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Believing It Happened – Stages of Healing

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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.