Looking Back, Looking Forward
Lisa has written the following piece after a therapy session, it is something that she’s been thinking about a lot. She reflects on how therapy is proving to be very helpful and that despite still having bad days she feels she is getting stronger every day. Thank you Lisa for your powerful words, we are certain that they will speak to many survivors.
For most of my life I’ve largely blocked out my past, been too anxious to enjoy the present and feared the future. But over the past 4 years whilst undergoing counselling, going through the experience of reporting the abuse, attending court and giving my evidence and receiving psychotherapy for post trauma stress, I’ve had to face my past, present and future. It’s been terrifying, heartbreaking, hard, empowering, liberating and surreal in equal measure.
The reality I’ve learnt is that I have to look back to have any chance of enjoying the present and having the future I hope for.
Through my therapy I now know that my past has controlled me for as long as I can remember. Every decision and every step has origins in the abuse I suffered as a child. My no self worth led me to accept things I should have known were not good enough, my fear and anxiety stopped me from being spontaneous and taking any risks, the emotional and physical scars caused me a lifetime of pain and disability.
Blocking out the abuse meant I accepted years of loneliness, disappointments and sadness because I believed that’s all I deserved. Each day my expectations were low – I kept them low because I was used to life that way and I learnt that if I expected the least then if anything happened that was good, that would be a bonus.
I see now I thought controlling everything meant nothing bad would ever happen to me again. The truth is I suspended my life…not in time but definitely in living. I was scared to live because I had seen the worse side of it.
It was so hard to take that step forward to have counselling, to finally acknowledge to myself just how sad and lost I was. It was incredibly hard to make the decision to report the abuse, to have to open up and expose my vulnerability and fear. And it was scary to walk into psychotherapy knowing for me that this was my best chance to finally be able to cherish the here and now, and find my peaceful future.
Taking the path I chose is not the right one for everyone but for me it has been. I’m still on that path but I’m much further along it than I ever dreamed when I stepped on it 4 years ago. The nightmares of my past are becoming fainter and I’m increasingly able to handle them when they feel near, my belief in myself and self worth grows daily. I’m beginning to enjoy the here and now, cherishing being alive rather than feeling it is a chore, and my hope for my future as a more peaceful and hopeful one, grows daily.
To all survivors out there I hope you find your own path. Remember that we are so very much stronger, braver, courageous and determined than we know. Don’t be scared to look back because in doing so you can look forward to the life you deserve.