Thursday, August 18, 2022

Blood stains...




It's hard for me to go back and read earlier blog posts that I've written. In fact, I seldom do. With that said, I may repeat myself but I guess I can't worry about that. I had to get a crown today at the dentist. I hate dental work (but who really likes it). One of my coworkers jokes and says, "Well, now you are a queen because you got a crown". HA. I put in my air pods and cranked up some Christian music while the dental work was being done. I survived and now I am left with half of my face being numb for a few more hours.


I can't tell you how many times Christian music has gotten me through things. For the past several weeks, I have felt like my face after dental work. Half of me is numb, unable to function appropriately and half of me looks fine and can generate a smile. It's very deceiving, even to myself.


I took a nosedive several weeks back and fell in to a dark place. I know what did it but that's not important. I was triggered. Since then, I've been clawing my way back out. Disrespect and Anger! That's where I am. I disrespect myself. I do not value myself like I should. I still feel disgusting, shameful. I can not connect with my inner child and I do not like her. Eye contact in therapy is hard. Dignity, please come back! I've referred to myself as a "caged animal". It's like I'm locked in to never escape this, having to keep the anger in and never release it ~ because releasing it would look like something I've not seen or experienced before. I numb emotions, avoid them and end up like my face after the dentist. 


Like the other side of my face, I'm fully functioning. I go to work, church, the grocery store, I volunteer, and manage my family and home. I count my blessings, I am safe, and I am loved. To me, this is the hardest part. How can I feel so sad, so broken but have all of this good stuff. I'm an oxymoron. I have learned to use the word, "AND". I have a beautiful life  AND  I was sexually abused for a long time. This has helped some. It can be both.


I've often been told...

"That happened a long time ago."

"The past is in the past."

"Forget about the past and focus on your life now."

This may be possible for some people but it has not proven good for me. Just like the picture says at the top of this post,

  ~  "Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed."-everything that picture says, I personally believe. I've tried to bandage the bleeding for so long with my own ways of trying to stop the blood, only to have it all ooze through and stain my life. 


Read the picture again! It's powerful. That picture is my goal. Find strength, open your wounds, stick your hand inside, pull out the pain, release them and make peace with them. No. Easy. Task. In fact, I've gone to my therapist 5 out of 10 days recently, with a necessary session with my hubby. There is not one easy thing about dealing with sexual trauma and the scars that it leaves with you.



I recently attended a beautiful women's conference hosted by my church. I didn't want to go at first and hesitated to sign up. In fact, I waited until the last minute to sign up. I didn't want to put myself in a vulnerable position to feel any more feelings than I was already feeling.

But God...He created and provided a safe space for me that day to bring my pain, feel his presence and be surrounded by loving women who all have some type of struggle or deep wounds to heal. I left, KNOWING, that my trauma holds me back from so many things and that is not what God intended for me. So where's the magic potion or magic wand to make all the pain and trauma go away? I wish! I did make a commitment to myself to be more bold in therapy and share more of what needs to be shared. I proved to myself that I could do it and shared more last Tuesday in Group Therapy. Baby steps...


May your crown not leave your face numb. May your crown be a crown that belongs to a daughter of the King. Let's all try to wear them boldly and believe that we deserve it!


Much Love,

Stacie 





 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Hook, Line, and Sinker...

 





I made a comment in therapy a few weeks ago that has really stuck with me. I said, "the 10 year old me was an idiot". 


I always struggle with guilt and blame when I actually allow myself to deeply think about my abuse. How can one human child be the victim of abuse at almost every turn she made without having something to do with it?


I was raised in a loving, stable home with my parents, brother and sister. My parents loved us deeply, supported us, nurtured us, cared for us and provided us with everything we needed. It was pretty. Still is.  On the flip side of that, I was in contact with people growing up, who I should have been able to trust, and who my parents thought they could trust.  

I've shared before, on a previous blog, that I had multiple offenders. My best recollection of when the abuse started was age 7 and the sexual abuse continued for years until I was 12. When I think of how long it went on and how many people took advantage of me, I get nauseated.

Back to "the 10 year old me is an idiot". It's hard not to think things like...

-why did you let them do those things to you?

-why did you just say stop and no?

-why didn't you run out?

-why didn't you hit them?

-why didn't you scream?

-why in the world did you let them continue to abuse you over and over again?

-why? why? why?


My comment to my therapist was this. I told her that I could see a 7 year old not realizing that something was wrong when being abused. I could even see an 8 year old or a 9 year old getting confused with what was going on. But a 10 year old? In my mind, at 10 years old, I should have been smarter. That makes the 11 year old me and the 12 year old me even dumber. This is dysfunctional thinking, I know! But that's the abused part of me. I have not made peace with "little Stacie" yet. She's stuck in me and I dislike her. My therapist then asked me to think of a 10 year old I knew. How would I react to finding out that that 10 year old was abused? Would I blame her for it all happening? Would I shame her for just being a 10 year old kid? OF COURSE NOT! It's weird when the trauma happens to you and you hold the trauma, though. It's a negative scar and message that abusers give you. You have a warped sense of self.  Does my adult self understand that children are not to blame when abuse occurs? YES!!! Would my adult self nurture, love and support that child with empathy and compassion? YES!!! I have grown to understand and partially accept that I was groomed over time to be abused. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. This opened me up to being vulnerable to the next person who abused me, then the next, etc. Manipulation at it's finest. It's still tough to wrap my brain around, though. 


The point is - nasty abusers take more than just the innocence from a child. They steal a child's self worth, self esteem, confidence, identity, and can sometimes redirect the child's intended life. My inner child or "little Stacie" and I still haven't mended things. I'm working on it.


Living with trauma is hard. I sometimes wonder who I would be if I didn't have sexual trauma in my past. Almost everything in my past and present have an association with abuse attached to it (parties, gatherings, games, sleepovers, school, holidays, movies, church, college, pregnancy, raising kids, intimacy, working as a nurse, communication, marriage). In each of those, there are beautiful memories too. I just wish I didn't have the abused memories to sift through. 


I do know that living through, crawling through, clawing out of and peeling layers of extensive hurt have strengthened my spiritual life. I've said it before and I'll say it again...God saved me. My relationship with Him is THE most important relationship I have. My marriage and my relationship with my husband is second. Spouses of abused spouses are challenged as well. It takes a strong, loyal, empathetic, and trustworthy partner to support you through the ups and downs of abuse and healing. It's not easy and It's so hard on them too. They want to fix things and they just can't. I'm thankful for my husband. 


 I've recently been informed of others who have similar challenges from similar past sexual abuse. Unfortunately, most of the abusers get away with it while the victim/survivors are left with the repercussions of it (depression, anxiety, isolation, low self worth, blaming, shame, self mutilation, failed relationships, suicides) Survivors - you are not alone. You are loved and you deserve to be happy. Abusers have NO idea the damage they inflict on their victims. It makes me sick.


As always, thanks for reading my story. It's not always an easy read. 



Stacie





Saturday, January 15, 2022

Betrayal, Potholes, and Prayer





It's a new year and I haven't blogged since October. Happy New Year everyone! Cheers to 2022. 


I didn't blog through the holidays simply because I wanted to keep my focus on positive vibes, family time and the true meaning of Christmas.  I need to blog now. 

In a past blog entry entitled "Truth Is Tricky," I wrote about someone in group who had some strong opinions about some of the things I shared. He reported that the subject matter I shared was too hard for him to hear. He shared and discussed this with our group leader. In one of the groups that followed, we had some conversation amongst the group members on how we would move forward. 

Fast forward a week or two. We are in group, things are going fine and someone told a story. When stories can relate to you, you are supposed to jump in, share as well, and go from there. Well, I did that. I told the story that when I was being sexually abused, my abuser would whisper in my ear, over and over again, "I love you, I love you, I love you". (Talk about a warped sense of the word "love".) I mentioned that while the abuse and whispers were happening, someone else was also in the house just in the next room. My abuser was reckless, too confident, and ballsy. I didn't go in to any detail about the sexual act happening to me or anything like that. 

The gentleman who had trouble with my subject content before, lashed out at me. His behavior became something none of us in group had ever seen before from him. He was rude, harsh, accusatory and mean. He called my story evil, vile, and something he didn't have to listen to. I eventually had to walk out. I stormed out, actually. I was shaking, unnerved, and wanted to punch the wall. You see, I've felt the need to keep my secrets for 30 plus years until I realized it was slowly killing me. Then I just wanted to die because of my secrets. The norm was never to talk about my abuse. I'm trying to learn to speak of the abuse in group therapy where it is supposedly safe, open and guided. 

By this gentleman's actions, I was more or less being told to shut up  (in a very rude way). Silence and secrets are so harmful. I have kept quiet for too long protecting abusers. I'm sure certain people are very thankful for this but it has paid a price on me. Being fussed at and told to stop talking that night crushed me.  Anyway, after about 15 minutes of being outside of the room my therapist encouraged me to return to the group setting. She encouraged me to sit by her and tell this irate group member my feelings. It was rough. I was tired, shocked, and so confused about what we would do next. How would we move forward from here? Although he had complained before about my subject matter, he was a different level of rude that night. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, he eventually decided to leave group. He is no longer a part of our group and I am so glad. I would have never trusted him again. He affected all of the members. It was a terrible, emotional, hurtful, catastrophic event that he caused. Luckily this situation was handled carefully, tactfully and professionally by my therapist for all of the members but it was so challenging. The support that she gave me was monumental in helping me process this. It's actually taken me until now to blog about this subject. I felt betrayed by a so-called trusted group  member. I've been betrayed by a lot of trusted people growing up so being betrayed in therapy hurt. It knocked me down for a while. 


Why do I write about this? Overcoming abuse is so hard. It takes so much energy and it's a battle. Speaking about it is even harder. There will be bumps in the road. Climb out of the potholes that you can sometimes be thrown in. Fight your way out! There will be supportive people and unsupportive people that you encounter on your journey. You WILL be challenged. In the hard times, cling to the positive supportive people, look to travel on the smooth asphalt and keep going. Keep pushing. Keep talking. Keep praying. God sees you and is with you in all of it. Find comfort in knowing that. 


Pray always ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17,

Stacie







Sunday, October 10, 2021

Lights, Camera, Action...



Back in June, I was approached by my church about making a video that would eventually be shown during church service and then shared through Social Media outlets.  There was an upcoming sermon series on "This is Me" and how God changes stories. These videos would be played to support that. I was asked to share my story.


A couple of years ago, I made a promise to God that if I were ever asked to share my experience and story, that I would say YES! I owed it to HIM to show how He has made beauty from ashes; how He has taken something like abuse and transformed it into something good...Faith/relationship with HIM. So I said yes.

The truth - I didn't want to do it. I had extreme anxiety about it. Even though I blog, a video was different and exposure would be vast. I lost sleep over it. I lost weight over it and I didn't want to be a hypocrite. I was not in a good head space when I filmed it. I spoke all truth in the video but this journey is hard. There's ups and down's all along the way and I wasn't mentally "up"when it was time to film.  

The video was filmed at my house. There were 3 camera's, lighting, a floating microphone and 3 video guys. I had mentally prepared how I would present my story but when it was time to start, I couldn't think, much less speak with clarity. We all know that sexual abuse is not a topic of conversation that you discuss over lunch. Nor is it easy to speak of it with 3 camera's, lights and a microphone. We powered through and took breaks, drank water, walked around - lol. The media team was patient and great! The overall outcome was exactly what I was hoping for. Somehow, the media team was able to produce a video that I was proud of. My story has been changed by faith, my relationship with him, and my willingness to share my journey through blogging. 


My obedience to Him and my willingness to do this video brought really cool "God moments" in the weeks to follow. Just trust me when I tell you that He spoke to me through people, song, scripture, situations, jewelry, opportunities, and comments. He was confirming, without a doubt, that my story matters and that it should have been recorded to be shared. It was wild! These moments brought me to tears but it proved that obedience to HIM will always be rewarded. 


Fast forward several weeks when it was due to be played at church. Anxiety got the best of me again. I questioned whether or not I would be viewed as "the abused person" after it was shown? So many people would know about me and my abuse. All of my insecurities resurfaced and started playing tricks on me. Let's not forget that the enemy is well aware of situations that glorify God. He was attacking me in full force through my work, family, and marriage that week.


The video played on September 19th. My siblings, parents, husband and boys were present with me that day. When the video started, I lost my breath. I couldn't move, breathe, or say anything. My husband held on to me and held me up. I felt like a piece of glass that was about to break. Emotions hit me like a freight train but I couldn't react because I felt paralyzed. EXPOSURE!


I'm gonna keep it real and say that I am so pleased with how the video turned out. The media team has skills because I didn't feel like I said anything that made sense. I'm gonna also keep it real by saying that this video makes my story look pretty, put together and all wrapped up with a bow. 


My story is ugly. My story has depression. My story has hospitalization. My story has loss of work due to depression and hospitalization. My story has anxiety. My story has suicidal thoughts. My story has group therapy. My story has individual therapy. My story has self harm. My story is full of shame. My story has intimacy issues. My story has trust issues. My story has self esteem and self worth issues. My story has lack of emotion issues. My story has medications. My story has unworthiness. 

But...

My story is a redeeming story. My story taught me intense faith. My story led me to the bible. My story enriched my life with a relationship with God. My story taught me that He is persistent to have a relationship with you. My story is teaching me courage. My story is teaching me strength, power, and resilience. My story is using me to assist and help others. My story is teaching me to feel worthy.


Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.


May you never be defined by what's happened to you. May you learn to be defined by how awesome God thinks you are. 


As always, thanks for the support!!


He changed My Story,

Stacie


 



Sunday, September 12, 2021

Truth Is Tricky...

 





 It's 3:45 am on a Sunday morning and I can't sleep. I'm sitting quietly alone at my computer with my dog laying to my right and my cat to my left. I made a cup of coffee and its nice and warm on my desk. My surroundings are peaceful but my insides are not. 


Life is "funny" sometimes. For about 2 years now, I have been attending group therapy on Tuesday nights. My group is made up of 9 people and a therapist. We are a variety of ages and we all bring different issues to the group. It's like the movies portray it. We sit in a circle and talk about our problems while hoping to get feedback, and guided direction. Group can serve as a sounding board, provide encouragement, and the group can help carry your burdens. From the beginning, I have been anxious every time I step in to group. I know what I'm there for. I'm there to talk about my sexual abuse. For me, it's a slow process. I've spent most of my time in group talking around my subject, discussing how hard it is to talk about any of it; How it's shameful, how I'm fearful, how I'm disgusted, how I still keep some secrets, how I find myself pretending instead of feeling, how challenging it is, how ugly it is and so on and so on. I also have discussed how I faithfully trust the process, trust my therapist, and know that I am making progress, even though it doesn't feel that way sometimes. From the beginning, my gut knew that I needed to get to a place where I could use my voice and discuss the abuse done to me.

I'm not sure why. Some may think that is not necessary. I believe that every person needs to figure out what is best for them. Do what helps you heal the most. I thought - If I can talk about it, I can free myself from the SHAME of it. If I can talk about it, I am STRONG enough to use my voice and overpower it. If I can talk about it, it won't CONTROL me as much. If I can talk about it, I can rid myself of the weight of it. If I can talk about it, I can GET RID OF IT!

I talked about it! 2 weeks ago. My abuse story is many chapters so lets just say I discussed a "chapter" with the group. I got it out of my mouth. Let's keep it real - I didn't make eye contact with anybody (and Lord knows I wanted to crawl in a hole afterwards). I was sweating, wringing my hands, fiddling with my bracelet and shaking my foot all at the same time. Anxiety at it's finest! Details of some of my abuse were discussed - details came out of my mouth. 

For me, it takes a while to process things. I left exhausted but feelings of being proud of myself evolved in me over the next few days. 


The following week, we were hit with Hurricane Ida. Beautiful south Louisiana was devastated by a Category 4 storm causing destruction all throughout it's path. Ida left her mark with homes destroyed or flooded, and trees snapped or uprooted everywhere. My family alone lost 22 trees. Power lines were down everywhere. Generators hummed, gas lines formed, and survival mode kicked in for all. I watched humanity come to life around here. People just helped people. It was a beautiful sight. Amen to that!

Needless to say, Group therapy was cancelled for the week of the Hurricane. We returned last week to pick back up where we left off. 

This is where the kick in the gut comes in or the naivety of the situation grabs hold of me. I learned that my abuse description was disturbing, excruciating to hear, awkward, and caused an uneasiness in the room and with a particular group member. When I was told this, ANGER filled me. Didn't it take me 2+ years  to even get the words out of my mouth? I thought, "I have so much more to say!" "I'm just getting started." "It was excruciating and awkward for me to live through it." Screw all of this. What am I doing here? Then it shifted to SHAME. My story is SO gross that people can't even listen to it without being disturbed. I am disgusting, I am gross. 

This morning I can finally speak for the group members. They are human. What I say IS disturbing. The challenge of what I bring to the group is hard. For the past week, I've felt weird, ALONE and kind of gross. I have been encouraged to continue speaking my truth from my therapist and that we'll "navigate through this". I trust her, believe her, and faithfully believe that God has all of this. Sexual abuse is hard. It's ugly. No one REALLY wants to have a conversation about it. The reality for me is...I need to fight against the fear and talk about it. 

We'll see what this week brings and how we'll work through the challenges of difficult conversations. If I'm honest, I now have some hesitancy (and I didn't need that). Please pray that God will continue to convict me and help me through this process of healing. Abuse can be like a hurricane.  It comes in, leaves a mark, and destroys things. The healing process or rebuilding is slow and ongoing. It takes people, support, encouragement and faith to continue to journey. 


Thanks for the support,

Stacie











Sunday, June 27, 2021

Scars and Stripes!



 I broke my left arm in the 7th grade. It was UGLY. I fell off of a friend's shoulders and stuck my arm out to catch my fall. When I did, both of the bones in my lower left arm snapped while one of them also punctured through my skin. The bone was sticking out of my arm! For all you nurses out there, it was an open, compound fracture.  Again - UGLY! I was 12 years old and ended up having to have 3 surgeries before it was all healed. I'm happy to report that I have full range of motion in my left arm. Praise the Lord. I was just left with two, 5 inch scars anterior and posterior on my left forearm. All throughout my life, those arm scars have been "conversation pieces". So many people have seen my arm scars and inquired about them. I've told the -7th grade, stuck my arm out to catch my fall, bone out of the skin, both bones broke, 3 surgeries - story, so many times. People are pretty inquisitive when they see visible scars. I am too. That leads me to tell you another story...


I scheduled a professional massage the other day because I found myself very tense and anxious. My head felt like it weighed 100 pounds and my neck and shoulders felt like bricks. Before the massage began, the lady noticed my arm scars and asked if I had any issues with them. I told her that my arm was good and that the scars shouldn't be an issue with the massage at all. 

The massage began. I wanted to say, my noticeable external scars are fine. It's my deep, internal scars about my childhood trauma that are causing me problems. I wanted to say that when I broke my arm at age 12, the abuse has already been going on for years and still was. I wanted to say that harboring secrets your whole life can make you very tense. I wanted to say that dodging perpetrators most days can be so exhausting. I wanted to say that being vulnerable can give you headaches. I wanted to say that not saying what you need to say can give you stomach aches. I wanted to say that the walls that are built for protection make you so exhausted. I wanted to say that the shame that you carry causes muscle aches. I wanted to say that anxiety and fear causes numbness in extremities. I wanted to say that the vivid dreams and nightmares can make you feel tired and disgusting. I wanted to say that setting boundaries for yourself is therapeutic but produces tension and tears. I wanted to say that keeping the enemy and his schemes at a distance is a daily workout. 


External scars are noticed, asked about, and talked about without much hesitation. Internal scars are our secrets, our private stories. We hide them, push them down deep so that they don't cause problems or create conflict in our lives. The thing is, our secrets do make us sick and eventually do come to the surface.


Healing is a process - a long, hard process. There's ups, downs, slides, falls, plummets, slips, crawls, plunges, and growth. It all counts and it all matters. 


Can you imagine if that masseuse heard my thoughts during the massage? 


The difference for me is that Christ DID hear my thoughts and catches me every time I fall.  Unlike my arm, He never breaks, doesn't have a weak spot, and He never fails. He's loving, strong, and ready at any moment. I need His strength, His grace and His kindness everyday!! 


With Grit and Grace ~  God Bless 


Stacie





This is so hard.

                                                      




Monday, May 3, 2021

He's got the whole world in His hands...


 

Do you know where Indonesia is? I didn't. I checked the World Map to find it's exact location. I needed to know it's location in reference to my south Louisiana home. 


I have had an influx of readers reading my blog from that area of the world. What!!??!! As the domain owner of this blog, I can view "stats" that let you know where in the world the readers are reading from and how many people have actually taken the time to read this blog. In my amazement, there have been over 56,500 readers so far since I started writing this blog. Recently, the numbers have risen quickly and it sparked my curiosity. After looking in to it, most of the recent viewers were from Indonesia. Talk about Humble Pie!

SOOO, SHOUT OUT TO MY FRIENDS IN INDONESIA!! I will call you my friends even though we have never met because we apparently share secrets, similar struggles and abuse. 

This influx made me curious so I googled sexual abuse in Indonesia. According to an article by Amanda Siddharta, entitled ~Physical, Sexual violence against children is surging in Indonesia ~ "Victim blaming is still common." "Family or schools prefer not to come forward because they are ashamed." 


I've had a great couple of months with no big setbacks while maintaining the boundaries that I have set for myself as well. With that said, there is not a day that goes by that something doesn't happen to me to remind me of my abuse. I have to fight back blaming myself, feelings of shame, and unworthiness. When I first started writing this blog, I was SHOCKED at how many people reached out to me with similar stories of abuse (and still do). Strong, loving, hard working, successful, professional, big hearted women who have had similar things happen to them. I'm sure each fight off sadness, depression, weakness, shame and low self esteem more often than not. They battle the demons of sexual abuse while having kids, running a big company, raising a family, driving carpool, teaching a class full of kids or whatever it is that they do. It's everywhere and yet we still don't talk about it. I know that my small circle of influence/existence like my work, church, school, and community are filled (sadly) with victims of sexual abuse. This sexual abuse pandemic has been around way before the Covid-19 pandemic and it's mental effects are lifelong. 


I think that's what I realized when I saw the many people from Indonesia reading this. I'm sure they aren't reading this blog for entertainment. They are looking for ways to connect to people with similar struggles. They want to find new ways to cope. They don't want to feel alone. That's what I think anyway. I do the same thing by reading other blogs, listening to pod casts, and watching documentaries that may teach me new things about surviving with the sexual abuse curse.  I'm "lucky" enough to have professional counseling and group therapy available to me as well. Secrets kill, steal, and destroy. I still have them. I'm not sure if I'll ever get rid of them all. Protection of others, doing the right thing, what is the right thing?, lack of forgiveness and biblical truths run in circles in my brain like a hamster on a hamster wheel daily. Ugh.


I'm thankful for the support from people across the globe who think my blog is worth reading. We are united in HOPE. As sad as the numbers can be with victims of sexual abuse, I'll view us as Survivors with Strength.


Last but not least, I'll pray for you! I am available even though I still struggle. I can't find my voice half the time in group therapy, but I pray deeply for HIM to make me feel worthy to speak. I rely on Jesus, family and friends but I fall short often. We are all a work-in-progress and I feel honored to be able to pray for you. 


You are not alone. God bless,


Stacie









 




Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Marlins & Mountains...

 


                                              

My insides are telling me it's time to blog so I'm sitting at my computer with so much to say but can't quite figure out which direction to start or go...


...since my last blog, I have been lucky enough to travel to see some of God's wonders and beauty. I felt His presence on the Pacific ocean. I was entertained with whales, dolphins, and sea lions, swimming right next to us. I witnessed beautiful sunrises and sunsets, He soothed me with rest and relaxation, and He blessed me with stress free time with my husband and friends. I even caught a 90# Marlin on my birthday. What a gift! 


I also found myself high in the clouds and on a snow filled mountain top. I looked into the eyes of a mule deer and witnessed several cow elk grazing on the snow banks. Flocked trees and icicles were the landscape and breathtaking mountain ranges took my breath away. I prayed on the mountain. I prayed while snowmobiling through gorgeous National Forests and I prayed while drinking hot coffee every chance I got. It was blissful. 

I guess I'm writing about this because I'm so grateful for these blessings I received on these trips. His timing was perfect and His beauty was everywhere. I will forever be thankful. 


Prior to these trips, I made the decision to ask my boys to come with me to a therapy session. Let me start by saying that I have some amazing young men that I have the pleasure of raising. I wasn't sure how they would react or respond when I asked them to join me for a sit down, 1 hour, session with my social worker to talk about my abuse. The reaction I got from them was, "whatever you need us to do, Mom". WOW!! Prior to the meeting, they had some questions and my husband and I tried to ease their minds a bit. In that hour and with the help of my therapist, I tried to reassure my boys that I am ok. We touched on triggers, depression, and long term affects of trauma/abuse. We didn't discuss details of the abuse but they had valid questions about who, what, when, where, why and how. Overall, the session for me went as well as it could go when you are talking to your mostly grown children about your sexual abuse. My kids blew me away with their compassion, love, and caring nature they showed for me and also how they were able to express their concerns and thoughts in that hour. It wasn't a comfortable hour but I accomplished what I wanted to. 

Today's update ~ My emotions/anger are trapped in an emotional vault that I can't find the key for. I have emotions/anger/fear but can't quite open the vault to express them. I think I'm afraid to do so because it's years of emotional energy that I've stuffed away and I don't know where it would take me. I do positive things for my mind and body. I exercise, I work hard as a nurse, I learn new things, I listen to educational pod casts, I talk and visit with friends, and I exercise my faith. I do crossword puzzles at night to keep the nightmares at bay and I feel physically healthy and happy. When weekly group therapy comes around, I can not open the vault of emotions to express myself. I was reminded that my emotional well being is 1/3 of myself. I can not tap into my emotions about this abuse and it is keeping me from being my whole self. It's so so frustrating. I need to, I have to, and I want to but I can't...yet.

God reminded me while on a boat in the Pacific Ocean and on the mountain top that He is always in control with every detail here on earth, including every part of me. Please pray that I can give up my control and trust His control for my emotional well being and my healing. If you witness me losing my cool and screaming about my abuse, please don't interrupt. Encourage me, clap for me and explain what is going on to innocent bystanders. J/K~ well, maybe I'm not. 


Again, thanks for reading the words that I had to get out of my head and on to this blog. It's healing and weirdly helpful for me. 



Love God~Love People,

Stacie







Sunday, November 22, 2020

Every which way but loose...





Hey girl, what have you been up to? 

That was the question I was asked the other day by a sweet friend who I haven't seen or talked to in a while. I smiled but hesitated for a second. In my mind I quickly had to decide if I should tell her the full  truth or tell her the easy answer. I decided on the easy answer because it's easier (lol) and I didn't want to put her on the spot with whatever emotion/reaction she may have to my truthful answer. 


Here on this blog, I'm able to speak the truth. It's still tough to talk about my abuse with my voice. It's embarrassing, makes me extremely sweaty and vulnerable, and shameful all at the same time. 

There's a book entitled, Perfectly hidden depression. It's a book written by Dr. Margaret Rutherford. It truly hit home for me. The book states, "Perfectly hidden depression is hiding behind perfectionism, and appearing to be fine. It's believing that if you show painful emotions you will appear weak. It's when you can look good on the outside, but you are silently falling apart on the inside. It's feeling like if you allow vulnerability to happen, you might just break. You actually fill your head with self criticism and shame and you can't express any of it. This then makes you feel trapped and alone, believing no one would understand."  (paraphrased from the book and probably not done correctly because I'm not an English major)


I first spoke of my sexual abuse when I was 16. Looking back, my family agrees that more could have been done with the news. After the aftershock of telling my parents, I fell silent again. From age 16 to 40, I continued living with the weight of the memories, the shame, the guilt and the secrets. I was surviving and choosing to deal with it all alone. Looking back, I don't recommend this to anyone. My insides felt like a twisted knot, my self esteem and self worth had plummeted to an all time low and shame was ruling my life. By the time I was 40, I felt like I was mentally dying, and wanted to. 


In the last 2 months or so, my therapist encouraged me to have family sessions, parent sessions, and husband sessions to discuss the abuse and it's toll on all of the family dynamics. I agreed that this was necessary but discussed my concern with my therapist on how hard it would be for me to do that. This would be, no doubt, discussing the nitty-gritty. 


The day after she recommended this,  I was at home and silently panicked and found myself collecting some things and planning a drive to escape reality of what needed to be done. I'm not proud of this and I'm ashamed that this happened. I got in my car and just started driving. I didn't tell anyone that I was leaving and I turned off my location settings on my phone. I grabbed some cash and drove. I ended up 2.5 hours from home before stopping. I didn't want to be found, I didn't want to talk to anyone and I just needed to escape. I didn't know how long I would be away. I had anxiety medication with me, a change of clothes, a toothbrush and a tank full of gas. Without writing about all of the details, I remained in a safe place for about 9 hours before I was found. My husband was called and he drove to pick me up. We arrived back home around midnight.  I really frightened him and I'm so sorry for scaring my family so much.

I had checked out, escaped, and was hiding from the reality of future family sessions/husband sessions and just continuing to deal with my abuse. Sexual abuse is that big. Can you imagine sitting in the same room discussing how you were sexually abused/manipulated by your abusers with your parents, siblings or husband???? I was scared to death to do this and I retreated far far away. I reacted like a child would. I ran/drove away. Shame was dictating my drive. 

Since my "road trip", I've summoned the courage and had a couple of sessions with my husband recently. They have been enlightening for us both. They are hard, we dread them, but are both committed to doing what we need to do. Abuse affects so many things. Childhood Trauma damages parts of your brain that should have developed one way, but due to the abuse, your brain reacts or develops another way. Communication about all of this is gut-wrenching, nauseating, terribly hard, but for us, necessary.  Allowing myself to be vulnerable is so difficult for me and I'm still not good at it. I've remained stoic for 26 years and still counting. Being something other than stoic is a true challenge for me. 

I've also had more sessions with my parents. It's necessary for progress and my healing. My abuse happened in the late 70's and early 80's. No one knew how to handle this subject matter much less talk about sexual abuse back then ~should of, could of, and would of's~ I love my parents dearly and this is so hard on everyone. 


So,  Hey girl, what have you been up to? - 

I guess I can say that I've been fighting for my mental health, doing the extremely hard work, and challenging my courage. I have good days, bad days, sad days, shame days, scary days, encouraging days, powerful days and everything in between. I have a tendency to look fine on the outside but silently struggle internally. I'm trying to break that wall of pretending and free up my vocal chords to use my voice more. 

With Thanksgiving coming up, I'm thankful for a husband and family who will go the extra mile for me, support me, be vulnerable with me, sit in sessions with me and love me - even when I am a mess and I freak out and I drive away. 


Expose the darkness into the light. Tell your story. (It's hard as hell but I do believe it is working.)


                                     Happy Thanksgiving!!






Monday, September 7, 2020

Worms, teeth, cotton and a calf...


 


I'm no artist- lol



I had a mouth full of worms and saturated cotton. It was so gross and so disgusting. The cotton inhibited me from talking clearly, made me gag, and what I could get out, worms proceeded my words.  The worms were small and wiggly and all over my teeth, and I tried over and over again to get it all out of my mouth. As soon as I was successful getting some cleared out, more would fill my mouth. Then I woke up...


Dreams can shake you. Memories can haunt you and when they collide, its very uncomfortable. I've been having so many uncomfortable dreams lately. Dreaming about worms in my mouth is not ok. 

I've concluded that the worms in my dream represent all of my abuse. I feel that no one wants to hear it, I don't want to say it, and all of it is disgusting. The cotton, on the other hand, is a way to mute me. The cotton quiets me, chokes me, gags me and keeps the secrets. It's a war that I am growing very weary of. 


Speaking of war - I fight the war between good and evil in my head everyday. A while back, I studied the fruits of the spirit. I even sketched this picture of these 9 words to strive to live by and hung it in my wash room so I could see it often. 



When you dream of your abusers - your abuse - run in to people from your past who have hurt you - avoid certain events for fear of triggers - always feel the need to scan rooms, always sit where you can see the door, lose sleep over deciding what is right, what is wrong, what to say, what not to say, who to share with, who not to share with, bring things up, don't bring things up - let down your guard in therapy and group therapy, hold on to your sanity, don't appear crazy when you feel crazy - pretend that you are ok for fear that no one will understand you - fake it till you make it - throw yourself in to work and family so your brain won't think of the abuse - question God over and over -- makes living by these fruits of the spirit very difficult at times. I've had to learn to give myself permission to feel hate, anger, and betrayal for healing purposes (and I need to continue to work on this). When you are a christian, that doesn't feel right. You are taught differently. It's very conflicting (hence my head war). I can also say that if I didn't strive to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control I would be gone. 


I battle with the guilt of even complaining. It's one of my biggest wars to fight within myself. My life is pretty, comfortable, surrounded by lots of love - but the repercussions of sexual abuse are strong. 


I'm not even sure that I am making sense on this blog entry. 

My brain is just conflicted. Can I just say that? It's constant (I can't stress this enough). Please pray for those who struggle with similar situations. It affects everything, one way or another. 


God showed off yesterday by sending me a little gift - and I needed it. Bitterness was getting the best of me yesterday and I was gifted with a fluffy, sweet new life on our property. It was a sweet reminder and an example of all of the Fruits of the Spirit. 





Thanks for reading and the continued support:)

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Challenge your Courage...







Progress from trauma comes in the form of big steps, little steps, small moves and big moves. For me, any move is accompanied by high anxiety, great fear, confusion, and doubt. I've been making big moves lately that I hope will carry me to more freedom. 

I recently confronted another abuser. I didn't receive what I was hoping for from that person. That's always a blow to my psyche and my gut. Swirls of emotions occur, frustration sets in, and anger hits. Taking a chance, like confronting, takes my super power strength. I literally feel ill, nauseated, and second guess my intentions prior to it. You see, even though I didn't get what I needed from him, I was able to speak my peace. I was able to tell my side. I explained the way I was affected, and how his abuse still affects me. I left feeling a bit numb and needed time to process it all. 
This situation took some twists and turns that were also very hard to process. Nothing about this is easy. 

I released some mental weight 3 weeks ago by having a family session with my parents and siblings. For the first time, I went in to detail about some of my abuse and the actual acts that occurred to me. If I'm honest, it was one of the hardest things I've had to do so far. NONE of what I had to say was easy. The week leading up to this day was dreadful. I second guessed my desire to do this a million times. I couldn't, and didn't want to imagine what my family would think. I knew I was going to be challenging them by putting these visuals in their heads, describing details that would forever be imprinted on their brains. This $hit just doesn't fade away from your memory. 
Of course my family was up for the task, no matter how hard it was going to be. They have shown me so much support in the best way they know how with all of this. I'm so grateful for their support.

The day of the meeting, I couldn't eat. I had such high anxiety that if I let myself think about it, I would just start sweating and shaking uncontrollably. It was my idea to schedule the family meeting, though. I have fully relied on God to reveal to me what my next steps should be. This meeting was necessary because I needed to be more understood by my family. Because of this, THEY could help carry my burdens and secrets so I didn't have to do it alone. They would be able to see more of the big picture. They all agreed to take on this role for me. Revealing the details to them would also help explain why I'm still struggling, why I sometimes hit a roadblock, why things can be very challenging.  

We met for an hour and a half with my Social Worker. It went well but it was pretty awful. It was super hard. It was very embarrassing. It was heartbreaking. Shame always rears its ugly head. A lot was discussed. A lot was learned and a lot was accomplished. I received feedback, discussion, support and love. We left with a plan to meet again to further discuss this multilayered mess called sexual abuse. 

The victim is the victim but the abuse is far-reaching. Similar to suicide, it affects everyone who loves that person in one way or another. I won't pretend that my abuse and depression doesn't challenge everything - home, family, work, friends. It's a daily struggle. It's in my thoughts daily - daily! Since I started writing this blog and "came out" about my sexual abuse, I continue to be overwhelmed by how many people that have reached out to me and are victims/survivors as well. Sexual abuse doesn't discriminate either. It's everywhere. My heart goes out to you and my prayers are with you. Thank you for trusting me enough to share your story with me - you know who you are :-)

In conclusion, progress is hard but I'm super proud when I go up against the enemy. I may lose a few years from the stress of it, but I'll take the progress. My wish for fellow survivors is to expose the darkness into the light - whenever you are ready. It's a process and it's challenging but suffering alone is suffocating and too heavy to bear alone. 

God Bless!








Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Closed for repairs...






This blog - my perspective - my views - my pain - my suffering - my outlet - and STILL, I can't completely be forthcoming and honest with this whole, ugly situation. 

Secrets - It's what got me here. It's what keeps me here. 
Sacrifices - what I feel like I'm doing or maybe what I actually am.

Denial - What some people stay in to cope. Causes pain to others; the untruth that's maybe too ugly to face. 

Silence - protection, fear, keeping some in a fixed position.


When my abuse began when I was very young, I never would have thought that it would affect so much - becoming so intertwined in so many facets of my soul and life. I often wonder how my cognitive thinking would be, my trust levels, my freedom to feel my emotions, and my ability to express myself would be if I wasn't so conflicted in the innermost places of myself. 

I'm sick of the abuse making me feel inadequate as a christian, a wife, a mother, a sister and a friend. Again, my perspective. I've worked hard to find a "happy place" to exist in. I'm doing the therapy, I'm praying for healing, I'm taking the meds, I'm getting up everyday, I'm showing up to work, and I'm investing in my relationships. 

Then a bomb! A reminder of dysfunction. A reminder of secrets and withholding of truth that began so many years ago. Denial. Escalation of sin. So much of it. This bomb causes fibers of past hurt, abuse, and secrets that are intertwined in the deepest places of me to begin to swell up inside of me and knock me off of my axis; to the point of instability. This is where I'm expected to just keep going and not feel any guilt. "She's strong, she's faithful, she's gonna be fine. She'll get through this. She needs time to process." Nothing changes though. Secrets remain. Denial exists and we dare not talk about it. Its a domino effect that doesn't stop stripping people of their happiness, relationships and frame of mind.

Sexual abuse is the "gift" that keeps on giving. Its EXHAUSTING.

I'm SO angry now. You won't see it because I've mastered the art of pretending, or showing no emotion. I can't feel things normally anyway. My heart and my brain are not connected properly. Abuse does that. Keeping secrets does that.  Past the anger, my brain is conflicted to the point of not really giving a damn about certain things. 

A goal of mine is to be authentic. I have succeeded in doing that with only my boys. God has seen to it that I remain open, honest and loving to them. This is my saving grace and they are my heart. The rest of the world sees a partial picture of me. I don't know if it doesn't feel safe for me to show myself or I've conditioned myself, out of obligation, to appear one way and feel another. It's hard right now. It's confusing right now. It's painful right now. 

Again, my perspective.

"I write because it makes me feel like someone's listening - or am I finally listening to myself" - author unknown.









Friday, May 8, 2020

When a semi colon happens...









The Friday before Mother's Day, 2 years ago, I found myself in a different place. I had given up on my life and situation, made bad choices, and was PEC'd to a Mental hospital for 5 days. How's that for an opening sentence!

I'm reminded of how dark and low I was. I'm reminded of feeling hopeless, feeling that I would be better off dead. I had succumbed to depression so bad that I had no defenses to fight it off - and I didn't want to fight anymore. Some say that this is selfish. I say that when you are that low and in that moment, you just want your pain and suffering to end. 

I remember the ER triage nurse being kind. I remember her not having any judgement towards me and I remember her treating me with respect. She encouraged me to "always be honest so that my caregivers could provide the best care possible to me". I never forgot that. I remember the psych ward upstairs at OLOL. I remember large guards escorting me there. I remember the green paper scrubs that I had to wear that were 3 sizes too big. I remember all of my personal things being taken from me. I remember the screaming and arguing of other patients. I remember sitting in a chair for about 6 hours waiting on the next move. I remember having a blank stare while sitting in that chair. I remember being questioned by a Psychiatrist. I remember a Social worker coming to tell me that I had been placed at a Mental hospital across town and that an ambulance would come to take me there. 

I remember seeing the EMS stretcher come in. I remember them pointing to me. I remember two female paramedics helping me on it, covering me with a blanket, then pulling out restraints. Quiet tears began to fall. I asked if the restraints were necessary. They told me it was their policy for PEC'd patients. 

The trip across town was bumpy. I had no idea which direction we were going. I remember radio chatter, being unloaded and wheeled in to a cold building. 

I remember my admit nurse and her kind, bedside manner. I remember her compassionate approach to my admittance. I remember feeling worthless and stating over and over again that "I just don't care what happens to me". Again, depression. My stay at this mental hospital was for 5 days. One of those days was Mother's Day Sunday. It was gut-wrenching to not be with my sons that day. 

This night and the weeks leading up to this night, 2 years ago, have left a mark on my soul. I'm different for it. I'll never forget it and I think about it often. More details of my stay are in past blog posts if you desire to know more details. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This week is also Nurse's week and Sunday is Mother's Day. With that said, depression and past sexual abuse trauma don't disappear and I have a mental illness called depression and PTSD. In my experience as a patient, I have been personally shown what a trusting, compassionate, non-judgmental nurse looks like. I strive to be that way with my patients. Shout out to all of the caring, hardworking nurses out there. I am thankful that Mother's day will be completely different again this year and I can spend it at home with my family. 


Shout out to all who struggle with mental illness. It's unpredictable at times, causing difficulty in daily life. My stay in the hospital has brought many silver linings to my healing and progress and I'm thankful for that. I've learned that, for me, it takes patience, prayer, strength, meds, and determination to continue to make progress.  I need all of those things daily. Hugs to all who struggle, much love to fellow nurses, and happy happy Mother's day to all of the moms out there. 








Monday, April 6, 2020

Covid-19 meets walking dead child molesters!








Covid-19 is leaving its mark in so many ways.  Here's hoping the quarantined ones are staying sane at home and the essential workers are staying safe at work. It's weird working at a hospital that usually looks like a bustling city street of people in it's halls to more of a ghost town from an old western movie with tumbleweeds. So many changes, so much uncertainty, so many challenges and it saddens me. Nothing is the same right now, except for Jesus! Amen for that! 

Sunday's scripture from my church:
John 16:33 ~ "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." If this verse isn't appropriate, I don't know what is. Faith over Fear!!

My therapy sessions are over the phone, zoom, or doxy.com right now and that's weird. I'm absolutely thankful for the ability to have these options though. For me, my challenges are being vulnerable, sharing with shame, and facing my battles with other people who can help carry my burdens and provide feedback.  When I actually do that, I'm so proud of myself. Momentum was being achieved, progress was being made, and forward movement (no matter how small) was happening. That norm changed and it scares me. I have to accept and embrace this new norm and learn to trust that similar outcomes can be achieved like this through this new way of therapy. 

I can become a prisoner in my head and my thoughts can be debilitating. Therapy, as hard as it is, is an outlet for those thoughts with professional feedback provided back. Phone sessions are the new norm right now. I never thought that I would miss face to face therapy but I do. 

I woke up last night yelling in my sleep from a nightmare I was having.  My husband woke me up! I remember the dream vividly. In the dream, I had walking-dead style child molesters chasing me who were also positive for Covid-19 and I was trying to fight them off. That's the combo in my head right now. That's screwed up. The only choice you have is to catch your breath, swallow your fear, turn over, try to go back to sleep, get up with the alarm and face the challenges of the new day. Underlying issues haven't gone away just because this virus is attacking. Shout out to all who struggle with mental issues and who are fighting your battles AND this pandemic. It's an added stressor. This pandemic will likely bring on mental concerns in some people. We are human, we handle so much, and sometimes we can't fight it alone. 


Have you ever heard that saying, "I love Jesus but I drink a little" - lol.. Well I'm guilty. It's not a positive coping mechanism, nor one that I recommend but if I'm honest, it relaxes my mind right now, because my mind is crazy at times. With that being said, my prayer time has increased also and I notice the silver linings everywhere through out all of this. In the past few weeks, I have learned that fellow employees are testing positive, some physicians as well, friends, and friend's family members. The "front lines" are scary where exposure is hard to fight off. I pray everyday for those who are actually working in Covid-19 units. The work environment that you have known for over 20 years, no longer exists right now. Anxiety comes, you fight it off, and you pray hard for healing and protection. I have been brought to tears more in the last 3 weeks than ever. 

With that said, I have always found peace and comfort from music for as long as I can remember. If I'm off of work, I'm listening to christian music, or have headphones on while doing chores, doing exercise, or yard work.  It encourages me, speaks to me, and soothes me. It's spirit-calming! Thankful for it.

Speaking of thankful - I'm thankful that both my husband and I are still working, my boys and my family are safe at home and healthy, our house is comfortable to be stuck in, my church is on-line with tons of ways to stay connected and our workplaces are doing everything to keep us all safe. 

I may not always trust my ways, but I always trust that God is bigger than any battle we face. He never fails. Faith over Fear! Much love to all. Stay safe and be smart. 



                                                   







Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Underdog...


First of all, reading this blog is a choice that you get to make. You don't have to read it. Some may look at this blog as me whining or something to that nature. I choose to write it as an outlet to my jumbled thoughts and pain. After all, this subject matter is, and always has been, considered taboo. A hush hush type of trauma. A subject matter when mentioned, that has the power to silence a room and get no response for lack of any person even knowing what to say or how to respond - that happens to me in group therapy.  Anyway...






Have you seen this girl? Apparently I've lost her. She's stuck in a betrayal spiral, an anger fit, a protective mode, behind walls of shame that are so thick that it looks impossible to break out of. She is so full of fear and scared to death to rise to the surface and face reality. She's hiding. 
It wasn't supposed to happen. Her childhood was full of love, care, nurturing, fun, and excitement. She was cherished by her parents, her sister, her brother, her teachers, her friends - but her childhood was also burdened by sin, abuse and pain. She was introduced to the meaning of secrecy like no other. She mastered pretending, was a "good girl", but continued to be abused. So much so that it became what she expected. The norm. By trusted people. How screwed up is that? Yes, she is a kid. Yes, it was a long time ago but YES she is still lost and suffering. 

The honest truth of it all is that I need to reconnect with this little girl, to nurture her. Weird huh - that's why it hasn't happened yet. I should feel sorry for her. I should want to set her free. My view of her right now is that she is the cause of me being stuck. She should have known better and just left the room when the abuse started. She should have told her abusers to STOP! I'm mad at her. She is needing something from me that I don't know how to give yet.  

I told you it was weird and I don't like weird. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around this concept of reconnecting with her. 

People who care about me check on me. They love me and ask me how I'm doing. I honestly don't know what I would do without these beautiful people in my life.  I'm day-to-day. I have a good stint of strength, positive movement forward and then I'm faced with something like an abuser's face from the past, right in front of me without warning. That's when the frightened, scared little girl inside of me resurfaces and causes disarray in my life, reacting like a child would. There's isolation, too much sleep, too little sleep, numbness, no appetite, weight loss, tears, no motivation, silence, negative behaviors, and lack of self care with self sabotage kicking in and taking over - all the while I know that the adult me needs to do better. "Get up and take care of your family!" "Now you are only hurting the people you love!" It's a seesaw of emotions fueled, again, by shame. Shame is like a nasty serpent. I'm ready to kill the son-of-a-bitch. The sexual abuse from the past is not over! Now it's affecting and haunting the family that I created, that I love. This causes anger - never released -which I'm too afraid to release. 

The most challenging thing is to get back up again. Take a shower, do laundry, clean your house, go to work, be productive, make small talk, laugh with friends. You know, beautiful life stuff. If you see me soon I'll be doing something similar to this. Just like the other people who suffer battles we don't even know about. Battles similar to this. I don't want to pretend anymore. Pretending happens less for me but let's be honest - who wants to be around someone who is depressed and sad. I might pretend a little bit. There's also a misconception of a quick bounce-back. It doesn't work like that (not for me, anyway).  It's a process. I'm blessed with a husband who has repeatedly said to me that he is not going anywhere. Praise Jesus for his love and dedication to me and our marriage and our family! It's NO fun for him when crisis hits and our life is different for a while.  

Shout out to the survivors of abuse. 
Talk to your children about good touch vs. bad touch
Believe them when they find the strength to confide in you. 
Take action. 
Fight for them!














Blood stains...

It's hard for me to go back and read earlier blog posts that I've written. In fact, I seldom do. With that said, I may repeat myself...