Denial is the mother of all fuck ups. It is like a vortex that sucks you in and engulfs you in a circle of confusion and mirage. The problem with denial is that it lives outside the realm of reality and truth. So as powerful as this vortex may seem, its end is imminent.

Denial and I conversed, and we agreed I should keep quiet and live in an oasis of pretense. Yes, I had told Vuyo, A and Dr Cornell, but as soon as I re-entered my four wall dungeon, I enslaved myself with untruth. I signed a deceitful treaty with denial to secure my peace. The treaty required me to keep up appearances, weep in the confines of my prison and never face reality. This seemed like a very small price to pay in order to retain my sanity. Ironically, silence, pretense, and psychological denial were the very things that destroyed my sanity. They drove me into a land of delusion. I now lived in a dichotomous world of impossibility, where denial fought the truth. Truth reigned in my sub-conscious, while my conscious mind was governed by denial.

The first thing that suffered from my treaty was sleep. In order for any person to sleep, their mind has to be relaxed or in a state of partial Zen. Your thoughts have to be gentle and at the back of your mind. My mind was in a constant state of reflection; it roared like a Ford Mustang and raced across the track like a Buggatti Veyron. Gentle thoughts were non-existent in my mind, both my conscious and unconscious mind were riddled by deep and dark images. Every time I closed my eyes I saw his face and the act of rape that he had committed. Then those seven insulting words rang simultaneously like a cacophony between the piano and harpsichord. Since I had so graciously chosen to honor my Kikuyu roots and suffer in silence, I signed slumber’s arrest warrant and welcomed American motion pictures into my bed. As long as my laptop played movies or series, my sanity could escape into a monarchy of fantasy. Motion pictures kept my nightmares a bay, but unfortunately no amount of TV could stop me from sleeping, especially not after being prescribed sedatives. I cannot recall the nightmares I sustained in the first month, but I do recollect they revolved around death, being attacked, abandonment issues, and ghastly shadows.

My rapist was my first enemy and sleep became his vicious accomplice. After being raped sleep or any form of unconsciousness serves as a cruel form of punishment. It becomes a channel to replay your rape over and over again. It does not serve as a way to rest the mind but it serves as an effective method of torture. Imagine being detained in a dark, isolated room filled with huge screens and high definition sound. Each time you attempt to close your eyes and rest, you’re pumped with shots of adrenaline and forced to keep watching. That is what rape victims endure every time they fall sleep.

For me, my laptop became my companion and defense Major General. He was there for me through thick and thin, he heard me cry and comforted me, he protected me from my own negativity and nightmares by making me laugh and illuminating my room at night. The irony of course being that my laptop personified a male being. The very gender that had violated me was the very gender that I trusted to protect me. This is how effective the patriarchal system could be. My laptop replaced my friends and personified the human companion I needed. The scariest thing for me was darkness, especially when I could not sleep.  I did not want to draw attention to myself by switching on the light and leaving it on, so my laptop acted as my convert defense against darkness and intrusion. The fears I had as a little girl had resurfaced and been amplified to a different height. Instead of just being afraid of external monsters with unrealistic peripheral features, I was now also petrified of the ogre that lay within. The Ogre that lived within wasn’t time conscious he attacked at any time, day or night, because his darkness did not relied on nightfall but rather relied on self-criticism, self-hatred, self-alienation, shame, guilt and any negative emotion that could overpower positive reinforcements. So as much as my journey has been long and full of error, I’d be amiss not to advice you seek medical attention if you feel any of the above feelings, because ignoring your trauma will not make it go away but it will rather length the healing process and cause psychological harm.

My academic performance was the second thing to sustain irreparable mutilation.  Now as much as I would like to sit here and tell you I was an A* student, I’d only be lying. However my grades were above average, and most importantly I loved and understood everything my lecturers taught. All my life I had keenly followed current events. So imagine my delight when I not only got to study these political events, but I also got to analyze the theories, philosophies, economic and social factors that catalyzed these events.  In those days not even death itself could stop me from attending those lectures but as soon as I was raped nothing could get me out of bed. I mean really, I could barely motivate myself to shower; now I not only had to cleanse myself but I had to concentrate and act like Middle Eastern policies would be enough to fix my current realities? Funny thing was, I was desperately seeking any form of escape, and even though my studies could have offered me that escape, they required much more energy than my body possessed. Sadly, I lacked the basic energy needed to be honest with myself; therefore the graduate future I had worked so hard to secure, was now hemorrhaging from shrapnel wounds it would incur for next few months. Those few months would destroy my academic future for what feels like forever.

A leave of absence could have prevented the wounds that my grades suffered but this solution came with its own complications. A leave of absent required me to tell my family what had been done to me, and quite honestly I was so petrified of telling them that I chose to deal with this alone, in a foreign country.

Secondly, a leave of absence meant I would be doing nothing else but trauma therapy and for therapy to even begin I’d have to be cognizant with my rape and I wasn’t planning to do that, as I had signed a treaty with denial. So as long as my inability to face reality was in play, my academic future would continue to loom over my head and my new obsession would take effect.

Here is what I’ve learnt so far.

  • A rape victim cannot recover from rape alone, asking for help does not make you weak, neither does admitting to yourself and others that you got raped.
  • Denying any trauma’s existence whether it is rape, car accident, emotional or physical abuse does not solve the problem, if anything it makes the problem worse and harder to deal with. Seek any form of medical attention. If you are in Kenya, go to your nearest clinic and ask them to direct you to the nearest therapist. If you live in Nairobi specifically, go to Nairobi Women’s hospital and they will assist.

If you live in South Africa or London or USA contact rape crisis center.

  • Escapism whether with technology, alcohol or drugs also only amplifies the problem and makes it worse. Long term escapism and denial has real psychological effects whether it is depression, deep dissociation behavior, alienation and loss of touch from reality.
  • Lastly, without proper cognitive health everything can seem and prove to be impossible. Negativity, self-loathing, self-criticism, only act as barriers of success and opportunities. So ask for support and care from positive people, and set aside any pride or shame that may try and deter you from asking for assistance.
  • Yes, you are the captain of your ship, but every captain has crew members that support him through his or her journey!

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