Sunday, 16 December 2012

'Tis The Season To Take Extra Care #childabuse #survivors


Effects of childhood sexual abuse

Being sexually abused as a child can have serious and long-lasting effects on a person. Such effects can include:
  • Loss of confidence, dignity and self respect
  • Low self-esteem and poor self-worth
  • Loss of hope for the future
  • Adverse effects on both physical and mental health
  • The inability to trust others even close family and friends
  • The inability to relax and enjoy life
  • Loss of innocence and childhood
  • Anxiety, guilt and fear
  • Sexual dysfunction, withdrawal, and acting out
  • Difficulties in relating to the opposite sex.
And may also lead to:
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Obsessive behaviour and strict routines
  • Anxiety states
  • Self-harming e.g. cutting, scratching or burning
  • Depression and suicide.
At this festive time of year these effects can become amplified and cause even more damage to the survivors and their loved ones. Some may withdraw and dread this time of year whilst others may become lost in alcoholic or drug induced hazes. I've done both. It is also very easy to feel even more left out in the cold if the abuse was familial. I've tried to ignore the season thereby appearing a modern day "Scrooge" and I've also become totally stressed out by trying to make sure everything is perfect for everyone else.

If you know someone who is struggling at this time of year then please reach out to them. Suicide rates often increase over the holiday period so please keep your eyes and hearts open  
and remember that not all scars are visible.

For fellow survivors please remember that you are not alone and that help is there for you. If you feel that the festivities are affecting you then confide in someone you trust, or contact a helpline.  I've spent Christmases alone, and I've also felt very alone when sharing Christmas with family or friends. It doesn't have to be that way for you too.

Christmas is not about giving and receiving presents, over indulgence and keeping up with the Joneses! Christmas is about love. The greatest gift you can give is that of love, and this includes learning to love yourself.

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