ILLUMINATING THE UN-ILLUMINATED (A Guest Post)

One of the wonderful gifts of WordPress is the community of bloggers that support, encourage and accept each other exactly for who they are. I have found this to be especially true in the mental health community. Five years ago I had the pleasure of meeting my survivor-sister. She’s a brilliant writer who has agreed to illuminate what for many of us survivors is hard to talk and write about. Ritual Abuse. Although we live on separate continents and we are decades apart in age, our bond, our stories and trauma are very similar. I’m humbled to get to introduce her bravery to you. It is with great pleasure and an honor to share with you, Illuminating the Un-illuminated!

The very best way to counter darkness is illumination, and how do you illuminate something? You drag it out of the shadows, and you shine the brightest of spotlights right on it. Light is the opposite to darkness so any time darkness is the dominant force, the best antidote is always light.

For any survivor of childhood trauma, while there is rarely any definite and distinct end point to your healing, the beginning of that healing process almost always begins on that first brave day you speak your truth out loud for the first time.

Darkness is abuse. Truth is light.

Darkness is secrecy. Truth telling is the illuminator; shining a spotlight on that darkness.

So what is illumination? Illumination begins the day you defy all the threats you heard whispered a hair’s breadth from your ear, and shoulders back, head held high, with an exhaled breath of determined, task-oriented, tunnel vision, you decide you might just finally be ready to talk about your trauma. Fighting through lumps in your throat as jagged and vast as boulders, you scan your brain for words (all of which seem entirely inadequate) and sputter segments out of some of the mess inside your head, in breathless and exhausting bursts. It hurts, it all really hurts. It aches, the wounds start to weep and bleed and your body feels heavy, oh so heavy. For moments the pain threatens to completely engulf you and you panic and cry, but nonetheless, despite the difficulty of those words, so impossible to say, you persist, and little by little you paint pictures in words for whoever it is privileged enough to be hearing you voice your story; something that was once entirely hidden.

When voicing your trauma testimony to others you inevitably re-experience what you went through but from a safer distance this time. You are one step removed. You are the observer now, not the participant. Never have you been more relieved of anything in your entire life. During the re-tell, you hear the sounds, you smell the smells, see the sights, and once again you trace the textures through nervous shaky fingertips. In titrated bursts, all over again, you feel the feels. It hurts. It really hurts, but you persist because you feel braver than brave and prouder than proud of yourself, because your pain is not just your pain anymore. You do not sit behind bars with your pain in a private prison. Your pain is now a shared pain. Your distress has been seen, felt, and heard. Your story exists somewhere outside of your own body. That story has a life now.

When a survivor describes their testimony to any human witness, describing some of what you went though, that witness (if they have any empathic capacity at all) will begin to see and feel and hear and touch and sense a teeny tiny proportion of some of the traumas you went through. They will never truly ‘get it’. Of course they won’t. They will *never* know how it felt to be you, but at least there is some building block there, some foundation to build understanding and raise awareness; something to help you internally construct an image of something you may well never ever have heard of before. This is why sharing your trauma, if you can possibly find the strength and guts to do it, is probably one of the best and most liberating things you can do to both raise awareness, and liberate yourself, kickstarting your healing process.

Sharing has a ripple effect. One single survivor’s testimony can be so powerful. You could be that one person who inspires another to share their trauma testimony, who in turn tell others, and before you know it, more and more and more of humanity are now waking up and beginning to see an image of that thing that was once entirely un-illuminated, secretly festering in the depths of the very darkest of shadows.

So what is the shadow I’m talking about here?….the shadow is organised ritual abuse.

There is no sub-category of abuse lesser known about or more taboo than ritual abuse (also known as organised abuse, satanic abuse, or satanic ritual abuse). We have all heard of abuse going on with family members and those known to the family, as well as the concept of stranger danger, but organised ritual abuse is another thing un-entirely. The public domain contains so little accurate and reliable information about ritual abuse, and that is one of the key factors that actually keeps ritual abuse un-illuminated in the shadows. This collective un-illumination about the goings on of ritual abuse only serves to protect the perpetrators of the abuse, allowing them to continue on with their abusing.

THIS is why I am writing about Ritual Abuse, and not only that, I’m writing this so near Halloween….a day so significant for survivors of this type of abuse across the globe.

Ritual abuse is an abuse of extremes. Ritual abuse is organised, planned, hierarchical, structured, deliberate, extreme, sadistic, brutal, intentional, callous, torturous, manipulative, control-driven, exploitative (and those are the nicer descriptions). Other more emotive but equally accurate words I could use to describe ritual abuse is animalistic, monstrous, twisted, sick and evil. Evil is a strong word, and arguably, no form of child abuse is exempt from the category marked evil, but there is something so shockingly and unbelievably extreme about the nature of the rituals involved in this type of organised abuse, that evil is the most appropriate over-arching word I can think of to describe it.

Secrecy is another concept closely tied with ritual abuse. There is no form of abuse that is lesser known about than ritual abuse. The secrecy and deliberate hiddenness of it all ensures public awareness is not much more significant than zero. The secrecy means awareness is prevented from building, and the secrecy is cultivated by the perpetrators by the way they conduct and plan the systems of abuse, as well as the way they suppress media and police activity. Coupled with that, victims are threatened in a way that is far more believable for them to fear might be true, than your usual class of perpetrators threats. This isn’t to say ritual abuse perpetrators are ‘better’ at threatening and scaring victims, but to say that because their threats are paired with visible actions that make the threats more credible and believable in the eyes of the child victim, the threats are more effective at preventing survivors from disclosing to anyone, particularly as anti-therapy mind control systems are deliberately installed in the mind’s of child victims, causing those parts of the psyche to greatly fear authority, and struggle to trust professional therapists.

I have thought long and hard about what I wanted to share in this written piece, and since I don’t want to risk sharing any content that would be triggering to other ritual abuse survivors…I will end with two last statements. One is a letter to ritual abuse survivors (as well as all survivors of extreme trauma) The second is a statement to the public…..what I would want you to know and take home from reading this ritual abuse blog……Both statements are written from my heart, from someone who has personally experienced this form of organised childhood abuse.

To the public…

What I want to illuminate here is this. Ritual abuse, organized abuse, satanic abuse (whatever your preferred term) is REAL. It happens. It isn’t made up. It isn’t the figment of a child or adult’s imagination. Reporting ritual abuse is not a means of seeking notoriety or attention (believe me, there’s nothing nice about it). It happens everywhere, worldwide, in every county, country, region, or state. It spans the whole economic spectrum of society, with many RA groups being comprised of wealthy and powerful members who on the surface appear to be pillars of the community. It is inter-generational, starting in the family. Children are often introduced to ritual abuse groups by one or both parents. It is highly possible that the parent who involved you in the group was ritually abused themselves when they were a child, and that is how they first became linked with the group. Not only is ritual abuse systematic and varied, involving physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and spiritual abuse, but mind control and programming is a key part that differentiates organized ritual abuse from other forms of abuse. Mind control techniques, drugging, trafficking, tricks, threats, and lies are combined along with sensory deprivation and other hypnotic techniques to induce a dissociative state in the child victims, meaning they lack conscious memory of the abuse they endured, often well into adulthood. It is possible to deliberately induce amnesia in a child forced to participate in rituals, and create dissociative alter identities to hold memories of the abuse, using proven, high-level, complex psychological techniques. Just because you struggle to believe something like this could happen, and you not know about it, it doesn’t mean survivor accounts of ritual abuse are not believable or true. The false memory syndrome movement was started by a small team of powerful male perpetrators, themselves accused of ritual abuse by their own daughters. The concept of ‘False memory syndrome’ is the perfect tool to cover ritual abuse up and aim to discredit survivors who bravely speak out and report their abuse memories to professionals and members of the police. Child victims usually only become free from the abuse when they get to an age where their brains can not be mind-controlled anymore, and they cease to be of use to the group leaders in serving the needs of the perpetrators. Either that or a child victim defies the perpetrators and refuses to participate, or someone new, such as a partner, enters the world of the victim, leading the perpetrators to disengage that victim from being a part of the group anymore, for fear of getting caught. If someone tells you they were ritually abused, you don’t get to decide that they didn’t. If someone discloses ritual abuse (or what sounds like ritual abuse) to you, believe them. Disclosing RA is difficult enough, without being met with skepticism, rejection, and dismissal. Learn about what RA is. Learn about ways RA survivors can be triggered, and with kindness and gentleness, attempt to minimize any behavior with that person that you know to be triggering. We have been hurt enough in our lives….rejection, skepticism, and a refusal to believe us only adds to that hurt, reinforcing what was drummed into us by perpetrators…that if we ever told, no-one would believe us.

To the survivors…..

What you went through was NOT your fault, not one bit of it. I am so saddened that you experienced what you experienced. My hurt is your hurt. I know how you feel as I’ve felt it. No matter the lies you were told, or the ways the group members tried to trick you into believing horrible things about yourself as though they were fact, NONE of that stuff was true, not one bit of it. They just told you lies as a means of control and manipulation, and you cannot continue to feel ashamed or like you have failed in some way for falling for those lies. You did not deserve to be hurt. You did not ever bring in on yourself. You are NOT weak. You are NOT evil, just because you knew people who were. I am sorry you were unlucky enough to have been born into a family that linked you in with a group. I am sorry you had parents and significant adults in your life who failed to love, nurture and protect you, as you so badly wanted and needed and deserved. I am sorry they frightened you. I am sorry they hurt you. I am sorry you feared for your life. I am sorry you weren’t rescued. I am sorry you had to endure it, night after night, as you grew up, believing that was what happened to all children. I am sad you lost the joy and innocence of your childhood, and that you had to expend all that energy on the basics of survival, rather than thriving or developing and feeling safe to explore who you were as a person, in safety. Please don’t feel bad for anything you did or didn’t do. Please don’t continue to bully yourself, using the abusers as an example of how you deserve to be treated. You deserve so much more than what you had. And most of all you deserved kindness, compassion, protection, care, empathy, and safety. I am sad for all they did to your body. Please know your body can and will heal, maybe not entirely, but enough to live a meaningful life where you experience large swathes of contentment, in-between the tricky trauma trigger stuff. When something or someone triggers your trauma memories, or activates pain belonging to those wounded trauma-holding parts of you, understand and accept you have been triggered, and be as kind as you possibly can to yourself. After all the hurt you have held, no one deserves kindness and patience more than you. If kindness, patience and empathy is not forthcoming from others, you can give some of that love you are craving to yourself. You can be kind, instead of beating yourself up. You can trust it will pass, while acknowledging it hurts like hell in that very moment. One day you will look back at the person you are here today, in the head space you are in while reading this blog, and you will recognise progress. You will see the ways you have grown. You will notice the pain is still very much there, but you can handle it better. You will speak your truth out loud, even if your voice wobbles and shakes. Maybe you can start by speaking your truth into a mirror, telling your secrets to your reflection. Over time you may want to build up to writing about it, or telling another human being about it. However that person reacts, they cannot take your truth away. They cannot diminish your bravery, even if they try to. If you tell someone and they don’t believe you, that is on them. That is their prejudice. That is their filtering. They have only shown you where their blinkers lie. If people reject your truth, or the truth your parts hold, they are not your people. Seek out others who will believe you, who will be kind, who will accept you, and will love you, including your trauma story, as well as everything about you that is not about your trauma story. People won’t always know what to say, but you always have your own strength. No perpetrator can ever fully break you, even if it very much feels that that is what they’ve done. You are not broken, and I promise you, if you commit to it, and not make excuses to avoid doing it, you WILL heal.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for opening your mind. Thank you for inviting me to have this space on your blog Alexis, to speak directly to your friends and followers.

Thank you for helping to facilitate me in taking my power back. In writing and publishing this, I hope for the dark truth of ritual abuse to be a little more illuminated.

An Inspirational New Book

Barbara is a fairly new member of our WordPress community. Her blog posts are honest, genuine, and her commitment to continued healing has been incredibly inspiring to me since we’ve connected.

Barbara just released her inspirational book, I Walk With A Limp available on Amazon. Click on the link to her blog (give her a follow too!) to read the details of her new book. https://iwalkwithalimp.com/

Gook Luck Barbara. I know this is what I will be reading this weekend!

Book Release: My New Book is Now Available on amazon.com

 

 

Guest Post…take a look!

Thank You, Alex, of The Never Give Up Institute https://nevergiveupinstitute.org/ for inviting me to be a guest writer on your blog.

I would love it if you checked out my post, Living with PTSD,  and take the time to follow The Never Give Up Institute’s blog. Alex does amazing work in the Twin Cities, MN area with people who live with chronic illness, cancer, and who are working through their trauma. She is inspiring in her wonderful humanness, and to read her story is to witness a true medical miracle.

 

Thank You Sally Cafe & Bookstore

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore has added If I Could Tell You How It Feels to their bookshelves.

Follow the link and find fabulous books by a variety of authors. All the books have a link to where they can be purchased.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-alexis-roseangie-dokos-annika-perry-paulette-mahurin-and-geoff-le-pard/

Thank You Sally Cronin for all you do to support the large author community on WordPress.

Thank You everyone for finding your way to my new book, and for writing the 5 star reviews. Its been an amazing and humbling couple of days.

Why your health doesn’t have to stop you from travelling

Thank you, Globetrotter GP for including me in this wonderful and inspiring article. Please take a moment to read about how even with significant mental, emotional, and physical health challenges you can still live a life that includes travel.   https://theglobetrottergp.com/2018/01/05/why-your-health-should-never-stop-you-travelling/

Why your health should never stop you travelling – 10 Truly Inspirational Travel Health Stories

10 hugely moving stories from truly inspirational people with serious health problems who won’t let it stop them

https://theglobetrottergp.com/2018/01/05/why-your-health-should-never-stop-you-travelling/

PTSD and Travel

I’m excited to share that I have an article in this month’s Edge Magazine, titled PTSD and Travel.  With the holiday season upon us, there is a lot of traveling going on. Crowds are larger, increased stress around the holidays, delays, weather issues and heightened expectations are just some of the typical stressors many of us contend with, this time of year. If someone you know or love suffers from PTSD or other mental health issues,  perhaps this article can shed some light on what they are trying to navigate (on top of the typical stressors) during this travel season.  http://www.edgemagazine.net/2016/12/ptsd-and-travel/

rose

 

I love the ocean. The sound of it feeds my soul and grounds me. I can sit and watch the ocean for hours. It touches something deep, deep inside of me. A knowing, a presence, a connectedness.

I live in Minnesota, which is nowhere near the ocean. When I get close to the ocean, and my senses begin to come alive, I know I’m now on vacation. Ahhh, vacation! I was once that person who worked to go on vacation. Road trip? Yep, I was the first person to raise my hand and jump in the car. I love to explore, I love new places, I love new people. I understand that my little corner of the world is not the be all, end all, and I want to see the world.

Then I was struck with PTSD and my whole world turned upside down. The things I did without thought have suddenly become a big production. I’m plagued with flashbacks, and my symptoms are easily triggered.

My trauma occurred over a 20-year period in many different places throughout the world. I can be triggered by certain smells, sounds, the way the wind blows, dialect, and many other things. Sometimes, that can start a flashback. Sometimes, I get disoriented and anxious, and sometimes it’s just a general feeling of knowing something’s off. When I’m at home, I can figure out ways to ground myself, get support or use one of the many tools in my distress tolerance tool-box to ride out the wave. When I travel, things are unfamiliar and it takes longer to come out of a trigger.

Another symptom of my PTSD is that I become overwhelmed in busy, loud, places — restaurants, for example. It’s very easy for me to get flooded by too many menu choices and a voracious appetite can become non-existent. Before, PTSD, I loved trying new food and going to restaurants that I wouldn’t have visited in my hometown.

Airports are triggering for me. The noise, the crowds, the upheaval, the lines. The anticipation of sitting in a tiny chair for a four-hour flight. The same anxiety that most others feel at airports is more pronounced for me. My anxiety is ramped up because my perpetrators often put me on a plane and sent me all over the world. So just by walking into an airport, it’s triggering. And yet, I love the speediness of getting to your vacation destination by flying, and how wonderful to be in this machine that flies in the sky. It’s part of the travel experience.

My support system is different when I travel. For my family, it’s often a good respite for them when I go out of town for a few days. It’s not an easy decision for them to let me go off without one of them accompanying me. So, a lot of moving parts must happen before I can hop on the plane. My support works together to provide text, phone or FaceTime calls with regular check-ins. I must be mindful and respect the times that are available, especially with a time change. It feels uncomfortable for me to know that I require this support.

I just want to jump on a plane, hide out at a beach for a few days and think, write, read and relax. It’s part of my fantasy travel experience. But the extra support is part of the give and take if I’m to travel right now, and I’m grateful for the opportunity and the support.

I understand that traveling with all my PTSD symptoms front and center is a huge challenge. But, I’m determined to have a great time, get my spirit renewed at the ocean, or spend some wonderful girl-time with a good friend. My intention is to look at the beautiful palm trees and fill my senses with the healing ocean air, and for just a few perfect moments, breathe with ease.

Traveling with PTSD is certainly a challenge, but not impossible.

 

 

Featured Image -- 1029

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856