This topic is really for everyone, both survivors and supporters.
1. What was it that ultimately drove you to seek therapy and how has it helped you?
2. If you have not seen a therapist, what are some barriers that you think might keep you from getting help? Or what coping mechanisms have you developed on your own so that you don't feel the need for professional therapy?
1. Similar questions - What do you think ultimately drove your survivor to seek help from a therapist (if he has one) and how has it helped him?
2. Was there anything you did to encourage him to get help?
A little background on my story:
First, my survivor is an amazing man who has been very successful in life. He is extremely intelligent and has always excelled academically and is currently a medical student. I don't think that a person looking at him would have any idea what internal battles he faces. Sometimes he falls into a very dark depression. He is haunted by memories of his past and has difficulty trusting people. He seems to think that he will never really be able to overcome this, that he somehow doesn't deserve to be happy.
I don't want him to feel this way. What happened to him as a child wasn't fair and he most certainly deserves to be happy. It hurts me to see him so depressed sometimes. I really think that he could benefit from some professional help and I have gently suggested it in the past, but he has never really been interested. He told me that a faculty member at his medical school told the students in his class that if they carried a psych diagnosis they would have to explain it on residency applications and it could hurt their chances of getting into the programs they wanted. However, I checked with a couple of officials at my medical school and they said that isn't entirely true. The wording on the application is actually intended to be very protective of patient privacy and he would not need to disclose anything unless it would impair his ability to take care of patients.
I can definitely understand his concern about any possible impact on his career. I actually went through a period in college that I was struggling with some borderline eating disorders and I was very reluctant to seek any kind of help out of fear that it might somehow keep me from getting into medical school. However, since being in medical school I have seen several classmates who are seeing counselors or psychiatrists and it seems pretty well accepted. Medical school is stressful and can cause even the sanest person to sometimes feel like they are going a little crazy.
But I digress. Besides the fear of the professional implications of therapy, I think my friend may also have a fear of facing the emotions that will likely arise when he revisits events from the past. He says it's easier to just be numb. And I guess it seems like he just doesn't believe things can get better for him or that healing may be possible.
I know that CSA has lifelong implications. It's horrible, but it happened and what happened can't be undone. But I think that there can be healing and that maybe over time and with a lot of support that awful gaping wound can close. The scars may be there forever, but I really want to believe that healing is possible. And I really think that he can be happy.
However, I know it has to be his choice. He will only benefit from therapy if it's something he wants to do. I can never force him and I won't ever try. I have made gentle suggestions, but I also try to always make it clear that no matter what he chooses to do, he still has my full support.
I guess I just wanted some other perspectives. Thank you all in advance for any input!