About a year and a half ago I was raped by somebody I thought was a good friend. This is the last event in a long line of sexual assaults. Afterwards I completely withdrew from my friends and the lesbian social scene altogether. I made myself a recluse. Presently I am trying to reengage with my old friends (only had a few to begin with), but find myself more lonely and isolated then ever. I find it impossible to trust anybody; especially myself, and wonder if its possible to rebuild my social network while having all these issues… I am in therapy and diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I wonder if you have some advice in reconstructing friendships…
The difficulties that you’re having with trust as well as your initial need to withdraw from people are all completely normal reactions to the traumas you’ve suffered. That you’re even interested in reconnecting now is a significant sign of strength and healing. If you were my client, I would feel very optimistic about your progress based on that alone.
I’d like to see you find a support group for rape survivors for a myriad of reasons, particularly because members have been educated about how to provide support to one-another. My hope is that you’ll find it easier to trust in an environment where safety is a given. Once you connect with members of the group, you’ll have begun to increase your ability to trust and you’ll be better equipped to take those positive experiences beyond the parameters of the group. At that point, you may find it easier to connect with ‘regular’ people, i.e., your old friends.
Use this link to find a support group: www.rainn.org
Finally, I’m going to take the liberty to email you directly with some more specific suggestions to aid in your healing. Thank you for having the courage to share your story.