Even during the worst moments of the symptoms resulting from CSA, I never bothered or wanted to have an official diagnosis rendered. The main driving force was I didn’t want to give my family an out. They would have loved to have an excuse to point to for the outrageous allegations I was stating against my brothers, father, and grandfather. Their denial is so deep that they would have pointed to PTSD or an anxiety disorder as causing the allegations instead of the other way around. My mother once went so far as to blame them on my taking Synthroid….um, yeah, hallucinations are a common side-effect……. My family also “feared” I was being brain-washed by someone who lived across the country and I only saw every couple of years. Luckily, I know who did the real brain-washing.
From my experience from having JRA as a child, I knew how to manage symptoms and I viewed the effects of CSA in the same manner. Whether I had an official diagnosis or not, what was important to me was learning to live with it, however it was showing up in my life.
Physical pain level is often measured on the continuum of 1-10 with 1 being it has zero effect on your day to day activities and 10 being you are unable to do the activity at all. Maintenance of the pain level is obtained by introducing stimuli that assist with moving the higher number to a lower one. The goal is not to get rid of it totally, but to have it be at a level where a certain quality of life can be achieved. Methods could include: medication, meditation, hot or cold treatment, massage, or anything the individual finds helpful for reducing his pain level. Other more unhealthy methods are also used by individuals to achieve the goal: recreational drugs, alcohol, over-eating, aggression, promiscuity, or anything that ultimately harms the individual and those around him.
Over the past 25 years, I have utilized both healthy and unhealthy means for managing the pain associated with CSA. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. The emotional/mental pain level can sustain a level of 10 for longer than I ever dreamed possible. But thankfully, it has always gone down at some point.
As part of recovery and healing, we move from what is familiar and known into the unknown. Our steps are tentative while we learn new ways of being in the world. Other times we need to take a leap of faith when we are unsure a net will appear to save us from falling into the abyss. This doesn’t pertain to only abuse survivors but is the human condition. It is also part of the continuum. Some people had worse abuse perpetrated upon them than others. It gets to a point where being in competition to who had it the worst does nothing to move a person forward. We are all more the same than we are different.
The questions comes down to: where are you on the continuum? What can you do to move the number to a more satisfying place? Sometimes the doing will be to accept that nothing can be done at the moment and accept that too.