A Wounded Witness: Forgiveness and healing after abuse.
Guest post by Kimmi
I have been exploring the idea of forgiveness the past couple years now and have come to a place where I really need to go to the next level of it and start to release people. I really don’t even want to think about these people who have hurt me or the circumstances involving them, but they haunt me. Every day they haunt me. It would be easier to deal with this in my old way, but if I go back to that or give up, then what in my life will change? It was brought to my attention how many people it would impact if I just decided to give up.
I have a tattoo on my arm that says “She who has been forgiven much loves much.” I want to love and forgive like Jesus. He has impacted my life with his sacrifice, but I often forget that his sacrifice was not just for me and my friends and the sweet people I have met along the way. It is for absolutely everyone. That racks my brain. Because he forgives, I should also forgive.
The idea of forgiveness is coming up now when there are also so many other things happening in my life…
A couple weeks ago I learned some information about myself that took a little weight off my shoulders, validated me in my process, but also gave me another level of grief, a new type of anger, and pain. Since things had been so hard for me on many different levels I went with my therapist and a good friend to a brain center and they did a test that showed that I actually have brain damage from repeated concussions and violent trauma (from my childhood).
The discussion in the office turned into “Do you have any memory of your traumas? Did you black out during the trauma? Can you say how many times it occurred?”
The doctor said, “These results are common in people with Complex post traumatic stress disorder,” and “Some of the difficulties you experience everyday are due to traumatic brain injury”…These things that were said are now constantly going through my mind.
I will start going to this center every week for treatment for 10-15 weeks or longer, depending on the improvement of my brain function. Some things that should improve from this treatment are my vision. I have peripheral blindness due to brain damage that could improve.
The damage goes further, though; the way I grasp things, process life, sleep, manage stress, and other symptoms of my CPTSD and Dissociative Disorder. They have a sign in their office that says “We expect miracles”. That is what I’m expecting. I am a little bit unsure of it all, but what do I have to lose at this point?
God took care of treatment costs for me. It is not a cheap thing, but the doctor and other people saw the value in my getting the treatment, so made sure I was taken care of. I am still speechless over this. I’m nervous about how I will feel, mentally and physically after these therapies, but also what comes with this new knowledge. That some of the emotional and physical issues I struggle with everyday are due to brain damage that other people gave to me. The very people I have been told to forgive.
These people messed up my body, my life and because of tests I now know they have messed up my brain.
Some of you may think I am courageous for writing about this, but really it is what it is. It is with me everyday. I have good support, and really am being held together by God.
Sometimes all I can do lately is breathe.
At church today we talked a little about God holding the world together, holding us together and giving us the air in our lungs. Sometimes each moment all I can do is breathe. I have had times where even my very breathe was trying to be taken from me, so the fact that I am free to just breathe is a gift.
I am left with some choices: To keep on doing life. To trust the people in my life. To have grace for myself and others. To not be overcome with flashbacks. To go to all of my appointments. To eat healthy and not numb out with substances. And, a BIG one weighing heavy on me- to forgive.
I know that forgiveness will be like weights lifted off of me. I have done it before, but to seriously choose to release these men everyday?
Jesus I need you. I need your strength, I need your perspective.
It was brought to my attention that March is Traumatic brain injury awareness month, so this is be my contribution.I was writing this in March and it is now April which is Child abuse awareness month. So here is my contribution for both months.
If you are reading this and have suffered at any level with TBI, know that you are not alone. There are places that can help. I am learning to allow God to hold me together. So far it has been nothing but good. It’s a struggle to trust, but each morning I wake up. I breathe. I fight, and fighting so hard that it feels like I can’t anymore. I need to start giving even more to Jesus. If you are in that place- talk to God. I am living proof that you CAN survive and grow through this.
If you are an adult survivor of childhood exploitation and have suffered with TBI because of it you are also not alone. We may have had people wreck and control our bodies, but we are still here and breathing.
Isn’t that a miracle?