Tag Archives: CSA survivor

I Am Only Me; Feeling Triggered by You


I’ve struggled for the past week and change over whether to post this. I started writing it the day after elections, because I felt as if, like the girl in the image, that my mouth had been sewn shut. (I REALLY needed my therapy session last week.) I rarely engaged in any political discussions throughout the election process, and refused to “unfriend” or stop talking to anyone who supported a different candidate. But felt that if I spoke my mind the way others did, those others wouldn’t be so understanding of my opinions, which differed from their own. But this is MY blog, MY platform. If I don’t feel free to express myself HERE, then I might as well shut down the site, because I will have allowed others to silence me. And that, I cannot allow. I must be true to ME.

I did a lot of research and soul-searching and praying over the final candidates. I believed (and still do) that neither of them were/are the best our country has to offer for its highest office. But I weighed my beliefs and convictions against their platforms, connections and histories, and made my decision. And I stand by it, though it may cause conflict. Even now, as I type this, my heart pounds, my hands shake and anxiety fills me, as I agonize over the effects this post will have. About half of my “friends” and connections are liberal; I’m conservative. Not ultra-conservative (after all, I believe that prostitution should be legalized and voted for medical marijuana in my state…pretty sure that puts me more toward center field), but moderately so. I’m tolerant of views not my own, even if I don’t agree or understand them, and try to be open-minded. I hope you’ve gotten to know me well enough to lend me the same courtesy.

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woman-1445917_1920

I am only me:

Jewish

Christian

white

female

woman

a survivor of child sex abuse

a writer

a poet

an editor

a traveler

conservative

lower middle-class

highly educated (multiple college degrees)

living with anxiety

and depression

and ocd.

 

I am only me:

a descendant of legal immigrants and indentured servants

a natural-born American citizen

prejudiced against illegals (why not come here LEGALLY? would YOU be happy if I snuck into YOUR country like a thief in the night and then tried to claim the same rights that YOU – a LEGAL citizen – enjoy?)

prejudiced against immigrants who refuse to assimilate and learn English – the official language of the U.S.A. (yes, keep your culture and language, but have some respect for your host country)

a mother

a single mother

of a son with ADHD, and ASD, and ODD

an American who believes in:

a strong and well-funded military

freedom of speech

freedom of the press

right to bear arms

innocent until proven guilty

protecting our borders against illegal immigration

a person who tries to make the best of things

a person who votes her conscience

rather than what the mainstream media tell her to vote

heterosexual, after choosing not to be homosexual or bisexual

open-minded

a loyal friend

tolerant, accepting of views not my own and people who do not look/dress/live like me

 

I am not:

mixed race

an illegal

Muslim

LGBTQ

black

liberal

poverty-stricken

a descendant of slaves.

I am not:

an advocate of abortion

a woman who has had an abortion (though one of my doctors advised that I should)

a skilled foreign worker (isn’t that what the EU is all about? why can’t we have the same restrictions here?)

hateful or a hater

racist

intolerant (unless you refuse to assimilate and learn English if you’re an immigrant to America – yes, keep your culture and language, but have some respect for your host country)

a degrader or a deplorable

a violent protestor

a fair-weather friend

xenophobic

homophobic

judgmental (unless you refuse to assimilate and learn English if you’re an immigrant to America – yes, keep your culture and language, but have some respect for your host country)

oppressive

offended by opinions, beliefs different from my own

 

I am only me:

am I of no value

because my opinions and beliefs

are different from yours?

I am only me:

afraid of speaking my truths

for fear of retribution

or losing networks and connections

 

I am only me

triggered

and oppressed

by your vitriol.

 

Where is my platform to speak my truths?
Where is the audience to hear my voice?

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Filed under Anxiety, Depression, Emotion, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Poetry, Politics, Real Life, sexual assault, Survivors

When Your First Kiss Causes a Full-Blown Panic Attack


By Ryan Moreno

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Ryan Moreno

Do first kisses usually cause panic attacks?

I don’t mean a heart-racing-weak-in-the-knees anticipation kind of feeling, either. I mean a full-blown, honest-to-God panic attack.

Thought I didn’t realize it at the time, mine did. The muscle memory is still with me. My heart is hammering my chest just from the memory. I remember the physical sensations, the thoughts that ran through my head and the emotional upheaval as clearly as if it’d happened only yesterday:

Sweat beaded my lip and brow, and ran its cool fingers down my spine. I was so flushed, my body was burning up. I hyperventilated and my heart beat so hard I thought it would jump out of my chest (due to a heart condition, when I’m having a panic attack, I can look down and literally SEE my heart pounding). It felt like I was on a roller coast (I LOVE roller coasters, but I didn’t love this one – it felt more like drowning), and the contents of my stomach were threatening imminent reappearance. This was my first kiss panic attack. I was 15.

It took him hours to wear me down. Maybe days. That part is kind of hazy. He was also 15, but either much more experienced or simply more confident than I. He was persistent and wore me down. That I was quite attracted to him might’ve helped to tip the scales in his favor. Even while we were kissing – French, of course 😉 – my heart ran a marathon. That fight or flight syndrome. I didn’t know what to do, how to handle the sensations running through me. I let him take the lead and he devoured me.

Kissing came easier after that. Until a few weeks later when I became uncomfortable with him slidding his hand up my skirt and attempting to fondle my breasts. He called me a prude. I’d never been called that before and had to find a dictionary. When I told my mother he’d called me a prude, she said I should be proud of that. At 15, I was just as uncomfortable with the idea of being a prude as I was with his hands on the covered parts of my body.

I don’t know if he really was looking to “score” or just wanted to fool around a little. After establishing my “prudishness,” he quickly lost interest. And I became a subtle stalker. I didn’t have the confidence to confront him, so I prank-called his house multiple times, wrote a lot of bad poetry, broke a few of my figurines, and cried. It wasn’t the first time – nor would it be the last – I cried over a male who didn’t deserve my tears.

I hated to say no to him…when I was younger I had that “want to please everyone” personality. I hated confrontation. It made me sick to my stomach. But at the same time, I was willful and stubborn. Great tug-o-war combo. I still sometimes struggle with wanting to make everyone else happy. But I’m less afraid of confrontation.

Something inside wouldn’t let me say yes to him…So I was a prude. Until I was 19. A guy I’d known for several years (my brother’s best friend, in fact), who was a couple years younger than me, said the right words, at the right time, and wooed me in just the right way…I let him in where another male hadn’t been since my CSA 15 years before (I talk about that HERE.) Eventually, this younger guy became abusive and the end of our relationship was a disaster and emotionally traumatic for me…but that’s another story for another time…

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Filed under Anxiety, Blogging, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Survivors, Writing

Guest Post: This is the Reason Writing Your Story Helps You Thrive by Rachel Thompson


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Milada Vigerova

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Milada Vigerova

I tell people right away that I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, but I didn’t used to. I held that shame and fear of judgment in tightly for years, a filmy veil of anxiety separating me from everyone else. I didn’t feel I could really get close to friends or even lovers, always holding back this ugly secret. If anyone saw the real me, the tainted, used me, they wouldn’t want to pursue any kind of relationship.

It’s a common mindset after trauma – to be in victim mode and not even realize it. Total nonsense, of course, because I’m awesome. Ha! But this is what shame tells you, one of many horrific stories we learn to believe.

Therapy and meds helped me a lot to overcome those lies, but the damage is incredibly deep, it never truly leaves us. I moved from victim to survivor, but it took a lot of work, and if I’m totally honest with you right now, I still argue with myself sometimes; I minimize, or tell myself that it could’ve been worse, which is just so incredibly fucked up. How much worse would it have to be? I was only 11 when a man stole away my childhood…and then he came back for more.

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Cathryn Lavery

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Cathryn Lavery

Eventually, I found the courage to write and share my story, despite the voices in my head telling me to shut the hell up, that nobody would care to read about yet another victim, that talking about something that happened 30-plus years ago would be seen by total strangers as a pathetic bid for attention (when truly, who cares? It’s my story, dammit, and I matter).

I moved beyond surviving into thriving. Writing, no publishing, my story, became such a huge part of my recovery, I truly had no idea the impact on so many others and myself.

That’s where I changed my paradigm and fooled that wretched little voice: I made friends with Shame. She’s been with me longer than almost anyone, and she has a lot to say, too. So, I let her speak, and Broken Pieces was born. I released it in 2013 and it’s still #1 on Amazon’s Women’s Poetry list, #2 on Women Authors, and Top 20 in all of Memoirs, which blows me away.

It’s won gosh, like 10 awards, but more importantly gave rise to a huge community of survivors, and that means more to me than anything else! #SexAbuseChat (every Tuesday at 6pm pst/9pm est) on Twitter with survivor and licensed therapist Bobbi Parish, the #NoMoreShame Project Anthologies (published by the Gravity Imprint of Booktrope), and a 100+ person strong private survivor support group I moderate on Facebook are all the result of that first book. So is the Gravity Imprint!

Broken Places followed in 2015, with more amazing reviews, awards, and top rankings. I’m writing the final Broken book now, Broken People, for a Winter release from Booktrope. Apparently, Shame still has more to say.

I’m still just as busy as ever with writing, business, publishing, my advocacy work for other survivors, and most importantly, being a mom. Beyond surviving, I’m now thriving, though with occasional triggers, I stumble my way back.

My kids vaguely know something bad happened when I was younger – my son will be 11 in September. He’s very protective of his mama, and I love that about him. I’m raising him to be respectful of all women, including his almost-17-year-old sister with whom he bickers constantly over the Xbox and Squeakers, our girl cat. He has a lot of females in the house to learn from!

The lessons are there, though, and that’s what matters; I tell them both often, “you get what you give, and you give what you get.” Give mad, get mad; give compassion, get compassion. Him: Give money, get money? Me: Welcome to Capitalism (and book marketing).

I survived, and now I thrive, because I give what I get.

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Rachel-Thompson1Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places (one of IndieReader’s “Best of 2015” top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope.

She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish. She is also the director of the Gravity Imprint for Booktrope, bringing stories of trauma and recovery (fiction and nonfiction) to life. Read more about the Gravity authors and their books here.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

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Filed under Anxiety, Blogging, Booktrope, Depression, Gravity Imprint, Guest Post, Life, Literary, Mental Health, Published, Survivors, Writing