This was originally written for my Fetlife blog, but it bears repeating:
Somewhere near the top of my profile, in BIG RED LETTERS is the following:
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: I have PTSD, so if you don’t know me personally, please don’t touch me or grab at me without asking. My usual response is “attack mode,” so consider yourself warned.
I put it near the top so most people will see it. What it doesn't say, and shouldn't have to say is that I will occasionally freeze in panic with a "deer in the headlights" look.
Now, before anyone accuses me of overreacting or causing "Drama" I want to say that it's already been handled between myself and the person in question, and that hopefully, it won't ever happen again. A lesson was learned. I'm not angry at the person, he's not a "bad guy" nor is he a "predator." He is someone I respect, and, no, he's not in my circle of friends, but he is a friend of my friends.
So, with all the above, why am I even bringing this up? Well, the fact that I woke up screaming could have something to do with it. I mean, I have a choice: I could allow this to overtake me and continue with the nightmares (that occur all times of the day, including naps) and screaming, or I can write about it in an attempt to 'exorcise' the fears.
"Don't touch me or grab at me without asking." It's easy. "Merry, that's a cool tattoo and scarification." I will probably tell you that you can touch it. The scarification has interesting ridges and it feels good when it's touched. When I engage in negotiations with a sub or bottom, I ask them if there's any body part I cannot touch, and I tell them to ask my permission before handling me.
We're equals, so if we're talking, and you have a pet snake, and I say I'm afraid of your pet snake, you should say, "Don't be afraid, I'll hold it, and you can pet it." WAIT for me to say 'okay' and don't put that snake in my face. I might not react if you put that snake near me, but the chance is good that I'm frozen in fear. Don't ask me later if you violated my consent, because you know you did, and don't ask me why I didn't run away screaming or kick you or said "no". Don't blame the victim! It's your responsibility to ask and wait for permission.
And, in the future, should you unintentionally hurt me or scare me, take me in your arms and comfort me, don't just apologize and go on like nothing happened. The little girl in me (Sunshine) needs to know that she can be safe among friends in a dungeon, and, yes, he started with me, but ended with Sunshine, because she comes 'out' to 'protect' me.
FOR THE RECORD: Snakes don't frighten me, but ask permission anyway.