Struggling to find a title for this blog that sounds professional, catchy, or even neutral proved to be impossible. There is nothing nice about this topic except to recover from it. If there is one thing that is true in life, it is that what we experience can serve others when we are able to work it through to the other side and find peace and healing.
So, here I am. Healing. Again, at a deeper level than other times. I experienced a sudden flashback from seeing a graphic on TV of a woman in stirrups in a doctor’s office yesterday. I was stunned, anxious, fearful and ANGRY. Having fantasies of kicking these 3 different doctors where it would hurt. Frustrated because this happened about 40 years ago and I don’t remember their names. Feeling the total powerlessness I experienced as a young woman of 17-19. It occurs to me that I can’t be the only person this has happened to, so it is possible that sharing this with others is a way for none of us to feel alone; a way to heal together.
When I was 17, the summer before I was to enter college, I knew it would be best to use “The Pill”. At the time, no woman under 18 could legally get a prescription for it. I was still under my parents Health Insurance, so I told mom I wasn’t feeling well and she gave me the card. I took my own independent self to the doctor.
I told him my reason for being there, and he said he couldn’t legally prescribe the pill to me without my parent’s consent. But, if I had a medical reason…..so he asked me with a wink “Do you have painful and irregular periods? Heavy bleeding?” and I said “Oh, ahh, yes I guess I do”. Then came the exam. It took a really long time, the doctor seemed to be breathing heavy….at some point I said “Is everything OK?”, becoming more and more uncomfortable, awkward, and nervous. He replied “Oh, everything is so wonderful that I could just……”. At some point he brought in another doctor to see how wonderful everything was. I just had to stay still long enough to get that prescription. I was afraid to say anything in case he would report me to my parents, or refuse me the prescription. I was the perfect target for such a predator.
The other two instances of doctor sexual abuse are much more graphic so I will not go into details about them. Suffice it to say that the abuse was more shaming and more physically and emotionally painful. One experience was so outrageous that I talked with a nurse receptionist on my way out. I told her that I felt raped. She said with a stern look “No one has ever complained before”. I went home and tried to find out how to report this abuse. As naive as I was, I knew this had to be at the least unethical and probably illegal. I sent a letter to some Medical Board and never received a response. I told some friends about it and it was generally agreed that there was nothing more to be done….what did we know? The microchip had not yet been invented, so researching such things was tedious and confusing. Today, that doctor and I would be in litigation, without a shadow of a doubt.
So where do I go from here? Time for another round of gathering up all the healing tools I’ve acquired since then. The first thing I did was to call a dear friend who is an expert in spirituality and recovering from trauma. She helped me to know that I’m safe now, that I am healing this issue at a deeper level than ever before, and that she was glad I told her about it. This grounded me and I am longer in my 17 year old emotional body.
I have lots of support and so much more psycho/emotional/spiritual wisdom now, and it is my job to care for that wounded young girl.
So, here’s the plan:
- To treat myself with love. Allow myself to experience whatever feelings and thoughts arise without judgment. Treat myself gently. Listen to what my body needs. Avoid possible triggers. Ask for help both human and Divine whenever it is needed.
- Give my all to the Goodness in the Universe. Allow myself to be guided. Know that I am loved every minute. Remember that I am never alone.
- Raise my inner vibration. Pray, meditate and give myself Reiki. Read inspiring literature. Spend time in nature. Listen to soothing music. Take naps and rests as needed. Clear my energy and relax with essential oil and sea salt baths. Write gratitude lists. Drink pure water and eat clean food. Do something nurturing, pleasant and fun every day. Watch funny videos or movies that make me laugh. Give my dog lots of attention. Help another person when I can. Keep my schedule balanced between social and solitary.
- Stay present. Focus on this moment. Do things with mindful intent.
- Keep a journal.
- Continue working on the 12 Steps and getting to meetings.
- Process everything with my psychotherapist.
Did you notice that the processing with psychotherapist came last? This is because I see her at most once a week. I’m with myself daily. I need me more than I need her. Also, the work I do with her can be enhanced as I take great care of myself and remain as clear and centered as possible.
Psychotherapy has been a valuable part of my life off and on for most of my adulthood. An objective observer who has no vested interest in any outcomes is so helpful especially during stressful times. That said, I’ve done more healing in spiritual communities like 12 Step groups, meditation groups, churches, and women’s circles than I have in psychotherapy. Simply spending time with a variety of spiritual and energy practitioners/friends has proven absolutely invaluable along my healing journey.
If this article gives support to one person, I am deeply grateful. Sending healing thoughts and blessings along your path of recovery. Wishing you well on developing your own healing plan. Namaste, beautiful souls.
-Rev. Denise M. Roberge