Survivors naturally want to know what they can do, for themselves, to heal. The initial acknowledgment that a victim wants to heal is often overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness, loneliness and confusion. Often the thought of sharing their story with family, loved ones, friends or a professional therapist is out of the question. Breaking a silence that has been buried deep for many years isn’t easy.
We are regularly asked what a survivor should do first. Its an understandable question; we live in a world where there are quick fixes, treatments and processes in place in nearly all aspects of our lives. Sadly abuse and recovery don’t work like that. Individuals are different, situations vary and effects depend on so many different factors.
The first step in dealing with the abuse can start within yourself. Self help is available. It can and does help individuals to take stock, plan a direction and stick with a self generated healing package.
So what resources are out there for self help? Here is a list, in no particular order, that a survivor might find useful either at the beginning of their journey or during periods of disorientation.
Self help books
These try to provide the reader with direction and purpose.
Structured help from professionals and or other survivors
Easily obtained anonymously
Reader may not connect with the subject or author
Difficult to find a book that matches your experiences exactly
May need to be hidden to prevent unwanted questions
Self help forums
These are online communities set up to bring survivors together.
HAVOCA Survivor’s forums
Anonymously engage with other survivors
Sharing and supporting are powerful tools
Find out information and direction from others
You can never truly be sure who is part of the community
Online safety is your responsibility
Self help journal
Writing memories, feelings and thoughts down on paper.
Journal Writing Guide
Order and prioritise
Visualisation of issues and topics
Provide a platform and voice for the survivor within.
Need to keep secret
No feedback or professional help
Self help internet sites
Information and direction. Survivor sites often provide ‘first step’ type pages/information
HAVOCA’s first step.
Provides information and clarity on topics not usually discussed
Wealth and diversity of issues covered.
History traces on computers need to be cleared if user wants to remain private
Not everything on the internet is true, correct or useful
HAVOCA always stresses the importance of professional help but that doesn’t mean self help shouldn’t or can’t be used. Self help is yet another way to ensure you find the path to leading a more fulfilling life.