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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Aftermath: Mental Health

Being vicitmized by an abuser or a rapist is life changing.  Not only is your body not your own any longer, often the state is involved, you have hospital bills, counseling, crying jags, inability to trust, inability to function, denial, anger, grief, despair. The list can go on ad nauseum.

It is typical for a survivor to experience Post traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, substance abuse issues and a myriad of other illnesses, including the fear of AIDS and pregnancy. 

The faster one gets help in dealing with these issues, regardless if one reports, the faster one can begin to cope with their changed existence.  I know many women who feel shame and blame thus will not report it to authorities.  that is your choice.  I did not report mine after the first time and I was not believed.  But that was years ago when women were not treated the same as today.  However, I still was conditioned to suffer in silence.  Once I found my voice and began speaking out, I regret not reporting and trying to take back my life. There are nights I wonder if some other woman is suffering what I did because I did not do something more.

I search the net for their names to see if they come up in other news stories. 

 I am certain that my shame has set me on a path far different than if I had faced it early on with therapy and perhaps reporting.  I only share this to encourage, urge, beg of you who have had this tragic crime against you, to get help. You are not alone. You are not to blame.

therapy or perhaps a group support system can help you face what you are stuffing deep down inside.  My Dr told me about " one of the most severe cases of PTSD" blah blah and I asked him why he was telling me about this.. he works with veterans and is a vet of two wars so how can I be like a veteran and be WORSE than a combat veteran?? I m just me. I ve lived this way for so long, I dont notice the water rising up to swallow me alive.  Well, dummy, he has the diplomas and I am paying him so I might start listening... DUH.

turns out that people who volunteer for combat or firefighting or policing are prepared more for dealing with trauma.  trauma usually happens to others in their line of work ( and I am in no way minimizing their heroic work and pain from doing these things.  My fiance is a firefighter and a veteran)  but it turns out, trauma is more, well, traumatic, when it is unexpected and it happens to you, especially if it is an ongoing process like DV.  Or if you are a child abuse survivor, or kidnapping etc.

so word to the wise, please, be good to yourself. You didnt ask for this, it isnt fair, it isnt right, but it is your problem now.  Get help. You are loved and special and need to be nurtured.

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