I am stoked to share this guest blogger post with you! It was written by my friend Don, whom I met on Twitter not long after I started this blog. He was one of the first people to befriend me share with me openly what it means to be a survivor.
I’m eternally grateful for the friendship of Don, his openness to share his story, and I know beyond a doubt that he’s inspired me to keep writing and sharing.
I hope you’ll take some time to read his post on Hope for Healing as a Male Survivor, and also be sure and check out his blog, MindBodyThoughts. Thanks again man for allowing me the honor of sharing your post here on my blog!
I look back over the years from when I first started out on my long road of recovery. Most people had to make the choice to start confronting child sexual abuse. For me, it was more that I was forced into it through a Conversion Disorder.
Yes, there are many disorder names out there, but for me a Conversion Disorder left me paralyzed, on my last breaths of air, unable to speak and feel and function. Depression and anxiety were my friends. Loneliness was my only companion. I sat there a shell of a person, being told that I may never fully function again in my life.
I was only 26 years old. Days before this happened, I had my whole world ahead of me. I had a great job that was bringing in a nice paycheck. When my life crashed, it felt like the whole world had ended and it almost did.
I remember lying in the hospital bed staring at the white ceiling above me and wondering, “what would happen next? How would I function? How would I make it?” I remember getting so angry at my situation that I was bound and determined I would fight through this. I’m a fighter. I don’t give up easily. Yet, the odds were against me.
It was one final test that they wanted to do on me which brought me to seeing the white light of finality. It was that moment when I came back into this world that I knew I had to decide whether I wanted to be a vegetable, lying in a hospital bed the rest of my life with others taking care of me, or if I wanted to find a way, somehow, to get past this.
The answer was that somehow I knew I had to get through this. I knew I would because I had dreamed of these events happening years earlier in my life. I did not know how to heal my life. The doctors doubted I could make it. I doubted I could make it. There was no internet support to go to in those days. I was on my own.
At that moment, I knew I had been through difficult things in life, but I had so minimized the sexual abuse and molestation, the emotion and psychological and physical abuse and torture that I didn’t even allow myself to think about it. One of the difficulties for someone with Conversion Disorder trying to heal is that they completely minimize what happened, that it becomes as if it did not happen.
Through years of healing, I regained most of my life. I still struggle with memory, but for the most part, you would never tell I was once paralyzed and almost left for dead. It would be years and years of struggling with the molestation and all of forms of abuse and torture I had suffered through before I would start to find my life again.
It would be years before I could sleep through a night without nightmares. It would be years before I could form any relationship whatsoever, let alone even think about being with someone intimately. It would be a long time before I would know sex was more than anonymous sex where I felt dirty and used and just like in the days when I was being molested.
I would struggle through moments where I felt as if I was worth nothing, that I wasn’t strong enough to make it, and that the emotional pain would completely pull me under. It would be a long time before I could learn to feel my body without being triggered or feel anything but depression and anxiety.
It would be a long time before I could learn to allow myself to be loved by anyone else. I would struggle with letting anyone get close to me, and a hug from those I trusted could cause me to vomit.
The list goes on and on. It is almost too much to compress into words.
The people who abused me have treated me as if I’m the crazy one – I’m the one that is making stuff up. The thing is, my body knows the truth. My body experienced it and felt it and tried to numb to it.
Through the years, I’ve gone through a tremendous amount of deep body and trauma healing because the mind is not the only thing that remembers. It has not been an easy journey of recovery. I’ve fought and struggled along the way, but I can honestly say, I’m farther along into discovering my life than I ever thought I would get.
I still have my bad days but the good days far outnumber the bad. I still struggle but my struggles are much less than they once were. Now, my struggles become my teacher, rather than my tormentor.
A few years ago I was fortunate to be one of the 200 male survivors on a two part series Oprah did on Male Survivors. I was fortunate to be on Dr. Drew and talk about Conversion Disorder. Those moments along with my own book, Hope And Possibility Through Trauma, have helped me to see that there is hope for healing as a male survivor.
If you would like to be a guest blogger, just contact me anytime and lets share your story!
Feature image from Pixabay.com – Post image taken by Don Shetterly.