You might have noticed that this blog is an Amazon Affiliate that donates all proceeds to Isurvive. (I never see the money. It is direct deposited into the charity’s bank account.) For those of you who are unfamiliar with Isurvive, this blog entry is to make you aware of this wonderful resource and tell you why I care about it so much.
In 2003, I started having flashbacks about mother-daughter sexual abuse. Before that, I had no memory whatsoever of being abused as a child. I remembered some comparatively minor emotional abuse and knew that I had a lot of seemingly unrelated issues (nightmares, eating disorder, panic attacks, phobias, etc.); however, I had no idea at a conscious level that child abuse was the cause.
I had no idea what to do with the flashbacks. I didn’t even know that they were flashbacks. I just “knew” that my mother had sexually abused me, and I was filled with deep shame and a strong desire to kill myself. That is when I found Isurvive.
It had not even occurred to me to look for a message board for child abuse survivors. I thought that I was the only person on the planet (except for my sister) to be abused by my mother, so I feared that nobody would believe me and that I would be committed to a mental institution for “making this up.” I truly believed I was losing my mind!
I was doing Internet research on dissociation and how to heal from child abuse when I stumbled upon Isurvive. At first, I wasn’t sure that I even belonged there. It was a message board for child abuse survivors, and I wasn’t sure if I had really been abused. After all, wouldn’t I always have remembered?
I read some of the posts and saw so much of myself in those messages. I felt like I had found my mother ship! I could relate to these people even though I wasn’t sure that I was really one of them. Then, I built up the courage to post what I had remembered. I was sure that nobody would believe me, but I was wrong! Numerous fellow child abuse survivors believed me, supported me, and told me how to survive it.
Isurvive became my lifeline during my therapy years. I was on the board multiple times a day. At first, all I did was “take” because I had nothing to give. However, over time I started to give back until, after a few years, I was mostly the “old timer” offering support. Isurvive quite literally saved my life on more than one occasion, providing me a place to be “heard” when I wanted to kill myself.
Isurvive has grown since then to offer both a Chat Room and a toll-free number so survivors of child abuse never have to be alone. I have used the Chat Room when I was emotionally free-falling. The moderator took me into a private chat room and talked me through my animal rape flashback. I never used the toll-free number, but many child abuse survivors do. You don’t have to be alone in the middle of the night, over the holidays, or any other time when your life is spinning out of control.
I no longer frequent Isurvive only because I don’t have the time. Between writing this blog and my professional one, working part-time, and being a full-time wife and mom, I simply don’t have the time to hang out there any longer. However, I will be forever grateful to Isurvive, which is why I applied for this blog to be an Amazon affiliate. Isurvive is not an expensive charity to run, but it does need an income stream to pay for the toll-free number, the server fees, etc. Lori Schmitt, the owner and operator of Isurvive, tells me that the funds generated by this blog go a long way toward keeping those services available to Isurvive members.
If you have never visited Isurvive, check it out! There are different forums for different types of abuse, such as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The Ritualized Abuse forum is the place you want to go to discuss Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) issues even if you did not suffer from ritual abuse. There are also forums specifically for male survivors, one for Dependence & Compulsion (to discuss eating disorders, addictions, self-injury, etc.), and even for survivors who abuse others (to help them break the cycle). Isurvive is a safe place to interact with fellow child abuse survivors as you heal together.
Image credit: Isurvive