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#443999 - 08/11/13 08:18 AM Does this site actually help?
oneuponatime Offline

Registered: 01/26/13
Posts: 3
I suppose I should start with the incident. 26 years ago I was station on a submarine in drydock. During my six months there I was repeatedly subjected to physical and sexual abuse by six men. While this didn't happen daily, everyday I was constantly intimidated and there was no where I could go while on duty where I wasn't around at least one of them. Some people say they never forget the face of their tormentors. Not so with me, I can't remember their faces at all, but the master chief with whom I confided and whom did nothing, well him I will never forget. I was administratively discharged (other than honorable, whatever that means) for reasons that were fictitious. I followed this ordeal with a year of meth abuse.

Now this ordeal for years has always taken a backseat to my more debilitating illness of being bipolar. Delusions, hallucinations, and voices on top of the typical manic racing thought highs and comatose suicidal lows. This predated my military experience so it is wrong to try to tie the two together, although my manic behavior may have lead to me being singled out by my attackers.

Now after 30 years of being bipolar I have finally achieved some kind of stability. I own my condo after spending half my adult life living on the streets living in my delusions. I've learned to hospitalize myself when I start seeing and hearing things that aren't probably there; the precursors to serious mania. I hospitalize myself when I start feeling hopeless and suicidal. I have learned coping strategies to remain productive the rest of the time. I am writing a novel and have a part time online business.

Now I am suddenly struggling with the PTSD and anxiety that is left over, strangely after learning to handle all my other issues this one seems to come out all the worse. My mania used to drive me out of my house and in the public, but without it I find my social anxiety is making me a prisoner in my own home. The panic attacks come out of nowhere, sometimes waking me out of sleep, causing me to pace around my house like I'm possessed, unable to stop.

For the first time in 26 years, with anyone, I discussed the original ordeal with my sister, thought it should help, but it didn't. Reading this site hasn't helped me either. It is full of factual information, other stories, but nothing that helps with the emotional problem I am dealing. This is an disturbing EMOTIONAL problem, facts and stories are not helping. Words online don't help, not for me, not so far. Seeing that others have survived similar or worse problems just makes me sad. I almost have a degree in psychology, humorously my psychological problems are what made it difficult for me to complete it. I know just about every coping strategy ever presented, some work some, some don't work at all. But none of this "data" stops me from waking up in the middle of the night in terror. I might make the panic attacks last shorter times by breathing and all that. But the constant dread of going out and dealing with people, that doesn't go away, sometimes I can overcome, sometimes I can't, but it is always uncomfortable, sometimes even downright painful. Being bipolar and psychotic is much like being on drugs, it distracts from reality. This PTSD stuff was masked by these other mental health problems, so having learned how to cope with them better, this underlying other problem has resurfaced. It is amazing how a 6 month period of my early years has such a disrupting force on my life 26 years later.

I'm a writer, my rather traumatic life history is good for that, one would think pouring these feelings and experiences into my characters would help. Sometimes it actually does, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes I'm my own trigger. I'm not sure even why I am taking the effort to write this post, other than the fact that I'm a bit depressed suffering from self pity. I am good at putting a lot of words onto the page, I guess maybe I just needed, for once on this site, to pour out my story.

#444000 - 08/11/13 09:43 AM Re: Does this site actually help? [Re: oneuponatime]
victor-victim Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 6387
Loc: 𝒪 𝒦anada
and i am here to listen.
thanks for putting it out there.

welcome to the website.

i hope it will help you heal.
it works for me to some degree.


#444007 - 08/11/13 12:16 PM Re: Does this site actually help? [Re: oneuponatime]
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5972
Loc: Sunnny, South East USA
We celebrate your share and suffer with you through the recovery process oneuponatime. You mention that you used to be driven out to the public but PTSD symptoms have you isolated. Have you considered group therapy or a Weekend of Recovery? Some survivors, myself included need more than text.

Welcome to our healing place, I look forward to your shares.

MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

#444039 - 08/11/13 08:50 PM Re: Does this site actually help? [Re: oneuponatime]
Rich1967 Offline

Registered: 07/18/13
Posts: 683
Loc: PA
Oneuponatime - your post made me feel sad too. It's hard for me to see someone looking for help, but not being able to find it. This site has been great for me and so what I've needed. I think I will find it not enough at some point, but I hope that I never leave it. I want to do what I can to help others who are looking for answers and just need someone to tell them they matter and deserve to feel good about themselves.

Do you like yourself?

Looking for a group is most likely my next goal. Weekend of Recovery...not even on the radar yet. I have to see how I react to a room for of male survivors before a big WoR event.

Do you have a therapist and what do they say about your current dilemma?

Keep looking and I hope you find what you need.
"Me too"-I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.
My Story

#444074 - 08/12/13 05:35 AM Re: Does this site actually help? [Re: oneuponatime]
1.healing Offline

Registered: 09/10/10
Posts: 261
Loc: NW Ohio
Welcome, Oneuponatime,

The pain you've known is heartbreaking, the aloneness and sadness you describe is difficult to listen to, it becomes rather personal because here we're not a stranger to it ourselves. You have a strength and determination which inspire and amaze though; it's brought you far and will take you farther. You only need to decide a course.

Sounds as though you would really benefit from individual counseling with a therapist with a specialty in sexual abuse trauma resolution. They should also be told your complete mental health history as to be informed and prepared to be the most helpful to you possible. After you feel some relief and greater equilibrium group work might be something to consider too.

You've overcome a lot of adversity, I've no doubt you'll tackle and conquer the adult sexual abuse, ASA, and PTSD that's been unfairly interfering in your life for too long. Definitely time for a change...

You're wished all the best in healing,

Gary / 1.healing

"It's never too late to be what you might have been."

George Elliot

"You cannot find peace by avoiding life."

Virginia Woolf

#444138 - 08/13/13 12:45 AM Re: Does this site actually help? [Re: 1.healing]
oneuponatime Offline

Registered: 01/26/13
Posts: 3
Thanks for your welcome and comments. About the bits of advice, the idea of a specialist therapist is a good one. But group therapy is not for everyone, not for me. Some people get comfort from being part of a group, I do not, no matter how loving and understanding, but I connect real well with just about anyone, one on one. Whether this is healthy or not is irrelevant, this trait of mine goes back to early childhood and is perhaps burned into my DNA if my family is any judge. So suddenly getting something positive out of large groups in not likely to ever happen. Not for lack of trying, I've been to 100's of AA, NA, bipolar, and depression groups because everyone tells me it should be good for me and I generally feel worse afterward rather than better. Occasionally I meet someone at such a group and for a 1 on 1 friendship and that is of benefit, but I must go to a lot of meetings to find someone I can connect to personally, and they are almost always a woman. I don't connect well with men unless we are discussing philosophy or science, I don't get the fascination with sports, cars, status, sex, that seems to dominate male conversations. Even for me to be on a male only discussion board is a bit of an aberration. Who knows with my psych whether this disconnection with men is because of the abusive incident, or my only best male friend from childhood committing suicide, my bipolar issues, or just an inborn character trait, I don't know. Maybe my disdain for male bonding rituals caused me to be singled out as an outsider when I was in the Navy leading up to the abuse. I certainly remember thinking how stupid everyone was going out and drinking every night, I didn't exactly take to the military subculture. Not that this kind of thinking leads to anything useful, unless of course I want to put it in a book.

#444203 - 08/13/13 04:56 PM Re: Does this site actually help? [Re: oneuponatime]
1.healing Offline

Registered: 09/10/10
Posts: 261
Loc: NW Ohio
Hello Again Oneuponatime,

Good to see you back!

Certainly, different things work for different people and you obviously know yourself well and understand what will work for you or not. Taking the guess work out of the equation is a huge help in itself. I've always done better one to one too, or small groups. At a party, I'm okay for an hour or so and then just feel overwhelmed and start getting fragmented; I think for me it's analogous to being a sprint runner and not a long distance one. Always good to understand our limitations and which ones need to be worked on and just as importantly which ones simply need to be accepted. I had a problem with alcohol, I used it to self medicate and to break down my social inhibitions so I could be less anxious (terrified really!) when out in the world. Of course it was getting out of hand as I was approaching 30 and I quit. I meet my partner Michael, who was in recovery himself and helped me climb and stay on the wagon; that he was a therapist with a specialty in chemical dependency sure didn't hurt any. He was good! I quit and never relapsed in spite of working at the same time in the hospitality industry, primarily as a lead bartender, weird I know, but true! Which in a rather long way brings me too the subject of A.A., or at least the meetings. For me just forget those meetings! It was one of the few places that made me feel a need to actually drink, talk about feeling overwhelmed! That said I found the Big Book very helpful and the 12 step approach to recovery a good thing; what's it they say, "Take what you need and leave the rest."? I did. I also understand A.A. has helped a tremendous number of people and is an ideal choice for others in recovery. Different things work for different people.

I hope you're able to begin work with a therapist with a specialty in adult sexual abuse, I think and hope it'll make a real difference for you. Also, here the other men who share being ASA survivors are, much like you, intelligent and engaging guys, without machoism or drama, they're a group of remarkable men. I don't think there'll be a problem connecting to them, it may take a bit of time, but should be worth it.

Best of luck with everything and stick around, look forward to talking with you again.

Gary / 1.healing

"It's never too late to be what you might have been."

George Elliot

"You cannot find peace by avoiding life."

Virginia Woolf

#444236 - 08/13/13 11:18 PM Re: Does this site actually help? [Re: 1.healing]
petercorbett Offline

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 2509
Hi, my fraternal brothers.

Welcome to MS,Oneuponatime.

In answer to your question, a resounding yes.
Is it for everybody who was sexually abused either as a kid or an adult? After a period of time only you can answer that.

I see where you were on active duty in the Navy when you were assulted. If you haven't contaced the Veterans Administration seeking therapy & disability medical compensation i urge you to do that. Another resource at your disposal.

Due to my service connected disability rating the VA has to treat me for anything that concerns my physical & mental health. In the mental health part they are treating me for PTSD relating to my total range of abuse sexual & all the other abuse i suffered from as a young boy. It had nothing to do with my military service. Their care towards me is nothing short of outstanding. Yes, i know all about the horror stories out there & a some have a lot of merit. Things do change.

What can this one of 11597 registered users offer you in help?

Well, Sir, the only thing that i really posess other than my name, is my compassion, understanding & hope for you.
Hope for me & hope for my brothers here.

Give us a try, then make your decision.

Wishing you well in healing, my fraternal brother Oneuponatime.

"I will take that lost boys hand, and I will lead him from the depths of darkness, into the sunshine, forever into eternity." As he is me.

Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.

#444293 - 08/14/13 05:11 PM Re: Does this site actually help? [Re: oneuponatime]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4287
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
oneuponatime -

my answer to your post title question - is YES!

this forum has been one of the most valuable tools in my progress since i started participating here.

of course, it is not just reading the threads or the stories of others that has helped me - but my own effort to identify common experiences, the tactics they have used successfully and unsuccessfully, and my work at trying some, and writing out my own story, thoughts, feelings and dialogging with others that has made it worthwhile.

i have been fortunate in also working with a good therapist - and in having a supportive partner/wife. i personally believe that God has also had a hand in my life - though that is complicated by other unresolved questions. but without MS i am certain that my gains would have been smaller and slower. not least of the benefits i have found here is the knowledge that i am not alone - that others understand - and that many wish me well and support me in my struggles.

anyway - though not everyone has the same outcome, i think that most who contribute here gain from it. and it appears to me that the more you work at it - whether through the forums - or elsewhere - the more positive the results.

How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#444447 - 08/16/13 01:54 AM Re: Does this site actually help? [Re: oneuponatime]
johnb11 Offline

Registered: 01/15/13
Posts: 12
Loc: Europe
Hi onceuponatime,

A few things spring to mind about your posts. First thing is, how amazing an achievement it seems that you have pulled it together so far , to own your own condo and to be writing.

You have a lot going on for you at once. I can relate to your disconnection from 'macho' male behaviour. Here though I find gentler souls, yes they happen to be men, but they are men who know and appreciate what you have been through.And theres always the 1 to 1 in the private chatroom area.

The other main thing is that, even tho you have other sensitivities (that may have left you vulnerable to being victimized by the bullies those guy were) , by working with the abuse issues and reaching some understanding here you can remove some blocks and create more space to deal with the underlying issues . You cant do everything at once, so why not work with these ones you have bravely opened up and shared with understanding men here ?

I wish you well on your road to healing.

Edited by johnb11 (08/16/13 02:01 AM)
To my brothers here, and to remind me:
I am NOT alone.
I was NOT responsible

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