Trigger Warning: Some of the content of this post may trigger emotional responses for sexual abuse survivors.
Sadly, my story is not unique. We literally cannot watch TV without seeing some reference to sexual abuse in the news, and what we see publicly isn't even the half of it. So many survivors have not reported their abuse for one reason or another. Aside from writing about it publicly, I'm one of those.
Because my experiences happened when I was so young--and I didn't start to put the pieces together until I was 40--I've had to cope with the emotions and physical memories in more holistic, non-traditional ways.
Granted, my road to discovery involved children in spirit clueing me in (something most survivors who have repressed memories do not experience), I still feel what I've learned along the way about healing might help others. I'm outlining below two of the nuggets of wisdom that have helped me through the journey of healing.
The energy of abuse is real and can live in your body long after the abuse:
Before I went down the "woo woo" path, I never thought about life in terms of energy but a wise spiritual healer told me that the energy of abuse stays with you. In some cases, it will create blocks and health issues in the first chakra (energy center that relates to safety and security) area such as reproductive issues for women. While I can easily relate some of my ovarian issues to heredity, I also know that as I started to come to grips with what happened to me I saw a lessening of my polycystic ovarian syndrome. I can't deny that the more that I started to dive into the abyss of pain, the more I started to heal physically.
Another example of the "tangible" energy of abuse is here, in this story I wrote for the Little Light Project a few years ago. Gradually over the years, I was experiencing more and more difficulty breathing. I thought it had to do with allergies or altitude but after one hypnotherapy session, I quickly realized I was holding grief and sadness in my lungs. Sadness from what I was discovering happened to me.
Recall comes in many forms, and for some, it comes in physical symptoms:
One of my most vivid memories of physical recall had to do with a post I saw on Facebook a couple years ago. It was a benign post but pointed to a specific period of time of the year, one that I came to learn was when I was sexually abused and raped by a distant relative. I read the post (not related to my abuser) and I started sobbing. Tears flowed out of nowhere. I couldn't even understand why I was crying. And I felt this massive kick in the gut feeling right below my rib cage. My body started shaking uncontrollably. I now know that I experienced a PTSD episode that led to more understanding about when I was raped. I believe that little bread crumbs of knowledge are dropped bits at a time, like following a trail, when we are ready to handle it. If all of the knowledge of repressed abuse came at one time, it would be so overwhelming most of us couldn't handle it.
For more on symptoms adults who have suffered childhood sexual abuse endure, go here.
I'll continue to share more about healing in future posts. If you're a survivor, know you're not alone. And you can get through this.