Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Healing: One Day At A Time

Healing: One Day At A Time

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

I don't think most people can truly understand someone that has gone through sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse except for others that have experienced it themselves.  Sexual assault and childhood abuse is too complex; and, there are too many variables associated with it.

The simple-minded, especially, don't get it.  They regularly have endless ideas about what "should" be done (seek God, don't grieve or look back, think good thoughts, live in the present, or make it beautiful).  It really does, and continues to, trouble me when I hear their virtuous comments.  They, especially, do not know what is in the minds and body's of the abused survivors.  Perhaps, in their own weird way, they think they are helpful; but, I can almost guarantee, that it is more about them than it is about the survivors.  Most people, that have experienced these heinous crimes, have tried various ideas and treatments, and more.

What I can say about sexual abuse is that there is a presence that is left behind.  It is something that lingers deep within the soul.  It is part of our biology.  And, it never really goes away.  For many years, I thought I could 'kick it,' just like kicking a bad habit; but, now that I am almost 50, I realize that it is a piece of my being.  It won't go away.  It does leave, for many periods at a time, however; and then, voila, it reappears when least expected.  The best way, for me anyways, to compare it with is an eating disorder [not otherwise specified (NOS)] I experienced for several years in my teens and my twenties.  When stress comes crawling, it is a feeling in the background so real as if it were yesterday.  A feeling that consumes the mind and body.  Somehow, this thing feels stuck inside; something that I want to purge but can't; something I can't get rid of.  This feeling was a huge reason why I, in the past, continued to purge.  I would have nothing in my gut; but, in my mind, I had the memories left sickening and nauseating me.

Today, when stress increases, my guard goes down; and then, it is difficult to get through the day.  Those thoughts creep back with putrid smells.  They haunt me every once in a while.  The anxiety escalates; panic attacks start; and then those sleepless night.

What I want to say to the survivors, is be good to yourself especially when stress comes crawling in.  To heal yourself (at any point in your life), it is best to go one day at a time.  When those thoughts or feelings creep back because there are other stressors affecting you, take a deep breath, sigh, and, if possible, get outside with nature--where love is--pet your dog, or call a trustworthy friend.  We are a group of individuals that survived a wicked crime; and, if we survived this monstrous crime(s), we can continue to survive together.  We may be tough (strong-willed and strong-minded), rough to the touch, cold and callous at times, and numb.  It's not easy to let others in, and it's not easy to trust.  We are highly clued into our surroundings--the smells and the sounds.  We are hyperaroused, at times.  We have grown to be this way, though;  we had to protect ourselves.  We have also been stripped from our childhood.  This event, ultimately, is within our cells--our being; and, we have to work together with it, not against it.  It's kind of like a family member that gets on our nerves, at times; but, we take the good with the bad.  The good aspects is that this event made you who you are today: strong, resilient, quick-witted, genuine, and protective.  The bad: perhaps, short-tempered or closed-off to love or friendship.  Nonetheless, it is about balancing that relationship.  Try to kick it out;  and it only comes back because you resist it so.

If you were the lucky ones to be surround by loved ones that supported you after you experienced these criminal acts, I am happy for you.  You probably have a great support group.  If you weren't one of the lucky ones, and had family and friends dissociate from you, I understand.  I am in your group.  Be well.  Do what it takes to keep your head up without toughening yourself up too much.  If you reach out, there are people (even strangers) that will give you a helping hand; but, the point is, you must reach out.  If they don't know anything, they can't help, and you deserve the support like everyone else.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

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