April 22, 2010

A Tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt

Posted in recovery tagged , , , at 10:40 am by eddejae

Remember the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt? She was considered a very homely woman by anyone’s so-called,”beauty standards,”; she had a big nose, protruding teeth, a less than perfect figure, and frowsy hair. And yet that woman had high self-esteem because she loved herself. Beauty fades, but the qualities that made her special were her brillant mind, her compassion for others, her work to help the poor, and her striving to make the world a better place. She didn’t care what her “outside” looked like beecause she knew that it’s “inside” that counts and if that inside is superior, then NO ONE can make you feel inferior without your permission. DO NOT GIVE IN TO SUPERFICIAL MORES OF THE DAY!!~My Aunt Sue, another wise lady.

Quotes by Eleanor:

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a byproduct.

I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.

I can not believe that war is the best solution. No one won the last war, and no one will win the next war.

I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.

I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.

I’m so glad I never feel important, it does complicate life!

If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.

Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

The giving of love is an education in itself.

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”

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April 20, 2010

Never Good Enough

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:28 pm by eddejae

These videos hit close to home…

I don’t know whether to cry or be angry…

Or what.

It’s all so confusing to me still… I have yet to get to the point where I’m comfortable in my own skin.

It seems such a daunting goal.

Will I ever reach it? Will the negative self-talk ever go away? The self-loathing? The hiding?

And will society ever let women be real?

I don’t know…. I don’t know.

Video #1

This next video made me think of my sister, who’s 12. She’s very thin, but she has a slightly more curvy body shape than some of her friends who still have very “little girlish” bodies… So, she thinks she needs to lose weight. I’m afraid of her becoming obsessive about it. I’m afraid of her becoming like me.

I don’t think we realize how what we say to young girls can affect them for a lifetime and that they are likely to model the kind of behavior they see in women they look up to.

I’ve felt bad about my body since I was eight years old.

My goal was to be a prima ballerina. I went to ballets. I watched. I saw how skinny those beautiful ballerinas were – so skinny they were basically bone and skin.

I compared myself to them. And to the other little girls in my ballet classes.

I didn’t have an ounce of fat on me, but I had a very large rib cage that stuck out. It was just ribs and skin, but it created a bit of an odd shape. None of the other girls had ribs like that. So, I thought I was fat. Didn’t help that my ballet teacher emphasized again and again the importance of having a certain “look” to our future success as dancers.

If it’s not weight, it’s something else.

At ten, I was made fun of for having to wear glasses. Somehow that made me an unlovable “nerd.”

Through junior high, I was actually taunted for being “short.” Or rather, shortER than my other girl friends.

In high school, I was so self-conscious about my acne that I wouldn’t leave the house unless forced.

At 16, I became anorexic.

My dance teacher told me that my calves were too large.

I gained some weight in college, and finally went through puberty, which had been delayed by my eating disorder. People who knew me when I was 85 pounds would make snide remarks such as “Filled out have we?” which I interpreted as “Boy, you’re fat now!”

So, I became bulimic.

I could give you a hundred examples of the social pressure I’ve experienced to look a certain way. Now my sister is going through it. Friends, teachers, the media… You can’t go anywhere without being reminded that you are “imperfect” in some way.

It’s horribly destructive.

Video #2

Last one…Video #3

This last video made me cry….

That’s…

Me.

…Will it always be?

April 5, 2010

Self-Acceptance

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:27 pm by eddejae

Alright. I need to vent. Bear with me here…

I do stupid things. I’m a big dork. Sometimes I say the wrong thing. I make mistakes all of the time. I can be really lazy. I’m nowhere near the person I want to be yet. I am a complete scatterbrain. I don’t like going places by myself. I have a phobia of talking on the phone or answering the door. I get nervous around people. I jumble my words when I’m tired. I have to force myself to eat vegetables. I wear mismatched socks. Sometimes I wear my pajamas all day. I leave the cap off my toothpaste and squeeze it from the middle. I leave cupboards and drawers open. I’m clumsy, especially in heels. I get irritated with slow drivers. I’m addicted to sugar. I suck at small talk. I feel awkward most of the time. When I have to speak in front of people, my legs shake. Singing in front of people makes me physically ill. I don’t like my voice. I’m terribly self-conscious. I wear jeans two sizes too big for me with multiple holes because I have an irrational fear that any other jeans I try on won’t fit. I hate doing my hair so I usually put it in a ponytail. Doing the dishes grosses me out. I’m always losing things. It’s hard for me to recognize the good in myself. I’m a perfectionist. Sometimes I don’t eat enough or I eat way too much. Sometimes I fake being sick to get out of socially stressful situations.I can be a flake. I hate office jobs and I will never work in one again. I take pain killers every day. I always think people are looking at me. I haven’t gone swimming in years because I’m too self-conscious. I get bored with myself a lot. I think I’m addicted to caffeine. I didn’t learn to drive until I was 19. I studied all the time in college and barely had a social life. I wear the same shoes every day. I throw things when I’m angry. I’m pretty hard on myself. I wish I was more confident. I have a hard time believing people when they compliment me. I make stupid typos. I regret a lot of things. Sometimes I eat noodles with my fingers.

Now that I’ve subjected you to Edde’s Imperfections 101, I’m going to turn things around a bit and share a list of “Affirmations for Self-Acceptance” that I came across today. Check it out:

1.  I am worthy of love and respect regardless of others’ opinions or behavior.

2. My self worth is totally independent of how I compare to others.

3. My self worth is totally independent of any external factors.

4.  I am worthy of love and respect regardless of the results of my efforts.

5. I am worthy and will be loved even when others are being given more attention.  I am happy for others when they receive love and attention.

6. My self worth is within me and totally independent of whether I am loved exclusively by someone on or not.

7. I am worthy of love and respect even when I am not perfect in what I do and even when I make mistakes.

8. My self worth is totally independent of how much I accomplish.

9. I am worthy of love and respect even when I feel weak or needy.

10. My self worth is totally independent of whether others agree with me or satisfied with me.

11. I deserve love and respect even when I need to say “no” and not respond to what I am asked to do.

12. My self worth has nothing to do with how much I give or receive.

13. My self worth is totally independent as to whether some people trust me or open up to me or not.

14. My self worth is totally independent of how people behave towards me.

15. My self worth is totally independent of how much others work or how they  work or what they believe about me.

16.  My self worth is a reflection of my divine nature and not my gender, religion, social class etc.

17. My self worth is totally independent of whether others recognize it or how they feel towards me.

18. I accept and love myself as I am with my faults and weaknesses.

19. I am intelligent and capable enough to succeed in any endeavor which is important to me.

20.  I deserve to be loved and respected exactly as I am.

21. I have the inner power  and strength to deal with whatever life brings me.

22.  I am capable of handling any possible  difficulties which might occur.

23. I am beautiful exactly as I am – just as all aspects of nature.

24. I am a good person, a worthy person.

25. I am worthy of love and respect regardless of how others behave towards me.

26. I respect and love all persons without feeling any need whatsoever to live my life according to their beliefs or values. I live my life in harmony with my inner values and beliefs.

27.  I am in no way responsible for others people’s reality but only for my own motives and behavior towards them.

28. No else is responsible for my reality. I am totally responsible for what I feel and experience in life.

29. My self worth is based on my inner being, my existence itself, my inner divine nature and on no other external factors.

30. My self worth is a simple function of the fact that I am a unique aspect of divine creation. My self worth cannot be increased nor decreased. I can never be more or less worthy of love and respect than another.

31. Although I am not perfect and have various faults, I deserve to be loved and respected as I am, just I as I love and respect others with their faults.

32. When I do not love my self, I am not loving an aspect of divine creation.

33. I often accept in others traits which I reject in my self. Why?

34. I am in a process of personal evolution and am attending to that process.

35. All beings deserve my love and respect, including my self.

(These are adapted from the following link: http://www.holisticharmony.com/lcp/list/affirmations.html)

So there you go.

I’m me. And I’m myself. Any questions?

March 28, 2010

Empowerment

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:56 pm by eddejae

My therapist once gave me a list called “My Bill of Rights.” It was during a time when I was struggling with inappropriate guilt and lack of assertiveness in relationships. She said to keep a copy in my car, in my room, at work… Wherever I would see it often. I had actually forgotten all about it until the other day when I found it in a random pile of scrap paper. I still have a difficult time with some of these things, so it is good to be reminded.

MY BILL OF RIGHTS

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE TREATED WITH RESPECT.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY NO AND NOT FEEL GUILTY.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXPERIENCE AND EXPRESS MY FEELINGS.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE MY MIND.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR WHAT I WANT.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR INFORMATION.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE MISTAKES.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO LESS THAN I AM HUMANLY CAPABLE OF (seriously!)

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ACT IN WAYS THAT PROMOTE MY DIGNITY AND SELF-RESPECT AS LONG AS OTHERS ARE NOT VIOLATED IN THE PROCESS.

Virginia Satir said the following, which I think goes right along with the concept of our rights as individuals:

I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.

Empowering, no?

March 10, 2010

Burn Brightly

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , at 10:38 pm by eddejae

The smallest light illuminates every corner,

The tiniest spark pierces the night.

A gentle flame burns away the darkness,

A single star guides the lost towards the light.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
~Marianne Williamson

Keep shining.

March 9, 2010

The Girl in the Mirror

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , at 6:07 pm by eddejae

This poem was inspired mostly by my own struggles with self-perception, but also partly by a fellow blogger who is also dealing with similar issues. Writing this was a learning experience for me, and I hope maybe it will help her too.

I wake every morning,

And remember.

Stumbling to the mirror,

I blink, and blink again.

The image looking back at me

Begins to cry.

The tally commences –

One, two, three, four…

Up and down my arms.

Scars I hide beneath

My sleeves.

My hands move unbidden

And span across

My middle, my chest, my thighs.

I turn away in disgust.

Cover my shame, hide my guilt –

The baggy old sweatshirt again.

I will not let you see,

I will not let you know,

These outward testaments of

My inward pain.

Smiles and sleeves and diet pills,

One secret for each scar.

Would you understand?

Would you turn in disgust, as I?

Fear me, label me, judge me?

Look through harsher eyes?

Would you question me,

Or perhaps prefer ignorance?

If you only knew

The scars that are cut

Into something deeper then

Mere skin.

If you only knew

The extra weight I carry

Comes from nights when

Food was my

Only friend.

But I am scared to tell you.

These walls keep me distant,

Yet protected,

From those I dare not trust.

How long until these scars fade?

How long until my reflection

Smiles back –

Confident, unashamed?

Last night I had a dream.

Before the mirror I stood again.

I clenched my fists and shut my eyes.

I screamed –

At myself, my scars, my body, my mind –

“I hate you!”

Then I heard a voice, gentle and low,

From where it came, I could not tell.

“Look. Look again. Yet deeper.

And see what I see.”

Hesitantly, I uncover my face.

I blink, and blink again.

The image looking back at me,

Begins to cry –

“Nothings changed! The scars remain,

I cannot bear to look!”

The voice replied,

“In those eyes I see a depth,

An understanding born of pain.

In your walk, a maturity,

A knowledge born of suffering.

I look at your hands and see

Your struggle with the world.

Your arms, they’re strong,

From lifting burdens,

Some never yours to bear.

Your legs are powerful,

Carrying you forward despite

Winds that threaten

To tear you down.

You see flaws and imperfections.

You see someone undeserving of love.

I see a girl with battle wounds,

Inflicted in a war with

The pain and injustice of this world,

With her past, with her demons,

With herself.

I see a girl who wants to be loved.

I see a girl tired of the pain.

I see a girl trying to get through the day.

Who has not given up on this life.”

“I see someone destined for greatness,

With so much inside to give.

You see weakness, I see courage.

You see despair, I see promise.

You see ugliness, but I…

I see beauty born from within.”

I awoke from the dream that morning,

And forgot.

Stumbling to the mirror,

To repeat the painful ritual –

One, two, three, four…

Then suddenly, the voice from

My dream resounded in my ears…

I remembered.

And looked again.

And smiled…

My scars were beautiful.

March 1, 2010

Mad World, Part 2 – My Experience with Childhood Sexual Abuse

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:23 pm by eddejae

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post are very personal and the purpose of writing is it cathartic. While I do not intend to divulge any sordid details of my childhood experience with molestation, some things here may still be disturbing, and possibly triggering to someone who may have gone through something similar. However, I find it necessary to share that I may finally give a voice to what has been silent so many years.

The night after I talked with my therapist about my childhood, I went in my room, closed the door, and wrote everything I was feeling. I’m going to share part of that now, here.

January 28, 2010

I know I have to do this no matter how much it hurts. And it does hurt. Excruciatingly. Rooting up and exposing feelings I’ve suppressed and avoided for so long. But I have to do it if I’m ever going to heal and move on. If I’m ever going to get past the child mentality I’ve lived with my whole life, with all of the problems accompanying it.

Today in therapy we went back to when I was molested at 4 years old. My issues with my body and self-esteem stem largely from that. I wouldn’t say all of my issues, but the ones that have to do with my loathing for my own body, my deep down abhorrence for anything carnal or sexual, my disgust with my own physicality and the physicality of others. My feeling of victimization and lack of control. My lack of assertiveness. The shame and guilt that plague every waking (and sleeping) moment.

Until that moment, I had no idea that I shouldn’t be trusting of people. No idea that people could and would take advantage me. I know why I feel guilty. I feel guilty because I still believe it was partly my fault. No, I didn’t force his hand… I didn’t even know that was a possibility. But I’m the one who shut the door. I shut the door. I asked him to read to me. I sat in his lap. I got close. I set up the situation to be hurt. Innocent as I was, trusting as I was, I set up the perfect circumstances for him to hurt me. And I hate myself for that. Even at four years old, shouldn’t I have known better? Shouldn’t a gut instinct have told me to do otherwise, to protect myself? No. I didn’t have that. I was four years old. I had only been in the world four short years. How was I to know what perverseness and evil lurked? Especially in someone who had gained my trust, who I looked up to as a brother? I couldn’t even fathom that anyone would hurt me. I didn’t know anything but how to trust. And still I am plagued by that voice that says “You should have known, you should have stopped.” You should have stopped him. Why didn’t you scream? Why didn’t you run away? I think I might have said “What are you doing?” I just watched it happen and didn’t protest. I didn’t understand what was happening. What was he doing? Why? Did I even feel it was wrong then? Or only later, when I had time to think about it? I must have felt something was wrong about it, or I wouldn’t have told my parents later. Why didn’t I do something about it then? And after it was over, his reaction to me? “Ew. Gross.” And that is how I have felt about my body since. Ew. Gross.

He was reading out loud to me, holding me, being nice and then… that. And then, “Time for ice cream!” And I was off. Like it never happened. Either I hadn’t processed it yet, or it was too much for me to deal with in the moment. And then when I did deal with it, when I told my parents, I pretended like it was all a big joke. When they confronted him, it was a big joke. I think I did that because I knew it would hurt my mom, and I didn’t want to see or feel her hurt and pain and disappointment. I was making her hurt. So I was going to act like it didn’t bother me. It didn’t affect me. It didn’t change me. It was just something that happened. And I had to tell her and dad because… well, didn’t I have something to do with it? I must have felt responsible, I must have felt guilty, or I wouldn’t have said anything. It was my need to confess. A confession. Mommy. Daddy. He touched me. I’m sorry. I know that even at that young age I blamed myself. I was very smart and, by looking back, I could see how I could have stopped it from happening. Ever since then, I have been paranoid about being in rooms with people with the door closed, no matter who they are. I feel it’s fundamentally wrong. And you don’t sit on boys laps. And you don’t let anyone touch you. And you don’t trust men. You should have known better.

Then came the question of why? At that age, I couldn’t understand why someone would do that unless I did something to deserve it. I must have brought it on somehow. And I would punish myself for it. And anything else that I perceived as my fault. Or any thought that was dirty. Or any behavior that was sinful. Punish yourself, exonerate yourself, get rid of the shame. But the shame and the guilt never go away. And the things to punish yourself for never go away either. The list keeps building and building, and yet you’re not finished clearing yourself of the previous “sin” yet. One on top of the other. Loads and loads on your back. Crowding your heart, your mind, to the point where you can’t breathe because of the pain, the ultimate pain caused by guilt and shame.

I repeat that exact same scenario over and over and over again. I set up the situation. And I let it happen. Give up my power. A compulsion to repeat the trauma. Again and again. More to punish myself for. Building up and building up.

To the point where I’m ready to end my life.

I hate my body. I hate everything to do with sex. I hate my sexuality. I hate men. I hate being close. I hate intimacy. Or rather, the inability to have it.I hate myself for the things that I have done.

I hated myself at 6 and 7 for allowing the victimization again, this time with my cousins acting out their own sexual trauma on me.  I hated myself at 10, when, after 3 years of suppressing the guilt, trying to punish myself and redeem myself from what I had done. I hated myself at 12 for the sexual thoughts that plagued me. Even acknowledging body parts filled me with disgust. Imagining naked bodies filled me with horror. I punished myself. I was racked with guilt and torment. I trained myself to push away those thoughts. I had to, or I would have died of utter shame and self-hatred. I kept that up for 8 years. Even now, sometimes I wake up at night, with just one old plaguing thought, and a wave of shame washes over me once again. And I push it away. I can’t feel that again. But it comes back in other ways. I do whatever I can to avoid it… Even if it means desensitizing myself to it. And so life becomes a game of “How far can I make myself go?” My body and sex disgusts me. So I’ve forced myself to desensitize my mind and body to it. So I don’t react with so much shame and guilt. Now I don’t care. I don’t care what happens to my body. I hate it. It is merely a tool of destruction. I use myself to destroy myself. And to repeat the trauma because… well, don’t I deserve it, especially now? Haven’t I asked for it?

I’ve asked for it. Bottom line. I felt like I asked for it at four, though I really hadn’t. So let me recreate the situation and then, for real, ASK FOR IT. There. I’ve made an illogical feeling an actual reality. Now I DO deserve it. Now the confusion is gone. You’re hurting me because I’ve set up the situation for you to. See? I’m in control now. I’m hurting MYSELF. You’re not hurting me. I’m doing it myself…. Who is hurting who now? Are you hurting me? Who are you anyways? And why are you doing this to me? Oh,  I must deserve it. I must have done something wrong… Oh I DID do something wrong. I came here. I closed the door. Brain turns off, victimization mentality kicks in. I don’t want this. I don’t want you to do this. I hate this. I don’t want you to see my body or touch it. Are you going to say “ew. Gross” too? Are you? If you won’t, I will. I’m apologizing for my body. I’m thinking, I’m too fat. I’m too this. I’m too that. I’m not good enough. Nothing you can say will make me think otherwise. Go away. Leave me alone. Don’t touch me. Please.

As a young child, I couldn’t understand the things my body felt and did. And I hated it. I couldn’t understand this THING I was living in that wasn’t me, but controlled me. That others could so easily control.

At some point I disconnected myself from my body. I wasn’t my body, my body wasn’t me. As such, I stopped responding to its needs and it stopped responding to mine. I think that finally happened after I broke my collarbone at 15 and for a while, lost control of it completely. That was the last straw. I have been disconnected ever since. No wonder I feel outside of myself, looking in. I’m watching myself do things, never fully part of what I’m experiencing. My mind is out here somewhere, my body is down there, being stupid as usual.

I wish I liked myself. I wish I felt like an integrated, whole person. I wish I was comfortable with my body in all its physicality and sexuality. I wish I was comfortable with the physical presence of others. I wish I was ok with being touched and being close. I wish didn’t loathe myself. I wish I cared about my health and well-being. I wish I could stop taking out my anger and hatred on myself.

It’s almost as if I resent my body. Maybe if I hadn’t been so small and vulnerable, if I hadn’t been so cute and pretty, this wouldn’t have happened. Even now I think, if people didn’t think I was so pretty, if men didn’t find me attractive, they wouldn’t touch me. Yet, at the same time, I don’t believe I am pretty or attractive. I hate it when men give me compliments. They make me feel like, once again, I’m just a body that can be used and objectified regardless of how it may make me feel.

A body. That’s all I am. Something I loathe so greatly. That’s all I am. No wonder I disconnect myself. I’m split. There’s my body. Then there’s my mind. Then there’s this in between place where everything is lost and dark and confused. Where’s… ME? Lost in some kind of strange limbo and I don’t know exactly where she is, where she fits in, where my body and mind play into her being. I feel like a hollow shell. Nothing filling me up inside. That thing that should be filling the space should be ME, but I don’t know who she is or where she is. There is this empty shell. Then there’s my mind, hovering. Then… me… where?

Even now I’m still in denial, trying to downplay what happened as a child so I can PROVE once and for all that all these things I’m going through are MY fault and in no way connected to those experiences. I keep thinking “Oh, you’re making this seem worse than it really is.” Or “This happens to lots of kids.” Or “You’re going to start using this as an excuse now, are you?” Even now in my mind I’m making excuses for him, astonishingly Downplay. Downplay. Downplay…

Since I wrote that, I have come to terms with the fact that the abuse I experienced did, in fact, affect me and some of the symptoms I deal with today. I have accepted that it was NOT MY FAULT. I realize that there is no need to feel such guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Now, knowing this intellectually and knowing this emotionally are two very different things. I have developed habitual ways of thinking about myself that are hard to break, but I am getting closer. I can now talk about and face what I experienced. I have allowed myself to bring everything out in the open. No more secrets. And I can recognize that those negative thoughts about myself are not warranted, that I do not deserve to feel that way. It will still be a while before I can truly feel wonderful about myself, but at least I know that I don’t need to feel this way. I don’t need to keep punishing myself for something I had no control over, and that I don’t need to repeat the trauma.

I’m starting to learn how to love myself and my body again. And to stop hurting it. It is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do, but I’m determined to do it. I want to know what it feels like to have high self-respect, what it feels like to love myself. Someday…

Mad World, Part 1 – My Experience with Childhood Sexual Abuse

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:18 pm by eddejae

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post are very personal and the purpose of writing is it cathartic. While I do not intend to divulge any sordid details of my childhood experience with molestation, some things here may still be disturbing, and possibly triggering to someone who may have gone through something similar. However, I find it necessary to share that I may finally give a voice to what has been silent so many years.

A few weeks ago in a session with my therapist, I talked about what had happened to me at 4 years old for the first time in 19 years. No one but my parents knew about it. In fact, I hadn’t talked about it with my parents at all since the incident occurred. Now, finally, I felt that I could finally let out the thoughts, feelings, and fears that I had kept in so long. As I did so, the “whys” started to come to light and things began to click. With the help of my therapist, I started to understand the root cause of my self-hatred, skewed body image, and victimization behavior. It all went back to the sexual abuse I experienced as a child, which was not limited to the experience at 4 years old, but continued in various forms and by various individuals until I was about 8 years old. I began to understand my lingering disgust with my body and with sex. I began to understand why I was continually being taken advantage of by similarly abusive men during my college years and my lack of empowerment and sense of control.

After my meeting, all I could do was cry. I had unearthed so many emotions that had been buried beneath the surface for years but that had exerted a tremendously powerful force on my thought patterns and behavior for so long. I carried so much guilt, self-loathing, shame, and self-blame because of these things that happened when I was just a little girl. I began to understand why I suffer from excessive guilt, even for things that are not my fault, and why I constantly feel the urge to punish myself. As a child, I felt that there was something wrong with me, that I was “bad”. And I was constantly trying to “atone” for it in some way. I was also terrified of anything that had to do with my body. During my early teenage years, I obsessively avoided any thought of sexuality and would punish myself if such a thought crossed my mind. The guilt I felt was like a tight hand constantly squeezing at my heart. It was painful. I would have night terrors, and become hysterical to the point where my mom would try to talk me out of it for hours at a time before I could finally fall asleep. It was a living hell. I also stopped eating and, as a result, my body stopped developing. I wouldn’t have a period again for the next two years.

The bizarre thoughts, behavior, and guilt subsided during my first two years of college. I had my first real boyfriend who genuinely loved me, which helped ease my sense of self-loathing. Plus, I was more focused on him than on myself. I can honestly things were a lot easier during those couple of years, due to keeping myself very busy with school and with my relationship.

However, after that relationship ended, things started to go downhill. I had undergone a surgery which kick-started my development again, and at the age of 19, I went through puberty again. As my body grew rapidly, my psychological and emotional health took a turn for the worse. I became caught in a series of unhealthy relationships and encounters with guys who victimized me. That is when my bulimia, depression, and anxiety really started to take their toll, and my borderline traits became more and more pronounced. It would take a book to describe everything that happened over the next few years… But, to put it shortly, it was the darkest time of my life. Granted, there were moments of positivity and growth, but they were few and far between. I felt like I was in a blur of rollercoaster emotions and confusion until everything came to a head and I wound up hospitalized (as I further explain in “My Story”).

Continued in Mad World, Part 2

(This song communicates perfectly the thoughts and emotions associated with my painful memories. I listen to it a lot… Not because I’m trying to relive the memories or depress myself, but because it’s a way I allow myself to accept my feelings and cope with them..)