If you follow the News and Reviews blog on this site, you’re already familiar with CBG. I hesitate to refer to him as my co-author, since he really writes more of the posts than I do now, but he’s been contributing TV/Movie/Book reviews and news items relating to child abuse for a few years now, with his own English point of view. With the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse being hosted here at the end of this week, he wanted to add a little personal story of his own to that, and I think it’d be great to have a additional post of his over here on the main blog, which is where things tend to be a bit more personal. So, with that introduction out of the way, here is CBG’s Blog Carnival contribution:
At the end of 2006 I found this blog. I contacted my local organisation for therapy the week before Christmas and started the first week of January 2007. Even in a country with widespread support for abuse-related therapy like England, this nearly never happens without paying a lot more money than I did. I should’ve bought a lottery ticket at the same time, such was my luck.
So if you’re a male victim of child abuse, perhaps you haven’t stumbled upon this blog but actually read everything that’s posted without commenting and you still don’t want to get help, ask yourself what multiple of five or ten you want your age to be before you finally address the past (note I did not say “deal with”) which will allow you to get past the abuse perpetrated against you (note I did not say “get over”). It’s great once therapy is over and you can get on with your life, and feel free to live it on your own terms. One tenuous analogy for therapy finishing is that of having smoked your whole life, maybe having enjoyed it too, despite knowing the health issues surrounding it. Then you decide to give up and need to use various therapies, eg patches for support, but one day you manage it. Healthwise, you will achieve a base level of recovery from having given up smoking but for a non-smoker to try to explain to the person on two packs a day how great they will feel when they give up, compared to how crappy they feel right now? It’s hard to hear, especially if that drug is masking pain.
That’s how it is when you feel ready to end therapy and move on. The image of therapy needs an update from its East Coast American stereotype of the therapist being a close friend that you might go shopping with or someone that could be around milking money out of your for decades instead of a much shorter, issue dependent timespan. Of course, starting therapy is a lot harder depending on your country, where you are mentally and your health system and the cost and time commitment required. A lot of nonsense is talked about therapy which needs clearing up. It is WORK, a fact I almost never read about in books and magazines. Like a real 9-5 paid job, that work will take up time, you will get sick of it and need to take time out from it, but the better therapists will be monitoring how much you can process and guiding you accordingly. It’s not scientific, but I was in therapy for 20% of the time that I didn’t disclose, so five years out of 25 – not week-in, week-out, but that was how long it took to feel like every issue including the single abuse incident had been processed. Steve Bevan of AMSOSA quotes a general average of three years for the service users of his organisation. Of course every survivor’s experiences are different which will cause the length to vary. The sooner therapy begins after abuse ends, the quicker you will move on. In America, college is the last environment where any help on offer might be as close to free as is allowed in a country operating using health insurance but at least the RAINN support line has had its highest profile year last year with former Penn State students raising funds and their current campaign running to the end of April where donations will be matched. As remarked in my introduction, when you contact a therapist, anywhere in the world, you won’t “win the lottery” as I did and start in less than three weeks, you will normally go on a waiting list which can be anything from three months to a year. Whilst you’re waiting for that therapy to become available, you can save up for it but in lieu of therapy what every survivor can aspire to do, is MOVE. Get out of the house, town, city where the abuse happened – if you live on an island, technically get out of the country – and make a new life somewhere else, where you are free of any reminders of places and people. Since human beings aspire to do this as part of life in general, abuse victims just have an added incentive.
So the best thing to do if you haven’t started any kind of therapeutic process is to first, set that date – to start by a certain date or to want to be finished with the first major set of therapy by a certain age. Once you set goals it’s surprising how hard you will fight to achieve them even if you might have to work with others to set them. That’s just a general overview but now it’s up to you. What will signal the need for you to get help and pick up the phone or go online? If you’re underemployed or unemployed due to the recession, shouldn’t your abuse issues be something you can face up to and resolve so that you can hold down the next job? It’s the rest of your life we’re talking about at this blog so I hope you’re able to make the choice to get help – starting right here with the archives of the main blog right here as I did five and a half years ago.
I really appreciate the way you compare therapy to work. I constantly remind myself that it is hard work, but I have never taken it further and thought of it as a job, or thought of setting goals the way you would with a career. That is really brilliant.