Two days ago I was walking my dog alone. It is important to note that I am female. When I was walking, a car pulled into my neighborhood, which was not abnormal for the time of day, many people getting off work and out of school. The car slowed down beside me, which is also normal because a lot of people have family in the neighborhood or use our neighborhood to turn around. But the car slows down so much it almost stops. I am visibly injured and with a dog, so I can’t run if he/she gets out. The driver rolls down his window (It was a male, probably in 10th grade and I am in 9th) and says “I like your dog.” then speeds away. I have never felt so much fear, vulnerability or distress. If he had just gotten out it could have ended up so much worse. If he had just yelled something inappropriate at me it could have been so much worse. I am now scared of leaving the house by myself, cars that have people in it, and male voices, which is an issue as I am surrounded by at least one male all day, every day. Every time boys or men say something it brings me back to that moment, that fear, that vulnerability. How do I deal with it without hurting my best friend (a guy) or being too scared to be around my family? I have told my other best friend (a girl) but no adults. Please help!
- This sounds like a very difficult situation and it’s no wonder that it has impacted you so strongly. No one deserves to be treated that way. Thank you for trusting the TeenCentral community enough to hopefully point you in the right direction toward feeling safe again.
- Having these kinds of reactions (scared of leaving the house, hearing male voices, etc.) after a situation like this is completely normal. However if these reactions and feelings continue more than a couple of weeks, you may want to seek out a professional. They can help provide some insight as to where these feelings are coming from and give you ideas as to how to move forward. Professional counselors can be found right in your own school (guidance counselor) or you can receive a referral from your family doctor. Those are just two ways to find a professional to talk to to.
- Always remember that in any given moment, 911 is always an option if you’re feeling unsafe. If you have a cell phone, don’t be afraid have your cell phone on you and available in case you are in a situation where you are worried you may need it. Your safety is the most important thing.
- Personal safety is such an important aspect of everyone’s lives- not only being safe, but feeling safe. You may want to consider talking with your parents/ guardians or another trusted adult and let them know how you’re feeling. They may be able to listen and provide the support that you need right now while you’re dealing with these feelings.
- All that being said, if you just can’t bring yourself to talk to more family and friends about what happened you may try texting “HELLO” to 741741. These folks are available 24/7 and will stay on the phone talking to you until you feel better.
- On our website we have some information and resources in our “Tools” and “Learn” tabs that are for dealing with anxiety. It includes a guide to documenting your feelings when you’re feeling anxious. This may help you not only as an outlet for your feelings, but as something you can use when talking to an adult about what you’re going through if you so choose.
- If you’re concerned about your friend, maybe you could try letting him know what’s going on. Before the discussion, however, you could decide how much you’re comfortable with sharing. You could also have the discussion around your family/ trusted adult so you aren’t alone and feel supported during the discussion.
- If you haven’t done this already, you could also try jounaling. This is often a great way to put your thoughts down on paper so you can look back on what you’ve gone through and see for yourself what you may need.