It has been a few weeks since I published my first post. I so appreciate how supportive people have been who have read the first posting. These last few weeks have been a usually busy period of time with the normal ups and downs of life.
From a more light-hearted perspective, my grandson and I had an interesting week prior to and including Easter, to say the least. It was a normally busy week for me seeing clients during Holy Week. My daughter-in-law called on Wednesday to say our grandson had broken out with hives on Tuesday evening and was worse on Wednesday morning. She had been able to get him in to see the doctor on Wednesday morning and God provided a cancelled appointment for me so I was able to meet her at the pediatrician's office and help her. My husband and I both have a problem with hives (testing can give no indication of cause for us), but I was able to provide some light-hearted banter with the nurse practitioner and her because of this. It took several days, anti-histimines and children's motrin but by Easter Sunday we thought he was better.
In the meantime, on Thursday my right eye developed pain, and I soon had a case of conjunctivitis (pink eye). I started on antibiotics, but my vision was affected, and so I was not at my best. I missed the Good Friday service of darkness at our church. This is a special service during which Christ's death is the focus. At the beginning of the service, the sanctuary is in full light. There are candelabra on the platform, with the candles lit.
Easter Sunday, our grandson awoke with a lot fewer hives, but with a low-grade fever. It was a busy morning, but I was able to go to church and sing in the choir...By time for dinner, his fever was gone, and only a hive or two remained. At our house, his mom was holding him as we were waiting for dinner guests to arrive, and he promptly threw up on her and the floor! We got him cleaned up and down for a nap right away, and she headed home to change clothes (a 20 minute round trip). Dinner went well, and even though our guests had to leave quickly to get their two college age sons to the bus to return to Chicago, we had an enjoyable meal and celebrated Christ's resurrection together. As I was cleaning up the kitchen counter, however, wiping with a sponge, I ran my finger into the blade of my food processor (which I had unfortunately not put away). Fortunately, it only cut a little of the skin, but slit the nail almost to the quick. Band-aided, I continued getting the kitchen in order. He woke from his nap, feeling much better, and we had fun hunting Easter eggs, being thoroughly entertained by a five-year old and a two-year old.
On Tuesday, my right eye had cleared up, but now the left eye was infected, even though I had been very careful with hygiene. We then decided that my grandson and I should be wrapped in customized bubble wrap....he and I are both back in good working order.
Even with the light-heartedness of the above, the difficult questions that my clients ask continue to be an issue for which I search for answers. I see a number of clients with significant issues...trauma, abuse as children, resulting problems ranging from Borderline Personality Disorder to Dissociative Identity Disorder, to Bi-polar Disorder to Major Depression and Anxiety. Throw in those couples struggling with serious issues in their marriage relationship, and it is sufficient to say that my professional days are not boring.
Trauma is such a devastating phenomenon...because it affects people not only when it is happening, but also for so long afterward. The physical wounds eventually heal, but the emotional, psychological, and mental wounds remain. If they are not process appropriately, they fester. I often explain trauma work to clients in this way...Picture a wound that is not healed...infected...scabbed over. In trauma work, the therapist has to take off the scab, clean out the infection, debride (cut away dead tissue) the wound, and help the client begin the healing process...physically, these deep wounds need to heal from the inside out...but often, the resulting tissue is stronger than before....likewise, the emotional wounds have to heal from the inside out as well.
When children are abused, especially sexually abused, the wounds are not only physical. If the abuser is a close relative, the devastation is much worse..not only did these children suffer this horror at the hand of someone who was supposed to protect and cherish and them, but also, in many instances, had to deal with those who chose not to protect...who ignored the abuse, and made no attempt to correct the wrong. Many develop Dissociative Identity Disorder (a subject for the next post), major depression, and other serious mental health problems. Some do not. The reasons for the difference in coping are still being researched.
One of the most repeated questions asked is, "Why"? For those with a religious belief, the companion question is, "Where was God when I was being abused? Why didn't He protect and get me out of there?" I am still seeking for those answers that will address those questions. I will not provide simplistic rhetoric to my clients. I am honest in telling them that I do not know, but will keep searching until I find answers. God has answers; I just don't know what they are yet.
We are all on a journey. I don't have all the answers...and I am very honest in admitting that. But my heart, my passion is to continue helping these individuals as they walk this road. For whatever reason, I believe God has equipped me to do this work. I read and research continually to find new and old ways to help people in this healing process.
However, I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has been abused in any way as a child. Please share what helped, what didn't, and for those who attend a church or other place of worship, what helped or didn't help there. I will be giving a workshop in February at a conference for those involved in ministry. The workshop will be in two parts...the first is a description of abuse and the effects. The second will be on what is the church's responsibility to those who have been abused and what can and should the church do.
Thank you for reading about this journey...For Those Who Seek.