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Archive for October 16th, 2007

Plant (c) Lynda Bernhardt

A good support group can be invaluable as you work through your emotional issues. It helps to know several people who are traveling the same journey, especially when you know people who are in various stages of healing. That way, you can be inspired by those who are farther along and also feel good about how far you have come when you see those who are just starting out.

You do not have to go to a “live” support group to find the support you need. I found invaluable support at message boards for adult survivors of childhood abuse. There are many sites available, including some that are tailored for specific types of abuse.

My favorite site is Isurvive, which has forums for all forms of abuse, including sexual, physical, emotional, and ritual abuse. I found the site in December 2003, when I was new to flashbacks and still in a place of questioning whether I could trust the images in my head. I found so much loving support from the people there. It was nice to post when it was convenient for me and then receive responses from people all over the world who understood me. For the first time in my life, I felt like I truly fit in somewhere.

Many message boards offering support also have chat rooms, so you can find instant support if you are free falling. I rarely go into chat rooms, but there have been times when a flashback was particularly painful, causing me to struggle with the urge to harm myself. Because late at night is a difficult time for many survivors, chat rooms are often monitored at night for situations just like this. On more than one occasion, I found instant support at midnight. There is no replacing that kind of support when you are in a very bad place.

Another nice thing about on-line support groups is that you can maintain your anonymity. I was not open to walking into a room filled with people who would know my name and see my face. I could not have looked another person in the eye and shared my story in the early months. However, I could choose an anonymous name on a message board and share all without worrying about being rejected or gossiped about.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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