The Journal by Silent Voice
Having taken the brave and somewhat seemingly out of the blue decision to disclose, this step led me into uncharted territory and a whole new set of difficult thoughts and feelings emerged. Actually not so much emerged – more as though I had been hit hard between the eyes. I remember thinking so clearly ‘what on earth had I gone and done?’ and that it was too late to push the worms back into the can and that I couldn’t now un-say those words.
It would be fair to say I was in a state of shock. I’d yearned for someone to know for so long and yet now that they did I had no idea how to handle it all; how to behave or what to say. All of a sudden I was living in a different world from the one I had woken up to that morning.
I remember sitting down with my husband and telling him too. I felt the need to be honest and yet even as I uttered the words I felt it was the wrong thing to be doing. He had, no inkling about it, had never imagined in a million years that this was what I was going to tell him. No warning either. A hell of bombshell had just landed on him and he didn’t know what to say poor man! I was embarrassed too at what I said. I can’t remember all that I said to him or how much detail I described. I think I outlined the bare facts. In my dreams the day of disclosure had never looked or felt like this. I felt achingly alone. This wasn’t how it was meant to be.
Later I phoned a friend who happened to be a psychologist – and I suppose looking back, this was my way of telling her. I asked if she had any or could recommend any books on abuse. She recommended one which in the coming days and weeks would become my ‘bible. The Courage to Heal by Laura Bass and Ellen Davis. I immediately ordered it on Amazon and when it was delivered a few days later, it very quickly became en ever present companion. I felt understood. Other people had been this way. My thoughts and feelings were natural. Most of all I felt less alone. Here were people who had been victims of abuse and who had written an extensive and down to earth book detailing different aspects of abuse and how to explore them and find ways forward.
However, on a day to day basis I didn’t know how to be anymore. My husband had no idea how to respond to me. His initial comments clearly indicated he was at a complete loss. He said that it had happened years ago and surely it couldn’t still be affecting me, and why did I have this need to tell him now. I questioned my own thinking. I wondered whether he even believed me. It didn’t make for an easy time. He couldn’t give me the support I needed and I felt as though I had betrayed him somehow. How could I have kept it hidden all these years? He was confused because if I had been sexually abused as I said, then how come I could have happily responded to him sexually for all the years we had been together? We had had a baby for goodness sake. Why hadn’t I said anything way back then? So many questions to which I had no answers to give him.
When I went back for my next therapy appointment I felt very small. I needed my therapist’s reassurances all over again that he believed me. I couldn’t look him in the eye, felt lost for words. It wasn’t the most productive of sessions. There were plenty of thoughts whirring round in my head but I felt unable to say them out loud. I needed to find a way to release all that was churning inside and so when I came home I started writing in a journal and through that process found a way of exploring these thoughts and feelings which kept on surfacing. Here in my journal there was somewhere safe where I could write it all down. And over the coming weeks and months this writing provided the base for my therapy sessions. I had found my voice. And from that day to this writing has remained a source of comfort for me. I can express on paper that for which I sometimes do not have the verbal language. Sometimes I write in it daily and other times it is less frequent but I make sure that I date all entries. This is because over time I can go back and reflect, re-read and generally see progress made alongside perhaps noticing patterns of thoughts and feelings which may emerge. I have kept all my journals and still from time to time go back and re read those first entries. My writing was especially powerful in those early days following disclosure for it would be another three years or so before I found the sanctuary of HAVOCA.