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Healing and Hope

I will be doing several blogs, over a period of time, about the Unintended Journey we survivors need to take to heal ourselves.  I describe the stages of recovery as the Four R’s.  

The first stage is Ravaged.  Shock and anger characterize this stage.  The following is from my book Redeem The Silence; an Unintended Journey:

Recovery doesn’t mean that you will never again think about the assault or have strong feelings about it.  Recovery does mean that the assault will no longer directly govern your life.–Aphrodite Matsakis Ph.D.

A survivor’s recovery begins immediately after the violation, regardless of age, circumstances or what might be perceived to be the degree of the violation.  Even a three-year-old whose uncle fondled her has in that moment begun an Unintended Journey that God never meant for her. 

While a pattern of stages can be identified, they are not to be seen as a straight linear line.  Shock is usually a necessary stage of denial that gradually sloughs off as the next stage of anger, depression and grief gradually move in.  At some point we hopefully move toward Reorganization, then Resolution, and then Redemption.

Imagine beginning to draw a horizontal line and then moving your pencil up and backwards into a circle, ending up by retracing a portion of your horizontal line and then continuing it.  Recovery starts here and then continues filling page after page of this forward moving line with ‘recycles’ in it. 

As the Reorganization, Resolution, and Redemption stages move in, the recycling continues.  The circles just start getting a bit smaller as a general rule.  Keeping on the Recovery Road they will eventually move farther and farther apart, recycles happening less often and with less intensity.   The point is, when in recovery the progress has a forward movement, even when it might feel like it doesn’t.  Without what I call Intentional Recovery, that is making a choice  to do whatever you can to heal, getting stuck in one of the stages is generally the result. 

We are all incredibly uniquely created.  Our reactions are as different as our DNA.  These stages are intended as a guideline to help you understand yourself and others.  Hopefully, this discussion will move us away from judgement to understand that recovery ebbs and flows.  It will be and look different for everyone. 

Subtitle:  Ravaged but Not Ruined

Webster’s says the word “ravage” implies violent and often cumulative deprivation and destruction.  When you are in the first stage of recovery, you are still in shock.  In time, shock will give way to some form of anger and depression, recycling back about every two to three months.  Initially, Shock keeps the intensity of what has just happened at bay so you can function practically at least at some level.  Shock, a form of temporary denial is your friend and enables you to do what you can to get safe and get help.  It might help your mind to find a coping strategy.  It may take the form on any range of the spectrum between zombie-like numbness to  excessive appearing  mania. 

To be continued…..

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