The Effects Of Childhood Sexual Abuse On My Health

As part of my overall health I’ve been putting a lot of focus on my mental health. During this journey I have been learning so much about myself. One thing I’ve learned is just how much being sexually abused as a child has affected my mental and physical health. I believe writing about this is not only good for raising awareness and reaching others but for my healing also.

Almost a month ago now I wrote about how I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse. As a result of that extremely traumatic event I developed PTSD. That has affected every aspect of my life. For this post I want to focus on how it has affected my physical health. This is only one area where I’ve been affected. I plan on writing about every part of my life that has been affected one day.

After the abuse started the PTSD was quick to follow. At a young age I started having a lot of anxiety and panic attacks. I also started being in a constant fight or flight state. After the abuse ended not only did these continue but they got worse. Even simple decisions became harder and harder to make. I often got migraines that didn’t stop after getting glasses and remember wanting to sleep a lot. I tried to be healthy as a teenager but the effects of what happened kept bringing me down.

After I got married and was put into a new environment the anxiety and fight or flight grew even more. Because my mental state was already suffering from the effects of the abuse I couldn’t handle the new psychological abuse that entered my life. The worse things got the harder it became to talk about what was going on. Which caused many problems I will discuss another time. Because of the psychological abuse, I went through a lot of deep depression. After a while there was space put between me and my psychological abuser so I tried acting like a normal person again. But that was easier said than done.

Once I started having kids I started to slowly break. Because of what I went through, all the added stress I now had was becoming overwhelming. My health was being affected even more. After my daughter was born I started having flashbacks of the abuse everyday. That constant pain and stress broke me. I was so overwhelmed that I could hardly function. I felt like my body was slowly giving out on me. I started stress eating, put on a lot of weight and didn’t have the mental or physical energy to take care of myself. My social anxiety became worse and I could hardly leave the house. Even after seeing my family doctor and a naturopathic doctor I wasn’t seeing a lot of improvement. I’ve been trying for almost a year now to get my health back and not much has changed. If anything my stress has been worse since I started opening up about all of this. Even something simple like cleaning causes me enormous amounts of stress. I just can’t focus anymore and feel like I’m drowning.

Dealing with all of the emotional and mental stress over the years has brought me to where I am now. I’m exhausted all of the time and the smallest trigger can cause me to have panic attacks. I heard somewhere that easy exercise is better for me right now because my body and mind is so exhausted. So for now I’m just trying to manage my weight, do simpler exercises and focus on my mental health. Though I only had the funds to go to a few sessions with my psychologist it really helped open my eyes to stuff and I have a better understanding of what I have to do to heal. I know the road is going to be long and hard but I really want to do this right.

If anyone reading this has been or is currently a victim of sexual abuse just know you’re not alone. The effects of abuse affect everyone differently so don’t think you’re alone in this or how you feel is crazy. You’re so strong to have made it to wherever you are in life right now. I hope that by opening up about how I’ve been affected I can reach others and give them some hope on their journey. No one should ever feel alone.


Getting started

Now it’s time to get things started.

Until I have an idea of what’s going on with my health and a plan to fix it I’ll slowly start easing myself into a fitness routine and healthier lifestyle.

I started a few weeks ago by eating a 2 egg and veggie omelette with an English muffin topped with homemade almond butter and honey instead of bagels or muffins. I also have 1 tsp honey and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar with a cup of warm water first thing in the morning. The apple cider vinegar drink has already made a huge difference with the bloating. I no longer look 6 months pregnant. My stomach may still be bigger than I’d like but at least it’s not longer round. Without the bloating my waist is a full inch smaller. Just that small improvement is encouraging.

I’m keeping up again with the vitamins and supplements advised by my naturopothic doctor and my thyroid medication. I’ve increased my walking time every weekday by about 20min. There’s a nice walking path close by I use after dropping my son off at school.

I’m also working on  getting my house organized so cleaning will be faster and I’ll have more time to focus on myself. Once I don’t have to stay up so late cleaning I’ll be able to go to bed earlier which I’m sure will help. Right now I get between 4-6 hours of  interrupted sleep.

It’s been a few days since I contacted my family doctor to see if she’s seen my test results. I have access to my blood work results and saw my creatinine levels are below normal so I’m waiting to see what she says about that. I also had an internal and external ultrasound to check things out since I’ve been having problems with my hormones and irregular cycles. Hopefully I’ll know the results soon.

I’m also trying to focus on my stress and anxiety so I’ve been taking  a simple detox bath every other or every two nights. I use a body brush and brush my body starting at my feet and working my way to my heart. What I’ve read is that helps with circulation and opening your pores to release toxins. After that I soak for 20min in the detox bath containing hot water, 1 cup Epsom salt, 1/2 cup baking soda and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Even if the detox part doesn’t work it leaves me feeling very relaxed.

Some of my future goals include eating more of a paleo and clean eating diet. Specifically cutting down on bread and sugar. I think dairy affects me so I want to cut down on that also.

Over the next few weeks I will be working even more on decluttering and organizing the house. I just finished a 14 day declutter challenge and have a pile of stuff to get rid of already. Once I have to spend less time on my cleaning I can put more focus on my family, health and mental state. I’ve gone far too long not being able to do things I enjoyed because cleaning had taken over my life.

Hopefully these small changes will start to help and I’ll get the answers I need soon. I’m tired of everyday being a struggle and not getting to live the life I want to live. I’m ready to be the fun mom again that has the energy to go to the park more often, not need to rest after doing 5 minutes of cleaning and be able to think more clearly. I’m ready to be me again.