It has been one of those nights. Little sleep and too much thinking.
Good thinking though, not obsessing about other people’s opinions of me. But, drawing one of the many lines in the sand that I seem to draw, but then are erased again and again by the waves. But, I keep drawing them, and one day they’ll be etched in stone. Erasable, sturdy, and stable.
I’m a survivor of physical and verbal abuse. A survivor that is just learning the severity of the consequences of that childhood. So, this morning, when I couldn’t sleep again, I read about the characteristics of abuse survivors. My therapist keeps telling me to research my condition, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Attack Disorder.
This morning, on four hours of sleep, I decided to listen and researched traits of abuse survivors.
The nineteen page article gave me a sense of normalcy and hope. It is good to know (as much as it can be) it would have taken a miracle for me not to develop an anxiety disorder.
See, as a victim I was brainwashed to keep my mouth shut, let the abuse happen, and feel complicit in the abuse. After all, it was all my fault because I really was garbage.
I had no personal voice. But now as an adult I can nurture my own power, stop the cycle of abuse rooted in my own mind, and extinguish other’s toxic voices.
Reading that article, I realized that I am not alone, and that I am not being over-reactive to my abuse. It was real, it was cruel, and it has lasting effects. I’m not being “overly sensitive” about my upbringing and I don’t need to “suck it up and forget about it.”
I need to learn from it, and evolve. I can’t keep ignoring what happened. That has only led me to a debilitating anxiety disorder, heart palpitations and excessive doctor visits.
The second thing the article gave me was hope. I am already doing many of the things it recommended for healing. One painful circumstance triggering past hurts, one mediating technique, one conversation, one journal entry, one Al-Anon meeting -one day at a time, singular moments leading me to security, and peace. I am improving. I am breathing, reflecting, writing and healing.
And, that’s pretty damn significant for a survivor.