Sharing My Hell With You: Part Four in a Series

At the risk of my reader, Riorico, claiming that once again my posts are “all about me” and that I have a “need for attention” I have decided to make part four of my series about me.

The first three parts to this series have focused on the devastating physical, mental, and emotional problems that plague those who have been victimized as children by sexual predators. You can read them here:  Part One Part Two Part Three

In this post I would like to share with my readers how seriously ill the incest made me and how much I have overcome as a result of working on myself in therapy for fourteen years. The purpose of this information is not to draw sympathy or attention to myself, it is to inform people that incest and child sexual abuse can cause severe damage to the victim’s immune system and vital organs, such as the heart and bladder, as well as affecting their psychological state and emotions. This post is also to show that there is hope for every survivor, no matter how badly they suffer.

Sixteen years ago I came down with an illness that doctors say has no cure or treatment. Sixteen years ago, I was scared out of my mind because I was suffering from incapacitating, frightening physical symptoms that caused me unbearable suffering. I spent countless hours in doctors offices, emergency rooms, and in Lab facilities having my body probed, poked, and scanned. After $30,000 in medical bills, the experts told me that they could find nothing wrong.

After a year with no diagnosis, an ear nose and throat specialist finally diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. The diagnosis was then verified by two CFIDS specialists.

I remember sitting in the office of one of the specialists. I was frightened and full of uncertainty. The specialist said to me, “There’s good news and bad news about this disease”…”The good news is that you are not going to die, and the bad news is that you are not going to die.”

It was not until I was well into the labyrinth of the illness that I truly understood the depth and truth of his words. On the days when I was bed-ridden with a fatigue that is indescribable, I also suffered from chronic diarrhea, constant stomach aches, ringing in my ears, short-term memory loss, pain in my heart area, vice-grip headaches, choking for no reason, inflamed lymph nodes and dizziness.

Every night for years, as I lay my head on my pillow, my heart pounded so loudly in my ears that I thought it would stop from pure exhaustion. If I did manage to fall asleep I was soon awakened by a feeling of forgetting how to breathe and I woke up gasping for breath. This was my body’s reminder that I had been choked by both parents.

For a number of years, I awoke from nightmares so hellacious and tormenting, that they were beyond imagination — nightmares so vile and disturbing that I wanted to die when I woke up. For years I experienced  sharp pains in my vagina. Pains that no doctor could find the origin for because they were caused by being raped by my father when I was in grade school.

When I managed to crawl out of bed during the day, meals caused me to want to vomit or I shoveled food in my mouth at alarming rates, because for me, food had nothing to do with sustaining my body. For me, food meant sex. About seven years ago, I started having more serious issues with food. I began to  experience the feeling of having a full stomach all of the time –whether or not I had eaten. Then there were numerous days at a time when I could barely eat at all because food made me so nauseous and dizzy that I was afraid of eating. The fullness in my stomach was created by being forced to perform oral sex on a female family member.

Then there is the pathological hunger. A debilitating hunger that never ceased. Even when I was full or nauseous, I was always hungry. One day I ate four burritos and was still starving. This hunger has been a symptom that I have yet to find the root cause for. It has gotten significantly better over the years. The hunger is now bearable and does not come every day, but it is one of the very few symptoms that still hangs on, and one reason why I am still in therapy.

During these years, I continually suffered Shingles outbreaks. Shingles is a virus of the nervous system. It attacked my head and ears with pain, and a very ugly bubbly lesion always formed down the left side of my neck. Through therapy, I have been able to find the root cause of the Shingles outbreaks.

In 1997, four months before remembering that my father had sex with me as a child, my bladder erupted into one of the most excruciating symptoms of all. For four months I could barely urinate. I went to the bathroom twenty to forty times a day in a futile attempt to expel my urine. Each agonizing time, only a trickle came out. Gynecologists and a top urologist found nothing wrong –even after inserting a tube up my urethra. The next step they wanted to take was to put a scope with a camera up my urethra. I said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” I then chose to allow the therapy to help me because it was the only method of treatment that was healing my physical suffering. Thank God I listened to my instincts because after I finally remembered the incest, my bladder slowly became better and eventually healed completely.

Below is a list of the rest of the physical debilitations that I suffered during the process of memories surfacing and healing from incest:

Muscle twitching

Sore throats

post-exertion malaise

Sleep disorders

Abdominal pain

Insomnia

Vertigo

Tightness in chest

Loss of sex drive

Neurological problems

Seeing spots before eyes

Tachycardia (rapid heart rate) with minimal or no exertion, which may persist for long periods of the day, coming on at any moment and with no known cause.

Acne on the inside of upper thighs near vaginal area

Throbbing pain in upper left chest

Malaise

Vision problems

Pain in heart

Heart flutters

Chronic constipation

Could not inhale deeply

Pulling feeling in lungs

Swollen lymph nodes in right neck area and in lower abdominal areas

Pain inside wall of throat (different from a sore throat)

Terrible gas pains

Chronic sinus problems

Severe tooth pain with no known origin

Night leg twitches (known as “Restless Leg Syndrome”)

Reduced exercise tolerance

Pressure in head and neck area

Numbness of limbs

Clicking of heart

Short term memory loss

Common headaches

Vise grip headaches

Foggy and disoriented mind

Nerves shook and quivered so badly, it felt like a seizure might occur

Extreme sensitivity to sound, light, heat, and cold

Chronic lower back pain (this was caused by repressed rage)

Hemorrhoids

Impaired speech and/or reasoning

Visual disturbances

Panic attacks

Chills and night sweats

Pain in leg which struck for no reason and did not allow me to walk down the street.

Jaw clenching

Constant feeling of having a virus

Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

Feeling as if about to black out

Burning sensation inside throat

Spitting up excessively

Seeing stars before my eyes

Pain in entire chest, as if being crushed

Swallowing or gagging sensitivity

As anyone can see, contrary to what some people might believe, it isn’t so easy to merely ‘move on’ ‘let it go’ and ‘stop being a victim.’ The body will not rest until the mind is at ease, and it took fifteen years of intensive therapy to rid my mind of the effects of incest. I was sexually assaulted, physically abused, psychologically manipulated, or felt unloved every day for over ten years. A person cannot wipe out that much trauma and worthlessness in a few therapy sessions, or even a few years of therapy sessions. People should not judge others for the amount of time they need to be in therapy, and I have noticed that I am a lot more psychologically stable than those who have criticized me for the amount of time it has taken me to heal.

 

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4 Responses to Sharing My Hell With You: Part Four in a Series

  1. lisabolo says:

    Dear Althea, I totally empathize with you since I am also in recovery from being sexually abused and brutally raped by a pediatrician for a period of at least 4 years (from ages 10-14, that I can remember). I just finally remembered the entirety of one incident in which this evil man knocked me out and digitally raped me at age 11. It was very painful both emotionally and physically. I think the only thing that helps me, other than working toward a strong belief in God, is learning to love myself and my body and accept what its going through, knowing that may body will take care of and heal itself. I hope this does not sound too trite or condescending. I truly believe that the body eventually heals itself with support from us and certain very good practitioners. I hope this helps and gives you a little something to hold onto. You are a very beautiful lady, and I cannot understand why anyone would want to be so cruel and abusive to you.

    • Alethea says:

      Hello Lisa. Thank you for your sweet comments. There are very few people -to my knowledge- that know the body’s ability to heal itself through God, self-forgiveness, and through effective, intensive psychoanalysis. Thankfully, I do know. I hold on to that fact, because I have experienced miracles in my healing process, and know that the final miracle will be total healing one day.

      People are abusive for many reasons. Many times, they themselves, don’t even truly know why they do it. Nevertheless, it doesn’t affect me. But I do stand up to their garbage because I will always defend truth, and will always try and stand up for those abuse survivors who cannot yet speak for themselves or are too afraid to.

      Silence is approval. Therefore, I will not remain silent in the face of ignorance.

  2. slamdunk says:

    Thanks for your courage in sharing your personal story and for the work you have done in this series–I had to go back and read the others. I hope that your writings are inspiring to the so many others out there who have struggled with similar horrific experiences.

    • Alethea says:

      Thanks slamdunk. I was feeling particularly strong when I wrote this article. I just re-read it and am amazed at how honest I was. It was sort of scary to re-read it. I am currently still dealing with fear, so it’s interesting to see how I can be strong one day and still be dealing with the death threats and fear of my family on another day.

      I am going to publish my book(s)! online at some point. I too hope that they will help others.

      Alethea

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