Tag Archives: DID

Today

Hello everyone! It has been far too long since I have updated my blog, and for that I apologize! I hope that all of you are having a good day today, and if you are not- hold fast, balance will come.

I wanted to use today’s post to let everyone know where I am now. This is also a way for me to see how far I’ve come since I started this blog. When I first started this blog I was still in chaos, I would say about 70% of the time. Even if the people around me couldn’t see it, I was fighting for my life inside much of the time. Yes, I still have these days, but they are far less frequent now!

When I started this blog I was still very lost, confused about who I was and what I really wanted. I attended three different colleges, for three different studies (and almost finished two of them!) but realized I was following dreams that weren’t really mine. My health wasn’t where I wanted it most days, I was still relying on others to make me feel good about myself and attempting to come to terms with the fact I have no biological family to speak of (save for my little sister-who is a freaking warrior herself).

In the past year I have found some amazing doctors who have diagnosed my medical issues and therefore, have given me the keys to unlock proper treatments! I have POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) which is a form of dysautonomia (where the autonomic nervous system doesn’t work the way it should) can can result in horrific symptoms ranging from severe fatigue to fainting upon standing up. This is a great website on POTS http://www.dysautonomiainternational.org/page.php?ID=30 I have also come to terms with the fact that I have chronic thyroid disease and asthma. The great news again is, I have found some kick ass doctors who know their stuff and have great bedside manners.

In the past year, I have completed my first Tough Mudder! If you’re not sure what this amazing event is, it is (approximately) a 10 mile, muddy obstacle course that puts your body and your mind to the ultimate test. I freaking passed it with flying colours! Well….I didn’t finish with the fastest, but I finished! I had an amazing team that represented “I am adaptive” which is a non profit that works to empower individuals with disabilities of many kinds. They are heroes of mine! If you’d like to read more about them, you can find them here: http://www.iamadaptive.com/ 

In the past year I have not attended college or university. Instead I have worked on me. I have been doing some hardcore honest introspection to find out what I really want to do. I have it narrowed down to two paths. My first choice is to finish my Bachelor of Arts (or science) in psychology, move on to my Masters and then my PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) or my PhD (Doctor of Philosophy). The PsyD is more attractive to me, but I may have a much easier time having access to a PhD in my area. The second path (but not my first choice) is medical school. I know…I know…I’m 27. I have issues, I get it. But so far every time I’ve been told I can’t do something, I proved the haters wrong. I have always been interested in the medical field, I’ve read medical books, studies and papers my whole life…it’s been an obsession. I just love to learn! But, I am not sure I am able to start an intensive 8 year (minimum) program. My little boy was diagnosed with autism earlier this year and so I may not have time to fit medical school into his schedule of therapies and school. Anyway! Those are my two loves. From there, my goal is to open my own wellness facility that incorporates highly specialized treatments/therapies and empowering strategies for anyone with a mental illness, eating disorder, self harm battle or addiction. It’s obviously still being planned, but so far I have sketches, brainstorming for each section of the facility and even some bylaws and policies written down. I am a dreamer, and I am excited! I have learned first hand how ugly, jacked up and unethical the psychiatric system is…and I don’t give a shit what anyone says: I am going to do something to help fix it. Even if I never contribute to fixing the entire thing in my lifetime, I want to pave the way. Nothing can stay out of balance forever. This is a beautiful truth Taoism has taught me.

In the past year I have done an insane amount of spiritual growth. I have come to learn a lot of things, including that I can never know everything…and that is a liberating feeling. I follow a mainly Taoist path that has taught me to seek balance, to look within myself for strength, wisdom, healing, but also to look into the Universe for aid. Again…balance. I’ve been meditating and praying much more often, which has helped my health in all areas greatly. It feels so good to know who I am, what I am, what I am capable of and where I am going! I have finally found a good balance of knowing where I’ve come from (past), where I am right now (and doing everything I can to remain in the present, enjoy the present and make the present the best I can) but to also have a clear vision of what I want for my (and my family’s future).

In the past year I have legally changed my first, middle and last name. I did this because I realized something as simple as a name was holding me back. I didn’t want to carry a name two people who didn’t love or care for me properly gave me. The name didn’t suit who I was either…but this one does. 🙂

In the past year my husband has become a Realtor and Real Estate Agent, which has been pretty exciting! He has always been great with rehabbing broken down properties and selling them, now he can go further and help families find homes that suit their needs and wants, and also help them sell properties that aren’t right for them anymore. I am very proud of him.

In the past year I have busted my ass to pay off most of my medical debt…the end is in sight! In the process, I discovered my credit was WAY better than I thought. Apparently my hard work is finally paying off…because I just bought my very first home for our family! We are in a much safer, nicer and happier neighbourhood in a home that gives us more room. Plus we have a yard for our children…….and our new addition (an already huge Great Dane named Valkyrie- or Val for short).

In the past year I have learned that keeping my circle of loved ones small, I have less drama and pain in my life. I have a handful of friends I consider to be family and I love it this way. They make up a very strong, healthy and positive support net and I’m extremely thankful to have them in my life.

In the past year I gained my 5th year of clean time from hard drugs! I have also gained my 4 years clean from self harm…holy crap!

Overall, in the past year I have shed so much negativity, sadness, pain, false ideals (about harmful people who used to be in my life and about myself)….I have gone through a lot of intense “burning” periods that hurt like hell…but all the while I burned, I had vision and I had the strength and mental fortitude to hold fast. As these things that didn’t belong burned off, I rose higher and higher….and I am still rising. Just as you will so long as you don’t give up.

Where are you right now? What have your joys and triumphs been? What have your struggles and pains been? How have you been soldiering on? What coping skills help you? Do you have a strong support net? I want to know, please feel free to leave your stories below 🙂 We are all warriors and far stronger than we often give ourselves credit for. And you are never alone. I love you all!

Love and light, Dandi.

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The Abyss.

Tonight I want to talk about the Abyss. I know when I started this blog I briefly discussed what the Abyss is to me. It is the deepest level of my system. It is darkness. It is fear. It is anger and horrible memories. It is terrifying and can be very very unstable. I want to talk about this place because I am there as we speak.

I thought about writing this for a few weeks, but wanted to spare my readers from my current struggles…until I realized how silly that is. This is a recovery blog. This is not a sugar coated, everything is rainbows and unicorns blog. This is down and dirty, this is how it fucking is blog. This is a, don’t give up…keep fighting blog. I am human, just like each and every one of you who read this. Sure I have a lot of clean time under my belt for drugs and for self harm. Sure, I’ve made a lot of progress in therapy…and sure, a few of my alters and I have integrated. But I am still human and I am still recovering from horrible things that had been done to me repeatedly. Nasty torturous things most people don’t even acknowledge are real because their own lives have been so positive. Things you see in horror movies and documentaries. This is my life. I have great ups and horrific downs. The downs don’t occur nearly as often as they used to, but they still come around. I am there as we speak.

I want this post to be a raw look into a breakdown. I want this post to really help others understand the pain we survivors go through, the battle we fight to survive. I also want this post to speak to those of you who are currently in your own version of the Abyss and persuade you to keep going.

The reason I am in the darkness right now is because an alter who has been with me since I was about 4 years old and holds some of my most traumatic memories has decided to break her silence. Suddenly, after about four months of stability, happiness, confidence and silence within my mind…I hear voices again. I feel a war of emotions within me. I am anxious, angry and deeply hurt. This alter has shown me things that were done to me that I guess she feels I am ready to deal with. Human nature is to avoid the harder, more dark path right? I know I just posted about this recently in my blog post about taking the dark road. Well, now I am fighting against human nature to continue on this dark, horrible road…because it is the one that will result in growth and strength. I know I am more than capable of surviving this and I know what is on the other side is well worth the pain. This is just very hard. I am feeling the same fear and anger I felt then as a small child, being used and abused, neglected and tormented. I feel the intense rage that is too much for my small human body to bare. I must get it out…but in a healthy, safe way. I have been drawing a lot more, painting and writing as well. I told my therapist how bad I feel and we have gone from one appointment every other week back to two meetings a week. At first I was angry and disappointed in myself for this, but truly, this shows my strength. Only a year ago I would not have called him. I would not have told him I needed more help. But this time I did. There is nothing wrong with admitting you are struggling. Asking for help does not denote weakness, in fact, it shows what a badass you are. Because it’s downright terrifying to ask for help. If you are struggling with telling the truth about your pain, please know you have every right to open your mouth…and you are showing your strength.

I have been forcing myself to cry. Allowing myself to get pissed off and journal my angry thoughts and feelings. It can be very scary to see such anger come out of you, but I promise you, it is vital for your health and survival. Get angry. Allow yourself to feel that rage for what was done to you against your will. All I ask is that you make sure you express it in safe ways. Journal, free write, draw, paint, meditate, pray, do yoga, play hockey, punch the shit out of a pillow, write a story and kill off a character (sounds weird, but it helps), hold your loved ones close, call a friend, call your therapist, attend a support group, dance, listen to HAPPY (never ever ever ever EVER sad) music, play an instrument, play with a pet, go for a walk…do something. Writing a letter to your abusers can be very cathartic. Or write to your addiction. Be completely honest. Don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid of who might see it because after you’re done I want you to rip it up in tiny pieces and put it in something safe to burn (like a fire pit) and light that mother fucker on fire. Watch it burn. Realize that holding in that anger will eventually be the end of you in one way, shape or form. Let it go. Let it out and tell it to get the hell away from you.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this one before…I bought a nice metal box with a combination code on it. It had a ton of makeup in it. I threw out all of the makeup and filled the box with things that made me happy, and things that reminded me of better times, things worth fighting for. I called this my emergency box. I still have it today. I highly suggest everyone make one and use it before you get as far down as I am now. It can really help you to slow down, calm down and put things into perspective. If it doesn’t help, move onto other coping skills that work for you.

I know it hurts to be where I am now, and where I’m sure some of you are, or have been. I know it feels as if someone is cutting into you with a scalpel, hitting you upside the head, all sorts of horrible things. But I swear to you, it will pass if you fight. Refuse to let this be your end. I know as I write this I am feeling so many negative, scary things. Some of these feelings are mine, others are feelings of my alters who have not let dealt with their abuse. Yes, I won’t lie, I am struggling with urges to self harm. I am dealing with a lot…but I absolutely refuse to lay down and die here. Hell no. This is my life damnit and I am going to fight for it. I will get past this…this is just another burning in the process of rising from the ashes. The pain is immense, but as we speak I am becoming stronger, wiser and more enlightened. I am removing what doesn’t belong, confronting my demons and growing.

Don’t give up. You are not alone. Help is always okay to look for and it is only a text, phone call, email or message away. There is always help. Those voices of doubt in your mind will try to convince you this is not true…but they are liars. Don’t listen. You’re a warrior! You CAN do this.

I love all of you, Dandi

Suicide hotline: 1(800)273-8255

http://www.fortrefuge.com

http://www.pandys.org

http://www.rainn.org

http://www.stepchat.com

http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=urgent_crisis_hotline

Before I die

Yet again I would like to begin this post by apologizing for the insanely long period between my last post and this one. I have been experiencing some slight issues with WordPress during my login and then this past weekend our house decided it wanted to attempt burning to the ground. We were very fortunate, I was home with my kids and I was able to get everyone out quickly and notify the fire department. They arrived swiftly and put the fire out. Hopefully I can get on a much better and more consistent writing schedule! Thank you very much for your patience.

 

Today I want to talk about something that wrenches my gut. I heard a song on the radio today driving back to the hotel from my eye appointment. I don’t usually listen to this type of music or this band, but the song “If I die young” by The band perry came on. At first I thought: Yeah okay, whatever. But I kept listening out of laziness. It got to the part where the lyrics say: “Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin”. Dude…I broke down in tears. I mean, I was full on sobbing. I would be a billionaire if I had a dollar for everytime someone told me to shut my mouth or stop crying because they had no interest in what I needed to convey. Especially when I was attempting to tell someone I needed help and didn’t want to die by my own hand. I would be drowning in money if I had a dollar for everytime I told someone I had a plan to not be around tomorrow and my voice fell on deaf ears.

 

I know I am not alone in this. I am not alone at all. I know many families who have lost someone from suicide said afterwards they wished they had listened. Sometimes they weren’t even aware that person was in such misery. It is a very tragic thing, speaking but not being heard…or believing that you don’t even have the right to speak. It is heartbreaking how many people could have been saved if someone listened. I want to be heard and listened to before I die, and I want that for you too.

 

Don’t ever stop opening your mouth. Talk! Tell your story till you’re blue in the face. Don’t shut up. Don’t whisper. Don’t suffer in silence. If you’re strong enough in your recovery that you can…put your name on your story! Don’t hide! If someone doesn’t want to hear what you have to say that is their damn problem, not yours! Don’t censor yourself to make others happy…because then you never will. In this world you truly have to be your own advocate. I wish I could say more people unconditionally want to be there for others and help them, but unfortunately you won’t always have someone like that. It can be very hard and scary for a while, realizing that you have a right to speak up and exercising that right…but I promise you that once you start doing it, it gets much easier. It even begins to feel very good.

 

Another misconception that was planted into my head at an early age was that if I spoke my mind, needs or wants I was being selfish. If I advocated for myself I was a self-absorbed bitch. Well I am here to wipe that lie out of your head! That is one of the biggest pieces of bullshit I have ever heard of in my life. Every human being deserves to voice their beliefs and especially their needs and wants. YOU have every right to voice these things. Realizing this will set you free my friends.

 

I want to share with all of you a recent experience of mine that pertains to this very topic. I have been in the process of prosecuting one of my most brutal and devastating abusers. It is still not over but I am hanging in there. It makes me a little nervous sometimes that this person knows I have opened my mouth about what he did to me, but even more so it makes me feel stronger. I have finally taken some control back and he can’t hurt me anymore. I hope that he can’t hurt anyone ever again and I also hope that this is an example to many people how you can and can’t treat another human being. Even more so I hope that it gives other survivors that extra push they need to report. I know it is scary. I know you will have a million and one worries and concerns about reporting and prosecuting…but I promise you in most cases it will only help you grow, become stronger and take control back. No matter what please remember that you are not alone. I feel I can repeat that sentence ten times a day, every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of hearing it. Every time those words come out of my mouth or from my fingers on the keyboard I feel a deep sense of relief and happiness overwhelm me. I know how powerful that sentence is. You are not alone.

 

No matter what…never shut your mouth. Keep telling your story. Keep conveying what you need and want. There are people who want to help. You don’t have to die for people to listen.

 

A little quote that helps me everytime I read it: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” ~ Anne Lamott.

You deserve prince charming and he does exist.

Hello everyone! I’m very sorry that so much time has elapsed since my last post! Today I wanted to write about relationships. Specifically, why every woman deserves a prince (or princess) charming. First off. Yes, he exists. Or if in your case you are looking for a woman, she exists too. For this post I am only going to touch on males simply because for a very long time I believed good men (and therefore prince charming) didn’t exist or was already taken. I also believed that if I did come across a good man who was single, I did not deserve him.

This is one of the many lies our brains tells us when we have survived trauma. We have had these untrue notions beaten into our very brain wiring so hard that realizing a simple truth is very hard. For most of my life I believed that I didn’t deserve a good partner. I only amounted to someone who beat me, tortured me and belittled me. I believed that if a good man presented interest in me I was to save him from me and push him away. During my extremely traumatic marriage to a bad man I befriended another man. I met him through another friend of mine while I was visiting her in the hospital. He was immediately warm, friendly and quite funny. What really caught my eye was how respectful he was. Not too much longer after we met I learned another side of this man. He was protective. He was protective, not possessive and he knew the difference. He could see the abuse I was barely surviving and he helped me. During the darkest times of my life he brought light and hope that I could rise from the darkness. He knew of my mental illness, my addictions and my suffering. Instead of fearing me, he worked to understand me.

A few years passed. We spent less time together as my life changed and I had a child. Then we became close again. Next I realized I had fallen in love with him and that he had with me. It was liberating, beautiful, spiritual, celestial…but it was also terrifying. He was a good man. Understanding, loving, respectful, protective and encouraging. He worked every day to show me the strength and beauty of my soul, mind and body…but I wasn’t ready to believe him. I still very much hated myself and believed the lies I had been fed my whole life. At one point we found ourselves very close, sharing embarrassed, kisses, deep conversations and love….but my fear of not being good enough for him, or breaking if I lost him turned me away. I made excuses, I pushed him away…I hurt him deeply. To this day my heart aches that my fear touched his life at that point in such a negative way.

Just shy of two years passed and I had cut him entirely out of my life. I thought about him almost every day. And at night the pain would become unbearable at times. I wanted to forget about him and to stop loving him but I was incapable of such actions. Finally, I came to the realization that the man I believed God had made for me was him…and that I had thrown him away. I broke down, I cried and screamed. I journaled and talked in therapy. I went to God and I begged for further enlightenment and growth. I grew and learned and grew more. After nearly two years, learning to love and respect myself and realizing that my happiness didn’t have to be based off of someone else I gathered the courage to contact him.

I was terrified, actually when we were on the phone my pulse was about 210 beats per minute. It was a scary situation, but it felt right. All he said at first was: “You talk and I’ll listen”. We talked for a long time. We both cried, we laughed…pretty soon many more conversations were had and now…we are together. I finally see the things about myself that he saw years ago and I finally can say I love myself. Now…I know I deserve a good man, my very own prince charming. Yes, I do not need someone else to complete me, but having him in my life I feel as if everything in my universe is as it should be. I can say I have never been happier, healthier or stronger. He builds me up as I build him, we build ourselves individually as well as a couple. I love him and he loves me. We deserve each other and I promise you, you deserve your very own prince charming.

One of the greatest things about my man is that he is patient and understanding of my illnesses and healing journey. When he doesn’t understand, he asks and strives to learn. He is gentle and kind. Just last night I accidentally dropped a dish and it shattered on the floor. I felt the muscles in my body tense immediately, ready for punishment. This wasn’t because I thought he would hurt me, but because the way my mind has been wired to react when I have made a mistake. I had grown very accustomed to verbal and physical abuse as a punishment…even for something as innocent as breaking a dish. Immediately he said: “it’s okay, it was an accident. Let me help you clean it up!” he even asked me to let him do it so I wouldn’t accidentally cut myself on the shards. We cleaned up the mess in a few minutes and he softly reminded me that everything was okay. This, my friends, is how you deserve to be treated. So you broke a dish or forgot an appointment, or to pay a bill. It was an accident and you do not deserve to be met with anger, hostility or abuse of any kind.

You have every right to stop accepting unhealthy and abusive relationships. Don’t listen to the poison abusers have put into your mind. Try to get to the bottom of why you accept bad relationships and then rewire your brain. It’s  often a long and difficult process, but it is very possible! The day I began to know true happiness was the day I started loving myself and believing the truth…not the past. Now that I have gotten there, I am ready for a healthy, happy and supportive love. I know you will be too. It takes time. Don’t give up!

Zero tolerance taken too far.

Zero tolerance taken too far

 

Many schools and places of business have zero tolerance policies on things like weapons, drug and alcohol use and sexual harassment. Most of the time these policies are great and protect people from getting hurt. Have you ever wondered if any of these zero tolerance policies had any drawbacks or flaws? I admit I haven’t really thought about that until now. Just last week a friend of mine’s daughter was put in a very scary situation, but she remained strong, loving and brave. Another student, a friend of hers who is battling against self-harm had brought a razor to school and was using it on himself. Adrionna talked with him, urging him that this was not the way to cope and she took the razor from him. Immediately after she disposed of the razor in the trash. The next day at school Adrionna went to her guidance counselor and told the story of what happened with her friend. She was worried that if she didn’t come forward her friend may harm himself again or worse.

 

What do you think happened after this brave girl took an extra step to protect her friend? I thought that she would have been congratulated and that her friend would receive immediate help, but that is exactly opposite of what the school did. Adrionna was suspended from school and a hearing was held today March 20th, 2014 to determine if she would be expelled from Bayside Middle school. After the hearing today Adrionna’s mother was told that her suspension would end. Despite Adrionna being reinstated at school the school board told her she was wrong in her actions and would barely let her speak. I am more than appalled at her school’s policy and their actions towards a hero. It takes guts to speak up for what is right and even more to help someone in a scary situation. So often in our society the “standerby effect” takes place, where someone witnesses something bad happening but does nothing to help because they think: this isn’t my problem, someone else will help. This is a illogical and negligent way to think and because of it many people are assaulted, robbed and even killed because everyone around failed to act. Adrionna is nothing short of a hero and this world needs more people like her.

 

If you would like to help Adrionna and would like to show the Virginia Beach school system they need to change their flawed policies please write to: mike.mcgee@vbschools.com and tell her school how you feel about all of this. It doesn’t matter if you live in Virginia or not, I am certain her school is not the only school with flawed policies. Please protect Adrionna and all other students! If you would like to read more on her story you can read it many places now!!! Here are just a few links:

http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/2014/03/20/us-girl-says-she-was-suspended-for-stopping-cutter

 

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/20/va-middle-schooler-suspended-confiscating-razor-se/#.Uysgpz9E2cg.facebook

 

http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2014/03/20/Virginia-girl-suspended-for-taking-self-harming-classmates-razor/3851395334419/?spt=su

 

http://wavy.com/2014/03/19/student-suspended-for-taking-razor-from-self-harming-classmate/

 

If Adrionna’s story is not enough to convince you that this is a national problem please check this link out: http://famous101.com/famous-cases-of-zero-tolerance-in-schools-failing-miserably

 

I love Adrionna and her family very much, they have been there for me in some of the darkest times of my life and I hope that we can all be there for her and her family now! Please let Adrionna be an example of what to do in a situation like this. If you ever see or hear of someone who is in this much pain that they are struggling with self-harm please don’t look away. Please help them immediately! I hope and pray that the boy Adrionna helped is now receiving the care and help he needs to overcome this horrible assailant called self-harm, and if you are reading-you can do this! You are not alone, you are strong and wonderful and you deserve good things. There are many people who can relate to you and who will help you through the healing journey. Here are some resources to help anyone who is battling self-harm:

 

http://twloha.com/

http://www.fortrefuge.com/

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/self-harm/#.Uyua6_ldWSo

http://www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help/Facts—Information/Self-harm/Self-harm

http://www.selfinjury.com/

http://www.stepchat.com/

 

The last link, stepchat is a wonderful site where you can attend many different 12 step meetings online. One of my favorites is SMA, this is a 12 step program that helps people who self-harm.

 

Stay strong warriors and warrioresses! I love each and every one of you and we will heal a little more everyday as long as we never give up the fight.

Affirmation Cards

In a few of my previous posts I’ve talked briefly about affirmation card and the many benefits. I’m really happy that I started making and using them a few years ago after a friend of mine suggested them. They were key in me healing and becoming able to say I love and respect myself. Affirmation cards can be about anything negative in your life that you are trying to change into a positive. They can be for addiction, depression, anxiety, anger, eating disorders and so much more. You can tailor them to tie into your spiritual or religious beliefs or leave that out if you are not spiritual/religious. 

One thing I tell everyone is, give them time and use them once a day while looking at yourself in a mirror. It can be scary at first, embarrassing or a little painful. I remember when I first started them I wanted to throw up saying such nice things about myself, but after a week I started to look forward to doing it. Now I completely believe the ones I have worked on. “I am beautiful”, “I don’t need to be in a romantic relationship to be happy”, and “I deserve happiness” are three of the cards I have used, and still use the most. 

I decided to start making affirmation cards and dress them up with flower embellishments and brads. I have an Etsy shop and try to tailor the art I sell from my shop towards healing and recovery. I finally have some up! If you’d like to take a look you can find my shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ValkyrieAesthetics

Have you ever used affirmation cards? If so, what are some of your favorites? If not, would you like to try them? Thank you for reading!!!!

The victim-blaming pandemic.

The victim-blaming pandemic.

“She must like the abuse”

“She was asking for it dressed like that”

“Why didn’t you just leave?”

“Why didn’t you fight back?”

“Maybe if you hadn’t drank so much, he wouldn’t have raped you.”

 

REALLY? I mean…really people? These are just a few of common victim-blaming statements I have either heard personally or seen online, on people’s Facebook accounts, etc. This behavior is insane! It has come to my full attention that victim-blaming is not just a social media or occasional problem. This is a deadly pandemic.

Blaming victims instead of their abusers does a significant amount of harm in many ways. In my personal experience, after hearing “why didn’t you just leave” and “why didn’t you fight back” I withdrew into myself, became more depressed than I already was, blamed myself further and eventually attempted suicide. I attempted to take my own life…that is how much power their words held. (And I am not alone, millions of people go through this every day). The victim-blaming that was put on me also caused me to not pursue justice against the men who did unspeakable things to me against my will. Obviously, years later, I have found the strength to change my mind, but the sad truth is waiting even a few weeks after destroys evidence and chances of conviction. Sometimes it’s not possible to prosecute your attacker, please know I am not getting down on anyone who hasn’t, but if at all possible, please try. At least try. I wish that I had of immediately. Placing the blame on the victims also empowers all perpetrators to continue hurting others, but also to further “justify” their actions. People who rape, beat and abuse others tend to have severe mental health issues such as narcissistic personality disorder (just to name one). Although I am not a psychiatrist, I have experienced people like this throughout my life. These people truly believe they can do no wrong. It is so dangerous for victim-blaming behavior to strengthen their belief that what they did is not wrong.

 

Here is a link to several public service announcements that were eventually discontinued due to their victim-blaming nature. Several of them implied that women wouldn’t be raped if they would just drink sensibly.

http://www.businessinsider.com/anti-rape-psas-that-blame-the-victim-2013-3#

 

Good sources for more on why victim-blaming is a pandemic that needs to be stopped NOW:

http://www.decision-making-confidence.com/victim-blaming.html

http://www.care2.com/causes/5-instances-of-victim-blaming-that-will-make-you-want-to-scream.html

 

                I absolutely recommend that everyone read this brave woman’s story. I stumbled upon her story here: http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/02/im-a-victim-blamer-but-only-when-the-victim-was-me/

Please know that it can be triggering, but her story (like many others) helps me to not feel alone, and to be reminded again that nothing that happened to me was my fault and I have every right to have justice and closure and to move the hell on with my life. Her story also brings up another great point that I didn’t even touch upon. Gender does not matter here and neither does sexual orientation. Perpetrators come in all genders, sexual orientations, colors, sizes, occupations, religions, everything. I don’t give a shit if you are white, black, Asian, southern Baptist, catholic, atheist, male, female, straight, pansexual or whatever…you have no right to touch me, make lewd comments to me, kiss me, or anything else without my consent. Your religion or lack thereof does not justify your actions. Nothing does. It is wrong, PERIOD.

 

There is a large portion of the world’s population (America is no exception) that need to realize how poisonous, hateful and ignorant their views on victims are. Victims of violence no matter if it’s sexual, verbal, psychological or physical do not volunteer or deserve their abuse. Victims of violence also do not deserve to be blamed by the public and made out to be sluts. Comments like “why didn’t you just leave?”, “why didn’t you fight back?” and my personal favorite: “your outfit invited it” are pure asinine and hateful. No one can truly understand why someone didn’t “just leave” or “fight back” until they are placed in a situation people like I have survived. One very common reason people like me didn’t “just leave” or “fight back” was straight up fear. Until you know what it is like to be threatened with death, torture or the death of loved ones if you leave or fight back…you have no opinion. I like many others was a victim NOT A VOLUNTEER of severe, brutal, cold-blooded torture and abuse that damaged me in ways that will never be reversible. Yes, I was a victim. My past is NOT my fault, nor will it ever be. But the beauty is…my present and my future are mine and I will not let anyone take it from me. Now that I am on my journey of healing I have taken responsibility of my future and it will be a great one. Please, I urge everyone reading this to take inventory of themselves especially if you have ever found yourself blaming the victim and not the perpetrator…please see how cruel, hurtful and wrong these views are…and most importantly, see that these beliefs (especially when made public) allow the abuse, assault and violence to not only continue…but to thrive.

 

You will not steal my future and a special shout out to victim-blamers

**Before I write this post I just want to remind all of my readers that the content can be highly triggering, especially if you’ve been a victim of SA in the past, please be sure you are grounded before you read. I don’t want anything written to hurt, only to heal**

As survivors of trauma and multiple trauma we often live in fear, even when we do everything we can to break free of it. For the most part, I don’t live in fear anymore, however, that doesn’t mean that I am no longer hyper vigilant, stressed out, anxious and still very often brought to my knees by a panic attack. Yes I have been making great strides, but even yesterday I had a full blown panic attack in a Meijer supermarket and had to rush home. I still make sure that I have something in hand while in parking lots or walking up to my door in case someone were to attack me. I still suffer from vivid and horrific nightmares that have me drenched in sweat when I wake. I still have days where it is very difficult to shake the fear that it’s not over. Despite all of that, I am happy, I am hopeful and I am now pursuing justice.

I have many abusers and for a long time this made me very ashamed. It also made me feel that there was something terribly wrong with me and that I must have deserved each and every trauma. This is wrong. It is never the victim’s fault that they were hurt. I don’t care what anyone says, it doesn’t matter what the person was wearing, what time it was, where they were…none of that matters. Someone decided to do something horrible, to take something from me that they had no business taking. Just because a bakery puts their pastries and cakes in the window of their shop doesn’t mean someone has a right to smash in the window and take what they see. It may sound like a stupid analogy, but there are many people around the world who believe if a woman or man dresses provocatively they deserve to be sexually assaulted. Maybe this simple analogy will get to their simple minds. The victim did not ask to be hurt, the perpetrator is the one at fault and should be harshly punished.

I was first sexually assaulted at four years old. My childhood was ripped from me before I even had a chance to have one. Many years and details of my past are gone because they were traumatic and another one of my personalities took the abuse for me so that we, as a whole, could survive. My past was Hell and was robbed from me. I want to take a moment to again, point out to the victim-blamers out there that victims did not volunteer for their abuse, they did not ask for it, they did not invite it. In no way did the four year old little girl I was ask or deserve the horrific things that happened to me. As a young adult, the many times I was touched, kissed, groped, raped, sodomized and beaten in no way did I volunteer or ask for it. I am so angry, no, rageful when I hear people say that a victim asked for it because of what they were wearing or where they were or the infamous “why didn’t you just leave”? You cannot understand until you have been there.

My present is very complicated. Monetarily I struggle, I struggle with my appeal to the Veterans Administration for an increase in the disability for PTSD. I am anxious every day, some days I cope with it using meditation, playing with my children, deep breathing, writing and art. Other days it is impossible for me to find relief without medication. I am currently pursuing justice pertaining to four of my abusers. This has been a giant trigger and it has been responsible for my sudden increase in fear of leaving the house. In the past few years I have made great progress in getting myself out of the house, but currently I am usually choosing to stay indoors where I feel safe. I will get back to where I was, but for now I need to be gentle and patient with myself. This is a very difficult and scary time, but it is not the end. My present is also exciting. Despite the anxiety and stress of money, job, school stuff, I have two wonderful children I love more than anything and I get the privilege of taking care of them, loving them and watching them grow. I also know that with hard work I will be successful with my art.

My future…all I can say is, it is mine. No one else’s. I have lived in the dark, in the deepest pits of Hell one could experience due to fear. It is time that I get out and live a fear-free, healthy, happy life. I think it’s about damn time my abusers are the ones who have to live in fear. I will no longer stay quiet. I am taking responsibility of my present and future.

Whatever horrible things happened to you in your past, they were not your fault and they are not your fault now. You are not responsible for your past, the people who harmed you and failed to protect you…that is on them. You were a victim. But now in your present, looking forward to your future…please know that those are your responsibility. This is the key to making the transformation from victim to survivor. Take control of your life now, heal, stand up for yourself and refuse to let anyone else run your life any longer. Have an addiction due to the horrors of your past? Tell addiction to go fuck itself and allow yourself treatment (I apologize to anyone offended by my foul language at times, sometimes I feel strong language has its place). I have a particularly strong loathing for addiction. Please love and respect yourself enough to take your life back and live it! I promise you…life as a survivor is MUCH better than life as a victim.

Just as a reminder, RAINN is an amazing organization who is there for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. You can reach them at: http://www.rainn.org/ or call them at: 1-800-656-4673. Everything is confidential.

Please seriously consider prosecuting your abusers. I know this is a tall order I am asking of you…I know it’s terrifying. I am in it actively right this very moment as I type these words. But please know that it will set you free, and it will ensure those sick people will never harm you or another person ever again. You are not alone in this fight! Even if you don’t have family or friends to support you, please know that I care and I will support you.

As always, I am proud of you, I congratulate you on another day, and I love you. Every day we are one step closer to where we want to be. Let’s do this together.

Your battle-buddy, Dandi.Image