I’m a female in my mid thirties, based in the UK. I’m undertaking a PhD. I’m sporty, mostly happy but also mostly extremely anxious, and I’m in the process of overcoming the effects of childhood sexual abuse. It’s been a tough journey so far. I effectively numbed myself with alcohol and drugs from my teens to late 20’s, thinking everything was fine and that I had dealt with what had happened in my childhood. I was brash and confident (hiding behind a veil of many and multiple intoxicants) but very vulnerable deep down. I don’t really like the old me, but I’m trying to come to terms wit myself and accept that many of my behaviours (like judging others) was part of needing to feel strong in the face of the abuse. My friends still like me, and apparently my behaviours weren’t so on the surface, everything was more a storm inside whilst outwardly I have always been fairly similar. I;m starting to realise, I am kind, caring and fun. I’ve been slowly working towards accepting my vulnerability and gentleness which I hid because my learned behaviour was to act strong and like nothing was happening in the face of the abuse.
It’s only now I’m starting to realise it’s long lasting effects of abuse, and how its shaped my very essence of being; why I don’t believe I’m a good person, why I carry such pain, shame, guilt and anger inside me. Constantly I’m set off by small or large emotional triggers. This journal is to share this process of recovery.
I’m going to diary when I am trying to deal with difficult emotions, or as a way of getting them down on paper to partially let them go. I’ve found this effective a few times, when things have been really bad and I’ve been close to suicide – when I’m feeling so overwhelmed and that I can’t cope, or just don’t want to anymore as I’m so so sick of things being emotionally difficult. I do not suffer from depression, and I take on a lot of challenges in my life – but the thing that knocks me more than anything is trying to cope with emotional triggers and handle what comes up in terms of things I didn’t deal with from childhood. Why a certain situation like feeling judged by a friend, or having a hangover can put me into a childhood tailspin. As some part of my brain is desperate to let these emotions of “otherness”, feeling different, feeling like people know things about me, or pain and shame, or the guilt out. Everyone responds to these small life matters in some way, and regardless of abuse we all have triggers. But the cyclical thinking,the irrationality and the overwhelming emotions I think are particularly relevant for abuse survivors. I’m only just realising some of this myself.
In this blog I’m also going to write pieces on particular issues, like relationships with family, memories of the abuse (or lack of), Feeling crazy, feeling overwhelmed, promiscuity, black outs, guilt, frustration, relationships with a partner and many more. Again the hope is that as in the past writing has helped when I’ve been at my lowest to rationally see a certain situation more clearly – that starting to get my thinking on these things can help me, and hopefully you reading.