Gentle Recovery

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

Archive for the ‘mental health’ 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 »

Overcoming Hatred

Posted by A Write to my Voice on May 1, 2009

“Hatred can be overcome only by love.” Mahatma Ghandi

For years I walked around with so much hate and anger in me. I hated what my parents did to me. I hated the way they shamed me, beat me, made me feel less than human. And I hated the system that claimed they could help me. They were like my parents,- shaming, punishing, bullying.

I was arrested for drug possession. My social worker convinced the judge to let me do the time on a locked pysch ward instead of prison. Being on that ward,- that place of misery pushed me further into myself and broke me even more. Their methods of forcing me to conform were brutal. The chemical and physical restrains took away any shred of dignity I may have had. My brain became dull from the medications, the fight in me subdued, but the hatred grew. Hatred for them, for me, and for everyone who had hurt me.

One time they strapped me to a bed by my arms and legs for some minor infraction. They kept me there for two days like a chained animal, allowing me up only to go to the washroom. At mealtimes, they wouldn’t untie my arms. A staff came in to feed me. Humiliated; I refused to eat. I hated them. I despised them. My anger grew. I wanted to hurt them, punish them in some way like they were doing to me.

Instead, I cut into my flesh, trying to rip myself apart, desperate to pull out the bad, the part of me everyone kept telling me was horrible and wrong. Scars formed on my body, but I didn’t care, because they were already in my heart and soul and mind.

Hatred and anger became a way of life. It drove me. It fueled the fight in me. I turned on myself with a vengeance. My arms were full of bruises and marks from biting myself and cutting my skin open. The blood oozing out was my salvation, the thing that released the building tension inside me. My blood, a proof of life, that I was still alive.

Blood? That’s what finally turned my life around. The blood. His blood. The blood He shed for me so I wouldn’t have to hurt myself anymore. Like me, He too was beaten, shamed, ridiculed. He never opened his mouth. He never fought back. That amazed me. How could He not? They laughed at Him, mocked Him, and He said nothing, nothing except, “Father, forgive them….”

Hearing that, my anger began to subside. Thoughts of revenge slowly became thoughts of forgiveness. It’s hard to forgive, to let go of the brutality of what some people did – but to not forgive is worse.

I want my life to reflect His love. He loved me when I couldn’t love myself. He loved me when I was wild, out of control and bent on self-destruction. I don’t fully get how He did that, but I am so grateful for the gentleness of His love that broke the chains that kept me stuck.

Posted in anger, child abuse, christian, cutting, faith, God, hatred, healing, Jesus, mental health, rage, rape, recovery, self-injury, shame | 10 Comments »