It’s easy to think it’ll go away if you pretend it doesn’t exist. Brush it off like it never happened, and maybe you can convince yourself it actually didn’t. But eventually, it catches up to you. It always does.
I arrive at the airport in Vienna, Austria. I get out of the car and fall to the ground in hysterics. Full blown panic attack ensues. A police officer comes over and starts speaking to me in broken English, trying to understand what’s just happened. Another police officer comes over, and they motion me to come with them to their office on site.
“No, no.” I manage to choke out between sobs. “I need to catch my flight.”
They exchange a worried glance with each other, and again tell me they’re gonna take me to their office and not to worry — they’re trying to help me.
“I don’t want help. I want to catch my flight. Let me go.”
At this point letting me go doesn’t seem to be an option. It’s evident that something terrible has happened, and these officers are determined to do their jobs.
I was in complete and utter shock. I was scared, confused, and quite frankly — pissed. Haven’t I gone through enough? If I wanna go, let me go. Let’s pretend this never happened. It will make everyone’s lives easier here.
It would take several years and a whole lot of drunken nights unloading on strangers for me to finally reach the realization that actually, it won’t make everyone’s lives easier here. It’ll make them much, much more difficult.
That day back in Vienna, I was sexually assaulted by my Uber driver. After the scariest car ride of my life — where I was absolutely certain I was about to be sex trafficked — I was overwhelmed with emotions and I didn’t want to address a single one of them.
Those officers brought me back to their office and would go on to put me through extensive questioning and evidence collection for the next six plus hours — making me recount the experience graphically to several investigators, and keeping my underwear for DNA sampling. I fought them every step of the way.
I didn’t want to talk about it. With anyone. A lawsuit unfolded and it was recommended I see a therapist.
No, no, no. Sitting and reliving this experience over and over again in a small room with a stranger? No thanks — let’s leave this behind and it’ll be like it never even happened.
Wrong. Very wrong. It worked for a little bit — I’ll give myself that. But eventually you accumulate enough trauma, and you boil over.
And now suddenly — all I could DO was talk about it. With everyone. All the time. Well — mostly after I’d had a few drinks. That would really coax it out of me.
If we brush over the fact that I was consistently bringing up very personal narratives at incredibly inopportune times — I noticed that doing so was actually making me feel way better. The more I talked about it the more it became my story. I felt a sense of control over what happened once I verbalized it, like I was just beginning to understand what had happened and how it affected me as the words left my mouth.
I became the definition of an open book — sharing my story with anyone that would listen. I developed a real passion for having these intense conversations with people, and found that I had a lot of insight on how to handle these intense emotions. I’d developed a lot of clever mindset tricks and built a unique perspective on life that helped me get through it, and I loved sharing it with people.
But eventually it gets old sharing these conversations over a Vodka Sprite, hunched over a bar. I wanted a space to really unpack my ideas and open up these conversations with a wider audience.
And so I created @itsbcat. A platform where I talk about mental health, mindset tips, and everything in between — and it’s been an amazing form of therapy for me. I find such solace in writing long captions, revealing personal anecdotes from my life, and connecting with strangers over my own human experience.
So when I learned about WhiteFlag, I knew I’d come across something really special. This app serves as the outlet I needed and was looking for all along. I was unloading on poor unsuspecting souls all that time — and now there’s a platform of people eager and ready to listen 24/7. Anonymously. And 100% free.
So, let’s talk about it. As much as we need to.
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