Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This weekend I sat in a circle with my sisters and my dad and we had a bonfire. A healing ritual if you will. We burned hurt, anger, fear, abuse, and much more. We laughed and cried. Abuse and disrespect were the catalyst for this circle. We all healed, each of us with different scars some that ran deeper than others, and some so fresh they had not even begun to scab.
I have toyed around in my mind with all sorts of thoughts on what to write. I'm not in the direct line of action these days and truly I'm in need of this hiatus. There were and still are so many other things stirring in my soul that I need this time to work through. While working as an abortioneer for the last 4 years, I had an ovary removed due to a 13 cm cyst, I came out as lesbian, I was raped by a woman, I experienced large scale disaster and temporarily lost my home, and my sanity, I was also robbed at gunpoint and jumped exactly one year later.
Not long before I left my job in abortionland a wonderful supervisor noticed the burnt out nature of many of the employees. We all love helping women get the information and care we need, but its also exhausting as we often share. This boss lady brought us information about Secondary Trauma and Compassion Fatigue. Many of us joked about these very seemingly silly concepts. As I have had a moment to breath a bit a fresh air, I began to think more about the things I learned in abortionland, experiences gained as well as the difficulties. Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder(STSD) is about experiencing symptoms much like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of working with someone else who has experienced trauma. Here is a semi-recent study regarding STSD and working with survivors.
I fear rape more than anything. I always assumed my hypervigilence about men, strangers, night time, being alone, and anything else that might be associated with rape was all because of my own experiences. I've been raped and I was assaulted twice. I've been told its PTSD and I don't doubt it thats part of it. However, the longer I am away from abortionland the more I realize that my fears and hypervigilence is a culmination of PTSD from my own experiences and secondary trauma. For years I heard women's rape stories maybe not everyday, but more than a few times a week for sure. The thousands of woman I talked to are tucked away in the crevices of my memory sometimes I remember a story or one sort of haunts my thoughts when I don't even realize it. I wake up any night I sleep alone in a fright and have to sooth myself back to sleep.
On saturday night we burned abuse and our abusers. I am burning this negativity I carry in my soul, I started on Saturday but I'm finishing.
I grew up in abortionland, I developed passion, love, counseling skills, a connection to thousands of women's lives, a little bit of professionalism, and a lot more. I'm thankful but I'm still figuring out to deal with the trauma that is integral to so many women's experience of their bodies including mine.