Each year, I talk to the students studying early childhood education. Part of the required curriculum is learning about abuse. I discuss openly that I experienced every form of abuse, physical, emotional, mental, sexual, spiritual, social, and verbal. Some of these abuses overlap each other. Many times verbal abuse is also emotional abuse. Sexual abuse is also physical abuse and causes social and emotional abuse. However, the main emphasis is talking about abuse is a pause in your life not the end of your life. The concept is part of the Semi-colon Project. http://www.projectsemicolon.org/our-vision.html
I am saddened by the many that post on PTSD blogs that declare that their lives are over, they are ruined for life, or other versions of hopelessness. I felt hopeless. It is a dark bottomless pit. It is a dark place to be.
I try to help the student understand that my abuse influences my life but it does not control my life. I didn’t get to this point easily. I worked hard through 10 years of counseling with continuing work day-by-day. I also talk to them about being the front lines to protecting children. Too many times people back off from helping a child because they don’t want to ‘break-up’ the family. The family is already broken, they are rescuing a child. I feel deep sadness when I consider the children that die at the hands of their parents or primary care givers.
I am forever grateful for the therapist that said the magical words, “I believe you.” He then took it one step farther, he believed in me. He saw me as a person of value and worth when I was broken. Early in my counseling he encouraged me, “I don’t want you to just survive, I want you to thrive.” He saw a vision of my future that I didn’t understand what it was. Now, I know. I wake up in the morning excited about the day to come. I am learning new things. I am helping others. I feel happy. I still have nightmares at night. Triggers can still send me for a tailspin. I am learning to dance in the rain. That is thriving.