Today we have the second part of David’s story which we began last week. If you missed that entry you can find it here, Your Story Matters. This is a powerful story told by a courageous man. Each of us has an important story, our own story, which we live each day. It grows each day with all the ups and downs which come to living as a survivor of sexual abuse. Our stories are not just about the abuse but also about the strength we bring as survivors. As we heal we move from survival to thriving, living life more fully and freely. As you read David’s story I hope you remember you are not alone. You matter. Your story matters. Healing is possible. —Mike

My Story

By David Day
Part 2

“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way.”

Flannery O’Connor

Because of that, the boy’s mind shattered, and his thoughts scattered in all directions.

I could no longer ignore the memories, treat them like a bad dream.

The drive home from Grand Rapids to Columbus was perhaps one of the longest of my life. My head exploded with fear, confusion, doubt, shame, and more shame. By the time I arrived home, I was so full of irrational thoughts I could barely function. I shared with my wife what had happened, shared my craziness, and she comforted and supported me, for which I’m eternally grateful.

I phoned my therapist and made an appointment for later that day. I broke again in her office, spilled a staccato version of my story, a rush of half-spoken sentences between rib-cracking sobs. She met me with the compassion I’d come to appreciate.

Because of that, the boy looked for help wherever he could find it.

I was, unfortunately, sitting squarely outside my therapist’s area of expertise. But she took time to help me find another therapist who works with survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

I made an appointment with the new therapist, scared of sharing my story, dreading what would be found there. Would my wife leave me? Would my sons be ashamed of who I am and what was done to me? Would I lose family, friends, my career?

Until finally, the boy found more help than he ever thought possible.

Despite my anxiety, I met my new therapist, and was relieved to find the same deep sense of compassion I’d experienced with my last one. He was kind and patient and supportive from the minute I walked in to his office.

Through working with him, I continued to uncover myself and let go of the weights of shame that have been holding me down most of my life. I shared my story with others close to me. In June 2021, I attended a Weekend of Recovery, which in and of itself was a life-changing event. I joined a local support group as well, who welcomed me with a degree of love and kindness and openness I’ve rarely experienced.

Over the past four or so years, he’s also provided me with a wealth of resources, including book recommendations and sites like MenHealing and 1-in-6. Slowly but surely, I’ve explored these resources, spending time reading, and listening to or watching stories of other survivors. The utter sense of isolation and all the feelings that came from are starting to lift.

I open myself up a little more every day. I find courage in small acts and joy in being present for my partner and children in ways I could not have been before.

I still hurt, but the pain is different somehow. There’s grief for the little boy who never got a chance to grow and be joyful. There’s anger, unexpected and unwelcomed, but I try to recognize it for what it is. I don’t suck it up and hold it in, I validate it and let myself cry.

There’s tremendous comfort in knowing that we are survivors, not victims, and we are not alone.

And, ever since then, the boy continued on his journey of recovery.

In most stories, there’s an end. The plot wraps up, all questions are answered, and no more problems exist. That’s not how this works. I know my story is ongoing, that recovery is a process, not a solution. Trauma, all trauma, strikes deep and is enduring. It is not a problem to solve or a question to answer, it is a re-framing of ourselves in such a way that we can move from surviving to thriving. We continue to work with ourselves and with others who have suffered abuse to heal and grow and once again become fully present and playful and joyful in our lives.


If you would like to share your story, a reflection, a poem, a painting, a song, or some creative expression of your journey, your healing, your movement to thriving please let me know. You can email me at mike@menhealing.org or use the form in the sidebar under Join the MenHealing Blog and I will be in touch. Remember, you matter! Your story matters!

Be well. Stay safe. Take good care.

Mike

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