Why I Don’t Have a Therapist…For Now

Don’t get me wrong. Therapists are a vital resource, and everyone should have affordable, easy access. From talk therapy to CBT to prescriptions and support groups, we all deserve to live in a world where whatever works for us is available and affordable. I’ve turned to therapists in the past, and they’ve been a hugeContinue reading “Why I Don’t Have a Therapist…For Now”

Exposure Therapy

I was an exposure therapy skeptic. What I knew of exposure therapy came from abusers. More than one had justified their abuse by claiming it was helping me “face my fears” or “making me tougher.” This is nonsense. Such inhumane behavior will only make someone’s fear less manageable, even potentially debilitating. Research shows fear andContinue reading “Exposure Therapy”

Sexual Assault and the Slow Erosion of Self-Efficacy

Impact statements have revealed the many self-defeating, destructive lessons that sexual assault taught me. In the ten years between 16 and 26, I survived four sexual assaults. The assailants were a high school classmate, a man ten years older than I was who hired me as his English tutor, and my own father. At 20,Continue reading “Sexual Assault and the Slow Erosion of Self-Efficacy”

Trauma Stuck Points

Between my twelfth and thirteenth birthdays, I became a different person. At 12, I was still skipping down the corridors at school, shouting jokes to friends. I was the kid who helped new students adjust. Who tutored classmates when they fell behind in spelling. I was generous, boisterous, and fun-loving. I was also boastful, cocksure.Continue reading “Trauma Stuck Points”

Taking That First Step

You don’t want to go in there. You know something’s waiting for you in those woods, but you’d rather not find out what. The trailhead is always there. But you walk right by it, again and again. And again. You don’t want to go in there. You don’t know if there’s even another side forContinue reading “Taking That First Step”

Mourning

The first thing it makes space for is sorrow. As the rage and terror ebb away, the grief can overwhelm us. For me, I think it was the grief, more than anything else, that I feared. I had lifted my rage against it like a shield. Hadn’t trauma cost me enough? How dare anyone, evenContinue reading “Mourning”

Stalked by an Ex

I should have known. Top had never taken “no” for an answer before. I should have known that he would treat the breakup as a challenge rather than a fact. How? My therapist Sarah demanded, almost ten years later, when I told her this part of the story. I blinked at her. How could you haveContinue reading “Stalked by an Ex”

Diana

When I entered therapy at age 32, I learned the first task for the trauma survivor is to establish a sense of safety. Healing cannot begin until an inner sanctuary is established, one where gradually the survivor begins to distinguish between past and present, between safety and danger. “When was a time you felt safe?”Continue reading “Diana”