was free… or was I?

Suddenly there was no paycheck coming in.  My husband had a hard time finding a job.  I had thought being away from base would be better.  I had thought relaxing at home would be better.  I was wrong.  What happened was, I took to staying home at any cost and avoiding leaving the house.  I got worse about driving, until I avoided traffic.  I avoided crowds.  My mind was idle and would pop back to the assault many, many times a day.  I had been so busy working before that I just didnt have the time to think about it much.  Now I did.  I had my GI Bill, but became too sick to even think about pursuing an education.  I tried to go to school, and dropped out when I had panic attacks being closed in a small classroom too close to people.  Months went by.  Years.  I got worse and worse.  I started going to Walmart in the middle of the night to avoid people, shopping at 0200-0300 hrs.  My husband was working, and I spent most of my day caring for the kids and cleaning the house.  I wanted to work… but it was impossible.  I messed up in job interviews.  Messed up if I tried to get a job.  Panic attacks.   I became isolated somewhat.  I was so different.  So unwell.  After a fight, I told my husband why I was the way I was.  He thought I was “bipolar”.  He had never known what really went on the day I was “attacked”.

I wonder if things would have been easier if I had gotten help sooner rather than later?

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