Back in October 2016, I wrote an article for Stigma Fighters, which they kindly published.
I wanted to raise awareness of the double whammy of stigma – about mental health issues and being an abuse survivor. I have endured stigma about both in my life, so feel it is an important issue to raise awareness about.
This is from the article…. which is at http://stigmafighters.com/lilly-hope-lucario/
Lilly Hope Lucario
I am a writer, blogger, advocate and I am currently writing my first book. I have thriving social media accounts, a very popular educational website supported by many mental health professionals, and an award winning blog – with over a million views.
I was diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2011, at the age of 40.
Complex trauma is ongoing, severe, interpersonal trauma – mostly caused by severe ongoing abuse. It creates very severe consequences, to mental and physical health. Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a very life impacting and debilitating disorder.
Life with these disorders, is all I know, because I’ve had them since childhood. I don’t have a pre-trauma identity and for decades, believed I deserved being treated abusively. I had little self worth and my life as an adult, was greatly impacted by all the severe abuse.
Throughout my adult life, however, I functioned highly and worked in stressful careers, provided for myself and was completely self reliant. I had all the symptoms of anxiety, nightmares, hyper vigilance, fear of trusting people, being in a relationships with unhealthy people, feeling very different to other people, a continual sense of aloneness and an incapacity to feel joy or happiness for more than brief periods of time. This cycling down quickly, to sadness and depression.
Shame has been an ongoing issue in my life. Shame due to being abused by parents, shame due to child sexual abuse and not having healthy people show me any respect or dignity. As a result, I had a toxic level of shame and self hatred, that festered just below the surface throughout my adult life.
I had soft boundaries and a very poor sense of self esteem, and as a result, was repeatedly abused and traumatised in adulthood. But, I also had the inner strength to continue working and providing for myself, never speaking about the abuse. Proof of a deep capacity for resilience.
At 40 years old, having suppressed the trauma for decades and being re-traumatised, I had a break down. This actually turned out to be my ‘healing break through’. I started therapy and began my healing journey.
Four years ago, I started to share my journey, and began my advocacy work. Educating many through my social media pages, and built my website. My blog proved to be a huge success and I am still amazed to see it have over a million views. Which is pretty considerable, when you consider the subject matter – abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, severe mental health issues, horrific nightmares and debilitating flashbacks etc.
But, the more I share my journey, the more it helps others in a truly meaningful way and I feel this is such an honour, to reach out and help those who have endured so much pain and suffering.
Throughout the last 4 years – I have been so encouraged by the amazing resilience of those who have endured such heinous abuse over long period of time. The courage, compassion and empathy of many survivors, is incredible and I continue to support many who travel this very challenging healing journey.
As someone with diagnosed mental health disorders, and being an abuse survivor – I work to reduce stigma about both. This double whammy of stigma, is a minefield and an emotive field to navigate, but a journey I choose to write about. The stigma endured by both having mental health issues, and being an abuse survivor – requires support and education, to help create more understanding and empathy. This in turn reduces stigma about both.
It is my ongoing hope and my calling, to continue to support, educate and create increased compassion, for those who travel similar journeys to mine.
~ Lilly Hope Lucario