I read something recently that got me thinking about something I used to struggle with. Soon after I started having flashbacks, I found Isurvive, which is a message board for child abuse survivors. I couldn’t believe that I had found a community where my symptoms actually made sense and where I was fully accepted just for being me. Up until this point in my life, I never really felt like I fit in anywhere. Suddenly, I was part of a very supportive community surrounded by people who were dealing with similar issues. I felt Iike I had just discovered my Mother Ship!
Fast-forward a few years … I continued to be very active at Isurvive, but I found that I was spending a lot more time posting support for others than needing support myself. Of course, I had my moments and still received wonderful support, but the dynamic has shifted from me mostly receiving to mostly giving. I was completely okay with doing lots of giving, but I had a deep-seated fear that I did not want to share with anyone – What happens if/when I heal enough that I no longer belong here?
The thought of losing the one place on earth where I felt like I belonged was frightening. It was enough to get me second-guessing whether I really wanted to continue healing at the pace that I was. Of course, I wanted the pain to end, but I did not want to lose my connection with the child abuse survivor community. It took me a while to work through this struggle, especially since these fears were my own little secret. I did not want to sound arrogant about my healing process, nor did I want to risk no longer fitting in.
I eventually wound up starting this blog, and Lori (the Isurvive board owner) included my blog as a resource for people from Isurvive. I became an Amazon affiliate and set up the commissions to be direct deposited over to Isurvive. This enabled me to stay a part of that wonderful community while also spreading my wings.
For the first few months, I continued being active over there as well as writing this blog. Life circumstances (including starting a new job as well as a new online website business) limited the time that I had to be active on message boards, and I wound up putting my focus here and dropping out of being active over at Isurvive. I still pop in from time to time, and it is great to see some familiar folks, but I am an old dinosaur there now. Most of the active people probably don’t even know who I am unless they have checked out my blog. And you know what? I am okay!
I am grateful that I continued to follow my intuition and allow myself to heal. I realize that I have not “lost” anything. I am still active in the child abuse survivor community, just in a different way. I also have a lot of learning and growing to do myself – I am far from having all of the answers. You don’t have to choose between healing and being a member of a supportive community. If you will allow yourself to follow the flow of healing, it will lead you to new places that satisfy you. You don’t have to “stay sick” to keep your support community.
Photo credit: Hekatekris