The Path of Elizabeth Smart and Me

| By Paul | | Comments (47)

Last week in Utah, a federal jury convicted the kidnapper and sexual abuser of Elizabeth Smart. For those not familiar with the highly publicized case, Elizabeth was kidnapped from her home at the age of 14 in 2002. She was subjected to daily sexual assaults at the hands of an evil man proclaiming himself to be a religious prophet. Nine months later she was rescued, and has appeared as a pillar of strength ever since.

The Elizabeth Smart case has been somewhat unique in that most long-term kidnappings do not have a such a positive outcome. She has done a number of high profile interviews (e.g., Oprah and People) and was the subject of an hour-long television documentary on Sunday. While nobody can truly know her path as a survivor of horrific abuse, from what I have seen and heard, she has put her ordeal behind her with apparent ease (at least to date). In one famously retold account, the night she returned home, the family said their prayers in the parents' bedroom, then Elizabeth said she was going to bed in her own room and slept the whole night without any difficulty.

When I heard about the jury verdict last week and saw some interviews, my reaction was "Why can't I just put it all behind me?" I struggled with this for several hours. My first thought was that I was weak. But, after I regained my composure, I realized a couple of things.

First, I am not Elizabeth Smart. We are made differently and have different experiences and backgrounds. It is not the first time I have compared my experiences (and the aftermath) with others. I did it a few years ago when I heard an NPR story on the horrific serial abuse of girls in Africa. I also heard the accounts of the former altar boys on the first Oprah show on male abuse and promptly downplayed my own history. Many of us get caught in the trap of comparing what we went through to others. For me, stories that show abuse, invariably end up being invalidating on some level before they become validating.

Second, after I thought about it, I realized that like Smart, I did put things away for quite a while, also with apparent ease. As a high school student, when it was discovered that something was not right, my parents tried to put an end to the relationship with the abusive priest and I made a counter move to minimize everything. This allowed our family to continue virtually as if nothing had happened. While we did stop going to that church, we never discussed the matter again. And I was just as happy to move on. If I were in the media spotlight, which I was not, I would have probably given similar interviews as Elizabeth. I would have said, as she has said, "Put the past behind you. Move on."

While this can be seen as a courageous message, it may have a negative impact on many survivors. For one thing, people process trauma differently and there are number of factors involved. What one person can move on from, another person cannot. Plus there are the added problems of the victim's background as well as the context of what the traumas were, when they happened, and how long they lasted. While it sounds nice for Elizabeth to give advice to Jaycee Dugard to "relax," it is a statement that does not consider the different contexts: Dugard was abducted for 18 years. The problem with the "move on" message is that it does not consider the fact that it is not possible for many, thereby leading to a feeling of invalidation.

In my life at the time my abuse became known, I had already had a decade or more of "underground" dysfunctional coping to deal with what had been happening. None of that changed, especially since the abuse did not actually end when my parents intervened. It got worse. My visible life just became even more separated from my non-visible life. I became more reliant on dissociative coping, though I did not think of it as dissociative at the time. It was just my life. My "normal" messed up life.

When things fell apart for me in 1991, they fell apart like a house of cards. I had been successful in college, was beginning graduate school and a career in science, and it all just collapsed in a matter of seconds. Life took a dramatic turn for me. I had always given myself a huge amount of credit for what I thought was "moving on," but really I had not and then suddenly the world came to a standstill.

It is now nearly 20 years later. My path has been long and winding, and one that I never would have envisioned. Much of it has been extraordinarily difficult, but much of it has also been glorious and rewarding. And much of it is informed by living through my 30s and now going into my 40s. A lot changed for me when I moved out of my 20s and got married and had kids. In many ways, life became more serious. It became not just about me. That reality had implications for what my path has been and what I have had to do to heal.

Would I have it any other way? For me, the answer is absolutely no. I know that to be the father and husband I want to be, not to mention the person I want to be, I need to heal the psychological injury. I need to address the dissociation and ways in which I live a fragmented existence. It is certainly not an easy journey, but I am glad for the journey. And I am proud of my progress. My healing path has led me to feel more authentic and functional and alive. Yet I know I am not done.

For decades, I had no concept of what healing meant to me. I could never put it into words. For me, healing is much more than just "moving on." Healing is accepting that the past happened and uniting the past with moving forward and living life to its fullest. Our past certainly shapes who we are now. But our past does not need to define who we are to become. In many ways, healing is the integration, or resolution, of the past and present. Healing is redefining safety, inside and out. Healing is being proud that we survived. Healing is accepting personal responsibility. Healing is learning to be aware of thoughts and emotions. Healing is learning to see the joys in life. And healing is so much more. Healing is a process.

As I asked over a year ago in My Take on What Healing Means, what does healing mean to you?


Nansie said:

Paul, I don't think you just "put it all behind you" after you go through something like that. I think people who aren't really self aware of the damages done YET might say something like that and offer that advice. I just don't buy it. To me there is no such thing as putting it behind you. Elizabeth is speaking from a position that is comfortable for her and then making a presentation to the world... we don't really know what is going on behind the scenes and all to often down the road we hear a different story.

Healing to me is being whole inside and accepting my past as part of who I am now and feeling okay about it all. For me forgiveness is not going to be part of that. But I will be comfortable about who I was, who I am and where I want to go and all that has happened behind me. I won't accept it as being okay or right... I will accept that it happened to me, was horribly wrong but that I am okay now enough that I don't have to dissociate the pain and memories of it away anymore. This is not all of it by any means... healing encompasses something huge and things that I have yet to experience.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to Nansie:

Nansie, I must say you have so much more of an expansive view than where you were last year. I see the progress in you very easily. You are getting more confident in how you feel about these issues, which means (I think) you are more in touch with them. Such wonderful views you have on healing!

Nansie replied to Paul:

Thank you Paul! That makes me feel good. :)

Evan said:

Hi Paul, I do understand the problem about 'just put it behind you'.

I think people are different - and their backgrounds make a difference too. As does the amount of support around them and so on.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to Evan:

Thanks Evan. My concern was for the message from someone who has such a high profile.

Ivory said:

First I want to point out another huge difference between Elizabeth Smart and you in the area of healing. When she was "found" or returned home, the whole world was there to validate her pain and the immorality of her experience and to help her, to support her, and defend her. Who was there for you? Oh, yes, you said your family moved and never spoke of it again. If you would have had HER support, you could have processed and healed probably much like her. What healing is for me is to be able to cope and have a life and be happy without it all mixing in and ruining it for me. I don't want to drag the memories with me everywhere I go, for all the world to see how broken I am (or was).

Paul Author Profile Page replied to Ivory:

Yes, Ivory, I finally realized how we are different. But the experience for me was that I struggled to get there. I only was making comparisons, and that tripped me up. I like how you describe healing: "without it all mixing in and ruining it". I love that phrase.

OneSurvivor replied to Ivory:

Good point, Ivory. It is much harder to heal when you have nothing and no one to really validate you. In my case, with the SRA abuse, I had no idea for most of life what was going on. I just knew that I hurt like hell and was a mess... but why????

The why had to come out years later and I was pretty much on my own. My validators were a couple of counselors who knew enough about what I was coming to know and share to validate that, yes, it really does happen. But I had to remember on my own. I had to believe on my own. I had no "proof" for the world. I had no one other than a very few people who really believed and supported me. That is, I believe, much harder.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to OneSurvivor:

I definitely hear what you are saying OneSurvivor. Validation is a huge part of how one can heal. For Elizabeth, it was definitely clear. And, as you know, very few cases of child sexual abuse actually go to court, let alone get a conviction and the legal process comes with its own set of problems. Yes, you can get validation, but it comes at a price most all of the time.

castorgirl said:

We are individuals who will respond to experiences in a way that is influenced by so many different things. This is why, as you say Paul, it can be unhelpful to make comparisons - especially when those comparisons lead to anyone involved feeling invalidated. This is why I find it worrying that Elizabeth told Jaycee to "relax". What seems to work for one person, may not work for another. I don't think Elizabeth meant the advice to be malicious, or dismissive of Jaycee's experiences; but, that is possibly how Jaycee could have interpreted it.

As for what healing means to me, well it's about living in the present, while respecting what it meant to experience what I did in the past. I can't change the past, but I can appreciate how I coped. I'm learning to bring together my internal resources so that I can learn how to live.

Hmmm... I like Nansie's definition better.

Take care,

Paul Author Profile Page replied to castorgirl:

Hi CG. I had not realized, until this story, how invalidating hearing abuse accounts is for me. It's paradoxical. But it's been proven time and time again. I get so much validation when people talk about their feelings and healing. But when people talk about abuse, the comparisons immediately kick in and I always feel invalidated. I don't take too much stock in what a 20 year old says. But her words carry a lot of weight given how much media attention she draws. This is why I think she has a duty, maybe that's too big a word, to talk about the broader contexts. Great definition of healing. I like how everyone is tying the past to the present.

Kylie said:

I started to reply to this and realised a lot of what I wanted to say I wanted to post in my own blog so I wrote a post about it. However there is a part I will copy and paste here in response to your question

Paul's description of healing is beautiful and I agree with everything he described it as. But it also made me realise that until recently I believed healing was learning to move on and that isn't what healing is - at least I don't believe so any more. Now I am questioning what is healing and what exactly am I working towards?

I also agree with Nansie and Ivory and their words on healing. I think I have a lot to go away and think about it - not a bad thing :)

Paul Author Profile Page replied to Kylie:

Great Kylie. I'll head over to your blog and check out what you wrote. Healing is also about realizing new things and learning new things. And this is what you are doing. It's being open to changing your views of yourself and the world. Good for you!

Kylie replied to Paul:

Thank you for your encouragement both here and on my blog. It means a lot.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to Kylie:

You are welcome Kylie. I have a lot of respect for what you are doing on your blog and I am glad to be following it.

Jahda said:

Great question Paul!

About the comparing – I find it happens to me almost involuntarily like some kind of reflex. I like to think that I don’t do it, but when I dig inside with brutal honesty I see that I do.

Not just for degree of abuse but for everything. It’s like there is some kind of invisible ruler that I am always comparing myself with everyone else about everything with and coming up either better or worse... It took a whole lot of T to finally see that objectively and even more T to understand its source.

She (my mother) was a paranoid narcissist (among other things) and so her brainwashing of me from my first breath on was to always compare me to everyone and either tear them to shreds and put me in the spotlight of perfection (and I’d bask in her coveted approval!!), or to praise everything about their entire being and lash out at her evil daughter with the black soul because she was such an ingrate and failure in life and should be like Mary there or Ann and look what a perfect daughter Melissa is, so unselfishly devoted to her mother.

I should be just like them! They adored their mothers, I was selfish and spoiled. They were goddesses, I was Judas Iscariot a traitor against my precious and loving mother, evil to the core of my being—

And so I learned to compare myself to everyone and come up with a score: better, worse, (I never knew equal was an option). And from there I’d create some self who was either superior or inferior(usually the later).

Now that I’m aware of its source and understand why that happens to my thinking, I try to stay mindful and stop it whenever it starts and remind myself that everything is relative to everything else and these “judgments” are only based on one perspective.

Change the perspective and you change the result entirely. I may be secretly thinking on some unconscious or semi-conscious level in some other part of me that the horrific abuse I experienced for decades was way more damaging than some other abuse story I might read or hear of. But then I try to remember to remind that part that there are many many abuse stories that are incredibly more damaging and horrific than mine and stop it from going off on some ego-trip of self-pity.

And there are just so many variables – every situation is vastly different, every person unique. There is no way to know what someone’s inner experience is and so judging becomes quite impossible and all those superior and inferior selves start to gradually fade away.

And then I realize it is just my ego wanting to place itself in either a superior or inferior position against another because that’s how she (my mother) thought. That’s the only way she knew how to relate to the world. In her world equality didn’t exist.

And so I’m working to undo all of her brainwashing and that kind of thinking is a huge part of it!

What does healing mean to me?

Right now a large part is working to undo the programming and to actually look at the real events that occurred clearly without floating off into an alternate reality. Stare straight into the face of all the things I’ve been avoiding and running from for half a century with no inferior or superior selves to get in the way and obscure the view.

And to practice in the present to not allow circumstances and events to trigger me back to the array of raw emotion that keeps jumping out and reacting reacting as though it were real and its not it is only a memory of a past event, a neural pathway carved into my brain from too much traffic.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to Jahda:

Jahda, A lot to process here! Yes, the comparison reflex. Awful, isn't it? As I said before, it always leads to invalidation. Every recount of abuse, which I would think would make me feel kinship, always leads to this cycle of comparison and invalidation. Luckily, I was able to not let it last that long. I'm so sorry your mother, in many ways, has made this cycle harder for you. Wow. Great description of healing. Being able to look at the past "without floating off". Wonderful! A lot of healing involves skills. You mention this. I failed to mention this in my post. But, this is so true. We have to learn skills to help us from allowing triggers to get us too far off track. Thanks for writing, as always.

Given what Elizabeth has gone through, the court case, media influences and etc... I do not believe that she is "just moving on." No one truly does that without working through it. I believe that she is in denial and putting on the facade of what she thinks others want to hear.

In your case, it is different for everyone. By saying that it wasn't as bad as so and so, you discount and judge yourself and abuse. I believe that this is a defence mechanism.

Take care,

Paul Author Profile Page replied to ClinicallyClueless:

Hi CC. Yes, I suspect that about Elizabeth. But who knows? Yes, I know I'm always discounting my experiences. But I am trying really hard not to.

tai0316 said:

I'm glad you wrote this Paul. I too wondered at how easy they made everything look in this case. But, no one knows how her life will be affected after this. She doesn't even know. Of course I wish her nothing but the absolute best in life, I just mean that trauma rears its ugly head at strange times. I appreciate your comment about comparisons too. That's a trap I fell in many, many times and it does no good. Thank you for this post :)

Paul Author Profile Page replied to tai0316:

Thank you Tai. Like you, I wish her nothing but the best. Yes, the comparison trap can (and maybe should) be a discussion all its own. It has been a source of incredible difficulty for me over the years.

coach2 said:

Healing means connecting the pieces. I want to return to the "move on" view touted as surviving and dangled by health professionals as a worthy goal.

As a health professional I am appalled at the lack of critical thinking about the paradigm to get over it, or "unload and move-on".

This is why: Characteristics of the trauma have a neurological impact on the brain. How long, by whom the perpetrators are (loved or revered adults), at any was there validation and support for the human.

On just those characteristics, how differently does the trauma impact the brain-emotions, detachment in thought processes, aienation to ones own body, and sequence of time to name a few.

I don't want to get over it I want to collect and honor the pieces inside.

I want my internal witness to gain strength to destruct the myth of healing as "moving on".

I'd like to see some movement in my lifetime to examine childhood trauma and the dissociative experience as a radically important component of health care.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to coach2:

Coach2, Sorry I missed this comment earlier. It's been a busy 2 weeks or so. You wrote: "I want to collect and honor the pieces inside". This is a really great statement. I agree that there is little validation of the effects of trauma by society. Maybe many do, but many more do not. Case in point how much disagreement there is over DID.

Nansie said:

WOW Coach...that was well said! Do you have a blog?

"I don't want to get over it I want to collect and honor the pieces inside" This is a huge goal... but one of my favorites. A lot of work to do but so worth it. Besides what are our choices after the trauma? I see healing as the only option because I can't stay where I was but it is still scary where I'm going...

coach2 replied to Nansie:

Thank-you. I'm flattered. I always look at Paul's site to post. The format here works, it's safe, and always validating. I don't blog, but will look to find yours.
Take care.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to coach2:

I'm also flattered!

Evan said:

Well said coach2.

My partner was badly physically and sexually abused until she left home at 14. She was feeling that she should just 'get over it'.

I put it this way. If adult had been kidnapped and tortured for 14 years would people be telling them to 'just get over it?' I don't think so! And these things happened to a child not an adult!

Paul Author Profile Page replied to Evan:

Evan. Sorry to hear about your partner. I think that many think children are perfectly resilient.

castorgirl replied to Paul:

So many studies show that resilient children are "created" through a loving, secure environment. It's that pillow of love and security that builds up their self-confidence, image, etc which all contribute to their resilience. It's so sad when trauma inflicted on, or around children, is so easily dismissed. Not all children will need help with that trauma, but that is usually because they have a safety net to catch them. Even then, that safety net is not always enough.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to castorgirl:

CG: I don't doubt these studies and the benefit of growing up in a loving environment. But I think the vast majority of people think that regardless of the environment, that children are NATURALLY resilient. I think people like to think that traumas (big and small) don't effect children. It makes them feel better. And encourages the behavior of not talking about it and letting it rest. I have personally seen very overtly abusive situations get grossly minimized by parents. Objectively loving parents too. Someday I will talk about this experience and the role it's played in how I think about all this in the present. You know about it. I just have to find a way to write about it that's safe for me.

castorgirl replied to Paul:

I agree Paul. I read a book recently where the author showed how removing rat pups from their mother for even a short time, caused trauma that was evident later in their life. Yet, people expect children to "get over it" because they're young... It's such a false logic. I'd like to know when those people think children are meant to be able to feel pain/trauma - is there some magical age when it occurs? Makes no sense. Pain is pain. Trauma is trauma. It does depend on our resilience and a range of other factors as to how we cope with that pain or trauma.

This is why I don't want to impose my reactions onto Elizabeth and what she went through. Our situations are so different, I have no idea how she could cope with what happened to her. But then, maybe she can? As long as she has the option to seek help if needed. I wouldn't like to see her have to be the brave face of the nation, or the likes, which would mean she couldn't get that help.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to castorgirl:

CG: Well said.

katie said:

hi paul, i've been wanting to write a comment since i read your previous post about the oprah episode and now i finally have a moment to compose my thoughts. first of all, i don't know if i've ever just thanked you for your blog. thank you, paul. i really appreciate your willingness, bravery and strength in writing about your life and your healing. it really helps me, not just in my own life and healing from the type of sexual abuse i experienced, but because i also have a male sexual abuse survivor in my life and reading your healing journey helps me remember the added dimensions that gender can have on healing from sexual abuse, it helps me relate that much more to my friend. so thank you for telling your story, and for your perspective in particular.

i think you are so right to point out how the "move on" message can be very invalidating. i think we all heal in our own ways and in our own time. and for some people, at least for me at particular stages of my healing, the idea of "moving on" just doesn't even make sense i think. for me, there were times i simply could not have felt any way other than how i did. and the only way out was through. i had to feel and go through my healing in the way that my instincts directed me to. and other people didn't always understand or support me, and that was alienating and confusing and even angering at times.

i myself have struggled a lot with minimizing and comparison. as i think i've told you, in my case, hearing the publicized abuse stories usually makes me feel like my experience wasn't "bad enough" because often what is in the news is more extreme than my life. i think that because of the sensationalism of what networks think people want to watch, often the subtler or less visible forms of abuse don't get much attention. so it's easy to feel invalidated. i used to wish worse things had happened to me, so i would feel justified in feeling as damaged as i felt. then one day i was talking with one of my closest survivor friends and she told me she had had a friend once who had had horrific abuse happen to her growing up, and she used to wish the exact same thing as me! which just brought to my attention how much minimization and invalidation are symptoms of abuse all on their own. which is what helped me begin to fight those symptoms more directly. a long process that has been.

thank you again, paul. wishing you well today and always~ and a happy holidays to you and your family too~~~

Paul Author Profile Page replied to katie:

Wow Katie. Thank you so much for your kind words. As I've said here repeatedly, the blog is to help me in my healing. But I also do hope that what I learn can be of some use to others. I'm glad you find what I write helpful. I am glad you have such a healthy perspective on healing. Being able to trust your instincts is a huge positive. And, yes, I totally understand that doing so can put you at odds with others. I know you have told me about how you view your experience as not being "bad enough". And I am so glad you have perspective on that. Often our feelings do not match our memories. This is why I am a firm believer that we have to focus on our feelings first, and memories a distant second. I will write specifically on this soon. I have a post nearly written.

OneSurvivor said:

I have to wonder if Elizabeth Smart is, at least in part, in some denial. Perhaps, she is only putting things "on hold" until she is not in the spotlight.

I have mixed feelings in hearing other people's stories. On the one hand, they can be very validating. Someone else has gone through what I have. Or someone else experiences what I experience. However, the potential negative side of that is the comparing I have to be careful to avoid.

My experience with healing has been rather different than a lot of other people. I cannot fully explain it. Is it that my life situations have not allowed for a deeper work that is yet to come? Or perhaps my life situations forced me to progress at a faster than typical rate? I have to laugh at my own use of the word "typical" because one thing I have learned is that nothing really seems to be "typical" in the realm of SRA healing.

Perhaps that is the key. Nothing is truly "typical". Each one of us is different. In a family, there are so many different personalities and variables and events that siblings all turn out differently in spite of having the same parents and growing up in the same home. Why would we expect things to be any different when it comes to abuse survivors?

Different personalities. Different abusers. Different situations. Different types of abuse. It is only natural that we are all going to handle things differently. We are going to heal in different ways and at different speeds.

I feel for Elizabeth Smart. We can see the front she puts up on the outside, but we don't know what she is really going through inside. Her parents may not even know. Many of us survivors are very good at hiding what is really going on. That may be what she is doing.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to OneSurvivor:

Hi OneSurvivor. My feeling is that her path will become more complicated as time moves on and the spotlight moves away from her. But I hope I'm wrong. Yes, everyone is so different, and while there are "typical" responses, there is also a uniqueness to every survivor. This was something I didn't appreciate when I first started healing. But I sort of do now.

OneSurvivor said:

I don't think I shared what healing is to me. I think it is being able to remember and to not be shaken by it. It is not necessarily that it does not sadden me, but it does not rock my world. It is to know what is behind emotional flashbacks so that they no longer happen. It is to not have the past pushing its way into the present.

I want to be able to see whatever it is that I need to see from the past while not having it impact my now. I want to separate the pain of life in the now from the pain of life in the past.

I want to take my understanding of the past and my experiences along the healing journey and use them to help others, to encourage them. I want to bring a message of hope. Not that they should expect their healing to be like mine because it won't. But to have hope that they will find healing in their own journey. I want to be strong enough and available enough to support others.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to OneSurvivor:

OneSurvivor. This is really a wonderful definition of what healing means to you. In all the descriptions of healing there is a common thread that is along the lines of "what happened in the past does not have to destroy the present or future." I also like the piece about helping others. I am not sure I would say, and you didn't say this I'm just talking about myself, that it's a survivor's responsibility to help others. But it certainly is a good thing if they do. Personally, I feel on the side that I do have that responsibility. While I am by no means done with my journey, I have learned things I feel obligated to share with others. Blogging is one avenue. But there are many others, including less direct ways like being a good parent or friend.

OneSurvivor replied to Paul:

I agree, Paul. I don't think it would be fair to say that all survivors must help other survivors. Some are not able to, whether by personality, brokenness, life circumstances or ??? I know a survivor who had to stop helping others as she had been due to needing to focus her energy on fighting cancer.

For me, it is a joy to help someone else find a smile and gain hope. That is a huge part of why I blog, in addition to the fact that it really helps me, too. I pray it will help someone else.

I also blog to protect others. That is why I wrote the series on safety. I have seen too many survivors get hurt...taken advantage of. If I can spare someone from what I went through I am happy. :-)

Paul Author Profile Page replied to OneSurvivor:

OneSurvivor. Thank you! That series on safety was well heard. I think for me it's about knowing when I'm able to do things for others (which includes helping my family and blogging and other things I do) and when I know I need to take time for self-care. Right now that is the balance I'm trying to seek.

OneSurvivor replied to Paul:

Balance... that can be so tricky. I think it is something I will always be working on.

OneSurvivor said:

I think another aspect is availability of help. What I mean is: if I know I can get help if I need it I don't always need to use it. Just knowing that it is available helps me to be stronger.

Or, being able to ask questions when I need to without necessarily engaging in therapy. If I can get the information I need to help myself, it makes it easier for me to work through things.

It is not that availability means never needing to use the help, it just makes it easier to relax and face whatever is coming.

I hope that made sense.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to OneSurvivor:

Yes, OneSurvivor, that makes sense. I have not gotten to the point yet where I can rely on just the availability of help. For me, direct help is a lifeline.

OneSurvivor replied to Paul:

I hear you, Paul.

There is another aspect for me: no choice. I don't know why I did not mention that because that is a huge part of it, too. I have no choice but to make do with what I have... which does include, to some extent, forums. However, I don't really make that much use of forums for real support anymore.

My blog, I think, is one of my biggest forms of help. Just knowing that people who understand are reading and caring is huge for me. I think I would go more nutso without that.

I wish I could dialog with someone once a week, in private, about my life and what is going on. I just don't have that option, and haven't for years. I guess it is sink or swim for me. Frankly, sometimes it feels more like sinking. I just keep holding on and focusing on what I CAN do.

It is quite a ride.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to OneSurvivor:

OneSurvivor: No I did not know you don't have access to a therapist. I wish you did. I am so glad you have your blog and that you find it helpful.

Nansie said:

I hope you're well Paul. You made a comment somewhere that you made it through Christmas really well. Can you talk more about that? Sounds like your doing so much better these days.

I firmly believe Elizabeth Smart is in denial and we'll be hearing more about that down the road. All of us know too well that you don't "just get on" with life after trauma like that. Until then we can say a prayer for her and hope that she'll be okay and get good help when the denial subsides. Hugs and Happy New Year to everyone!

Paul Author Profile Page replied to Nansie:

Nansie, I wouldn't go so far as to say for sure she's in denial. Her circumstances are somewhat unique. It's not clear what her path will be. I am doing well. A little harried. Work has picked up for me and I am finding that it's hard to not shift everything to "work mode" and then completely lose myself. I think I wrote elsewhere that I am working at finding balance. That means taking time for self-care. But the mechanisms driving the "switching" are strong. Thanks for asking about me!

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This page contains a single entry published on December 14, 2010 3:02 PM.

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