Tag Archives: trauma recovery

Breaking the silence.

The first account of abuse I can remember today was at age four. I was an innocent, happy, loving and gentle four year old that was in love with being alive. I was abused physically, emotionally, and sexually. No one deserves abuse, especially a child. As I grew up, I was victimized again and again and again. Every single time the perpetrator was someone I knew, usually a family member or friend. Having more than one abuser strengthened the lie I was told that I was bad, dirty and deserved what was happening to me. I began to believe that I was born to suffer and be beat and broken. I made friends with people who took advantage of me, I stayed around family members who hurt me and I picked lovers who tortured me. For a long time I have kept secrets…secrets of my abusers. Why did I do this? Because I was afraid to die. I was afraid that one, several or all of my abusers would track me down and kill me. If you need a second reason…it was also because I was afraid of what this harsh world often thinks of victims. That they must have deserved what happened to them.

I was told that they loved me. I was told that they cared, and this was how people who loved each other proved it. I was told that I was bad. I was told I was a slut. I was told that I was a piece of trash. I was told no one would believe me. I was told if I struggled I would be killed…or my family would be. I was told that a husband could not rape his wife. I was told many sick lies. Do you see what I just said? LIES. I was told LIES. abusers lie to their victims to induce deep and paralyzing fear. They do this to ensure you will keep THEIR nasty secret. You are innocent, you are clean and beautiful and worthy and do not deserve to be harmed. The brainwashing sets in fast, but you can reverse it.

Today was one of the most difficult days of my life. I wanted to write this short entry to tell you that. Today I struggled bad. Today I drove myself to a city where many horrible things were done to me that changed me forever. I went to the police station and it just so happened to be across the street from one of the locations of the abuse. It was hard…no it was VERY hard. I took a deep breath in the car and I looked at myself in the mirror of my visor and said out loud: I am doing the right thing. I walked in and I retold the abuse that spanned many months to a police officer. She took my statement and she comforted me. I was blown away by how well she was trained for this. She knew that I would second guess myself, that I would become fearful and sick. She knew that I would hear the lies in my head and want to dart for the door. She reassured me and helped reorient me. I am very thankful for the people behind the scenes in this process…you know who you are (if you ever read this) and I am very thankful for the friends who support me when I’m strong, and more importantly support me when I am struggling to hold on. I always say…there is nothing wrong with having help. When a storm comes the captain needs more men to help on the ship. Get the help you need, keep your eye on the goal and hold fast.

I know that coming forward and breaking the silence is extremely painful and scary. The thought of it even can induce pain and panic. I strongly believe this is one of the hardest things a human being can go through…but it is possible and in most cases it helps a lot. I can tell you that I feel great relief and confidence already. I am still scared, but I am no longer ruled by my fear. It took me 26 years to get here, so be gentle with yourself. This takes time. I still have many many many more miles to go. I just want you to know there is hope, help and healing. You don’t have to live in the darkness anymore, afraid to live your life. It is them that should live in fear, not you. You aren’t alone, I am with you! I love all of you.

Your friend, Dandi

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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.

 

Sasha, the love of my life.

It’s almost my son’s second birthday and I feel that this is a great time to write about him and what he does for me. Before I got pregnant with my son I was a very different person. I was deeply depressed, anxious and I hated a lot of things about myself, but couldn’t find the strength to change. I allowed my life circumstances to control me and get me very far down. I was still drinking a lot and had relapsed with drugs again. I knew I was relapsing, I just felt like I didn’t have anything worth living for, so why was it so bad to continue my addict ways? I didn’t have much family.

I loved the man I was with very much, but unfortunately, he was suffering very deeply inside just as I was, so we were keeping each other in a very dark and unhealthy place. In November of 2010 I found out I was pregnant with his baby. At first I was really scared and worried that his Dad would leave. I have been abandoned all my life, so that was my first reaction to everything back then. I had been pregnant once before when I had been married to a very abusive, cold man and I lost the baby very early on. The loss of my baby was very hard to deal with for a long time, so this was yet another reason why I feared being pregnant. I couldn’t take losing this baby. I quit drinking and smoking immediately and cold turkey, and I had quit drugs months before.

The more I thought about this little life growing inside of me the more I realized I loved this little baby more than anything. I told my boyfriend the news. He did not take it well at first, and for several months he struggled with the idea of me keeping the baby. I finally told him, there is no choice for me, this baby was placed in my life and I am not doing anything to change that. He attended natural birthing classes with me and suddenly our relationship became deeper, stronger and a bit more healthy. We both were finally on the same page and were anxiously awaiting our sweet little boy to be born. Even before I birthed him, my son brought me peace and hope, two concepts that I had once given up on and once he was born he only did more for me.

I tell everyone now, “if you don’t have kids and you claim you know exactly what deep unconditional love is…you’re probably wrong.” I seriously mean this. When Sasha was born, I learned exactly what love was and felt like. I realized, this little baby in my arms…I would die for him, I would kill for him, I would do everything in my power to protect, love and nurture him and make sure that every day of his life is incredible. Everything I do in life is for him, including make myself a better, happier and healthier person. My baby deserves it, and so do I. He is the most wonderful person I have ever been blessed to meet or even know of.

Now I live everyday wanting to do nothing but be the best Mom I can possibly be, the best me I can be, and make a very happy, exciting and healthy life for us. I wanted to write this, not just in honor of my little love, but to tell others something very important. If you are at a place in your life where you just can’t justify holding on for yourself, find someone else to live for until you can. But do not let this be your reality forever. This is meant to be temporary…until you CAN live for you. Basing your happiness off of another person is not only dangerous, it puts immense, unfair stress on that person. Work to love and respect yourself…and live for you!

I keep seeing this quote, “I gave him life, and he gave me a reason to live”. That is exactly what Sasha and I have done for each other. If it weren’t for him, I may have given up and would have been dead three years ago. Thank the Gods for my little boy and every day that I get to be his Mommy. I can’t wait to live every day, experiencing life with him. Hold tight to your babies and love them sweetly!

The problem with misdiagnosis.

When I was in high school I took Psychology as well as AP Psychology and only heard of the concept of over diagnosing. Oddly, I don’t remember any talk of misdiagnosis. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is a huge problem and I am one of the many people it has affected. When I was first entered into the lovely mental health system at 19 I was given a series of tests to try and help my psychiatrist and therapists pin point what exactly was wrong with me. One of the tests I was given was the MMPI-2. MMPI stands for Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and it is comprised of 567 questions. After I took the MMPI-2, it was “scored” and then told the results I was so upset, angry, confused and anxious. They told me that my answers made no sense, that I contradicted myself and that I must have been trying to throw them off. It hurt deeply. I wanted answers more deeply than they ever would, why the Hell would I make up my answers? I was given more tests that I don’t really remember and was diagnosed with the following at different times: Major depression disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, OCD, Paranoid Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Agoraphobia, Dependent Personality Disorder and Bipolar…..just to name the ones I can remember. 

After the hurt passed I realized that I could only remember a few questions on the test…and only answering those, the rest of the time I spent taking that test I had absolutely no memory of. The questions I remembered answering were to the effect of: “do you hear voices that no one else hears?” and “do you ever feel like your body doesn’t belong to you”? It wasn’t clear to me until 2012 that alter personalities inside of me were taking the majority of the test, hense why the doctors thought I made up the answers. My current therapist said exactly what I thought…if my MMPI-2 results were so contradicting, they should have immediately administered the DES.

The DES stands for Dissociative Experiences Scale. This test is to help diagnose dissociative disorders such as Dissociative Identity Disorder, which I have been diagnosed with and I know that I finally have the right diagnosis. My therapist explained to me that when someone takes a test such as the MMPI-2 and gets results like mine it is a extremely high indicator that the person suffers from a dissociative disorder. It really makes sense, you’re taking this test, everyone inside of you wants a say, it’s a highly stressful situation and triggering test so obviously, if you’re DID you are going to be “switching” during the test. Switching is the term for when someone with DID switches from one alter or personality to another.

Due to my 23 years of being misdiagnosed I suffered a lot. I was given drugs that didn’t help and actually made me worse, gain weight and hate my life more, put into psychiatric hospitals simply because no one knew what to do with me and be treated less than human. This is a serious problem. Misdiagnosis is causing many people all over the world to suffer, and in some cases completely give up the fight for healing.

I would like to show another specific example of misdiagnosis with you. I took three diagnostic quizzes online for a Dissociative Disorder, Bipolar and Schizophrenia. For the DES I got a score of 91 which indicates that I no shit have a dissociative disorder, a 101 on the Schizophrenia quiz which means that by their standards I’m Schizophrenic, and the Bipolar test came out at 50, which was well over the numbers that someone without Bipolar would get as a result. This, to me is very obvious that misdiagnosis occurs easily.

In saying all of this, please, if you receive a diagnosis that just doesn’t feel right to you open your mouth. Get a second opinion, a third, a fourth…whatever it takes. It took me over fifteen therapist and psychiatrists to finally get answers that were correct. You deserve to know what is happening and how to treat your condition so that you can heal and get your life on track. Be your own advocate, don’t rely on the doctor to know exactly what is going on or what is best for you. Sometimes you find great ones, and sometimes you find horrible ones. Whatever you do, don’t give up on finding answers so that you can carry on.

 

New and improved Journey out of the abyss Facebook page.

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to drop in and let everyone know that I have opened a new and improved Facebook page for Journey out of the abyss. Feel free to like, comment, email, post away!! I would love to start a support network! The link is: https://www.facebook.com/JourneyOutOfTheAbyss

Take care til next time my friends!

~Dandi