When I began Cognitive Processing Therapy I went in with a few main struggles. I had been through countless hours of therapy already and this CPT was a study specifically aimed at those with PTSD. While I had done so much work already I had a few small issues I needed to work on mainly; safety when out and about, safety within my home, my mistrust of men, and my engrained feeling of “if I had spoken up, maybe things would have been different’ guilt.
When I first began I thought, ‘nope, this shit ain’t working’…
However, here I am, 3 months later; no longer waking to ‘invisible’ demons in the night, walking past men in the street without the expectation of being raped and many of my cued response patterns toward being touched way lessened.
According to their scale my PTSD symptoms decreased a significant amount and on their scale to the point where many would consider me not to have PTSD anymore.
So I’ll be taking a break from therapy now, I need a rest.
When I had my first session my new psychologist handed me a piece of paper and it asked one question: In one page tell me ‘why do you believe you were sexually abused and how has it affected you?’
The psychologist keeps one and then at the end of the therapy in 12 weeks time, I’d do another one to compare. Before my final session I was trying to remember what I had written, but I couldn’t, so I was very surprised to read the change in the two.
So here are my two brief impact statements from my CPT therapy.
My first Impact statement:
I believe I was sexually abused because someone else could not control their sexual urges. This person is sick, and while I am at no fault, perhaps if I had spoken out the first time, maybe the abuse would not have continued.
I believe that if I had been educated on body safety and what to do in such situations I might have been better equipped to deal with all that happened to me.
I was as a teen and young adult I was very promiscuous, I craved attention in the only way I knew how to get it; sexually. I was lost, often depressed and confused as to what was wrong with me. I drank often and in-excess to numb my pain. I took drugs and took many risks, I had no idea how to be myself without these things.
I did not trust my self.
I do not trust myself.
I felt unsafe often.
I feel unsafe often.
I do not trust men.
I do not feel safe with men.
Especially those I do not know personally.
I assume everyone is out to get me and that I am a target for abuse. I feel like I attract sinister men. I fear that people are out to get me and to hurt my children.
I surrender control, in all areas of my life, because I lack the skills to trust myself to make good ones.
I often feel unintelligent, uneducated, even if this is not true.
I am not good enough, I do not do enough for others.
I have not always been affectionate, and someone once said “She clearly was not hugged enough as a child” and that has always stuck with me. I often have shied away from physical contact with family and friends.
My children’s touch makes me feel uncomfortable, and on edge and this upsets me.
I wake up often during the night fearing that someone is coming into the house to ‘finish the job’ or that they are here to rape my children. I wake my husband up often as I am unable to stop the panic I feel.
I have always felt different from my peers, awkward and timid and uncomfortable.
Sex in general has always been something that was done to me, not something I felt I was supposed to participate in. I didn’t think I am good enough to have had a say in what I needed.
I am destined to always have this sadness.
My second Impact statement; after 12 weeks of therapy:
What happened to me is no fault of mine, I can not change what happened to me but I can change how I survive it. I can never forget and maybe never forgive him for all that he inflicted on me.
I can however, forgive myself for not speaking up, for not coming forward, for not screaming, as I was not in-charge of my own safety. I was a child.
He took something from me and I can not get that back, but I can take back my life, piece by piece.
I can take back my power. I may not have had a voice then, but I do now.
My life now, and how it all plays out is only up to me.
I will continue to take back my power, I will continue to develop and change.
I will always remember who I am, and how far I have come.
I am brave.
I am Powerful.
I am loved.
He took my safety.
But I am now safe.
He took my trust.
I can now trust.
He took my youth, but I am still young.
I have so much more to go.
Everything I am now is because of me and all the hard work I have done.
Everything I am is directly because of me and those that support my journey to healing and good mental health.
What happened to me, is no fault of mine.
I can not change my past but I can live a good life despite it.
* While I am totally aware I am not cured, I feel so much better, that; if this was my main state I could cope with that. I feel completely prepared with the tools have learnt to use.
I will always continue to heal from what happened.
The difference is I no longer fear the process.
I no longer fear the sadness that will come.