Tuesday, 1 September 2015

From Pain to Power - Survivor Diaries #4


I asked some wonderful people who are also survivors of sexual abuse to share parts of their healing journey. Kudos to the tremendous amount of courage they've shown and the difference they've been making to their and others' lives.

  " My healing began on May 5, 2008. After several years of talk therapy, it was finally suggested that I see a psychiatrist. He diagnosed me with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder.  The PTSD thing was a huge game changer for me. I had no idea that civilians could be diagnosed with that. I thought that only military combatants got that one. This is where my healing started from the physical and verbal abuse by my parents. It would not be until December 7, 2011 that I would start to get the memories back of the violent sexual abuse after a bad accident in the partner yoga class.

The first step of my healing was realizing and admitting that I was abused as a child.  Being able to actually say, "I was abused as a child" was the beginning of the process for me.  Finding out about the abuse answered a lot of questions for me. Suddenly a lot of stuff from my past made a lot of sense. I could see why I had so many problems with anger, not fitting in, and depression, and just a lot of stuff suddenly fell into place.  A lot more stuff made a lot more sense once I started getting the memories of the sexual abuse back.

My coping mechanisms have been good therapy, yoga, reading everything I can find on the topic of child abuse, speaking on the topic of child abuse, talking to and helping other survivors, and getting into social work - or making some major life changes for myself that involve following my passion. Actually, getting into a line of work and study that I LOVE has made a huge difference to me with regard to healing from my past. Also, finding a very, very good therapist is another huge coping mechanism. I now see what is known as an "emotional release" therapist.  She is not quite like the usual cognitive therapists.  I found that traditional cognitive therapy did not do much for me.

I have found my strength in myself and knowing that I can rely on myself to get through the bad times.  I am finding out that I am a very strong and resilient person.  I also find a lot of strength in helping others. I like to have a positive impact upon others. Knowing that I have saved several lives and I am influencing the lives of my clients (in a good way) really gives me strength.  Hearing stories like yours also gives me strength.  Meeting fellow survivors who have overcome so very much and have learned to thrive - not just merely survive but to actually thrive - gives me a lot of strength.

Seeing my past through the lens of someone who had suffered a serious amount of trauma really helped to set me on the path to healing. Learning to love and accept who I am has been a big part of my recovery and healing journey. Getting the diagnosis of PTSD really allowed me to put the brakes on where I was going, take an honest look at my life and myself, and to realize that I can get this whole thing going in a better (and healthy) direction. "

I found that once I realized I was experiencing PTSD symptoms that developed because of an abusive childhood, things started to make sense and I started to take ownership of my healing.

I somehow came across Rosenna Bakari's Talking Trees page and couldn't stop reading her posts, I think I read every post for the past 2 years. Everything was finally making sense, it was overwhelming! I had a breakdown/breakthrough -what a roller coaster that was. I was angry, sad, relieved, happy, all at once. 

I also felt very broken, damaged, and a little crazy but there was no stopping me. I posted my story on my Facebook page and named my abuser, there was such a sense of freedom in doing that. I was no longer willing to keep HIS secret! I received an incredible amount of support from both family and friends. I found a wonderful therapist and have been diagnosed with PTSD, Dissociative Disorder, anxiety and depression -which explained a lot. I've had some memories resurface but still feel more are buried very deep within. I no longer have contact with my abusive father and he no longer has power over me. "

Healing began for me when I went to prison. That was the first time in my life when I was straight long enough to have clarity. I hate to say this as I was in prison really for a crime I didn't do. But prison saved my life. I began writing my book there

When I got out I had children, and that sort of forced me to deal with issues. Having said that, I didn't make a conscious decision to work on myself until about 2009. The real journey of healing for me begun when I created a support group for fellow survivors on Facebook.

Drawing, writing, and talking to other survivors helps me cope. I think connecting with others like me, I felt less shame and guilt.

My motivation for healing was not wanting to see my children end up in the same pain I did as a kid. I could have done a better job. I did the best with what I knew.

I don't give up. That's a strength.  I think about the others that went through hell like l have and know that there are others that have been through worse and I am humbled by it. "

My healing began a little over two years ago. I had hit rock bottom. After my attack I tried to ignore the pain and threw myself into dating, going out, never being alone, stuff to distract myself. I thought that not dealing with it was dealing with it. If it hadn't been for my fiancĂ© or friends telling me I should get some help, I doubt I would have.

My first step to healing was admitting I needed professional help coping with what happened.

Things that help me cope are breathing techniques, taking time to do things that I find simple pleasure in, grounding techniques whenever I have a flashback and talking to a loved one about my flashbacks.

I've found my strength in myself. I think if I would have tried to lean on someone or something else, it wouldn't have been enough for me. 

I started on my healing journey around 2 and a half years ago. It was actually more like accepting that these things did happen to me and it was not my fault. I did not have control over it and it's okay to feel bad or empathize with myself.

I read an article on child sexual abuse and I don't know why, but I shared it with my best friend. So, she opened up about her own experience. After hearing that I told her about mine too. Though I could not really tell her the whole thing at once. I had to come to terms with myself first that it's okay to share everything because it felt more like shaming my perfect family. But she made me feel so comfortable by not judging me at all. So eventually I did share everything. 

To be honest, after sharing it with her I kind of regretted it. I felt that I shouldn't have. I thought she was going to hate me from then on. But then gradually she encouraged me, comforted me. She also made me realize that healing is possible. She couldn't guide much on this, but she assured that it's possible to heal. So I started researching more.

And I consider this to be the most significant step towards my healing. Otherwise, earlier I didn't even allow myself to think about what had happened. It used to make me suicidal if I started thinking or was even slightly triggered.

Now, when I am triggered I try to let the emotions come out rather than bottling them inside. The first thing I try is to talk to someone, usually my best friends. Otherwise I try to listen soft music or watch funny shows to make myself laugh.

I read survivor stories. They all had one thing in common. They were stronger now.  So I thought why don't I try the same. And I did. I am not saying I fully recovered but I like the person I am now. "

My healing began when I realized it wasn't a drama (people used to call it fake drama). I got to know that it was real. I had a problem.

Then I began to study physiology and pharmacology at college and I came across the topic "Depression". The first step to my healing was when i convinced myself that "no monster is immortal" even if it is the monster of depression.

I made myself my best friend. I used to teach myself, tell myself that nothing lasts forever with you. The only person who's going to be there for you always, is you and you alone. I am my strength. I am my best friend, my teacher, my care giver. 

My motivation was my mother. I couldn't see her crying for me every day. I moved ahead because of her. Back then i didn't really love myself but now I DO and that's the ultimate happiness. "


  1. This, like all of your other blogs posts, is amazing.
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Your such a strong person, just keep going you can get through this xx


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