Are you struggling to overcome the long-term effects of sexual trauma?
Have you survived a sexual trauma, such as rape, sexual or physical abuse or debilitating harassment? Do you often criticize yourself or experience painful feelings of inadequacy? Perhaps you live with some of the physical symptoms of trauma, such as a racing heartbeat, difficulty breathing or sweatiness, especially when harmful memories are triggered. Maybe you wonder why you cannot seem to overcome your memories and overwhelming emotions, even after many years. Have you tried several treatments, but have not yet found lasting relief and healing? Do you wish you could come to peace with your trauma and move forward in a connected and rewarding life?
Living with the after effects of sexual trauma can feel like an endless struggle. In the morning, you may dread going through your routine, worrying whether certain people, places or activities will trigger a painful memory. Throughout the day, you may dwell on your past experiences or seek out ways to numb your memories and emotions, such as drugs, alcohol, food, sex, cutting, or other self-destructive behaviors. As a result, you may find it hard to concentrate at work, at home or with your loved ones or friends. At night, it may be difficult for you to fall asleep or stay asleep because racing thoughts and nightmares keep you awake, leading to another exhausted, disconnected day. You may feel frustrated that the thoughts and emotions tied to your trauma continue to creep into your life. You may wish you could forget everything that has happened to you and live in a different time and place.
Common Symptoms of Unaddressed Childhood Trauma and Effects of Sexual Assault
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, powerlessness, shame, or feeling “dirty”
- Anxiety, panic attacks, and hypervigilence
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts, feeling destructive
- Cutting, self injury, or self mutilation
- Body image issues
- Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, and/or compulsive overeating)
- Difficulty with or avoiding relationships, automatic lack of trust of others
- Avoidance of appropriate and consensual sexual intimacy
- Addictions and compulsions (alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, spending, pornography)
- Body memories, somatic symptoms
- Poor boundaries with others (too permissive or too rigid)
- Difficulties nurturing yourself or caring for yourself appropriately
- Frequent sleep disturbances (insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, sleeping too much)
- Dissociation or losing time
- Difficulty managing emotions