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Survivor Stories

Survivor’s Story

February 23, 2015

Emotions ~ I have always had so many. They would roll in like a storm, violent and foreboding, ripping through me bringing the tears, rain against a window, previously clear. They mar the surface changing the scene. I have held them back for 25 years to protect myself as they threaten the horizon. Bottling them gave them enormous power! Pressure builds as I fight them, they consume me for a period of darkness and devour hope, light and happiness leaving me conquered and empty. The shudder of thunder as the hateful ugly past destroys a little more. I let them roar and release them from my injured soul. In the darkness they are so strong and they whisper evil thoughts to me. When morning breaks, they lose their power over me, they are so ugly coming out! These are called, Triggers!

Oh how I fight them! I don’t want their journey to become public. They expose my weakness and shed light on the horrific degrading event that has caused me such shame and pain. The lack of ability to control the emotions and leave it behind me is a source of new shame. Why can’t I move forward? Shake it off, Let it go?

The only way to move on is to let them out, release the tears and the pain, grieve the losses, face the hurts and conquer that pain! There is no Get Over, only GO THROUGH with a qualified counselor like the staff at NEW BEGINNINGS!

Yesterday was dark, horrific and sad. Getting the pain out and surviving the emotional storm. Today was the dawn of new day. The sun comes out, lighting all the shadows and exposing the darkness. Like yesterday’s storm was only a dream? A scene in a movie that I cannot connect. A few people see the storm and witness its power, they cannot handle the emotion. It is terrifying to see and without explanation cannot be understood by the witnesses.

This is a description of the 25 years of hiding I have done! I was raped by someone I knew and trusted, it is rarely a stranger! I wish I had told, I wish I had not been so filled with fear. I learned these horrible twisted human beings, “groom” their victims over a period of time to achieve their agenda.

Holding it back was only a nightmare now and then, a compulsion for locked doors and panic of undiagnosed PTSD. As the stresses of life became more, I lost the ability to hold the pain. Nightmares increased, emotions came out at inappropriate times. I had seen many counselors through the years and somehow knew they could not handle this revelation, I was a master of disguise and could judge their abilities with only a few sessions.

When I saw the survivor art at New Beginnings Book Sale and Art Show, I knew I had found people who understood my special kind of pain. It was obvious in the art! I made the call and told for the first time in 25 long years. Tara Gann at New Beginnings helped me to realize I was not at fault for this attack! She began to rewire the negative recording that had played in my head. Mantras of fear, worthlessness and dirty filthy feelings of self‐hatred. Working with her, I made new things play in my subconscious mind. Love of self, kindness to me! She helped me to realize this had taken enough of my happiness and together, we began to light the darkness and heal the pain. This was hard emotional work! Journaling was a huge help as I sorted out the feelings left by such an injury to my soul.

I can feel happiness now, not just on the surface, but inside myself! I will do all I can to lead others to New Beginnings! To promote this place that has changed my life as the as the name promises!

Your story is safe with them, make the call!


 

From Victim to Survivor:

My journey towards healing and making new beginnings.

Date: June 12, 2014

Suddenly

Under

Real

Vicious

Injury

Vine

Offensive

Rewarding

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:

Strong

Unique

Redeemed

Victorious

Important

Valiant

Outstanding

Righteous

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!

 
*This story was made available by the survivor and published with permission.
 
 
United Way
New Beginnings
Sexual Assault Support Services
Owensboro, Ky

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