Archive for the ‘Online Resources’ Category

Blooming Lotus (c) Faith AllenHi, all.

I am still super busy with my job and such, but I do have a holiday break coming, so I decided to participate over at Lori’s Song while I temporarily have a little more time so I can offer support to child abuse survivors over the holidays. Overall, I am doing well. This time of year is always hard for me, but it is less hard than in prior years, and I am celebrating the progress. I hope all of you are doing well.

Photo credit: Faith Allen

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I hope you have had a chance to visit the child abuse healing forums at Lori’s Song. The site just launched on Friday, so it will take a while for the forums to get busy as child abuse survivors who are looking to heal join the site. The site has quite a few child abuse healing forums, including a section for learning how to thrive. I like that the forums are set up to meet the needs of those who have moved through the early stages of healing and are transitioning into thriving. Of course, plenty of support is available in the child abuse healing forums for those of you who are in the throes of the early stages of healing.

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I have previously shared that I have been helping launch a charity for child abuse survivors. The site went live today.

I encourage you to check out this exciting new resource for child abuse survivors. It would be a great place to move this community for those of you who would like to stay in regular contact.

Let me know what you think of the site! :0)

~ Faith

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I have shared many times that Isurvive, a message board for child abuse survivors, helped get me through healing from child abuse. I have not been active on the site for several years – pretty much since I started the blog. I only have so many hours in the day to spend online, and the blog took up too much time for me to stay active over there.

While I was still active, I pushed for a separate forum for ritual abuse survivors. I wasn’t really sure where to post memories of being buried alive, etc. Ritual abuse is its own animal and does not really fit into any other category of abuse. The board owner at that time came up with the label of “ritualized abuse” because she wanted to encompass not only cult abuse but also systematic abuse by one abuser … and the Ritualized Abuse forum was born.

I have also shared that I continue to be active with Isurvive behind the scenes. I learned through the grapevine that several members were posting over there (some who also read my blog) but that there wasn’t anyone posting who was farther along in healing. While Isurvive has great directors and moderators, my understanding is that none of them experienced ritual abuse. (My apologies if I am wrong about this.)

So, I have decided to become active again in the Ritualized Abuse forum only. I am hoping to add the perspective of someone farther along in healing so those who are posting there can have hope of surviving the healing process. Also, I want the members to know that at least one person (1) can handle reading about the dark stuff; and (2) has been there (maybe not with the exact form of abuse but in the ballpark). I hope that my experience, both in childhood and in healing, will bring an added level of hope and healing over there.

I am announcing this here in case my active involvement in that forum will make participating in that forum more appealing to any of my readers. It’s tough to open up and talk about ritual abuse in a forum filled with strangers. Perhaps having a friendly face over there will make this easier.

If you do decide to post over there and you also post comments on my blog, please let me know the cross-reference name (unless you prefer to keep this private). That way, I’ll know that the two of you are the same person.

Image credit: Isurvive.org

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Today I am climbing up on my soapbox, so consider yourself warned! I don’t know how much any of you have followed what is going on with online colleges in the news, but as fellow child abuse survivors, you need to know…

I have been working as an online college instructor for one of the well-known online universities since 2008. Online colleges are designed to meet the needs of the non-traditional student. Until I started getting to know my students, I did not realize just how many child abuse survivors are able to earn a college degree because of the existence of online universities like the one where I work. The ability to attend college online has been a real gift to numerous child abuse survivors who would not otherwise be able to go to college.

Of course, people from all walks of life are online students, but the majority is not straight out of high school like you see on most of the traditional college campuses. Numerous students are single parents who are working fulltime in dead-end jobs. Earning a college degree is the ticket out of their current life circumstances. If they had to find childcare and attend a ground campus, they would never be able to earn a college degree. However, by being able to log onto the computer after the children are in bed, they are able to make this huge commitment.

I have been surprised by how many fellow child abuse survivors are enrolled in online colleges. I have heard all sorts of stories because of the personal nature of the course that I facilitate. Once one student shares her story, others share theirs as well. I have had several students who grew up in the foster care system, abused wives who are secretly earning a college degree when the abusive partner is not home, and recovering addicts. More students with a history of child abuse have shared their story than I can count. Many of these students have told me that a “regular” college education would not have been possible for them. They are so grateful for having this option.

Many of the well-known online universities are for-profit, which has caused some people to question the motives of these colleges and the value of their degrees. My online university, as well as others, has made changes to the format of the classes to ensure that only students who are ready to take on the commitment do so and to set them up for success. My online university also offers free confidential counseling over the phone for all students. The counselors are equipped to handle everything from the basic stresses of time management to issues as serious as rape or suicide threats.

I applied for a job as an online college instructor because of the flexible hours. I never dreamed that I would be helping so many child abuse survivors by doing this. Even though my students will never know the details of my own history, I am able to believe in them and help them to have the confidence that they can rise above their childhood traumas. It is a real honor to work with these online students. I hope that these students will continue to have access to Federal financial aid (this has been the topic in the news) because without it, many won’t have access to the tools needed to create a better life for themselves. Watching insecure online students gain confidence in their ability to change the direction of their lives is the most rewarding part of my job.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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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

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I received an email asking me to share the article 10 Signs You are Dealing with a Sociopath. This article definitely sounds like S & L, my most sadistic abusers who brought me into the cult abuse.

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Attention all fellow bloggers – I need your help to try to earn a cash award for Isurvive. I wrote all about Isurvive on my last blog entry.

Isurvive could split $6,000 with four other worthy charities if we can get enough bloggers to write a brief blog entry about the charity. Isurvive operates on a shoestring budget, so (assuming that the cash award is split five ways), $1,200 will go a long way toward covering the 1-800 number and server charges for providing 24/7 support for child abuse survivors.

According to the latest tally, which you can view here, we only need around 17 bloggers to promote Isurvive on their blogs in order to move into second place. (As of when I am posting this, my blog entry from today was not yet tallied. I have another one coming tomorrow from my professional adoption blog as well.)

It will only take a few minutes to pop up a quick blog entry about this wonderful resource, and it could make a HUGE difference to a worthy charity. The deadline is June 6, 2009, so we don’t have much time.

If you would like to help out, please be sure to copy the following text into the bottom of your blog entry:

This blog post is part of Zemanta’s “<a href=”http://www.zemanta.com/bloggingforacause/”>Blogging For a Cause</a>” campaign to raise awareness and funds for worthy causes that bloggers care about.

This is how Zemanta tracks the blog entries. Thanks for your help!

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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A fellow member of Isurvive, my favorite message board for survivors of child abuse, told me about Zemanta, which donates money to not-for-profit organizations that make a difference. The fellow member wrote about Isurvive on her blog, My Monster Has a Name. I am now going to do the same thing.

In November 2003, I started having flashbacks of being sexually abused by my mother. I thought I was losing my mind, and yet I knew that this was my truth. My life finally made sense – the eating disorder, panic attacks, nightmares, compulsive truth-telling, perfectionism, obsessive compulsive disorder, suicidal urges, etc. suddenly formed a profile of a child abuse survivor rather than being a bunch of separate, unrelated issues.

Isurvive quite literally saved my life. If I had not found Isurvive in my quest to understand what was going on with me, I might have taken my own life. I did not believe that I had the strength to face my sordid past. When I found Isurvive, I found a place filled with people just like me. For the first time in my life, I fit in somewhere! People who had experienced the same things that I was now experiencing were telling me that I was going to be okay. They walked me through the healing process. They believed me when I shared my “unbelievable” stories. They had faith in me to survive the healing process when I, myself, doubted from moment to moment whether the process was survivable.

Since then, I recovered so many memories of horrendous abuse that I now understand why I had so few memories of my childhood before the flashbacks. Through the urging of my newfound friends at Isurvive, I found a therapist. Isurvive offered a wonderful supplementation to therapy – a place where people understood and could tell me from a place of experience that I could survive the healing process.

Six years later, I serve on the Board of Directors for Isurvive. I have registered this blog as an Amazon affiliate, and every dime earned in commissions is mailed directly to Isurvive so that Isurvive can continue helping child abuse survivors in the same way that it once helped me.

Over the last six years, I have met, supported, and by supported by hundreds, if not thousands, of child abuse survivors at Isurvive. My life is so much richer for having been touched by these very giving people – all people who were once wounded beyond imagination and now have the courage to reach out and help heal others.

Note to readers — If Isurvive has touched your life, please consider writing about Isurvive on your own blog. If Isurvive gets enough blog entries, the charity could receive a cash award to help further its efforts.

This blog post is part of Zemanta’s “Blogging For a Cause” campaign to raise awareness and funds for worthy causes that bloggers care about.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Hi, everyone!

I just wanted to leave you a quick administrative note about immediate support and feedback.

While I want to help everyone that I can, I have personal limitations. I am a mother of a child with ADHD who has been transitioning off one medication and onto another. I am very active in my kid’s school (put in over 10 volunteer hours last week for a big event at his school). I am starting a new part-time job for which I have been in intensive training for the past month. I write a professional blog for Adoption Under One Roof. I write this blog. I go through periods of struggling with emotional flashbacks where I have trouble doing any of the above. And now I have a cold, which has me feeling miserable at the moment.

Unfortunately, as much as I want to provide helpful and timely feedback, I cannot always do it right away. This is one of the reasons that I plug Isurvive so frequently. Isurvive is a safe place where you can get quick feedback because there are hundreds of child abuse survivors online at any given time who can respond to your needs.

I do eventually respond to every question that I receive, but I cannot promise how quickly I can respond. If you need immediate feedback, please post your question over at Isurvive. Isurvive is a message board for child abuse survivors, and it is very supportive.

I found Isurvive in December 2003, and the friends I made over there were instrumental in helping me heal from my issues. I serve on the Board of Directors for Isurvive today, and I have become good friends with Lori, who is the owner and operator of Isurvive. You are in good hands over there.

In the meantime, I have saved copies of the questions that people have left for me over the past month, and I will be responding to them on my blog. So, please be patient with me as I “unbury” myself from a backlog of questions.

Have a good weekend!

– Faith

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