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Survivor's Corner: Living with PTSD - Protect Your Innocence

by Cassendre Xavier

I can recall having symptoms of depression since I was a child. Bipolar disorder runs in my family. I was molested and physically abused from childhood into my teens. I have a different relationship with innocence than most, as the perpetrator of child sexual abuse often tries to put the blame on the child, who often does take that on.

While I never blamed myself for the abuse, I did grow up feeling as though I didn't have the same sort of innocence as everyone else, or more accurately, as those who were not abused sexually or physically.

I was officially diagnosed with both Bipolar Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when I was in my early 20s. (I believe I would have been diagnosed much earlier had I been allowed to go to counseling, as I had asked for.) I am used to depression its many facets, and even with medication, weekly individual and group therapy sessions, and an improving holistic treatment system, depression sometimes sneaks up on me without my noticing it.

When this happens, I can slip into behaviors that may seem comforting at the onset, but which later I notice were not for my well-being.

One such example is watching gory or shocking things on YouTube or websites.

It is particularly easy to get sucked into watching many videos on the highly addictive website YouTube. Then you Google things, then they lead you to other websites where you can read articles and see videos about those things.

The day before yesterday, this happened to me. I was lead from watching one more innocent video to clicking on more violent, shocking, bloody, or otherwise disgusting video.

I was reading articles online, and clicking on shock, blood, and gore websites and I watched these things which I will not name any more than I would name a white flour or white sugar substance at an anonymous 12 Step meeting for people with compulsive eating issues.

Two days later I still have flashbacks of some of the things I watched, and while I learned in my Google search online that people are just as attracted to aggression as they are to sex, and while I was able to feel more normal and less ashamed and concerned about my interest, I still feel bad I saw those things. I lost some of my innocence, I realized.

I can never unwatch those things.

I can forgive myself because I also enjoy trying to understand the motivations and psyches of the people who commit violence, but I went an extra level in what I allowed myself to receive in my psyche.

I will never be the girl or woman who didn't see those things.

I realized I don't want to have certain things in my head. I realized that I am more innocent than I thought.

I have always prized my innocence. I am now interested in and committed to finding more ways I am innocent, and in protecting and raising the vibration of my psyche.

Last night I signed up for an angel healing app by one of my favorite authors, Doreen Virtue. Today I read the first message, and it made me cry. I know I have a lot of healing to do, and that my innocence will lead the way to more.

If you were abused as a child, please take care of your innocence. You do have innocence. And if you don't know that, please take the time and self-love to find and nurture it.

And if you have a history of depression, please be extra on-guard in protecting your innocence.
It is there and it must be nurtured.

Thank you for reading and I wish you well on your path of healing!

 Cassendre Xavier shares her popular "Survivor's Corner" and "PTSD Chronicles" on Facebook and Twitter, and has been writing the "Living with Bipolar Disorder" series at Wisdom Magazine's online edition since 2011. Cassendre was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at age 23. From 1996-1999 she facilitated Sisters Healing Together, a peer support group for women survivors of incest with a special focus on compulsive overeating, which she also founded, at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia. Under her self-assigned spiritual name Amethyste Rah, Cassendre released the popular Affirmations for Survivors guided meditation audio series ("Self-Love" and "Spirituality" in 2007, and "Sexuality" and "Life Skills" are forthcoming). For more information, please visit   http://cassEndrExavier.com

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