Click here or on the pic above to go to my Patreon account and check out the new video! It’s about 10 minutes. More to come as I get more videos edited. I posted a new vlog this week. I’ve been filming nearly every day to track my progress through my healing journey. Becoming a Patron starts at just $3. I’m still working out how I’m going to be expanding my Patreon. I would love the feedback if you would like to share. Thank you!
TW: colorful language, tears, my voice shakes. Although this audio does not describe abuse it still may be triggering for other survivors. Please take care of yourself. If this is too triggering for you then please do not listen and shut it off immediately and do something kind and practice selfcare. Come back to it another time or never at all. Your well being is important. Thank you for reading and for listing.
New Sarah Garlits audio diary entry. I tell the story of when I happened upon the man who abused me as a child. I didn’t run. Find out what happened in my survivor Storytime.
I will be adding a transcript of my audio files in the near future to make them more accessible for everyone.
I’ve been being more active on my Patreon account. I’ve been getting support there for a couple years now. Thank you to my supporters! I’m finally feeling up to being able to consistently update it. My blog here too. I’m trying not to overwhelm myself so I’ll be taking things slow. I did update the goals on Patreon and I’m thinking about adding a live stream goal. I have been working my bills around to lower than and in the process I was able to pay over $100 less per month and upgrade my internet! Streaming will be no problem now!
My latest 3 posts are my abuse survivor video diary. I had to split it into 3 pasts due to space limitations on Patreon but I was able to get it posted. Check it out there and support me sharing my Complex PTSD healing journey by becoming a patron. I’ll be posting a short teaser video soon. Can you also do me a favor and comment below with what you would enjoy as a patron? Educational vids like stress management courses? More vlogs? Audio versions of my blog posts? Art sent to you each month? Monthly live streams? What would help you to help me? For the price of a couple cups of coffee, what would you like to see in return? I would love to hear your ideas with a comment or use the contact page. Telling me an idea doesn’t lock you into making a pledge. It’s just helpful.
If you are already a Patron, thank you so much! You are helping to get me through a rough time in my life. I’d love to hear from you too. What would help you to stay my patron? Reaction videos, silly weekly selfies? A few of you mentioned you would like to have some of the art I’ve made. The artwork REALLY helps me too so I’m totally for it. I also have a kiln now so I can do ceramic pieces and glass art. Tell me your thoughts. Are there certain topics you would like me to cover? Please leave a comment below You can message me on the contact page if that’s more comfortable for you.
If you are against the whole Patreon, no hate, you can support my blog and videos directly here: paypal.me/2chicksLV
Again thank you for the support and for the ideas on how to improve my Patreon and blog. 🙂
A letter to Myself. I have written many of these over the years. The post pic of some of those letters. It scares me sometimes because all the selves in my start talking at once in my head. It scared me that I was all these selves before. I’m really trying to accept this about myself and love myself. RADICAL ACCEPTANCE! So, here’s a love letter:
Take me with you when you need strength. Know that someone loves you and hold a safe place for you to be yourself. Your playful, tearful self. Take me with you when you need me. Most importantly take yourself with you and all of us stand behind you that believe in you. You can do this. You are doing this. You have survived every single day no matter what the world threw at you. It’s ok to be hesitant in receiving help, just keep going! Day by day, step by step, and layer by later you are making a life for yourself that you get to live for yourself. It’s yours! The abuse may have held you back but you are bursting out now.
Take all your friends and loved ones with you through everything. Let them stand behind you and be your foundation along with your own love for yourself. When someone walks over your boundary, ask yourself, “What would Mom, Jeff, John, the support group, patrons, and your twitter friends tell you if you told them about this?” What would you tell them if this happened to them? You don’t deserve to be treated badly EVER! Everyone that cares about you wants you to have healthy boundaries and not go over them or hurt you. If someone doesn’t respect your boundaries after you state them or make an effort to do better, have a block party and dance about your freedom from another asshole! You don’t have to give them a chance either. You can do what you like. You don’t owe anyone attention, friendship, or whatever. Even if they give you things or money. You don’t have to play tit for tat.
Allow yourself to have more fun and be your silly self. That’s the good shit and you deserve more of that. Years of not letting yourself unfurl are over. Go as slow as you are comfortable. Extend your wings and let yourself be whoever you are that day. Remember that you aren’t changing, you are remembering. This is all still you. You will grow but you are always still you. No need to fear that. The core of you is good and loving. That really small voice, the real you, doesn’t think you suck. It loves your very much. I love you very much. All of me loves all of the you’s. Even if we never integrate into a whole self you are wonderful just like this. Just think, you most likely will grow and be even better because I know you. You won’t just stop here. You will go get ALL THE THINGS you want because that’s who you are.
That voice telling you all those cruel things that the abusers did is wrong and stupid. The abusers were stupid to do what they did. They could have had so much but they had to be abusers. They didn’t pick you because you were weak. They picked you because you are full of life and love. They wanted to eat your life force. They will live on having their miserable lives. They aren’t happy people even when they get what they want. You, however, will grow into a more loving giving person or rather wake up those parts you had to hide away to protect them. You get to have love and happiness in your life and you are already finding loving people!
It’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be scary, but you can do this. I believe in you. Your loved ones believe in you. You don’t have to fight this alone anymore. If and when you doubt yourself ask your loved ones and they will tell you that you can do this. They have your back and so do I, all of the parts. The goal is to have a better life and be yourself, whatever that is! You will have it too because that’s what you do. You do the damn thing! Keep going!
New PTSD video Diary Teaser
You can watch the full pt 1 vlog on my Patreon
Part 2 posts later this week. 🙂
Where else can you find me?
Support my art, writings, survivor blog, youtube channel and more here:
http://www.twitter.com/SarahGarlits –I’m most active and interactive here
http://www.youtube.com/SarahGarlits – My channel
Blog and contact me:
Link to information found in this video:
I am not affiliated with this company but wanted to pass the info along to other survivors. Great information and they have helped me a lot!
CPTSD Foundation Live daily support calls and free resources: https://cptsdfoundation.org/
Traima Recovery Uniniversity Youtube Channel:
I first broke my silence about the sexual abuse when I was 10 years old right after I had a flashback during a school assembly about child sexual abuse. The abuse started at 3 years old(I think, I could have been younger) Telling is transformative. I feel like I am no longer keeping the abusers/rapists secrets. I don’t feel shame because I didn’t do anything wrong to cause it. The more I break my silence about the sexual abuse I suffered the more I feel free. I felt like no one could use these secrets against me anymore. Sometimes it does feel like I’ve said too much and I feel unsure about myself. Not everyone feels good after disclosing. It can mean reliving the events all over again and it can be painful. With practice of speaking my truth this feeling of fear that comes along with talking about it has lessened. That old fear creeps in because I was conditioned to believe my family would die if I told. I was made to protect them by enduring the abuse. I am not going to protect the abusers any longer.
There are many ways to tell your story than speaking. The event could have been so traumatic that your mind could have separated the feelings, images, and sensations, only giving you little bits at a time. You may not be able to tell what happened from beginning to end because you might not have the whole story yet or the language to express what happened. If you were abused before you had the language to express it in words you do have other options. Artwork, dance, music, and other forms of expression can help you tell your communicate with symbols and imagery. I use artwork a lot to express myself through dancing, drawing, painting and sculpture.
Telling a safe person that validates you and cares for you can begin the process of change needed to heal. The act of voicing sexual abuse is powerful and can move you through the isolation of secrecy. Telling can lead building a support network and community of strong survivors like yourself. Your decision to disclose is yours and yours alone. Do not feel pressured to disclose if you are not ready. In my experience I never really felt ready and it always feel awkward but also freeing. I felt I had to heal or die. I chose to live and stop protecting the abusers but I don’t want to hurt others with my pain. It’s a confusing experience for me. A safe person might be your family, a friend, a therapist, or support group.
If you become very triggered and distressed you might want to focus on building your self care skills/self soothing and experiment with the other methods to express yourself first. Writing down what happened in a journal or blog can help to get it out of your head and onto a page. The first person silence you break is to yourself. This can lead to you being more ready to talk about it. Be gentle with yourself and remember that you don’t have to rush. In fact the harder you push the more disruptive it can be. Go as slow as you need too. You don’t need to meet any expectations, including your own, in this expressive discovery process.
Listening to the truth of a survivor is an honor. Unfortunately, in the world we live in, be prepared for a possible negative response. If the person you tell was also abused their own defenses by get triggered. Some people may not believe you at first or react in a hostile way. They may be crass and extremely insensitive. I would like to offer my ear to any fellow survivor that wishes to disclose. I am here for you. Email me, leave a comment (ask not to publish it if you wish, it is your choice), leave feedback, DM me on twitter. You can be completely anonymous. I am not going to ridicule you or tell other people what you tell me. Many of my friends and family have disclosed to me and I see it as the real honor that it is. I am a vault unless you give me permission otherwise. I want to support ALL survivors: Men, women, transgender, and non-binary. All genders, all races, all of us. We all deserve to heal. I would also like to share the hashtag #SurvivorCulture on twitter. This group of brave individuals does not discriminate. If you have felt like you don’t feel a sense of belonging in the #MeToo movement or told otherwise check out: https://twitter.com/survivorculture You can also contact Rainn.org or call 800.656.HOPE (4673)
If you are an ally/supporter of survivors and someone discloses to you, please listen. Believe the survivor. Talking about our pain and experience of abuse is so difficult. Offer support and affirming language not advice. The listening part is healing. Please do so with an open mind and not a judgmental one. Don’t go into fix it mode. Offer resources that can help them. More information for talking to survivors of sexual assault can be found here: https://www.rainn.org/articles/tips-talking-survivors-sexual-assault
If you are in crisis please visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for chat support or call 800.273.TALK (8255)
It really happened to me. The memories, flashbacks, and nightmares are real. For so long I couldn’t say the words. Now I know that I survived child sexual abuse, attempted murder, partner rape, bullying, attempted suicide, domestic violence, stalking, and more. Denial that these things happened to me served me in some ways to try to move forward in my life…until I couldn’t move anymore. There was no more forward. I had no choice but to start healing myself because continuing to hate myself and not believe my own memory was killing me. I had to stop making excuses and confront what I did not want to deal with. I didn’t want to remember or have to pause my life to heal. The rose colored glasses have been shattered much like my mind.
My brain separated the functioning part of myself from the abuse but it was always there. There were symptoms even though I couldn’t remember for years. I wanted to believe it didn’t happen. I wanted to believe it was just a dream, just weird thoughts, just not me. It matters. I matter. What happened to me matters. The fact that the rapists walk free matter while I continue to suffer. I am not disposable and no survivor is. It happened and I believe myself. I trust myself. I wasn’t ready for years to admit it but it’s my truth.
If you are struggling with this please know that it is ok to be where you are. Believing and getting through the denial takes time. According to the The Courage to Heal book believing doesn’t happen all at once. Be gentle with yourself. You don’t have to force yourself or push yourself to accept it all at once. Healing is a gradual, grueling, nonlinear process. Don’t let anyone else rush you either.
I would love for this process to be faster. The more I push the more disruption happens. Learning to give myself time and to believe each new memory as it arises is also something I’m having to gradually learn. It is easier to fall into the old ways of coping but the more I choose to love and accept myself and my memories the easier it is getting to get through another day.
Remembering is another stage in the healing process. When I was 10 years old memories of child sexual abuse that I suffered came back to me during a class assembly. Right there in front of everyone, the memories came crashing in. It roared in my ear and black came in around my peripheral vision. I felt like I was being sucked into the back of my head and everything was going black. I started to fight it but it was no use. All the sudden I was 3 years old and very confused, in immense burning pain, couldn’t move.I saw the abuser. I’m not sure when I came back to the present as remembering that traumatic event was also traumatic. I ran out of the room crying. It was like a horror movie except it was my life. My life wasn’t what I thought it was. I don’t have much memory of the next few months but I went into therapy as did my family.
I’m still remembering traumatic events all these years later that I repressed and I’m now 38 years old. Survivors can remember at any age and there are seniors in their 80’s and 90’s just now remembering traumatic events that happened to them in their childhoods. Now it effects me much like it when I was 10 but I am better able to handle it because I usually know what is going on. Do you remember that scene in The Bourne Identity where Jason Bourne remembers some repressed memories due to the government experiments? He grabs a table to steady himself and almost falls over. It’s pretty close to that for me. I usually have to get to a safe state of being like sitting down. I can get dizzy and fall. It’s like I’m not even in my body, I’m certainly not in the present.
There are times when I can feel a memory on it’s way, like impending doom. When this happens I get to a place that I will be safe.I let myself feel as much as I can. I employ selfcare and grounding techniques that I mentioned in the last post. Every step is important but I just started learning how to let myself rest. Remembering is painful and exhausting. There is no way I can just go back to whatever I was doing. I need time to process and rest. When I’m ready I write about it, create some art, and talking about it when I’m ready can help too.
Remembering is a unique experience for every survivor. Some survivors remember what happened, others don’t, some of us get pieces or just feelings. I have traumatic amnesia around many events. There are also body memories, emotional flashbacks, and my memory seems to change. I can remember different parts of my life at different times. Sometimes I can’t remember anything and I just exist in this body, dissociating to the point of depersonalization. Some survivors remember the event but not the feelings that went along with it. The healing process can bring out more memories as well as life events and stress. Something can trigger a memory like a life event such as getting married, having a child, breaking an addition. A retraumatization can also bring the memories back.
I wrote this closer to when I started this blog(Feb 2015). I wanted to share it because I still have these thoughts and they are just that. Thoughts. I couldn’t write a new entry today due to not being able to concentrate for long.
When I am having a difficult day and there seems to be no escape from the memories and emotional/physical triggers I sometimes sink into dark fantasies. Sometimes I write about them and I used to write short stories as a teen. I fantasize that I am a serial killer, a vigilante that tracks down people to abuse children/rape and remove them from the world. My methods for removal are often violent and some of these thoughts are disturbing as I really enjoy this fantasy.
I would see myself as some sort of dark super hero but in reality I was ashamed of this. I am not ashamed now of this way to cope but I fear sometimes that it is too enticing. I stop myself from tracking down my abusers. I stop myself from searching out sex offenders. It is an urge I have to put the fantasy into play in a real sense. I do not consider myself a violent person but I know that I am perfectly capable of carrying things out once my brain starts cooking on an idea.
The healthy thing is that I wrote about it instead of acting it out. That says a lot to me about myself. Even though I made a kill list and I even planned out a few murders and methods of torture in great detail, I have no plans to carry any of it out no matter how tempting it may be. Sometimes when I am triggered I go to these fantasies to then rewrite the end of the memory to have my dark superhero self come save the day and kill my abuser on the spot.
As far as some future abuse, I don’t trust myself to not fight to the death with the intention being that the person attempting to rape me will die. I don’t feel bad about this and its just a fact. I will in the very least permanently damage someone who tries to rape me. Eyeballs and ballsacks are my targets should this happen. They will come at me walking or running, but if not die, they will limp away holding various places where their parts once were.
When I write about these things I can feel a change in myself. I start to dissociate a bit, the feelings I normally have of compassion and empathy are nonexistent.
I have considered taking certain classes to learn how to fight with a knife or some sort of hand to hand combat further than the self defense classes I have taken in the past. I find myself during strength training being proud of how strong I am becoming in order to fight someone off and become extremely self reliant.
I plan to talk with my therapist more about this to help understand this but to also talk about it instead of pursuing some sort of behavior or course of action that will negatively impact my life or that of my family. I feel like I need to keep these feelings in check or lack of feeling at times because its scary to me. Fear seems to drive many things and maybe its unreasonable fears. It could be the fear is preventing me to really accept this side of myself and what I’m capable of. Everyone has thoughts like this, I’m told.
Maybe this is something I need to explore further in my art and videos. Some sort of expression of these feelings and urges can be put to better use in creative ways to be shared with others instead of acting out the violent thoughts in real life.
I want to be clear to say that I do not have a fear of murdering someone. I have a fear of fucking up my life/losing my freedom and hurting my family. I don’t believe removing these people from the planet to be a bad idea. They ruin lives and even though they may have been abused, I cannot fathom in my mind the justification of hurting a child or raping someone and then being allowed to go on with their lives while the victim is left in shambles and shamed into silence.
This might only make sense to me and that’s ok. Free writing is me getting out what is in my head. I’m trying to make sense of myself and my feelings. As always if you read something on my blog that triggers you, please stop reading and take gentle loving care of yourself. Many of my posts are very raw and an expression of my pain. You don’t have to read this if it’s hurting you.
When I was 10 years old, I remembered some of the sexual abuse I suffered at 3 years old and it shattered my life, my identity, my self worth. My life wasn’t what I thought it was. It was like living in a horror movie except the movie doesn’t end with things wrapped up neatly in a bow at the end. Now I deal with the aftermath of that time that was like a horror movie. I have been rebuilding myself since. Sometimes daily. Well, mostly running and being a sort of chameleon that was an excellent fawner and I preferred it over fighting. Many times I had to fight. Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn are the trauma responses and I’ve had them all with the different traumas I suffered. At times, I couldn’t even always tell if I was trying to not get hurt or I really did like the person. I am attracted to predators and they are attracted to me.
I ran and blamed all manner of things for the physical symptoms stemming from my CPTSD instead of confronting it. Most of the time I was able to keep going. When my symptoms got worse a few years ago I didn’t have a choice anymore. I had to heal or perish. I chose to stay and fight this. This means taking a very in depth look at myself that I don’t like doing. Up until a bout 2 years ago I didn’t even like myself. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to love yourself 1st before you can love other people. I love others very deeply and didn’t like myself. I used to warn people to stay away and not get close to me. I claimed I was a bad person even though I realize now that I am not. Thoughts are just thoughts and humans have all kinds. It matters what someone acts on and does with those thoughts. Now, I acknowledge those dark thoughts like I do the suicide thoughts. Ok, it’s there. My brain, the bio computer spits out a lot of weird thoughts and imagery. Why wouldn’t it? I now think it would be unreasonable to think I’d just be OK after all that happened to me. Maybe if I never remembered but that’s not my reality. There is no going back. There is only forward. Death awaits me if I don’t.
I have experienced gender dysphoria as long as I can remember. I wonder if this is from what happened or if that is just me? Does it matter? I could just accept it as part of me regardless of why but it seems important. If I wasn’t abused at that age would I feel like this…like I don’t have a gender. I played up my more femme attributes but I didn’t really feel it. I was a tomboy growing up and was bullied for it in school constantly. I was always doing things that were considered for boys. Sometimes I do feel like a woman, mostly I don’t. Not my body so much(my body is female) but it’s my mind and how I feel in my body. It’s very difficult explain. I don’t feel like I’m a man but sometimes I do feel more like a boy. Many times I don’t even feel human. I feel like a spirit that lives in this body. My out of body experiences probably contributed to this feeling. When I dream, I can shift bodies or hang out and watch what’s going on like an observer instead of a participant.
I’m pansexual as well. I have been attracted to various humans of all genders for as long as I can remember. I had crushes on male characters on tv, my friends that were girls, fictional characters in books. I wasn’t aware of all the genders until later. I thought I was bisexual for a long time until that just didn’t fit either. It’s more fluid like everything else in my life. The few memories I do have that is pre-trauma me was only like 2 years old and before that I was in a little walker and no sense either way at the time. I think that is before someone forms as a person and many times, I feel stuck there.
I have never wanted children. Since I 3-4 years old I told my whole family that I wasn’t going to have children. If I did change my mind I would adopt. I am now very happy with this decision. My family would be raising my kids and they would have a lot of problems because of growing up around me with CPTSD.
My traumatic amnesia can hinder me from remembering myself. Sometimes I can remember a lot. Most of the time, I can’t remember though. Sometimes I remember when my family mentions something about the past. Most times not. It’s confusing and makes me upset. It’s painful that I can’t remember me. Luckily I have some great family and friends that assure me that I am still ME and being the ME they know even if I can’t remember who that is. This could be depersonalization. Part of dissociation. I lose time and black out. Sometimes I find writing that doesn’t look familiar or thing I don’t remember purchasing. This is all part of it. I think this may be why when I take antidepressants I change into someone I hate and hates the world. It is a different part of me that I have kept away from the forefront of my mind and behavior. That part of me conflicts with my values.
I am working very hard become a whole me. I know it’s small steps at a time. Parts of my that aren’t integrated yet hold tons of trauma. My brain will let me have at it when it’s ready, when I’m ready for it. I understand that all at once would cause massive destabilization. One step at a time. One day at a time. I hope one day I feel more solid and less confused.