Survivor Road is a blog written by a man who is a survival of childhood sexual abuse. I am not sure if he wants me to use his first name so I’ll err on the side of caution and not use it.
From his Welcome Page:
Researchers have found that 1 in 6 men have experienced abusive sexual experiences before age 18. And this is probably a low estimate, since it doesn’t include non-contact experiences, which can also have lasting negative effects.
If you’ve had such an experience, or think you might have, you are not alone.
If you wonder whether such an experience may be connected to some difficulties or challenges in your life now, you are not alone.
If you are a male–or female–survivor of sexual (or any other kind of) abuse, please stop by Survivor Road and say hello. You may find exactly what you’ve been looking for there and people who have been through similar trauma.
This brave man was kind enough to respond to my invitation for guest bloggers, but his post isn’t about abuse or mental illness per se. Instead, he wrote this inspirational post about how to survive as an abuse victim, the 12-step way: one day at a time. This sage advice can apply to almost any problem or situation which is tripping us up in life, not just surviving abuse.
GETTING BY ONE DAY AT A TIME
By Survivor Road
I’ve never liked public speaking. When Lauren asked me to write a guest post for this blog I thought I might feel different. I was wrong. This is so much akin to walking into a room filled with people that are all used to hearing from one person and now here am I, this new guy, a stranger, and what can he possibly say that is going to be of any importance? And I will agree what is important to me may not matter to you. (That doesn’t help the self-doubt either)…
If I could bottle up everything I’d like to say into one line, it would probably be:
You can survive each day if you live each day as just one day. No reliving the past or hiding in fear of the future. Today is more than enough for today.
I know, rather trite. But being trite doesn’t keep it from being true. I’ve found it works for myself, but so many I have talked to have expressed the same idea. You can only live in this moment, so don’t expend all your energy on any other time but the present. Don’t judge your past actions based on your present understanding. Accept your actions were acceptable for the time and place they happened.
This used to be much easier for me. For over thirty years I didn’t remember much before turning fifteen. Some good some not-so-great, but mostly my life as a kid was more mystery than memory. In my “gut” I knew there was more – there was something, but I couldn’t tell you what. I went through dozens of therapists by the age of forty, all with different ideas and philosophies. Religious, secular, it didn’t matter. I just wanted an answer to what happened so I could know who I was. The major hitch in all this – I believed who I was depended on what had happened to me.
Then, when the memories started returning, I wove a new ‘understanding’ – I believed I was what had happened to me. I was the abuse. Then I was the cause of the abuse. It was all my fault. And if I was so flawed I could cause those kinds of things to happen to me at nine, or five, or two… just imagine how screwed up I could make life yet to happen. So in one bucket I had my life, guilt over my past, and fear of my future all stewing together. And that sucker got real heavy in a hurry.
I’d love to say I have it all sorted out now. That I’m doing so great that I agreed to be a guest blogger. But that’s not the case. There are times I still wonder if my intense draw to other men is wrapped up in my abuse. And there are the nights I cry myself to sleep or sit up screaming in the middle of the night, reliving the pain, or worse – humiliation, of something from my past. I still deal with triggers which can be as innocuous as a word, sound, or smell.
I used to think that, if other people can manage, I can. I’ve heard/read stories so much worse than what I suffered of people who are survivors and living each day strong. But, for me anyhoo, trying to live my life because someone else manages to — that doesn’t work. I have to be because I want to be.
And, bottom line, there it is. I want to live. I want to accept all of me. That does not mean accepting what happened to me, but it does mean accepting that it did happen. Maybe a fine line, but a major difference in viewpoint. What happened was horrible. But it did happen. And that’s the other point – it did happen; but it is not happening anymore. And even when my dreams are interrupted by the terrible truth of the past, it is still of the past. Does it impact today? Sure. But does it rule today? No.
At least it doesn’t rule this day. Tomorrow is another day, but I will live that day when it gets here. My hands are still way too busy juggling to add anything future.
Life is not always sweet and wonderful. But it is life. Regardless of what I believe lies on the other side of death, there are things here and now that I am not willing to let go of. Even with the pain. Even with the memories. Even with the bouts of unfathomable depression.
You have the choice over how you live. I know it doesn’t always feel that way. And sometimes we can’t see anything but the destruction of our souls. But even when all is dark and we’re trapped within the cellar of depression, our actions are still our choice. Make the choice you are best able to make and there is no reason to regret it later.
Whether or not you can be at peace with the world around you, my hope for you is peace with the world within you.