The first time I was molested, I was 13. Honestly, I thought I had something to do with it. I was so confused about how the relationship changed with my neighbor that I felt responsible for what happened. My first fear is that if my parents found out they would be mad, disown me, and kick me out of the house. I also didn’t want anyone else to find out because I believed my classmates would think I was gay, which as a 13 year old boy in Wyoming would have been the worst! This was also 1985 in which AIDS was a huge topic. Out of ignorance, I feared that maybe I had contracted the virus, too.
I desperately wanted to tell someone what happened to me, but my fear was overwhelming. I told some lies to a few friends so that I could experience some relief from the burden of carrying that weight around. But it wasn’t good enough. It plagued me so that I dove into my school work to cover up what had really happened to me. I tried to put on a face that would hide what was really going on inside, but so many times all that did was expose the pain and anger that was bundled inside of me. However, it deflected what was truly going on and I was sickened with sadness and depression.
The first time I ever talked about my depression openly was with a therapist when I was 16. I remember having to get the paperwork signed by my mother, and it was one the most terrifying moments of my life. My mother was convinced that I didn’t need therapy, but she signed it anyway. She and I never spoke of it again. With my therapist, I talked about friendships, stress, and fear, but I never mentioned what was truly going on with me. I don’t even remember stopping therapy because it did little to comfort me and help me with what the deeper issue was.
I know how difficult it is to talk about abuse for the first time. It’s petrifying and paralyzing! It took me years to finally tell the truth about what had gone on in my life. From experience, I know that my burden finally started to fall away once I was able to open my heart up, allowing the truth to come forward. Only when I allowed myself to speak the truth could true healing begin. At times, it didn’t make my life any easier. As with all healing, though, sometimes you have to cut away what is rotting.