Survivor – an adjective, to overcome adversity….
For years, I realized there was some type of adversity in my life that fueled my illogical thinking, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), nightmares, flashbacks, suicidal ideations, self mutilating behaviors, excessive drinking, drug use, anorexia, bulimia, overeating, promiscuous, negative thinking, insecurities, feelings of worthlessness and constant self sabotage.
At times, I thought of myself as a victim that was powerless and doomed for misery. Deep inside, I knew what I was feeling was wrong. For I was a child of God, one who was loved by so many people and one who wouldn’t give in to those maladaptive behaviors because I knew in my heart I was hurting myself and ultimately my family.
I struggled with everything for over 30 years, until I was finally able to get the help that I needed. I had been to different therapist over the years, but no one broke down the barriers like my therapist, Tara Gann, at New Beginnings. She helped me to realize that I am a survivor; a word that I never used to label myself. For in my eyes, I had not overcome anything. But I was wrong. I was a strong child that was able to find ways to cope and to survive the childhood sexual abuse that I endured. I have realized that I have to deal with the past to have a healthy future.
My story is not uncommon, although I wish it was. As a child, I was sexually abused by the Priest at the Catholic Church and Grade School where I attended. He was truly a monster in disguise. He was someone that most people trusted and therefore, never questioned.
Now, I can say that I love myself. I still struggle with triggers but they no longer consume me. I have accepted that my past is the past and it was not my fault. I believe in myself, I am happy and I am a survivor. I am grateful for finding New Beginnings, and for their program that focuses solely on recovering from sexual abuse and sexual assault.
I wrote the above passages a year and a half ago, November 2, 2012. Fast forward to now and the information has not changed, just my heart. I have become stronger. Now I am strong enough to share my story.
This is how I now describe survivor:
Looking back, I have seen a huge transformation in myself and my ability to cope with reality. When I first started therapy at New Beginnings, I was weak, broken, shattered and very very sick. My whole life was under attack of the past memories that I had blocked out for so long. It amazes me now how many noises, sounds, songs, smells, touches, sights, locations would send me into a flashback. A flashback for me was anywhere from visual memories to mental anguish to physical pain. God helped me thru it all and still does daily. He saved me, protected me and led me to where I needed to be. I remember when I first began therapy with Tara; I sat in her office and told her I would never ever go to a church again due to being sexually abused in one; for I had associated sexual abuse with anything that was even remotely related to church, religion, and the bible. A year and a half later, I sat in the exact same office and told her that I found a church home where I could feel safe and honor and worship God for saving me. I owe so much to Tara and to New Beginnings for assisting me throughout this healing process. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!