If there’s one thing you know as a survivor of abuse, it’s that there is no typical mental health solution out there, no cookie cutter process that works for everyone. We are all unique and while many share similar struggles, each of our stories are different and the process of healing is as well.
So, if you’ve been following my posts here on this new blog, one thing that I’ve mentioned several times is how I’m working on educating educating myself about the conditions I have. All of which stems from the childhood sexual abuse I endured as a kid. Those events resulted in Dissociation, Anxiety, PTSD (with flashbacks), and of course toss in me just being OCD to begin with and viola`, you have an epic combination that fuels Depression.
If you’ll endulge me for just a minute, I’ll give a quick run down of what I’m reading (and not because I get any type of kickback from any of this, I just want to share what I’m doing to help myself and maybe it can help you too).
I’m currently in the midst of reading 3 books right now:
The Courage to Heal is what I work through in weekly sessions with my awesome Therapist. The Victims No More is written about male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I find I can relate to this one in many ways. Yes, You Can! This one is from someone I recently was introduced too via Twitter, Athena Moberg. A very compassionate, heartfelt, supportive, book filled with hope and inspiration for all of us adult survivors of past abuse. I swear you can feel her compassion shining through in every chapter.
The reason I bring these 3 books up is that while each covers a lot of the same topics that we as adult survivors can relate too, the insight is presented in different ways and from different points of view.
One of the things I struggle with is that my challenges are different than everyone else because my particular abuse situation isn’t like others have experienced, so therefore normal healing strategies won’t work for me. This is of course my Emotional Mind taking over and trying to keep me from healing; trying to keep me in the past. I admit though, I do tend to live in Emotional Mind. It’s a comforting place because it’s a familiar place. It’s what I know and have known for decades so when in doubt, I default to emotions rather than Rational or Wise thinking.
I’m still learning about what all took place in my abuse story. There are still a lot of missing pieces that I haven’t been able to fit together yet; and that in itself is incredibly frustrating for an over analyzer. I believe it happened around 10-12 yrs old, I know who did it, and I know where it happened (at least mostly). I remember some of the physical acts that took place, and various bits and pieces of the surroundings each time.
My abuse didn’t come at the hands of a parent or family member, it came from the teenage son of a family friend and neighbor. While I never told my parents at the time (and to this day they know very little of what happened), they were great parents. They spent time with me often, cared for me, always had a place to sleep and food on the table, and decent clothes to wear. Well maybe not the clothes part, I mean let’s face it our parents dressed us in some of the most ridiculous looking getups they could find, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
So, since we’re all different, it’s not that we can’t heal, it’s just that our healing won’t always go as we or someone else plans. I’m learning that I can’t be discouraged if the healing process takes longer than I think it should. That I have to fight off being disheartened because not every self help book I read, or therapy technique is going to give me results I want, right away.
In my therapy sessions, it took time to really narrow down what my specific problems are, and we’re still doing that. So in my healing journey that really started in mid summer 2015, there’s as much enlightening as there is discouragement and frustration, probably more of the latter to be quite honest.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is, utilize every possible avenue to heal. Don’t just read one book, or take 1 anti-depressant, or give up when a particular technique doesn’t give you the desired results. This whole thing, I’m finding out, is a process of trial and error and most of all determination and a will to survive and heal.
Believe me I know all about getting frustrated and angry throughout this process, and wanting to just give up. I’m just a regular guy, who struggles every day with how my body and mind reacts to what I’m working through. I just have to keep believing that eventually everything will come together and I will finally have I want. Peace about who I am and a positive outlook each day.