Every action comes with a consequence some good and some bad. We are able to control the outcome of our circumstances and have the power to correct the consequences from our own actions. But, when we are faced with consequences as a result of someone else’s doing the end result is not the same. Think before you act, because what you do can have an impact not just on you but also everyone around you. Being subjected to someone else’s wrong choices during my lifespan has left me with many unwanted side effects which have put me in uncomfortable circumstances.
According to American Counseling Association “Childhood sexual abuse has been correlated with higher levels of depression,guilt, shame, self-blame, eating disorders, somatic concerns, anxiety, dissociation patterns, repression, denial, sexual problems, and relationship problems.” And, ” 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18.” which means , “There are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the united states.”42 million people walking around with consequences caused by someone else bad decision. 42 million people who may never be able to live a normal life. 42 million people subjected to predators forced to become a victim, forced to join the survivors. I am 1 of those 42 million who was left with bad side effects. I suffer or have suffered from not 1 not 2 but all of the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse listed above.
As stated in a previous blog post I have suffered from depression since the age of 9. Most days are down days for me. Even with treatment taking medication I still had down days and suicidal thoughts. Depression is by far to me the worst on the list because, its something I have never been able to completely shake. I could wake up in the morning after a good nights rest and start off happy and ready but before the day is over I sink into the funk of depression. But, like stated in my blog its grown with me and I have learned to adapt to the mood of the sinking “Big D”. It shouldn’t be that way though, I should be able to enjoy 1 day without feeling down and losing interest in the things I set out wanting to do the most. It just isn’t fair.
For so long I felt that the way I felt was my fault because I allowed those things to happen. But being a young child against a teenage boy I know there was nothing I could do. Guilt eats away at me because often times I wish I had spoken up or tried even harder to get him to stop. For a while I blamed myself for the things he had done and sometimes still do. I gave him a power over me let him strip away my innocence. I wish more would have been done.
Growing up I was always thinner than everyone around me, and I hated it. It made me feel inferior to everyone else. I tried so hard to gain weight for so long it became a obsession. Hearing everyone comment on me being under weight never helped either. Eventually I grew out of feeling my body wasn’t enough and learned to love every pound that I did have. I now love my size, my shape and everything about me physically.
I tend to suffer from great physical pain over my entire body at times. I’ve learned the cause to be fibromyalgia and depression. These can be connected to somatic symptoms. Our bodies tend to give off pain when in distress. When my mind is under stress from the depression and anxiety and many other things going on my body becomes distressed as well causing pain. Often times before my body becomes taken over I feel fine and then suddenly its as if my world is sinking and my body is under construction. Pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Depression and anxiety are like brother and sister. At times it seems they tend to work together with one another and other times they go against one another. In my most stressful moments anxiety has caused me to go into a panic mode. Before leaving for basic training I was so nervous, more nervous than I had ever been in life. Sitting over a friend’s house one day I was calm sitting and talking when someone told a joke. I like everyone else laughed at the joke. Only difference is that they stopped laughing. I tried to stop but didn’t I laughed and laughed until I cried until I eventually passed out when I panicked and realized I couldn’t stop. With my anxiety I also begin to worry about things that aren’t or may never even happen. I worry most about the safety of my family. It’s during those times that I message them long text messages or send pictures and check on them more frequently. It doesn’t sound like a bad thing until it begins to worry them because they begin to believe somethings wrong with me because of my actions.
Growing up whenever faced with reminders of my past I would try erase the thoughts from my mind. For a while I repressed the thoughts until I found a picture or would hear their name. I have tried dissociating things and people with the situation. When I am triggered by words or seeing something I space out and go back to those moments. Moments I wish I was able to forget.
When a cousin of mine came out and publicly admitted being abused by the same predator who attacked me I was in shock. For so long I believed no one ever find out. I wanted to forget and get over that dark past. When my mother initially asked me I told her no. I was afraid and I didn’t want to talk about what had been done to me. By this time I was in middle school and was on verge of suppressing every bad moment and memory. I Know denial wasn’t the answer.
Growing into a young adult I have gained experience in dating, relationships and what come with them. In my relationships I have learned alot about myself over the years. I dated the same guy for 5 years, he wasn’t my first boyfriend but was my first real love. In being with him I learned that I am hard to love. I’m needy and need constant confirmation that I am enough and that they want to be around. I like to feel wanted and because of that I am often too honest. I speak on probably everything. I am an open book when it comes to love. But, I can also shutdown and shutout loved ones as well. When I am hurt no matter how big or small I shutdown. As a result my relationships with people becomes broken. I’ve had to mend many broken bridges again and again because of the way I feel at times. Because I was subjected to unwanted actions from others the people I love the most are exposed to my emotions which put strains on any relationship I try to form.
Sexually I have learned that I have my ups and my downs. After first losing my virginity I believed it would be more, I never received that big “omg” feeling or clingy reaction the first time. My first time was me wanting to get it over with, with someone who was a virgin just like me. I honestly wouldn’t do it again. After finding a suitable partner I learned that I enjoyed sex with him because we had an emotional connection. I learned if I am emotionally in tune with someone I am able to actually enjoy intercourse without being triggered about my past. I also learned that partners trying to give “wake up calls” isn’t really my thing. Being touched during the night is a trigger because as a child that was what happened. I learned that at times during mid action I can lose interest because although I’m aroused a certain move or a certain look from my partner can change my mood. On the flip side I have learned that overall I love sex and the power it gives me. Sex is about connection and control shared between two people. At a point it seemed I loved it too much, but that has changed.
I am an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I suffer from many emotional and physical consequences because of it. I know I will never lead a normal life. I may forever suffer from depression and anxiety. My self-esteem may never be where it should. Emotionally I have mood swings that can sometimes be uncontrollable, causing me to hurt those I love. How I am , and the things I suffer from affect the people around me. Because someone chose to betray me my life will never be “normal. I am not alone, I am just 1 of 42 million people who live with symptoms. No one should have to adjust their life and revolve it around symptoms and characteristics caused by the actions of someone else. Its time to raise awareness on sexual abuse! Its time to stop predators from preying. It’s also time to give recognition to survivors and the day-to-day things they are faced with. The effects of abuse are not easy to live with and no one should be forced to live with them. Its time to Give someone a chance to live without suffering. Break The Silence and Raise Awareness!