Gentle Recovery

Hope and Inspiration for Overcoming the Damaging Effects of Child Abuse and Rape

Archive for the ‘fear’ Category

Comfortable With Yourself

Posted by A Write to my Voice on May 8, 2009

“The worse loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.” Mark Twain

For too long I walked around feeling as if I weren’t attached to myself, almost as if I was outside my body walking beside it rather then actually being in it. Being separate and not a part of who I was, was a totally weird sensation. It’s almost like floating through the world; – not being grounded.

My body wasn’t safe. I felt like it betrayed me. It allowed all the abuse, – the beatings, the kidnap and the rape to happen. In my mind, just being seen and having a female body caused the violence. It was my enemy. I fought with myself, trying to force the fear and terror to go away – I fought against myself to be strong, but I was afraid, so afraid I couldn’t stand it. The fear forced me to pull more and more into myself and away from reality.

As a kid, I willed myself to disappear until I couldn’t feel anything. I lived in my head, in fantasies that took me to another place, a safe place. A place where no one could hurt me. But even that stopped working at some point. I needed to find something stronger, more effective that lifted me out of the pain and shame and fear. So I cut myself, ripped open my skin, injected my body full of dope and forced myself to throw up even if I ate one small bite of something. I told myself, I wasn’t allowed to exist. I had been told over and over I deserved nothing, I was garbage, worthless, ungrateful. I believed it. Words are so powerful. I lived on those words, falling deeper and deeper into a dark hole that became harder and harder to get out of.

And then, He touched me. He pulled me up and out of that pit of hell. In a hospital emergency room, where I lay under oxygen – the damage I had done to my body extensive – He touched me. He redeemed me. He breathed life into me. I felt it. I knew something supernatural had happened. It was powerful. So powerful I stopped using the drugs. Right from that moment. Fourteen years of shooting up, three and four times a day,- Gone – Over – because of His touch.

I don’t know why He chose to free me. Why me? I’m no more special than anyone else. I thought of friends who died, friends who took their own lives or accidentally overdosed, – why me? Why did He let me live? I don’t understand but I am determined now to to look back, as painful as it is, for one purpose, – to reach out and help someone else caught in their own cycle of torment. There is hope. There is freedom – For me, I found it in Him. When nothing else worked, He did. He touched me. He changed me. He turned the light of His love on. The darkness left. The fear went. Now I live with tremendous joy and gratitude.

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Posted in child abuse, depression, fear, lonliness, mental health, self-esteem, violence | 2 Comments »

The Art of Breathing

Posted by A Write to my Voice on April 6, 2009

“Breathe DEEP!” The Snuggly Fabric Softener Bear

For years I walked around holding my breath. I was pertrified of being hurt so I learned to hold myself rigid, on guard, on edge… waiting.

I spent hours hiding – crouching in the dark, in a corner in the basement, under the balcony, in the closet – staying very still, quiet – not breathing…. I needed to hear, to be aware of every sound, to be ready. If I was ready, I could take it, I could handle whatever happened. I waited for hours like an animal being stalked by its prey. The waiting made me sick. My head hurt, I threw up. I bit my arms until they bled… to force myself to stay vigilant, to stay strong.

I grew up and continued to hold my breath. I lived on the edge. Reckless, wild. Life hurt. It hurt really bad.

A few years after God touched me, I went to see a Christian counselor. She looked at me and said, “you’re not breathing. You’re holding your breath. Breathe! Let go!” Her words made me afraid. To let go meant to trust that I would be safe. I went home after seeing her and threw up and cut my arms. I couldn’t let go. I couldn’t trust. Experience taught me the world was not safe. To let my guard down meant I might not survive.

Time passed. I continued to see that counselor. She kept telling me it’s ok now to breathe. In the quietness of my house, in the darkness, alone – I let go. I let myself breathe. I survived. I went back to see her and told her. She asked me to show her, right there in her office – to breathe with her. To trust. I did.

I know God led me to that counselor. He used her to bring me out of a place that I had gotten lost in. She taught me to trust. She helped me feel safe, something I had never known before…. Safety. Feeling safe… helped me to breathe again.

From the moment God touched me, I trusted Him. How could I not? He cut the chains that wrapped around me, choking the life from me. He freed me. He took away the drug addiction. He took away the needles, the dope …the highs that made me crazy and the lows that made me suicidal. They held me a prisoner for fourteen years, shooting up three and four times a day. He broke their hold over me so I trusted Him. He led me to others like that counselor. He wanted to help me learn to feel safe in the world. He wanted to help me learn to breathe again.

I was 12 when I started the drugs. By 14 I was shooting up. Life was dark. Ugly. The police, the courts, social workers sent me to jail, to hospitals, to rehab. Nothing worked. Only God. He did what nothing else could. He broke the hold of darkness and taught me to breathe, taught me to feel safe, helped me connect first to Him, then to myself, then to others.

Posted in breathing, child abuse, Christianity, faith, fear, God, trauma, women | 2 Comments »

Opening Your Heart To Others

Posted by A Write to my Voice on March 25, 2009

“The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.” Deepak Chopra

For years I lived with the fear of being seen. Having been beaten and bullied as a child by both my parents and later held in a cult for six months and raped, I lived in fear, trusting nobody. In my mind, people were to be avoided. I saw everyone as an enemy that wanted to hurt me. I hated them and I hated me. The people in my world taught me, – I was bad, wrong, good only to be used, abused, hurt. I became angry, very angry, a fighter. Having nowhere to put that rage, I turned it on myself.

My body became the battleground for my self-loathing. I tried to make myself disappear by becoming so thin I could hardly stand without feeling dizzy. I was freezing all the time. I dressed in black, covering my entire body even in the warmest summer weather. I cut my arms and legs until I couldn’t stand the pain. It was a way to numb out and not feel, except then, I cut myself again to feel, to know I was still alive. I felt nothing. Only anger. Only fear.

Then something happened. One day, God broke the chains that held me so tight in their grip. I don’t know why He chose me. Some of my friends died by their own hand or by accident. I lived on the edge like them. Their fate should have been mine. But He touched me. Freed me. Poured out His grace, His favor in such a gentle way – I was no more deserving than they. Sometimes I wonder, why me? Mostly now, I’m just grateful.

God showed me I need people. Safe people. I need them to heal. They mirror who I really am. They help me grow in self-confidence and freedom. They reflect the healing power of His love to me. All the abuse took place in relation to others. In the same way, I have learned healing comes in relation to others.

From the moment He touched me, I felt safe in His love, His presence. I opened up to God. I trusted Him. Then He asked me to open my heart to another, and then another and then another…….

Opening my heart to others wasn’t easy. I resisted. I struggled. I felt His patience, His gentleness, the warmth of His love prompting me, reminding me I wasn’t alone.

Sometimes I still experience the fear of being seen and the need to hide. I get ansy being with people too long, especially when I’m tired.

I will keep opening my heart to others. Something magical happens everytime I do. The fear of being seen diminshes a bit more. The need to hide isn’t as great.

Posted in child abuse, fear, God | 4 Comments »