Category Archives: My Story

My story is getting a category instead of just a page. I’m not ok with sharing everything yet. Sometimes I don’t remember certain things. trauma is funny that way and messes with your memory. I was also 1st abused at 3 years old so I don’t always remember with words. This category is for the pieces that I am comfortable to tell.

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Child Abuse Survivors Complex PTSD Effects of Child Abuse Effects of Emotional Abuse Emotional Child Abuse My Story

Stages Of Healing From Sexual Abuse: 1 Deciding to Heal

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There are many stages of healing that a survivor of sexual abuse goes through. Not only do we go through these stages but we go through them over and over again, each time getting more integration. There is no real order to them and many times I have felt stuck in one stage or another. I desperately wanted to feel better and “get over it” as they told me I should have already have done. I now know that a complete resolution may not be possible for me but that doesn’t make healing any less valid for me. I can feel better and I have proven that. I will continue to improve even when it feels like I’m taking a couple steps backward. It’s all part of the journey. According to the book: The Courage to heal, there are 13 stages. I have experienced them all and still go through them over and over again.

The 13 stages are:
Deciding to Heal
The emergency stage
Believing it happened
Breaking the silence
Understanding it wasn’t your fault
The child within
Grieving
Anger
Disclosures and truth telling
Forgiveness for yourself
Spirituality
Resolution and moving on

Here’s where I started:

The Decision to Heal- In 2014 my symptoms from complex ptsd became overwhelming. I ran for a long time and batched, cope with alcohol, and was generally unwell and unable to work. I still struggle to work consistently. I was suicidal and as much as I didn’t feel like I had a choice at all, I chose not to die. I got myself into therapy and seriously committed to healing. This became my full time unpaid occupation. I had been in therapy a few times through my life since I was 10 years old but I didn’t find it very helpful with the exception of some EMDR work I did in 2011. I had to stop going because I couldn’t afford it.

I made a ton of changes and I felt stuck in the emergency stage for a long time. I moved my residence 3 times. Now I’m changing jobs. I’ve gone through the stages and now I FINALLY feel like I’m not in the emergency stage any longer. This is 4 years later. This beginning stages are very disruptive and I found many of the things I used to cope were either unhealthy or just not working. I was remembering more and more instances of sexual abuse. I started calling rape what it was, rape. No pet names or minimizing language. It’s the truth. I couldn’t even say the word for decades but I say it now. I am a rape survivor, a child sexual abuse survivor, domestic violence survivor, partner rape survivor, narcissistic abuse survivor, bullying survivor. I remember my own death and floating above myself. I get a lot of bits and pieces of memories still. Much of it doesn’t make sense. I still disassociate a lot but I’m learning to stay more present throughout the day.

When I remember more I go through a sort of emergency stage again but in a shorter duration. There is just so much to deal with it is very overwhelming for me. It is disrupting and as much as I don’t want to remember anymore, I can’t go back. I can’t undo what was done but I can move toward a better healthier future for myself. That is my goal now, to improve, progress, come at this with compassion and love. It took me a long time to even like myself but I also found this little part of me that I love. That is growing and it makes this journey easier.

Every survivor is different. Their stories and how they go about healing is unique to each and every one of them. There are no boxes that we all fit in, no list that makes sense for everyone. Over the next few posts or so I want to share my experience with the stages of healing as described in the book I mentioned earlier. I hope to share so that it is out of my head and processed more. I want to share to show you can go through all of this and still be able to have a good life. I couldn’t find someone like me so I’m going to be my own role model and model good behavior for myself. Healing is the most difficult work that I have ever done. It is so worth it. I will continue and CPTSD will not kill me because I am tougher than trauma. I’m tougher than what happened to me. I’m tougher than the abusers. I will survive. Whatever it takes, I got this.

Abuse Survivors Child Abuse Stories Complex PTSD Free Writing My Story Overcoming Sexual Abuse

Dark Thoughts- Free Writing

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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.

Abuse Survivors Complex PTSD Effects of Child Abuse Effects of Emotional Abuse Free Writing My Story Overcoming Sexual Abuse

What’s ME and What’s from the Abuse- Free Writing

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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.

Free writing:

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.

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Abuse Survivor Blog Wins an Award

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My abuse survivor blog has won an award! They gave me a badge for my website.  I have the #8 out of top 15 blogs about child abuse. This was unexpected but it’s encouraging me to keep going. Sometimes I post a lot, sometimes very little. It is still difficult to stay consistent. My healing is still up and down but I’m finding my way.

Here’s my award ribbon!

Child Abuse Blogs

Other blog news: I’m going to be working on posting my video posts that I took off of YouTube. You will find them in the corresponding posts here where there are missing videos. Thank you for your patience.  More audio posts and other helpful videos are on the way as well. I’ll be sharing what I have learned along my journey. Thank you for reading and subscribing!

Big THANK YOU out to my Patrons on https://www.patreon.com/sarahgarlits You help fund things around here and that keep this blog possible.

Abuse Survivors Complex PTSD Effects of Child Abuse Effects of Emotional Abuse My Story Overcoming Sexual Abuse

Coping with Anxiety

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Since the weekend I have been dealing with a massive amount of anxiety.  On Saturday I had one of the worst anxiety attacks that I can remember. This was followed by many smaller anxiety attacks as it cycled back down. I would have seen this as a set back but I don’t believe that anymore. It wasn’t a set back because anxiety is part of my life living with Cptsd. As I integrate myself into a more healed and solid individual, there is going to be destabilization. The parts of me that hold the trauma memories are being integrated and it’s painful.

Instead of seeing this as a setback I observed myself putting into action many techniques I have learned over the past few years. The hard work paid off because I was able to get myself through it. I did everything I could to comfort myself and reassure myself that I was safe. Some things only work some of the time then I switch it up. I feel stronger now. I proved to myself that yes, it’s going to get bad sometimes and scary but I can get through it. Keep going!

Some of the things I did:

I talked to myself out loud that I was safe and going to be ok. This is an anxiety attack. I am not going to die that super high heat rate. I was wearing a heart rate monitor and breathing to get it down but it scared me more so I took it off. I told myself, “I am here. It is 2018. I am 38. I am a grown adult that can defend herself. I am safe.

More deep breathing and I tried to slow down as much as possible.

Cold cloth on my face and rubbed my arms and legs down with it. Turned on a fan. Laid in front of it with my feet up.

I let myself curl up and then uncurled myself. Like clenching all my muscles up and then releasing them. I then took up space and changed my body language to a more confident TAKE UP SPACE instead of trying to be small. I also stretched to try to stop my body from muscle armoring.

I cuddled with my dogs and they were more than happy to give me kisses.

I turned off the TV and turned on some music.

I smelled some of my aromatherapy oils.

I engaged all my senses to ground myself and get my panicked part of myself to realize where and WHEN I was again.  I feel like this is a big step toward being able to manage my anxiety in a better, healthier way. I’m still dealing with it on a daily basis and it will get bad again some days. Like today I am having a hard time with food. I vomited up the food I tried to eat for breakfast. Food doesn’t even taste good right now. Tt will pass though. The good news it that everything changes so this isn’t forever. This is just extra difficult right now.

The healing process is very slow but I see the progress I am making. It is extremely frustrating and overwhelming but there is good coming from all this pain. I’m going to be ok. This process of helping myself to heal is going to take years. I wish I could just magically get over it. All the people who lied to me telling me this or that, get over it, really didn’t know shit. Ignorant asses! I may be always dealing with it the rest of my life to some extent. I survived every day up until now no matter how bad the abuse was so I know I can get through the healing part too. Like I said before, SPOILER ALERT! CPTSD doesn’t kill me. I have faith in myself that I will get through this.

Abuse Survivors Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Child Abuse Stories Child Abuse Survivors Complex PTSD My Story Sexual Child Abuse

Traumas I Can Remember

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Trigger warning on this. My entire blog is difficult and can trigger survivors of abuse. If you feel triggered, please do not continue to listen. Press stop, exit out of my blog and practice some good self care techniques.

Every time I say it out loud I feel stronger and more confident that I no longer have to hide what happened to me. It’s empowering for me. I’m still getting new memories but this is most of what I know so far.

My Story Overcoming Sexual Abuse

Gorilla In The Cage

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The Gorilla in the Cage I wrote about previously here and I have much more the share now. I can see the gorilla more clearly now. It’s a manifestation of my childhood rage. I didn’t know how to express. At 3 years old you are just fucking mad, right? Now imagine a 3 years old was severely abused and almost killed but had to repress that rage and keep it there for years. Over 3 decades. Blinding anger that can lash out. That’s why I locked up this part of myself because I was afraid of it. I was afraid that anger would hurt the people that mattered to me. Since I have this annoying respect and love for all people that meant locking up this rage from everyone else as well. I unfairly thought I was a bad thing and needed to be locked away. I felt if I ever let it out that I would not be able to put it back in the cage. It would then run a muck, smash all the things, kill all the bad guys, and I’d be in jail or dead as well. I’m still living a very watered down and restrained form of myself.

While blanking out this morning(yep, lost the whole fucking morning since 7am) I had the epiphany that it was not a big scary thing I had locked up but a very sad part of myself that just doesn’t know how to not just be so angry. I get angry now and I vent but not like this. This is the part no one sees but me. It’s interwoven in the fabric of my being now and I can no longer deny it. I have to make friends with it! I can visually do a lot of things in my mind that will help me. Like now, I’m imagining taking off all the restraints and apologizing to the gorilla. It can tear me apart. I trust it won’t. If it does, I will rebuild.

Turns out the Gorilla just wants to be heard and only looks so angry because of the great burden of sadness it has been locked inside the cage with for 35 years. Did I mention that anger is sad’s bodyguard? I opened the cage and took off the shackles expecting to find a rage that would consume me. Instead I found a wealth of sadness. Soul crushing sadness that shakes the walls and feels like the ground will fall away under my feet. My brain was right, I wasn’t ready for this part yet. Not until now.

I’m not going to lock up this part of myself anymore. I’m going to live and walk with it. I need this gorilla. I’m going to put it where it belongs, integrated into myself one step at a time. I am not a bad thing and neither is this gorilla. Boops it’s nose! I no longer hide for the comfort of abusers.

My Story Overcoming Sexual Abuse Uncategorized

Broken No More

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Sometimes, I feel broken. I have used that description before to describe a feeling but that does not describe me as a person. I am not broken. Today, I can see myself clearly. I can see that I was always whole. Parts may have been hidden but I am a whole person. I am not broken but strong. I survived. I lived. I’m still here. I am a whole person that is fighting to accept myself. I fought for change but I’m ok just like I am. I like myself. Sure, there are improvements to my life that I want to make but as I sit, in this moment, I am enough.