Sam’s Story

I’m sharing this because I am looking for a way to heal. I shared my story with friends many years ago, but they are the same age as me, and at 18 years old, they didn’t really seem to get it. I don’t think I did either. But this summer I found myself in a place with extraordinary people who have been helping me a lot, and after sharing my life story with them, I now realize how much I am in need of healing the past.

When I was 9, my gran’s neighbor began to abuse me. My parents divorced around that time, and my granddad also died. My gran then remarried the neighbor, so I spent a lot of time around him. Because of my father’s lack of involvement in my life growing up (he rarely spent any time with me, just wasn’t interested) and my mother’s unpredictability (she could be loving one minute and cold, unfeeling the next), I needed affection. What the neighbor did to me was wrong, but I didn’t know what to do about it, so I did nothing. It stopped when my gran finally threw him out of the house when I was 12 because his drinking became too much of a problem. And until this summer, I never realized how much it had shaped my life. When I read about the issues that other people have, I realize that’s me – I’m angry at myself and my parents for not protecting me better, I’m ashamed, it has made it difficult for me to trust anyone, especially men, I don’t sleep very well because of it, and I recently discovered I have a mild form of startle syndrome, I just never knew there was a name for it! A good example is over the summer, I was napping on the sofa, and a guy here (who I have told my story too and who has been very supportive) threw a blanket over me to keep warm. I jumped straight off the sofa, awake in an instant. And though he understood, he was a little upset, only because he knew I was in pain and he can’t help.

The other thing that makes it more difficult for me is the fact that my other grandfather was starting to touch me inappropriate when I was 12, but then he died….

I sought professional help when I was at university as the lecturers there finally noticed something was seriously wrong with me (depression, suicidal behavior, self harming) and so I had to see a doctor and a counselor. The doctor just put me on medication, which didn’t help, and that was the end of it. The counselor told me my abuse was the reason I was gay, which she thought is what I wanted ‘fixing’!! That was the end of that.

Since then, I have spent a lot of time trying to heal myself, to find my own way. I am now 31 and while I am a lot better than I used to be, I know I could still be much better. I need to find out why I can’t move on, and then find a way to do just that.

I thank everyone for sharing their stories – I do believe it makes us all stronger knowing we’re not alone.