is a wide perception that the mental health system consists only of publicly funded
hospitals, psychiatric wards, clinics and other services. However, there are a
number of privately funded services some of which are unregulated.
of the tools & supports which survivors of child abuse need to assist in healing
have just begun to be identified & integrated into the mental health system.
The survivor needs long-term, consistent treatment from a
trusted therapist. Short-term therapy, changes of therapists, and band aid treatments
There needs to be wider awareness,
more resources and ongoing training to enable mental health professionals and
the community to develop more meaningful and successful responses to the horrific
problem of the legacy following child abuse.
to honour the survivors. Despite progress, there are still many instances where
survivors are re-victimized when trying to access the appropriate treatment and
Throughout the mental health system a coordinated
response (with best practice protocols) needs to be developed for responding to
child abuse survivors. There needs to be survivor input to make the system more
user-friendly and accountable.
In far to many cases the mental
health system re-victimizes survivors of child abuse. The mental health system
tends to clinically label the survivor - often people are misdiagnosed. The apparently
"scientific" based treatment is in fact very subjective and tends to reinforce
Doctors, gynecologists & other professionals
can re-traumatize the survivor through ignorance and insensitivity around treatment
and physical examinations which can be very stressful and triggering for an abuse
Good programs do exist, but too often the patient
is not given clear direction as to how the process works. Waiting lists to see
a health care funded psychiatrist are very long. Often psychiatrists do not have
or take the time to do therapy. Many are not specialists in child abuse. They
may opt to medicate as a primary response.
I awaken to the land of nightmares and images,
the forest of deadness
There are no feelings. I have no choices. This world
is numb, the trees lifeless,
everything is cold, dark, frightening and vague.
Where is reality?
Questions engulf me. I wander into the tunnel,
and the seemingly endless journey begins.
Once in the tunnels, surrounded
by a soundless echoing of shrouded pictures,
I quickly lose my orientation
and my escape path is gone!
A feeling overwhelms me, FEAR!
Quickening my pace, I panic, searching for the exit.
“One day at a time”,
the annoying turn of phrase attacks me as each passing day,
every waking moment,
in which day turns to night and night to day and time,
a fixed property, can
no longer be measured.
I run and hide, into pills, busyness,
denial and finally illness that threatens my very life.
I yearn for the illness
to swallow me whole into an expanse of permanent nothingness.
force my eyes closed in search of much needed sleep. Through darkness the pictures
become crystal clear. I can truly smell their corrupt existence!
me with rough hands of remembrance.
Screaming quiet pounds relentlessly in
my brain! Vomit, bile retching, until my frame
becomes bony and unrecognizable
to long since deserted friends.
FEAR! PAIN! ABONDONMENT! SADNESS!
CONFUSION! LOSS of love,
innocence, job, self-esteem, spirituality, ability
to trust, friendships, health, energy,
support and lastly control! Dissociation
is a brief reprieve. DESPERATION!
Moments of euphoria, where
I catch a fleeting ray of that
ALight at the end of the tunnel@, another much
It is a mirage I cannot reach while falling backwards through
No sense of direction, FRUSTRATION! Why must I keep on trying?
roses among the thorny brambly bush, my husband, my daughter,
my son and family
who care, I cannot disappoint them.
I want to soar, a phoenix, fighting my
way to freedom from the memories.
I crave that the tortuous images be deafened
into their place, in the past,
never forgotten, just taking a different perspective
on my life.
A perspective I can learn from and proceed into the healing glow
and warmth of the sun,
to bask in its quietness of mind and to enjoy simple
Bur first I must find a way to elude the diversions,
the eternal setbacks and illusions.
I must break out of these terrifying tunnels!
there enough of this immeasurable time?