In February 2012 I started another blog. This time, I wanted to post my poems about dealing with being a survivor of abuse and my healing path. I stopped it after a while because since then I have been in a mental health crisis on and off.
I still I want to share the post I’ve written then about what “Lost Souls” are about because I have mentioned that series of poems fairly often in the last few months.
If you do not belong to the community of survivors and thrivers of sexual and other sorts of abuse in your childhood, this expression might be quite strange for you. What might “Lost Souls” mean?
Children who are faced with sexual abuse and rape need tools to survive the unbearable reality of living in an environment that does not support and even harm them. As they are often isolated from any outside help but have enormous creativity and fantasy still at their disposal their psyches do what is called “dissociate”.
Wikipedia describes psychological Dissociation as “… an altered state of consciousness characterised by partial or complete disruption of the normal integration of a person’s normal conscious or psychological functioning. Dissociation is most commonly experienced as a subjective perception of one’s consciousness being detached from one’s emotions, body and/or immediate surroundings. Van der Kolk et al. describe dissociation as a “compartmentalization of experience.” Under normal conditions, consciousness, memory, emotions, sensory awareness, affect, etc., are integrated; with dissociation, in contrast, these traits are discretely compartmentalised to greater or lesser degrees.” ( Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociation_(psychology) on the 28th February 2012).”
In simpler words (which really does not explain the complex mechanisms in full but makes things easier to understand) the child’s soul creates different personalities to be able to deal with the different situations it finds himself/herself in. There might be one personality/soul who is a strong adult fighter and bears the horrors of the abuse. There might be the bright child who deals with school and friends. There might be a teenager who deals with everyday life at home.
They might as well “just” experience being outside their bodies when the abuse happens and are not aware of the horrors but are “back” afterwards and in the rest of their lives. As different as every person is as different develops “dissociation”.
Quite often there is one “leader-personality” who keeps all the others together and co-ordinates life as a whole. Sometimes children and later on the adults experience amnesia of the horrors to be able to survive. Sometimes all personalities work together well ~ sometimes there are problems especially if the different personalities have totally opposite experiences, likes and talents.
In psychology, it is described as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), but children and adults who live with this condition often see it rather as a great help and a beautiful system which enabled them to survive and lead a life which is as normal as possible under the given circumstances than a disorder.
I have experienced childhood sexual abuse as well as a very contradictory environment of neglect on one part of the family but over protecting from the other. I am not diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, but I know that I have been outside my body when the abuse happened, and I had experiences of amnesia later on in my life which suggests that there might be more than one personality in my life.
When I decided to heal from the abuse and to have healthy relationships as well as a life worth living I needed means of expression of my experiences. I have always been writing poetry and one day my muses gave me the expression “Lost Souls”. As I am not aware of different personalities but have lost many memories and parts of my life this expresses the best how I feel and how I try to deal with the healing.
I have been writing several poems dealing mainly with emotions involved in the abuse as well as the healing which are all about my lost souls. Quite soon I felt the urge to publish those in a blog/book to help other survivors as well as educate others who are interested to learn what it means to be a survivor.
Now I have enough material to publish a small blog/book, and it is my wish that many may find help and information with it.
This book is one of the writing projects I work on right now.