During my childhood, I was a victim of abuse and suffered developmental dissociative delays as a result. I did not receive counseling to cope with the emotional damage that affected and stained me. Like the play, Macbeth, I could never feel clean following these violating experiences.
It wasn’t until I was an adult with children of my own that I truly understood the impact of my childhood sexual abuse and traumatic experiences. I did not recognize the correlation between my thought process, my learning ability, my behavior, my adult choices and my childhood trauma.
I was just trying to make it one day at a time. I was not paying attention to the damage I was causing to myself and others during the process.
It has only been through counseling and its benefits that I have been able to identify some of these correlations and place myself in a mind frame where I could break the cycle of my symptoms, but every day is still another day to learn and is often still a struggle.
I wanted to be a part of my life as opposed to just an observer of my life. During my studies at Cambridge College in Boston, I did extensive research on sexual abuse and its implications in learning environments, and what I found sent me back to school literally.
After completing that research for my Masters in Education, I realized I wanted to learn more about the impact, ramifications and day-to-day residue that sexual abuse and other traumas leaves behind.
What I learned was that abuse affects several parts of the brain that could shape thought process as well as behavior. “Sexual abuse dramatically affects both the structure and chemistry of the development of the brain causing behavioral and learning problems that plagues children. However, the brain changes do not have to be permanent. Timely interventions can help to rewire the brain and put development back on track” (Kendall, 2002).
Through research, I learned about the paralyzing effects abuse and many other emotionally traumatic experiences can have on an individual’s life. This was a defining moment of my life. I knew that I wanted to help people learn to cope with their experiences instead of being imprisoned by them. I wanted to assist people who wanted to live in a body, mind and spirit they understood, instead of one they were afraid of or did not know.
With this epiphany, I went back to school for a second Masters in Mental Health Counseling and that degree changed my Life. I discovered that there are fundamental principles of mind, brain, body and spirit that are damaged and fragmented as a result of abuse, neglect, trauma and psychological damage. I realized that I had to understand these essential principles if I was to get the change I wanted to see in the world. My start began with the mirror.
Coming from a third world country, therapy was never an option that people could use as a primary means of solving problems twenty-five years ago. We were taught to press on regardless. If it did not kill you, it would only make you stronger. Keep it moving; it’s already happened you can’t change it, and not to talk about our family business. That mindset and culture created a problem of not dealing with the problem, which became a habit that I used to cope with that and many other problems that I would face.
In my late twenties, I sought out counseling after feeling overwhelmed by my day-to-day struggles and contemplating the unthinkable. As a victim, I labeled myself with limitations without even being aware of the dysfunctional narrative that was constantly playing in my head. My true potential was never actualized because of this.
I thought I was a victim until I learned that a victim relives trauma and often allows it to control his or her life. I did not want to be a victim; I became a survivor. I did not want to be ruled by my traumatic past. I wanted to be free.