Nowhere Near Who I Wanted to Be
It is so difficult to hear about child sexual abuse. It’s even more difficult when the story is about you. For over 20 years I held all the pain, guilt, and shame inside. I never told a single person what had happened until I was in my 30’s. I pushed aside all the feelings associated with my abuse and tried not to acknowledge that this had happened. It would creep up at times, but I was always able to push it away.
There came a moment when I was no longer able to push the memories away. On the outside, I appeared to have a very successful life. I had a beautiful family, a growing business, a nice home…but on the inside, I felt so broken. I was nowhere near the person I wanted to be. I was so ashamed and embarrassed that I really didn’t think I could ever tell anyone. I finally got up enough courage to tell a couple of people, but that didn’t make it any better. That just made it real! I would spend hours each day wishing it all never happened and that I could make the pain go away. No matter how much I tried to wish it away, it was still there. I went to therapy but had trouble opening up to my therapist. I read some self-help books on healing. Every book seemed to just say “It’s so hard, but healing from childhood sexual abuse is possible.” I wanted to scream because I just didn’t see how I could make the pain go away!
One day, I was talking to a friend that I had confided in. She told me about the Saprea Retreat and I thought “Oh, that sounds nice, but I could never do that.” When I finally went to Saprea website and read about what they do, I felt like God was telling me to go. I applied to the retreat that day and got in pretty quickly. I was so nervous to go, but I made it, and I truly believe that it has forever changed my life.
At the Saprea Retreat, I learned that I am not alone. For so long, I felt so very alone in my struggle. Now I know 23 other people who have felt what I felt. As I listened to some women tell their stories, I immediately felt so much compassion for them. I finally realized that I needed to give myself that same compassion! For so long I carried these self-defeating thoughts and I was finally able to feel like this wasn’t all my fault. The education I received at the retreat is what I feel really changed the course of my life. I now know what steps I can take to change my actions and how I feel about myself. I have a support system and a plan. I know that this journey is still going to take a lot of effort on my part, but I finally feel HOPE, I finally feel peace, and I finally feel like I have a purpose.