Kat, 24, Kansas, US

weekendmeeting“I work full-time, go to school online, take care of my two children and still find time to cuddle with my husband on the couch. I’ve always been the therapist for my friends and strangers. I love hiking, archery, and swimming. I am the smiling face, optimist, and comfort to many people in my life.

It hasn’t always been this way. Last two years my world stopped.
Becoming a mother was challenging and it forced me to face my own childhood that I had minimized and hidden from the world. I had been to multiple psychiatrists and therapists before. The diagnosis I got was chronic anxiety and episodes of depression. I knew something was wrong, but as I had learned from childhood, I hid.

My world changed in a downward spiral. I had frequent panic attacks, nightmares, flashbacks, depression that I medicated with alcohol. I soon went on to attack my body due to the voices of the past in my head. I almost lost my husband.

I finally reached out with the help of my husband and because I didn’t want to lose him. He is my best friend and the only person who stayed in my life without abusing me. I went to an MFT who specialized in childhood trauma. I told her every detail about my past which I had not done before. I shared with her the emotional abuse, physical and sexual abuse of my childhood by my drug-addicted narcissist mother.The sexual abuse led to a suicide attempt when I was 15. I told her about a sexual assault that happened in High School. Two sexual assaults as a young adult first time out of my abusive home. Rapes and physical abuse by a boyfriend who had been molested as a child and had a drug addiction.

I shared how when I left my husband I got into a relationship with a narcissist who was physically abusive, he covered me in bruises, mentally abuse and raped me. The relationship didn’t scare me because of the grooming and familiarity from my childhood. I shared about an encounter that involved alcohol and a friend’s boyfriend raped me in front of her; we were scared to fight because he had beaten her before and had her thrown in jail by lying.

Then I shared the truth I had been hiding from my husband and led to the worst alcohol abuse of my life. I had been raped in August of 2015. The narcissist I had been in a relationship with prior had asked to see me as a friend for advice. I felt sympathetic and bad for the situation he was in so I came over. When I got there he raped me. I fought back, said, “No” over and over, but he made me believe it was my fault because I wore a dress on a hot weekend in August. My suicidal thoughts returned and I had already planned a way to end my pain.

I finally got the official diagnosis that I have PTSD. Everything made sense. With the help of my psychologist, I have been able to get that weight off my chest. My therapy with her, medication, reading books about PTSD, Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse, The Body Keeps the Score, some Christian-based texts and Narcissistic Parents have made each week better because I understand now. I don’t feel guilt. The best thing in the world though was finding a healthy group of people for support. These people are family, close friends and some are fellow survivors.

When I sense a behavior coming on I reach out. They make each day livable. My husband’s patience, support, and love have helped me flourish. Now I’m not scared to go outside, I have very few flashbacks and not as many nightmares. The panic attacks haven’t happened in quite a while.

My life is finally getting in a healthy place. I feel safe and not always afraid. For once, I have real guidance on where I want to go in life and trust myself to make decisions. I am pursuing my BA in Psychology then I will become an accredited Marriage and Family Therapist. I want to help others and show that you not only can you survive, you can thrive!

For all those who are suffering please know that the following is true. Say it to yourself daily as an affirmation: I am worthy. I am loved. I deserve respect. I deserve fair treatment. I am not ashamed. I am a survivor. I deserve to live.”

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