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May 08

Jen’s Story: Running Road to Recovery

“Keep it secret, don’t tell anyone, be quiet, you deserve it, you’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re stupid, it’s your fault, if you tell I will ___________, shut the fuck up, shhhhhh, you like it rough don’t you, like it up the ass, open up, swallow it, you like it.”

These phrases and lies have been braided into my soul since childhood. I survived ten years of childhood enduring brutal sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and was then raped by a casual boyfriend in high school after saying a clear “no!”. I’m now after more than 30 years coping with the mass effect of trauma.

Someone took my real physical virginity in childhood but even my teenage years redefining myself that I would not be “easy” or put out, I wanted to wait; even that choice was stolen from me too. I figured it was something wrong with me, otherwise why would this happen? My answer back then was it must be my fault, I was a bad person, unworthy of love. I hid it out of fear and shame. Now my answer to “why”??? is different and it has nothing to do with being my fault.

Therefore, it is without astonishment that these past couple months since disclosure of childhood sexual abuse and rape have been filled with turbulence and that it’s unlikely to settle anytime soon. I also confronted my abuser on February 7th and spoke my truth, which resulted in a messy domino effect and some strong negative responses that I should “just move on, get over it, and let it go; that it was a long time ago and how will people feel now that they know!?!?” My response for the first time in my life was that I don’t give a fuck how THEY feel, this is about ME, not them.

To be fair, I was also met with a great deal of positive support and have surrounded myself with a great group of friends and professionals too. I also must not forget I am fortunate to have a supportive spouse and close family members. Some folks just needed some time to process the shocking information I had presented to them.

I have taken a massive step back from running for two reasons: one is that my body was just getting tired; the second reason is that it became punitive related to hitting my kms or punishment for eating. I stopped tracking in February and have not tracked in March or April. I have done a couple of 5kms and a few walk runs on the treadmill and that’s good enough for now. I have 2 weeks until our Ragnar Relay from Coburg to Niagara Falls where my team of 12 ladies signed up as JP’s Team of Sole Sisters. I will be ready and right now obsessing over kms is not productive.

I’m always waiting for the next bad thing to happen or for someone to hurt me. Anxiety, depression, and symptoms of PTSD (nightmares and flashbacks) were consuming me while I tried to just let momentum and fake smiles cover it up. That’s just not working anymore. I fell into the black cloud of self-judgment and loathing and blame, as though somehow these problems, afflictions, issues were my fault and under my control. Worse yet I had myself convinced that perhaps I am just using my trauma as an excuse to be lazy and take time off. So you can see there are a lot of cognitive distortions that happen even when people look from afar like life is wonderful and they seem “normal”.

The actual tipping point for me in acknowledging these mental health issues was the realization that in addition to this I have an eating disorder. Food is my addiction. It was used both for punishment and comfort in my childhood and my unhealthy thoughts and control of food is having negative effects on my body and mind. I have a team of professionals involved now to help me get my shit together.

So….there it is. I am happy to say that I’m making steady progress. I have a psychologist and have been working with her for 10 months and am going to group and individual counselling at The Gatehouse in Toronto. It is quite a remarkable place. I have “divorced” my eating disorder and inner self bitch and haven’t abused myself or restricted food in 15 days (since initially writing this I have had to create a recovery plan that makes room for mistakes because perfection won’t work to recover from eating disorder).

Best of all, I am starting to realize that I’m not a freak, or damaged, or broken beyond repair. I have so much love to give to others that it would be OK to learn how to give some to myself. Thank you all for reminding me of that when I need it most.

The biggest reminder to me of moving forward and just showing up in my life was joining JP’s Team in 2016. More to come about that! It’s time for all of us to speak out. I’m sick of hiding, tired of rape being a taboo subject, disgusted by people minimizing this, and determined to use my voice. If it helps one person to know they are not alone I will be brave and use my voice.

About the author

WYR

When You’re Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

Permanent link to this article: http://whenyoureready.org/jenstory/

Comments

  1. […] I also have posted my story to http://www.whenyoureready.org and am joining that site as a blogger as well!! http://whenyoureready.org/jenstory/ […]