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I’ve been going to counseling since I was 9 years old! Well off and on anyway. Any counseling before I was 20 was mainly court ordered due to being in foster care and/or related to resolving issues of abuse which looking back never was successful.
If you or someone you know has been abused:
GET HELP NOW
You are not alone – resources and support are available. Call to have questions answered or chat with a trained crisis counselor, 24/7 at no charge. All conversations are confidential.
Researchers estimate that 38% of child victims disclose the fact that they have been sexually
abused.5,6 Of these, 40% tell a close friend, rather than an adult or authority.7 These “friend-to-friend”
disclosures do not always result in reports. This means that the vast majority of child sexual abuse
incidents are never reported to authorities, though research suggests that disclosure rates to authorities
may be increasing.
Finkelhor, D., Ormrod, R., Turner, H. A., & Hamby, S. L. (2012). Child and youth victimization known to school, police,
and medical officials in a national sample of children and youth. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, (No. NCJ 235394). Washington,
DC: United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
I’ve always avoided discussing the abuse I endured growing up. I stuffed it down deep for years and spent my time perpetuating chaos subconsciously avoiding my childhood. I did have counselors that would elude to the fact that I wasn’t covering the root of all my problems but I was hell bent on putting out fires because that required less effort.
Finally I moved back to Decatur in 2013 and life started to be less chaotic and as a result I had more time for self reflection.
In 2015 I found an amazing counselor who let me avoid the topic of abuse for awhile but then started pressing me. That eventually led me to finding a counselor at Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center but not until 2017 and I only went a few times AND I verbalized what I had endured ONCE and thought I was cured and didn’t go back.
This situation is actually intertwined with another that I’ve been going through this year. I would not say at all that my childhood was actually the cause of my opiate addiction but after finally openly discussing some things with the counselor I am seeing now I can see a correlation.
People who misuse opioids often report extensive histories of childhood maltreatment, which include emotional and physical abuse, emotional and physical neglect, and sexual abuse……Authors:News Author: Batya Swift Yasgur, MA, LSW; CME Author: Laurie Barclay, MD
Of course it started with a prescription here and there over the years (2007-2015) and then it occurred to me that if I took pain medicine then I could work more. The pain in my feet, carpel tunnel and back would be relieved which curbed the fatigue and enabling me to work more hours. After the scripts ran out then I found opiates on my own and of course justified it all with the above reasoning. This ties into the childhood issues because being sexually abused over many years by several men made me feel like damaged goods. If I could work more than I would be indispensable regardless of being damaged goods! If I could have identified these issues earlier in life it would have saved me a lot of heartache!
I started this blog for 2 reasons:
1: I was sure that writing this blog would be therapeutic
2: I wanted to help others
Point being, if there is anything that I would stress to anyone, DON”T WAIT! Don’t wait to take care of yourself!
I think it is safe to say that we all want some of the same things in life and just as I thought when looking it up the #1 thing was:
Biggest Challenge: “Not knowing what I want to do.”
Happiness is a choice folks. It just is, plain and simple. Every single day you get to decide if you are going to be happy or not. I think the main reason most people are unhappy is because they are looking for something outside of themselves to “make them happy.” Guess what, the new car, house, outfit, boyfriend, or girlfriend is not the answer. The only person or thing that will bring you happiness is YOU…….Kathy Caprino The Top 10 Things People Want In Life But Can’t Seem To Get.
You can’t be happy if your anxious or depressed and the only way to beat anxiety and depression ongoing is to get rid of your baggage! The sooner you get rid of it the better! You can’t just ignore it, shove it down, alter your mind to avoid it….you have to take it step by step. You have to actually put in the sometimes long, tiring, frustrating, no immediate gratification work to boldly acknowledge your baggage (each piece individually) take it out, unfold it, see where it came from, why it is keeping you down and after you’ve gone through each one (like steps in the grieving process) you can then and only then fold it back up, put it in the bag and let it go!
I don’t know if I’ll ever post this but I’m writing it anyway. For the last 4 years I’ve been taking prescription medication. I’ve tried to wean myself off. Last week I became so sick from a virus that I couldn’t get out of bed so I thought it would be a good time to try again! So last Wednesday I started titrating down (I’m in no way suggesting that this is the best way for anyone else to do this) and last night was the very last of the very last. I sweat and then I’m cold, back and forth, back and forth. I took my Wellbutrin and Buspar last night along with melatonin and I slept from midnight until 8am without my legs becoming restless which is amazing. However I couldn’t get out of bed until noon because I was still so tired and cold! Thank God for Edgar!
He keeps me going no matter what and if course my ever patient husband
They keep me in good spirits and faith keeps me strong. So being sick and tapering off “unnecessary” medication isn’t enough so mother nature made her appearance (my opinion about this is in a post: thank you Eve), my oldest son had been arrested the week before for a FTA (failure to appear) and was released on the same Wednesday as above (8/15/18) which could have been a good thing but that’s a whole post by itself.
So during this week 8/15-8/22 I’ve been trying to get things in order to start school (first class was Monday and thankfully it’s only 1 day a week) today I wake up and check the mail and find a letter saying my financial aid wasn’t processed because they were lacking documentation! Documentation I sent in last week during my misery
So I called and the person they told me to send the documentation to hadn’t even been in and had 45 emails she hasn’t gone through. They claim however that they will get it worked out!
Last but certainly not least it occurred to me that the reoccurring issue that I’m constantly running from is my childhood. The abuse that I haven’t addressed is holding me back. So yesterday I made an appt with growing strong sexual assault center that’s set for today at 2pm.
Soooooo that’s my week in a nutshell!
In comparison to me my husband is very outgoing!! In his career (10+ years in sales 10 years owning his own business) he has to put himself “out there” daily. He is constantly having to”sell himself” and he genuinely does a good job of it! I feel that these same personality traits are the ones that allow him to vividly tell me stories that involve our lives taking a turn for the better whether it’s small and temporary or on a large long term scale. I honestly wish I could be in his world. It appears to be so wonderful and magical to someone like me: Quiet, (unless you mess with my loved ones, I had several disputes with teachers and MDs when my kids were young) shy, paralyzed with fear of rejection……
However, if I were to allow myself to daydream I think it would look like this:
That looks like a great life to me! Old house out in the country with Edgar the Super Bestest Pig Ever, his sidekick Cat Buddy Jerry, a few rescue pigs, lots of Sunflowers and then inspirational/serene walks! The reason why I bring all this up is: I feel that many people (like my husband) are genuinely able to see themselves doing whatever it is that they want to do and some how that enables them to move/propel themselves in that direction.
Nearly everyday I go over the same things in my head: What can I do today to make my life better? After coming up with most of the same answers as the day before, I start reading up on whatever will motivate me, work on my blog, or marketing our family business or developing an online store and then as the day goes on I talk myself out of any move that would actually bring some results! I have this ever present fear of failure, brought on by an ever present fear of people judging me negatively, brought on by an ever present fear of feeling shame/embarrassment which after years of therapy, reading and recently blogging I know stems from childhood……
I am the blond, naturally, being silly every chance I got! Looking at these pictures I realize a few things: 1. When I think back my memories always have a dark cloud hovering, by this time I had already had many days of witnessing abuse which at one point resulted in my jaw being broke when I fell off the side of a bed as well as many days of going without many of the things we all take for granted on a daily basis: attention from our parents, food, a safe home etc 2. I was 6 in the pic with the dress. In a year’s time my mom had left the man I thought was my Dad, moved into a women’s shelter, met a man, moved in with him and this is their wedding day. The picture with me sticking my tongue out, I am 9. By this time my mom left the last husband, I’ve experienced abuse more than once, my mom has met a new man that she has married and he has lost his job within a year so we are living in poverty and I am no longer oblivious to how bad life is. 3. Discussing the above memories is something I rarely if ever do!
Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect – Child Welfare Information Gateway
The impact of child abuse and neglect
is often discussed in terms of physical,
psychological, behavioral, and societal
consequences. In reality, however, it
is impossible to separate the types of
impacts. Physical consequences, such as
damage to a child’s growing brain, can
have psychological implications, such as
cognitive delays or emotional difficulties.
Psychological problems often manifest as
high-risk behaviors. Depression and anxiety,
for example, may make a person more likely
to smoke, abuse alcohol or drugs, or overeat.
High-risk behaviors, in turn, can lead to
long-term physical health problems, such
as sexually transmitted diseases, cancer, and
Suggested Citation: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2013). Long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.
There are so many great blogs/articles that cover/explain the shame associated with childhood abuse. I will try to create links to them because I think the single worst cruelty to occur to an abuse victim is the feeling of shame. Shame leads to so many other negative thoughts and feelings about our self worth that it creates a terrible downhill spiral for victims.
The truth is that the abuser robs us and in my opinion they win if we feel shame, guilt, self doubt and/or feel that we have to keep it all a secret or else others will look down on us.
Just like depression is a dirty word so is: victim, rape , domestic violence, addiction and/or any other form of abuse. If we could find a way to change the way we look at these words, these people, looking at them like they aren’t poor pathetic soles may help to encourage them to behave in a new way: they may feel as though they are : “normal, confident, smart, assertive and so on. Everyone should own their own feelings, but we could all do our part in lessening the stigma associated with survivors of abuse!!
If someone that you know or love has been abused, please do what you can to help them feel empowered!! It may be a challenge at first but it is worth it!!