Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Long Term Effects

No doubt, abuse has far reaching effects. From low self-esteem to drug and alcohol abuse to suicide attempts, there are many facets to the damage abuse can cause.

Someone asked me how to deal with the memories and recurring depression this week. I decided to post my answer here for those who are still trying to process through the damage.

First of all, there is unfortunately no right answer for everyone because human nature can be complex at times. How one person processes pain and fear is not how another one does. So, the first step is journaling or keeping some kind of notes on what you experience and when. After doing this for a time, a pattern will emerge to show you the triggers you must be aware of. Everyone has triggers: smells, pictures, certain times of the day, week, month or year, or maybe even the sound of a voice. Whatever it is, find yours and you'll be that much closer to getting beyond it.

Second, deal with your trigger, not by running away from it or trying to avoid it, but by confrontation. One of my triggers was a photo. It brought back a ton of memories. I made it a point to look at that photo everyday until the memories no longer came on like a flood and until the pain went away. Believe it or not, that took a bit less than a month. Another of my triggers was a smell. I didn't smell it all the time, but when I did, it would make me sick to my stomach. Depression would try to seize me. I had to focus my mind upon that smell and think about why it bothered me and I talked to someone about it. I even went shopping looking for it because I didn't want to be blind-sided by it again. It was Old Spice. And after awhile, I was over that too.

In short, there is residual damage when you've been abused, but to take your life back, you must face down whatever tries to keep you in bondage to what was done.

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