The reason why I started going to counselling is that I was at a work convention where someone broke into my hotel room. I walked into the room and the back door was wide open, that is the last thing I remember for about 1 1/2 hours. I know that I made phone calls because I had the information on my phone.
Here is the thing, I have to control my environment, I don’t drink more than 1 drink if even that because I have to be alert, I know where the exits are, I normally have a way out of any place at any given time.
For the first time in my life, I let my guard down. Anything could have happened to me (I could have done something to myself) when I was in that state, which terrified me. Also, here I was with people who I had trusted for six years. It was a huge betrayal … THEN my world imploded.
A little back history, I didn’t remember anything of my life prior to age 10 1/2, except four things: my best friend Shannon and her family (my saving grace); my brother trying to kill me in a mall hallway and being told it was my fault and that I should let him buy me an A&W burger to get over it; and my sister’s boyfriend (over 20) molesting me in my home, which again was [apparently] my fault, trying to kill myself two times prior to grade six and not understanding why).
I thought I had worked through the worst of my life being with a man who likes a certain age group, with my family blessing. I believed that I was born into this world not as a human being but as a thing that could be used and sold to the highest bidder and groomed from an early age for this.
Boy, was I wrong on all accounts. I thought I was basically crazy, the visions (now I know are flashbacks) had TEETH!! I didn’t know what was real or not. I will never forget the feeling of this which I have no name for. I was terrified all the time, not only for me but to my family. I still had to go to work, and function like a normal person. I understand now when I hear the saying, “he just snapped”.
My therapist is the ONLY person that I have ever told most of what happened to me, and it took so long (almost a year) to fully trust her. I think trust for me as a survivor (I lived so I’m Never a Victim) is huge. So when my counselling was over it was another huge blow to me, it felt like we were just finally starting to get somewhere. It was my therapist who gave me the information for the grant and told me about your Foundation.
However; having said that I think [having to wait for the grant to be approved] was good timing. To walk alone and try to put into practice the skills she taught me, and as someone said at the one Breaking Free that I went to … “you have to sit in your shit for a while”.
That meeting was extremely hard for me to even attend (like full out panic), but it was also very life-changing for me. I have kept this to my self for so long and to see there were other people like me, it still brings tears to my eyes.
It was eye-opening that here they have people with the Courage to seek out and to open up about what happened to them. It was an honour to be a part of that.
You see to me, it takes inner strength to put your self out there for people to hear what had happened to you and to be judged (maybe that’s not the right word, but that’s the only word coming to me).
When I left the meeting I wanted to be able to do that with the knowledge that it was safe and people there do understand the pain, fear, confusion, shame, guilt that you went through. That people didn’t have to say anything, that the silence wasn’t of disgust but that they can actually see and feel what happened because they went through it too. That is ENORMOUS and Life Changing!
So I started to take what my therapist taught me and started to stand on my own and “sit in my own shit” and own it. (I do like that phrase because I believe I had to not only talk but do the walk.)
It is one thing to tell your story but then it’s, “What do I do now?” The flashbacks aren’t as big and so raw, and I started to process what happened. How do you move on out of survivor mode to be present and live? I don’t have the skills to this, how do you move to something that you have never done, which is to live? How do you not fall back into destructive behaviour? Or give up? Or stop more abuse to you?
This is the reason I think the timing is just right, that I’m glad I can use the grant now rather than when I first applied.
I wasn’t going to write all this! I look at what I have written and then the time. It took me 5 hours to write this and the emotions, wow, it feels like I’ve run a marathon. I forgot that it is hard work dealing with this. It’s like a rollercoaster, and very tiring. Most times you don’t think anything has changed or if you have had any progress. One step forward, two steps back.
I’m so proud of myself. Just saying that is hard but I was told it is very important that you give yourself the credit for the hard work you are doing. To re-affirm that you are deserving.
I even have a You’re Deserving Rock (a special gift that was given to me), that I have in my room that I look at because when you grow up with negativity, it’s surprising the little things that stop you in your tracks and say …. yes, I am deserving and the more you say it the more you want to believe it.
I have had to walk away [from writing this] several times. Ran out of tissue (ha!). This is due to therapy and your Foundation that I can write this, so I am so blessed that I found the right people to help me through this journey. I will be forever grateful for the gift of the grant to continue with therapy and I won’t waste it.
~ Anonymous Grant Recipient