Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Temporary problem?

I feel like I should apologise in advance, because this is going to be a bit of a rant.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

I am so tired of hearing this! Every time someone talks about feeling suicidal or having suicidal ideation, this inane little saying gets dusted off and paraded around the conversation. Enough with it!

Do you seriously think someone would contemplate suicide if they understood that their problem was temporary? Do you?

Suicide is the ultimate act of desperation, the final fall-back when no other solution seems to present itself, including waiting for the problem to blow over or solve itself. Suicide is a way out of pain that shows no hint of ever having an end. The problem looks and feels permanent. That is why the only solution that remains is a permanent one.

Essay, written by a 17 year old survivor

In a quest to re-connect with my younger self, I have been looking for clues of who I was age 4-16. I looked for photos, but none seem to exist. Then I remember a piece of writing, an essay I wrote for a school assignment at 17, but never handed it because it was simply too raw.

The class was English creative writing. We were to write an essay entitled "me". This is what I wrote:

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Is my child vulnerable?

Most parents worry about whether or not their children are vulnerable to be molested. Those that don't, should.

The short, simple answer to this question is "yes". Your child is vulnerable. All children are. However, some children are more vulnerable than others. So which children are more vulnerable?

Who gets targeted?

The children who are targeted are often the outsiders. The are the unpopular kids, always hanging around the fringes of their peer groups. They have low self-esteem, they lack confidence and they are isolated from their peers. They have weak social skills. They are lonely and desperate for attention, affection and acceptance.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Gratitude

It was Thanksgiving in the US, so I thought it would be appropriate to post a happy post. Even considering everything I've been through in my life, I have a lot to be grateful for. And as my late wife always used to say - it is not humanly possibly to be thankful and depressed at the same time. So here goes:

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Why tell my story?

Today is exactly one year since I started writing down my story. And what a year it has been!

I started off very motivated. I wrote in blog-format, completing at least one post a day, some days more than one. I dissected all the horrors of my childhood in the minutest detail, recalling sights, sounds and smells, going back to old journals to verify dates, reliving everything as I sought to inject the appropriate emotions into my writing.

It all proved to be too much. By January of this year, I was sinking into a deep depression. Continuing to write through the pain, I eventually crashed back onto the bathroom floor with a paring knife, my tears mixing with the blood dripping from my arm.

The next day, frightened into action by my self-inflicted wound, I made two decisions:
1. I needed to stop the recall, to stop writing.
2. I needed to go back to therapy.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Controlling the urge to cut

I am not a trained professional. I cannot write a definitive guide on how to control the urge to self-injure. I suspect that even if I was a trained professional, I would still be hard-pressed to come up with such a guide. What I can do, is share what worked for me. If you are someone who struggles with this, I hope this helps. However, I would still urge you to get professional help.

1. Solving the root cause

I want to start by saying that the holy-grail of conquering the urge to cut, lies in resolving the underlying issues that cause the urge. Cutting is a coping method. It satisfies a need. As long as this need exists, you will have a hard time controlling the urge to cut. Read more about his from my post Self-injury: what's that all about?. Obviously addressing that need takes a lot of time and work. You will need ways to cope in the short term.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Where is the public outcry?

*** May Trigger ***
I love watching my daughter sleep.

There is nothing more peaceful than my little girl, curled up under her flowery duvet, red curls spread all over the pillow, breathing softly. I find myself counting her dark eyelashes, etched against her pale skin. I itch to move the one soft curl that always insists on falling over her face, but I never do, for fear of waking her. Where does she go at night? Does she fly away to far off lands in her dreams, populated by fairy queens and unicorns, witches and wizards with pointy hats, riding broom sticks? Does she ever dream of me?

Does she know that I watch her sleep, drinking in her peace?

One in four girls are sexually abused before they reach the age of 18.

One in six boys are sexually abused before they reach the age of 18.

The vast majority of these children will never get help, either because they never tell, or because they tell and no one believes them. Of those who are believed, too many will hear, it's over now. Just forget it and move on with your life. Only a small minority will get real help.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Visiting my father's grave, redefining "me"

My father, my abuser, died last year.

His sister called me and asked me to the funeral. I didn't go. I have never felt anything but fear and hatred for him. I had no desire to spend the day surrounded by people who had loved him, who thought he was a good man.

This weekend, I went to visit his grave for the first time.

I expected to be angry. I expected to be overcome with a desire to vandalise his head-stone. To piss on his grave, so to speak. Instead, I stood quietly, devoid of any raging emotion. I read his name on the head-stone, and I felt that it was a stranger's name. The surname is the same as mine, but that was where the connection ended. The inscription didn't even mention me. It said only "beloved brother..."

Fitting, I suppose, since he disowned me years ago.

Thoughts on suicide

I've been suicidal.

Who am I kidding? I've made multiple attempts.

There was a time when I simply could not see how I would ever be able to live my life. It was too hard. The pain and guilt was too much to cope with. I had also convinced myself that I was a burden to those who cared about me, and that I would be doing them a favour by removing myself from their lives. I did not deserve to stay alive, to continue to wreck havoc in their lives.

I hated myself that much.

But in the end, it was ok. I found a way to deal with life. I even found happiness. There was a way out of the dark hole of depression and self-loathing after all.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Please listen when a child asks for help!

If there is one thing that upsets me, both as a father as an abuse survivor, it is the ease with which too many people discount abuse.

People cite several reasons for not believing accusations of abuse, and I would like to address some of them:

"He has always been a difficult child. This is just another way to make his parents life hard".

Abused children are often difficult children. Abused children don't know how to relate to people in a healthy way. They have issues with authority. They lack self-respect, and therefore aren't able to respect others. They know the language of violence better than any other. They tend to act out in a misguided attempt to get attention, to be seen and heard, or because they aren't able to act in any other way.

Is he accusing his parents because he is a difficult child, or is he a difficult child because his accusations are true?