by Silent Voice
My journey on the road to healing started way back in 2000 when I disclosed to the psychotherapist I was currently working with at that time. I hadn’t planned on saying about it in that session. I just blurted it out very awkwardly as I recall and then spent the rest of the session wondering if he would believe me and the next few days regretting I had ever said anything. Why? Because I had totally underestimated what I had gone and done and desperately wanted to put the lid back on the can of worms I had opened up. The enormity of it all blew me away. I couldn’t un-say it. The truth was out and having disclosed to my therapist I found myself telling my husband and then regretted doing that too. (and to some degree that feeling remains to this day.)
It was another 4 years down the line before I found HAVOCA and when I did that was almost by accident too. My therapist (I had moved on to another one by this time for my previous one had upped sticks and moved down south) was due to go on holiday and I knew I would feel bereft without that weekly support and so I trawled the web for survivor sites and stumbled across a place which would become my sanctuary over the coming weeks, months and years.
My introduction to the forum was similar to how it is described in First Steps here on the HAVOCA website. I remember feeling very self conscious and with no real idea on how to introduce myself or what to write and wondering if anyone was out there and if so whether they would reply. I had never used a forum before and had no idea about forum etiquette or what an avatar was. However, I was desperate to find other like minded souls, to find others who had survived abuse and were willing to share their stories and listen to mine. So I tentatively wrote a short introduction explaining what had happened to me and why I was seeking out others. I didn’t expect to hear anything and yet was desperate that someone out there would respond. And they did. And the rest as they say is history.
HAVOCA has played a central part in my healing process alongside therapy. I’ve been a member here for the past 10 years, became a moderator around 5 years ago and through being able to write threads and reply to others I gradually found my voice which has been silenced through years of emotional and sexual abuse. HAVOCA’s forum has been my sanctuary, a place of safety, understanding and first class support. A 2nd home at times. I have found people who have become friends and who understand far more about me than many in life ‘out there’. It is a place where I have been able to share my darkest times and feel the support and care from other members and it is also a place I have been able to celebrate my many steps forward and to experience others celebrating with me, even the tiniest of steps, is profound.
I came to realise quite soon on that here were people who understood something of how it was – is and that I wasn’t alone any longer. That more anything I remember was what carried me through in those very early days when isolation was sometimes overwhelming in its intensity. The other key point which made all the difference was that what I chose to write was at my pace always. Healing from abuse is a long, slow very un-linear journey and puts the survivor in the driving seat, giving back the control which abuse rips away.
HAVOCA has come a long way since those days when members could be counted in tens as opposed to the ever growing numbers of today’s forum. However, even then there was a great wealth of information and resources on the main website www.havoca.org and which I would read and revisit time and time again in my search for information, answers, facts on the whole subject of abuse. I wanted to understand why I had been chosen by my perpetrators. I wanted to explore with others the awful aftermath that abuse leaves in its wake which permeates every aspect of my life. I wanted to move on and yet had no idea how to do that or whether that was a reality or just a distant dream.
I cannot finish this first blog without acknowledging the creator of HAVOCA Jamie Harms. Without his inspiration and sheer hard work in the creation of this unique website and forum, I would not have reached the place of healing that I have today and be able to write what will follow in the weeks and months to come. Thank you Jamie!