I have posted a short overview of my story on here previously, but for the sake of clarity, I will quickly go over it again because it ties into my journey to therapy.
When I was 12, I was raped by an older man at a party. At that point in my life, I was a virgin, so it is easy to imagine how my perception of self-esteem and validation was quickly skewed. I was too ashamed and honestly fearful of the man to tell anyone, so I attempted to avoid working through my trauma by using drugs and alcohol.
Of course, my parents noticed that I was spiraling out of control. They had no idea what was going on, or why, so they decided to send me to therapy. I was extremely reluctant, so I didn’t give therapy a fighting chance. I did not want to confide in anyone about the rape or my drug abuse because I thought that my way was working. I truly believed that if everyone left me alone, drugs would continue to work for me as a solution. By the age of 16, I had cycled through about 10 different therapists who each gave me a different diagnosis and promptly sent me to a psychiatrist. One month I was bipolar, the next I had explosive disorder, and then I was just depressed. I tried almost every single mood stabilizer or SSRI, but would not become honest in therapy.
Until the day that I realized drugs weren’t working anymore. My solution was suddenly a problem that I couldn’t solve. I got introduced to some dangerous people who were living risky lives, so of course, I followed suit because of my need for validation. After some time, I began to seek out other unhealthy habits that I could numb my feelings with. I began to self-prostitute on varying “dating-apps”, which led me to reach such an emotional low that I was ready to admit I needed help.
Once I reached out for help, I was sent to a dual-diagnosis treatment center that could treat me for my unresolved trauma and addictive behavior. I found that once you’re honest about the issues that are affecting you, they begin to have less power over you. Once I started talking about my trauma to other people in group therapy and even individual therapy, they would open up to me about similar experiences. My resentment towards therapy was lifted.
I think this website is a perfect example of the first steps someone needs to take in order to recover from trauma. Through this site, I see so many people find the validation they need to realize that their trauma was real, is not their fault, and that they are not alone. It allows people to become comfortable in seeking out help and advice after something traumatic, which is so important. I urge anyone who has suffered trauma to reach out for help and seek therapy in whatever form you are comfortable with. Therapy absolutely saved my life.
Some resources that may be helpful:
– National sexual assault hotline 1-800-656-4673 (24-hour service)
– Dual diagnosis treatment (if you suffer from addiction and trauma)
– Types of sexual assault (for those who are unsure if they were assaulted)