Hello, I think I owe an explanation.

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Hello.  I’m ok.  Things are still bad though.  I took a break from volunteering and from the site on Angela’s advice.  She says that it seems to keep this up front and center.  The thing is, it is up front and center.  Not coming here has not made it any better.  In fact, I think I just have less outlets for what I am going through.  You guys have been great all through Karen and then the transition to Angela.  But I am glad I took a break from being a volunteer.  With the depression, I can’t necessarily give people responses without spilling my darkness in there.  

Beside this site, there is Facebook, and that isn’t really a good venue to talk about stuff like this.  Sometimes I do though, and then I am always worried that I said too much, and to strangers, strangers who may or may not be survivors, and may or may not be safe people to talk to.  If I do say a tiny something, the relief of saying that much:

Like the seventies weren’t the best time for me.  My brother got in a fight at school and they broke his femur, so he was in traction for a month, then home in a body cast for a month, and then back in the hospital for physical therapy.  Then while still on crutches, he collapsed on the bus home from school with a burst appendix and almost died.  And my mom had her purse stolen and they ran up bills on her cc’s.  And she was attacked downtown cleaning off her car on her way home from work, she fought him off, but still.  And then we moved out here half ours stuff before my little sister was born and half after, but in between, kids broke into the new house and started a fire and the cops caught them before we even knew about it.  That was all in ’79.  In ’72 my uncle was murdered.  The seventies was not a good time. 

— There is nothing there that I shouldn’t have said, but it worried me for days.   And I am sharing stuff because I feel the loss of what I was finding here.  I need to talk about therapy, and about what happened, and about what I am thinking about and what I am feeling about it.  I can’t talk to my family.  I just can’t.  It is too painful for everyone.  And my friends, I have some that are good friends but this stuff can become overwhelming quickly.  And they will try to hang in there, some better than others, but it just doesn’t feel fair to them, and I know at some point I have to let my inner circle know how I am doing, but it’s terrifying to do.  

Another Facebook site, is this guy/family who lost his farm/home/animals in a hurricane, and now he has rebuilt it as a hobby farm/animal sanctuary.  The guy is sharing some of what he has gone through over this, he was a teacher, and now he is driving a school bus — his choice, and I can relate to that because I was an electrical (RF) engineer, and now I am working as a technician.  (mostly my choice).  Well, someone sent him a post/e-mail that said something about having PTSD and he kind of went off saying that we should stop saying that, and leave PTSD for the folks in ERs who see death constantly, and soldiers and police officers.  He later retracted that in another video apologizing, and I wrote a post thanking him for retracting it, and went on to say that I have PTSD, and you hear plenty of folks that have it for the reason I have, but my sister, and I went on about my sister having that baby so early and being encouraged to abort and sign DNRs on her, and finding her not breathing with her O2 level dangerously low, and having to get her going again, and having them nearly give her 10 times the dose of a medicine and my sister would not have known enough to question that if she wasn’t constantly checking, researching everything.  Knowing that if the baby goes back in the hospital in the first two years, she probably wouldn’t make it.  And all the therapies.  My sister started having nightmares about losing the baby and she has PTSD.  The baby is 10 years now, but her brain is now trying to manage what she went through.  

I don’t know.  I feel like I walk through life with sexually abused colored lenses over my eyes and a great filter in my brain that processes everything from that viewpoint.  Maybe this is progress and further along than I was, but it feels pretty crappy.  I want justice.  Yes, I want my brothers to, on their own, come to me and apologize.  And wanting that has kept me stuck in a victim-roll.  I can tell myself that it will never happen, but it doesn’t stop the wanting.  And there is another justice I want.  A justice for victims everywhere.  I want people to stop silencing us, silencing the topic.  It may not be for children, but adults can’t or won’t take it either.  I don’t mean listening to people’s individual stories, but even talking generically about what happens in families.  For instance, why does David and Goliath make the lectionary.  Why does David and Bathsheba make the lectionary.  Why does David and Absolom make the lectionary.  But the story of David’s daughter Tamar and what happens with Amnen her half brother, and how Absolom her full brother ended up murdering Amnen because of what he did to Tamar, why does that not make the lectionary?  So in three years of going to church every Sunday, they’re never going to consider preaching on David’s relationship with his daughter and her brothers.  It’s such great stuff.  It could help people.  It helped me to maybe understand my parents better.  But you have to go out of your way to find that story.  It’s like the church doesn’t know what to do with it, so they just leave it out.  

Which brings me to how sexual abuse affects me spiritually.  It affected me physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, sexually, and spiritually.  And we have to heal the whole me.  Not just the emotional me, or the physical me, or the social me.  One of the books I read said you have to deal with what happened, what you did to compensate or survive what happened, and what did not happen, because while we were supposed to be developing mentally and emotionally and socially, we were busy surviving and some of that stuff got dumped.  For instance, to survive an impossible reality, I escaped into fantasy, day dreams, but I also focused heavily on education.  I escaped into math and grades and classes.  Which was good, but I totally ignored or shut off emotions and all social relationships, and a lot of other stuff.  Time has brought me along somewhat.  But I am also not there yet.  

Well the spiritual stuff is really bad because I struggle with forgiveness, with losing my brother or brothers before I forgive.  That wasn’t an issue for some reason with my grandmother’s husband.  He’s probably dead now, I don’t know and I don’t really care.  If down the line I feel compelled to forgive him, I don’t see an issue with his being dead.  But my brothers is another matter totally.  Forgiving someone who acknowledges the wrong doing is doable.  Maybe.  It may be difficult.  But forgiving someone who doesn’t acknowledge any foul at all, that feels really impossible.  And I know that forgiveness benefits the forgiver as much if not more than the forgiven.  The forgiver need only forgive, they do not need to let the other know that they forgave them.  I am have the worst stuck crap time getting from here to there.  

I think everyone is a spiritual creature on some level.  We may have different belief systems, but there is a part of us that mixes culture and tradition and belief and ritual and maybe a bunch of other stuff that makes up a soul.  There is a higher being in my belief system I think most have some higher being or higher beings in theirs.  And for me Joy comes from a relationship between God and my soul.  I think we can do things to mar our souls ability to experience God, to experience Joy, happiness, fulfillment, contentedness, stillness.  Sin is a big one.  When we are ashamed of ourselves before God, we try to hide and that keeps us from experiencing the gifts of the spirit.   When we feel repulsive, an unhealthy self-awareness we can separate ourselves from our souls and from God.  And when we hold anger, guilt, when we cannot forgive, I think we place a huge impediment on our soul.  We can do meditation, we can do good for others, we can access our souls in simple ways.   But when we are stuck, we may need spiritual guidance, we may need the rituals of prayer and counting our blessings, being grateful, being grounded in faith.  

Which brings me to my Open and Affirming, liberal, Mask Mandating church.  Sigh.  I don’t do masks.  At best, I wear a face shield to doctor/therapist appointments, and to work, if I am walking around at my work station off it comes.  I do this because I must.  I would not be seen by my doctor or therapist, or I would not get a pay check.  But the church is a whole other ball of wax.  They started having services and I came when I did not need a mask.  But now they are demanding we come with a mask, and I just won’t.  The masks, in my opinion, create a lot more fear about this than is necessary.  It impedes our ability to connect with folks, increases isolation and depression, and I am not playing this game anymore.  I voted for the Open and Affirming bit.  My feeling is that if people want to come to our church, wherever they are in their walk, than we should be open to them and affirm their desire to worship God.  When we have some guy in drag giving the message, no, that is worshiping gayness, not God.  My little brother is gay, and I have had over 25 years to come to a working acceptance of this.  I don’t know if he was born that way, or if his environment influenced it and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need to know that.  That God requires us to love our brother,  (yeah, this is a problem with the inability to forgive thing), God does not require us to determine the purity of his soul.  That is God’s job, not mine.  I really don’t know.  I have a hard time believing in a loving God that would create people a way for which He condemns them.  But I have this miniscule human brain, that doesn’t hold a candle to God, so I can’t understand God’s thinking/actions on this, and I had better not try or judge them.  I think I need to change churches.  Everyone says so.  I just don’t know that I will do any better in another church.  

Ok, so that is where I am at.  I hope everyone of you is doing ok and going forward, not stuck.  Thanks for reading.  

I know that what happened to me was pretty catastrophic.  I survived yes, and it was so very long ago, I knew that when I came here.  But I wasn’t convinced that it was that out of the ordinary, or really all that bad.  I think I am convinced now, and 

Join the Conversation


  1. silverliningsunshine Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    Thank you for giving us an update and sharing what has been going on with your life, it takes a lot of bravery and courage to do so. I’m glad to hear that you’re taking a break because they’re important for your mental health. It is completely understandable to feel overwhelmed with your volunteer work if it reminds you of your past trauma and it’s completely valid to want to have a break! Please feel free to update us again in the future.

  2. Erika23 Volunteer

    It’s good to voice your thoughts and feelings out loud. Sometimes all we need is to be heard and have the space to do so. It’s also great to take a break and focus on yourself which can be hard at times, but not impossible. As for constant trauma and pain that comes with the volunteer work it is understandable that you would feel extremely overwhelmed and frustrated. Just know that we are all here for you as you continue towards the healing process.

  3. vanessadmoreno Volunteer

    Hey, S

    I first wanted to say that it’s ok to come onto here and vent with whatever you would like to talk about. Sometimes, we all need an outlet to do so, and we would make ourselves feel almost worse by burying our loved ones in our sorrows- I totally hear you. I also feel what you mean, when you talk about how it may be troubling helping others when you, yourself, are dealing with your own stuff. You can’t help others without flashing back into touch with an unhealed traumatic memory, something you didn’t necessarily think would get in the way of your progress. I know how you feel when it comes to feeling like you’ve over shared, and it can be one of the worst things… but I just wanted to say that I am really proud of you for taking the initiative to come back on. I noticed that you also mentioned that you feel as though you are still feeling bad, even though you’ve progressed. I’m here to say that that is perfectly ok. Everything that you are feeling is completely valid. You could even regress, and that would be just as fine. Healing from trauma is not something that is linear, and it isn’t something that you should feel ashamed about, even if it did happen years ago, or even if it does still affect you. The process of healing is something that absolutely takes time. You just have to know that you will be OK, and everything will be OK. No matter how small of progress, progress is still progress.


  4. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for coming back to share and give us an update on how you’re doing. Taking breaks can always be good-and you should take any break you feel you need to take. Let us know how else we can help, and we are here for you.


  5. JudithT Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,
    Thanks for sharing an update with us! It does sound overwhelming to have so much on your mind and feel unable to share with others. I’m glad that you can reach out to us and have an outlet for when things feel overwhelming, and hope you will continue to take care of yourself and prioritize your needs, taking breaks or reaching out whenever you need to.
    It makes sense that you want justice for yourself and for all who have been hurt in a similar way, and that you want these unheard but important stories to be told. It’s also understandable that you feel like it’s impossible to forgive those who hurt you so terribly but don’t even realize or acknowledge what they’ve done. Forgiveness is not something that needs to be forced, and it is ok to feel the way that you do. You are not alone. I hope that you are able to be gentle and patient with yourself, as it sounds really frustrating to feel so stuck in so many ways. I hope that you will be able to find peace and also a spiritual community where you can feel like you genuinely connect with others. We wish you all the best and hope to hear from you again soon!


  6. adrian Volunteer

    Hey, Solongago-

    Thank you for being so open with your experiences. Whenever I read your posts, I feel a great sense of courage from you- and resilience. Resilience is the ability to shape back to where we were before, wherever that might take us. Though trauma always takes a little from us, you show us the hard work of intentionally heading to a new normal, a normal where you want to feel productive. It can be difficult to get to that normal for you, but I see your work and I applaud you for it every time I hear something new from you. Keep fighting the good fight-

    Take care,

  7. brookeA Volunteer

    Hi Sue,

    It’s great to hear from you again! It sounds like a lot is going on in your life right now, and I’m glad that you were able to take a break from volunteering. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us. You’re not alone in struggling with forgiveness- these things can be very difficult. Regardless of how things turn out, I hope you are able to find peace. I also hope that you are able to find a church that is a good fit for you. Have a great week, and I look forward to hearing from you again!

  8. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hello Solongago,

    It’s great to see you back. Thank you for coming here and sharing an update with us. I think it’s great that you took a break to do some personal exploring and found that this place has been helpful to you. That’s great to hear! I love hearing people say that they find coming here helpful. I also like how you mentioned exploring other venues to talk about this stuff. I agree Facebook can be a hard place to do that you never know what you’re going to get there.

    I know you mentioned wanting justice and I truly hope you get that someday, whatever that means to you. I’m also inspired by how you want justice for victims everywhere. I hope that as time goes on this can become a reality and we can all see better justice in our society for those who have been through abuse.

    Thank you for sharing and we hope to see you back for another update!

  9. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Sue,
    It’s great to hear hear back from you. Thank you for updating us and letting us know you are okay. I’m sorry to see you go as a volunteer. I completely understand not being in a good headspace to respond to stories. Sometimes no matter how much you enjoy volunteering, time off is the best thing for mental health.
    I can see Angela’s point about sharing your story on the website can make it feel like it is leaving everything front and center, but just remember if you ever feel like you need to talk or vent about anything we are always here. It’s good that you feel comfortable enough to also share on Facebook. I know Facebook has closed groups where you can talk to people. Sharing what you shared is completely okay. Facebook is a place for sharing thoughts and comments. I’m sorry that the 70’s were a tough time.
    When you said, “I feel like I walk through life with sexually abused colored lenses over my eyes” I completely understand exactly where you are coming from. The other day I went to the mall by myself which I’ve gone plenty of times in the past, but this time I ended up walking past two guys around my age who I noticed were staring me up and down and it just gave me a rush of anxiety. Shortly after I walked past them I walked past a group of guys who were probably a little older than me who didn’t look twice at me but bc of that anxiety and seeing things through sexual abuse colored lenses it made my anxiety worse bc I thought something was going to happen to me. You just have to tell yourself what I told myself you are okay, you are safe, and no one can hurt you.
    It’s okay to want justice. You deserve it. What your brothers did to you wasn’t your fault and they should apologize especially if that will help you feel like you got justice. I always think on the positive side, so maybe one day when you least expect it, they will apologize.
    Thank you again for coming back and updating us. It was good to hear from you.

  10. ajklessig Volunteer

    Hi solongago,

    Thank you for updating us! I am glad you took a break, but I understand completely how you feel. AVFTI is definitely a community where you can feel supported, and I am glad you see it as an outlet. I think it is important just to consider what is best for you. Maybe posting updates but not responding to others is best, maybe not being involved at all, or maybe being completely involved. Although it is great to listen to the advice of others, it is also important to listen to how you feel.

    Forgiving can take a long time, especially when we still feel so deeply wronged. If you are not ready to go there, it is okay. You get to make those decisions when you are ready.

    I know it has been a very long journey for you, but you are so strong! I am rooting for you. Please feel free to come back and update us again!

  11. musicislove

    Hi Sue,

    Thank you for the update, I had wondered how you were doing. I’m sorry you’re still struggling but I’m glad that taking a break from volunteering has been helpful for you. You never owe us an explanation, we’re just here to support you however we can. I definitely understand not wanting to let your depression seep into your responses, I’ve struggled with that multiple times while volunteering here. Your concerns about sharing personal information on Facebook is understandable, it may be a popular outlet but you’re right, you never know how people will react to the things you decide to share and that can absolutely be scary, I overthink things on there more often than I’d like to admit.

    I also struggle with forgiveness and the concept of forgiving someone for something they aren’t sorry for, I agree that it does feel impossible. That’s what I struggle with the most in my spirituality as well and I know it can get so frustrating. I’m sorry you feel so stuck. I hope that if you do find a new church, that you feel more comfortable there. It’s important to feel comfortable and connected to a place that means so much. Please come back any time you want to update us, we’re always here for you!


  12. Caitlin Volunteer


    I am glad you are able to take a break. It sounds like a really good choice. I am hoping sharing here continues to be a way to process things.

    I would like to share the quote I used a lot in a very difficult time period several years ago “The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was forgive someone who was never sorry”. I have walked that journey and it is oh, so, difficult. Odds are they are sorry but don’t know how to do anything about it. I am here thinking of you through this pain and work you are doing. Really forgiveness is for you. I know that you know that and it isn’t easy, not by a long-shot, but you are WORTH IT!

    Something that you shared really hit me:”While we were supposed to be developing mentally, emotionally, and socially….we were busy surviving.” There is a lot of love and compassion in that statement and its true. Its really beautiful how you can pull these things out and try and share them with people. <3

    thank you for sharing with us.

    You are doing it!


  13. chompyapple1 Volunteer

    Hi Sue,

    Thanks for updating us about current things that you’ve been going through. You don’t have to explain anything to us, we’re always here to support you. It’s good to take a break from volunteering to focus on yourself and make sure you heal completely Every one heals differently at different paces, so take as much time as you need. I am sorry to hear how the 70’s was horrible for you and the current issues that you’re going through. I am rooting for you to pull through! Stay strong.

  14. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hi Sue,

    No explanation needed, but thank you for posting the update to let us know where your head is at. It sounds like it was the right choice to take a break from volunteering, and that this time away has given you the opportunity to do some processing of the other traumas in your life and the idea of forgiveness. Please keep in mind that even though you understand the benefits of forgiving those who harmed you, it doesn’t mean you need to before you’re ready, if at all. There is no set time frame on these things, so take all the time you need to determine what feels right for you. Trust yourself. We’re here for you!


  15. nancylog Volunteer

    Hi Sue,
    Thanks for sharing your story with us. I sorry that you had to go through a lot in 70’s which effected you deeply an I admire your strength for dealing with it . It is good to take break and focus on yourself. And I totally understand sometimes sexual abuse, and other trauma in life can take
    long time to heal. But it is good to share and seek as much help you can. Being Spiritual helps and I agree it is between you and God.
    We are always here to listen to you and support you.

  16. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Sue,

    Thank you for sharing this update; we’re happy to hear from you! I thought about you from time to time since your last update. There’s no pressure to update or provide an explanation; we’re here for you regardless. I’m glad you took time for yourself, and it’s okay to take a break from volunteering.

    I can only imagine how overwhelming the seventies were for you and your family. That is a lot for anyone to go through, especially in a short period of time. It’s not easy to keep everything inside, and I understand why you shared these things. It’s also understandable that you view life with this lens and that you want your brothers to acknowledge what they’ve done. My church is similar in that it does not include David’s daughter’s story in the lectionary, and they don’t talk about sexual abuse either. I agree with why you think your church left it out.

    It can be difficult to forgive, and what you’re going through is valid. As you’re processing everything, forgiveness may or may not happen, and either way is okay. There can be times when you feel like you’ve forgiven them and other times when you don’t feel that way at all. I believe that pressuring ourselves to forgive someone when we’re not ready can do more harm than good, and being ready to forgive might happen when we least expect it (depending on circumstances, how we feel, etc.). Your perspective on spirituality is very interesting, and I think it is important to meet people where they are at.

    As for going to a different church, it can be difficult to leave the church you’ve been to for so long. But it could be interesting to explore your options and see what church works best for you. As you said, you don’t know if you will do any better, but I will add that you don’t know unless you look at the options you have and try them out for some time. I will say that you can do what you wish when it comes to this.

    Thank you for writing to us. It can be easy for survivors to diminish what happened, but with that being said, what happened matters. I’m glad you wrote out how you were feeling, and I hope it helped you get things off your chest! Please write back whenever you like. We’re happy to support you and be in your corner.

  17. jcastle38 Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    Thank you for coming back to update us, it is good to hear from you after so long! And it is good to know how you are doing/have been doing. You took a break from being a volunteer and that is great, you come first and you have to worry about helping and healing yourself (completely) like you said, before focusing on others. I’m sorry you felt as though you had nobody to talk to, know we are always here and will always continue to be here to listen. There is no set timeline for healing, every one heals differently and at a different pace. Don’t try to rush yourself in thinking that what happened to you was so long ago so it doesn’t matter, cause it definitely DOES matter. And you have been doing great in trying to heal yourself not just emotionally, but physically, spiritually, mentally, and all other aspects. I am rooting for you, and your healing progress is going great. Don’t give up! Feel free to come back and update us, Sending you lots of love.

  18. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi Sue,

    Thank you for coming back with an update for us. We are always here for you! I’m sorry to hear that the 70s weren’t a good decade for you. Progress is a winding road, and sometimes it might not feel as good as other times, but I’ve definitely seen you make progress over the last year or so! It’s definitely good to have an escape, and it sounds like you have a nice balance of math-related ones and more creative ones in terms of daydreaming. Sorry to hear that you no longer feel you can go to church since they are demanding masks. Maybe you can find an online option in the meantime?

    Stay strong,

  19. Neesha Volunteer

    Thank you for the update! It sounds like taking a break from volunteering was a worthwhile experiment. You now know how things feel and know what to expect. You are right you are going to have to heal the whole you because the catastrophic events affected the whole you. You are doing the right things, talking you your therapist, reading, and trying out different things as you recover.
    It’s a long journey I am grateful you include us along the way.

  20. karinakalke Volunteer

    Hi Sue,

    Thank you for updating us. I’m glad you were able to take a break from volunteering and focus on yourself. I’m sorry that it’s been difficult to find an outlet for everything. I understand your hesitation to share on facebook. I hope that sharing here has been helpful and that Angela continues to be a positive presence in your life. We are always here for you.

    Sending love and support,

  21. Starling Volunteer

    Hi Sue,
    Thank you for continuing to share your story with us. I’m sorry that you’re struggling right now. It’s perfectly understandable to take a break from volunteering. It can be very mentally taxing, and stepping back from that can be necessary sometimes. Your mental health is a top priority, so be sure to take care of yourself. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  22. Brooke Volunteer

    Hi Solongago. Thank you for an update. It was a good thing you did stepping back to make yourself a priority. Sometimes we all need to step back to really give ourselves the self care we need and deserve. I’m sorry you’re having a hard time finding an outlet. You already know you can always share here and its great you’re seeing a therapist. There are some great communities on facebook but its hard to know who to trust. I know you mentioned spirituality and forgiveness and wanted to recommend two books: forgiving what you can’t forget (spiritually based and recommended to me by a therapist) and the anatomy of the spirit. Please come back and share any time. Sending lots of love.

  23. Mary Ella Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,

    Thank you so much for coming back to update us on everything. You should be very proud for taking a step back to prioritize your mental health. You also don’t need to be a volunteer to help others; sharing your story alone, I can guarantee, has helped others. I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling at the moment, I hope that writing here again has helped you feel some relief. As for your church, I’m sorry to hear that they are requiring you to wear masks to services. I can see how this could make people feel fearful, and also make people feel unwelcomed. I hope that you find other options that will help you feel more welcomed. Thanks again for coming back and sharing an update! Good luck with everything, and I hope you have a better week.

  24. tolleytn Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    Thank you for coming back and giving us an update. I’m so sorry life hasn’t been treating you kindly as of late. It is always okay to prioritize your mental health and well being and I’m glad you’re able to recognize when you need a break. Best of luck to you and I hope to hear from you soon!

    – Tiff

  25. kr1510 Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m sorry things have been bad recently. Thank you for opening up and updating us on what is going on. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back from volunteering so that you can focus on your growth and your healing process. Facebook can be a tricky platform to express on but just know you are always welcomed here and will always receive support. Just like Rome, forgiveness is not built in a day. Take your time and don’t rush into giving forgiveness when you are not ready.
    Please feel free to update us when you can!
    Much love,

  26. t3nnis_player18 Volunteer

    Hey Solongago
    Thank you for coming back and updating us on how you have been doing. I’m sorry you have not been doing well, but I’m glad you took time to yourself as Angela suggested. Self care is important! I am also glad you have us to share your life and struggles with, Facebook can be a difficult platform to find help and support. You should never feel bad about sharing struggles and experiences with us on this platform, we are here for you and will support you no matter the circumstance! Forgiveness is difficult for everyone involved, but especially so for the one having to forgive such terrible acts. If you are not ready to forgive then take your time. When you are ready, forgive them for yourself and your peace not because you feel you have to. I hope this next week is a better week for you and I wish you nothing but the best! Stay strong and feel free to come back and share more if you feel you need to!

  27. aegardiner Day Captain

    Hi Sue,

    It is really good to hear from you. I have been wondering about you off and on although you never need to worry about providing an explanation for taking time off. I am really sorry to hear about everything that happened in the ’70s. That truly sounds a like a gut wrenching time – to have so many things like that happen one after another would be overwhelming to deal with. Sometimes when so many things happen back to back we don’t have time to truly comprehend what is happening either, and it is not until years later that we start to process or have another event remind us of our past. It is understandable that everything that happened during that period of your life, coupled with what you have previously shared can really start to wear you down and lead to feelings of PTSD. It was interesting to hear that you had taken a break from posting here at Angela’s recommendation but that you didn’t find that it much helped. It sounds like you don’t have too many outlets aside from Angela, Facebook, and AVFTI where you can share your feelings and thoughts and we would always hope that sharing here is useful to you. I was really struck by how you’ve been feeling regarding your spiritual health. There is research that has been conducted regarding the domains of health and the influence they can have on our overall well-being (https://uofuhealth.utah.edu/coe-womens-health/seven-domains-health/) so it isn’t surprising that if you have been struggling with this aspect of your health that everything else has been impacted as well. You spent a significant amount of your post sharing about the role religion plays in your life and so it is definitely worth exploring more how you can find a way to heal and feel peace spiritually as well. I’m not one to be able to give advice about this and perhaps it’s also out of Angela’s expertise, but if there is someone in a religious capacity that you could reach out that may be key. You have mentioned in the past that you’ve contemplated leaving the church you have been attending for some time and look for a new one – you could at least start to explore new ones before completely making the change and perhaps during that time you will find something that is a better fit. Hope to hear from you soon!

  28. sarahj Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,
    I am so glad to hear from you, you have been on my mind. However, I don’t think you owe anyone an explanation. I am sorry to hear you are still struggling, but I understand where Angela was coming from in suggesting a break from the site & volunteering. I don’t see anything wrong with taking a break and avoiding burnout and fatigue. Sometimes you need to focus on yourself only. Although, I understand your need to talk to others about therapy. Have you told Angela your feelings on this?
    I too believe everyone is a unique spiritual creature — though you’re right in that we have to meet people where they are. Maybe it would be best that you change churches. Do you have any other nearby you would be interested in attending? During the shut down I actually spent a fair amount of time attending other church’s services than my own by way of online service. I found it kind of eye opening. I don’t know if that’s an option for you, but it’s a very non threatening way to see what else is out there.
    You should be so proud of yourself for how far you have come in this journey, even though you are still working through. Should you want to return and share, you know we are always here. Stay strong and take care of yourself.

  29. amilne9 Volunteer

    Dear Solongago,

    Thank you so much for checking back in with us, I am so happy to hear from you. I am proud of you for doing what you and Angela thought was best by taking a break from volunteering. It reminded me about something I learned this week: that there are different types of exhaustion, such as emotional exhaustion, spiritual exhaustion, physical exhaustion, ect. Taking a break from extra activities when I have a lot on my plate really helps me overcome emotional exhaustion, and gives me some time to focus on taking care of myself, which is something I sometimes neglect. I hope that the break helped you in the same way. But, I am sad to hear that things aren’t going well. I am glad that you are able to find solace in talking with us, we are always here for you.

    With everything that you have been through, I understand why you are feeling the way you are, I think that anyone else would in your situation. You have been through so much, and I am so proud of you for making it to this point, even if you aren’t proud of yourself right now. Just know that you are doing an amazing job, and even if you feel stuck, you have made so much progress. I know you are doing the best you can!

    Also, with the discussion about your church and spirituality, I completely agree with what you said about sin getting in the way of our happiness. I hope that the issues with you church can be resolved, and you can find somewhere that really makes you feel closer to God.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope to hear from you again soon. I hope things get better, and if you need anything, we are here! Sending healing and comfort your way dear.

    Much Love,
    Ari <3

    1. Marissa Day Captain

      Hi Solongago,

      Thanks for coming back and giving an update. I was worried about you! I’m sorry you’re struggling so much. Masks suck, but it’s important to remember that you wearing one might save someone’s life, even if they don’t look like they might be compromised. I hope sharing more with us helped you to unwind a little bit! Please don’t forget that you’re allowed to take breaks. It’s healthy to step back sometimes!

      Let us know if we can do anything else to help you. That’s what we’re here for!


  30. candyappleb Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,

    It’s good to hear from you, although I wish it were on better circumstances. I’m sorry you are still struggling. You are always welcome here and you owe no one an explanation for taking care of yourself. Taking a break is good sometimes. It’s good to step back and give your soul time to absorb the realities often dug up in therapy. We’re still here for you, and always will be. Take all the time you need to heal and regroup.

    All the best,