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#411578 - 09/28/12 12:20 AM My Story, and starting recovery
sb0341 Offline

Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 6
Loc: Utah
Well, as you all know I'm new here. I've recently been diagnosed with PTSD from both my childhood and combat experiences. One of those alone is bad enough, dealing with both sucks. My mind spends a lot of time going in circles.

Anyways, I have no idea how it all started. All I know is I was around 6. I was abused by someone close to my age, which leads a lot of people (friends, family, police) to not believe that it was abuse. All I know is when someone uses threats, both verbal and physical threats, it is rape. Some people don't understand that. The abuse was almost daily for nearly 10 years. A lot of it I don't remember. In fact, i don't remember a whole lot from those years. The things I do remember cause me a lot of anxiety. For some reason when I was 16, almost 17 the abuse just stopped. I have no idea why, but I'm glad it did. Shortly after it stopped I told my parents about it, which ended up being reported to the police. Long story short, he was never charged because of a "lack of evidence." I had my best friend tell me he didn't believe me when I told him. I felt like telling anyone what had happened only made everything worse. Not only was I trying to keep what happened a secret, now I had to live with a few people knowing and not believing me. I was treated like it was my fault. Like I wanted it to happen. I'm not sure what was worse, the abuse, or how everyone reacted when i disclosed it. I know my trust issues were made a lot worse from how everyone reacted. I was betrayed by everyone I knew. Everyone I was close to, and everyone that was supposed to protect me. I have huge self image issues. Nothing is right, I feel like everything is my fault somehow. I know its not, but i still feel like it is.

At 17 I enlisted in the Marine Corps. I've been told that I did this as a way to prove my masculinity. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. I think I did it partially as a way to escape from everyone and everything. Which it did a great job with that, for a while. It just didn't help me escape my own thoughts. I ended up being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan where I saw my share of combat. At least that distracted me for a while from the abuse memories. But it didn't last long.

I also had some substance abuse problems, which the military did not help. I started drinking and smoking at a young age. My first beer was in 5th grade. My first cigarette was 6th grade. I realized one day the alcohol was causing problems. I realized this after I got in a fight with one of my military buddies best man at his wedding. That is when I stopped drinking. Its been a year now without any alcohol. The tobacco stopped more recently, but I'm making good progress there too.

Well, the beginning of this year I had a huge anxiety attack. It lasted for hours. I ended up hyperventilating until I passed out. And when I woke up I knew I had to get help whether I wanted to or not. So, now I'm seeing a therapist at the VA for both traumas, and so far it's helping a lot. I was afraid they wouldn't help me with my childhood abuse, but my therapist has been good at helping with both issues. Its rough, but I know I need to keep pushing. I am getting better, but I still have a long way to go.

#411600 - 09/28/12 02:17 AM Re: My Story, and starting recovery [Re: sb0341]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Welcome Sb0341. Thanks so much for posting your story. It took tremendous courage to take that step. You will find many men here who share your feelings and have had similar experiences and will support you. Keep posting and reading posts.

When I first started on the site other men told me over and over it wasn't my fault. I needed to hear it about 500 times before I believed it. So I will pass that on to you. It wasn't your fault. Even if the abuser was your age. Even if you enjoyed some parts of it. Even if others doubted you. You were a child and could not make choices about sex. It wasn't your fault man. It wasn't your fault.

Good healing to you,

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#411628 - 09/28/12 06:06 AM Re: My Story, and starting recovery [Re: sb0341]
Metolius Offline

Registered: 02/09/12
Posts: 41
Loc: Oregon
Hi and welcome!

What great courage for coming online and sharing part of your story.

I was struck by your words that you didn't know what was worse, the abuse or the way others reacted when you told them about the abuse. I agree with you, that even if there was minimal power differential in age or experience, it was rape because it was manipulative, coerced, and secrecy was demanded. And not being believed or being blamed for it happening to you -- that is its own trauma as well.

It sounds like you're taking great steps to address your various traumas. Congratulations! And hang in there! It's a tough journey, but you don't have to do it all on your own anymore.

Thanks for sharing your story. It helps give me confidence about my story, especially those aspects of my story that got dismissed, disbelieved and the reactions by some dim witted folks that suggested I was making too big a deal over stuff that was in the past.

It was real, as was yours. It was traumatic, as was yours. But neither you nor I have to suffer alone or try to drown it out with the alcohol. Keep on doing whatever is necessary for your healing (which is the best piece of advice I got from a good friend as I began 3 years ago to face the sexual abuse that was perpetrated on me).

And I agree with Gary. It wasn't your fault. And I hope many others here will continue to remind you of that.



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