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Mon 01 August 2022

From Surviving to Thriving

My name is Molly I am 32 years old, and I am the youngest of three siblings.

Both of my parents abuse drugs and alcohol and as a result I suffered severe neglect. My parents never showed any affection or had any interest in my life. They were too focused on getting their needs met to notice me or my feelings. I was routinely beaten by both of my parents from as young as I can remember up until the age of eleven years old when my parents divorced. I was sexually abused from the age of four through to the age of eight years old. I was binge drinking to cope from the age of thirteen when my parents would buy me alcohol.  

I was first diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder when I was eleven years old. This assessment was a requirement from the New South Wales Court after the sexual abuse was reported. I was able to receive free counselling from victim’s services but after twelve months my mother decided to take me out of counselling.   Since my post-traumatic stress disorder was left untreated the diagnosis manifested into depression and anxiety.

It was a constant battle to survive with PTSD without getting professional help. To manage my symptoms, I would turn to alcohol as this was the coping strategy that was shown to me. Amongst all of this, I somehow managed to graduate from year 12, work full-time, move out of home, purchase my first house, and I got married to the most loving and caring man.  

Throughout my life I was repeatedly told by my parents that I did not need professional help and I was constantly denied my reality. To this day they deny the truth and the level of abuse that I endured. As a result of denying my reality, I was separating further and further from myself, I had no recollection of who I was or any memory of my childhood.   In 2016 a family breakdown happened which brought up many questions that I had relating to my childhood. I was suffering depression and anxiety from the family breakdown which led me to seek professional help. I was in therapy for twelve months and we managed to work on my anxiety and depression. Yet, I was still in denial regarding my family, I was unable to truly see them clearly and I was holding onto an image of them that was not real.  

In 2018 I had moved again and decided to go no contact with my family. My body started remembering somatic memories, there were times when my body was on fire as if I had been beaten all over again. This would last days and even weeks at a time. These symptoms led me to seek a General Practioner who had me on a mental health plan and we had regular appointments to monitor my progress. I also found a therapist that I could fully trust, the treatments in therapy used were Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. Early into my Therapy, I was unable to control my emotions and I could not sleep due to the nightmares. To alleviate the pain, I turned to marijuana to escape and help me sleep. This led to a drug induced psychotic episode which was extremely traumatising as I was in and out of reality.   When I was admitted into hospital, I promised myself I would never drink alcohol or do drugs again, since that day I have remained sober. I went back to my GP to ask for help with medication alongside therapy. My GP researched the right medication for me, and it has helped me greatly. The more I went to therapy the more my body remembered the trauma, I was determined to find out the truth and put this to rest. I can now see that denial played a major role in my survival and now that I was facing my reality the denial was slowly fading away. At the time this was very confusing because my whole world as I saw it was being smashed to pieces.  

I learnt to trust the process even when it did not make sense or when the grief was overbearing. I continued to make the decision to go no contact with my family so that I could focus on my healing. The moment I started to truly believe myself of what had happened to me was when my symptoms started to subside. I was no longer running away from my reality and fighting the truth to appease my family. I am still in therapy my appointments are monthly and we no longer are focusing on the trauma. These days I no longer have severe nightmares, nor do I have destabilising triggers. I am a stable functioning adult.  

What I have learnt from all of this is that help is out there, your symptoms serve a purpose so don’t ignore them.