Living With Trauma

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I was asked to write a blog post about living with trauma for Warriors for Life.
Trauma can be caused by many things in our lives and things out of our control. The trauma I live with is the trauma of being sexually abused as a child. It has taken me almost 50 years of my 59 years of living to get comfortable enough to speak up about the trauma, the damage done and the journey of healing from being a sexual abuse survivor.
I was your typical kid and young man. I played sports, went to college, enjoyed the ladies, joined a fraternity, and did all the things the average kid and young man did in life. But I had a secret I had buried inside and was scared to death to ever say out loud.
I had been sexually abused as a child by a male babysitter. I never thought I would say it out loud or even admit it to myself. It was buried deep in my mind. I had a fear of speaking up because I am a heterosexual man. How I do I ever say another male sexually abused me?
A person’s sexual orientation doesn’t matter to me at all. I just know that for me it was very hard to ever admit to anyone that I was sexually abused. I thought I would keep it buried, no one would ever know, and I would never speak publicly about it. I thought, “What would people think?” I was afraid people would run away from me, think I am weird, or worse.
I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, fear, shame, embarrassment, guilt, self-doubt, and worry, all from the effects of childhood sexual abuse. I had buried it until 1992, at age 36, before I ever said out loud I had been molested. I finally told my wife, and a few months later, the panic attacks started.
I had a complete nervous breakdown. This is something we don’t like to admit because we think it means we are weak or crazy. It’s neither; it is something the body does when a trauma in our lives has not been properly treated and we keep it all bottled up inside.
My body was like a pressure cooker and when I finally told my wife, the pressure value was released and all of the emotions I had bottled for years caused my body to react in way I can’t really describe. Even though it was scary at times, it is amazing how the body and mind works together to protect us.
It was only by God’s grace, my wife’s love, her nursing skills, and my desire to heal that I could function and keep my young business going during recovery from my nervous breakdown.
So many people suffer in silence for many reasons about being sexually abused. I never dreamed I would speak up about being a childhood sexual abuse survivor. Little did I know God had a different plan for me. It has been an interesting journey of life.
I look back now and wonder how did I recover, other than God’s grace. The thing I have found more amazing is the healing process, finding joy, peace and allowing myself to be loved. I have been pleasantly surprised by people’s reaction to me disclosing the sexual abuse. It has been one of support.
In 1992, I told my wife and told a few close friends and my kids about the abuse. But I didn’t start speaking publicly until 2012. The first time I spoke in public at a Georgia Center for Child Advocacy breakfast, I cried like a baby through the entire speech. I couldn’t control my tears, but I kept going because people needed to know the damage done by childhood sexual abuse.
Those tears were also healing tears for me. I was no longer ashamed or felt it was my fault that it happened to me as a kid. I was a victim; but more importantly, I was a strong survivor. I started saying we not only survive, but we can thrive. I decided that morning after my speech that I had to continue speaking up for those who still suffer in silence and need to see a successful journey of healing.
I know what is like to live with PTSD and how the triggers can cause panic attacks and sometimes make my body tighten up and then have muscle twitches I can’t control as it unwinds. I decided in 1992 I was going to recover and not let this rule my life forever.
It has been a journey. It has been hard to find people that share their stories of suffering from being sexually abused as a child and the healing journey from PTSD and panic attacks. This is why I speak up and share my journey of healing and the process of healing. When you are suffering, you need to see and hear some success stories of healing to motivate you, that you can make it, too.
I have undergone therapy to deal with being sexually abused, and to understand PTSD and panic attacks. I have learned my triggers. I have forgiven myself for blaming myself that I didn’t stop it as a child. I have forgiven my abuser. I have strengthened my faith in God. (Whether you believe in a God or not, your form of forgiveness is so important in the journey of healing.)
I use nature, exercise, hiking, photography, travel, being with loved ones, and sharing my journey as my way of healing. I am now at a place I never imagined I could be in my life.
I feel as free as one can feel in my eyes. I no longer worry about what will people think of me because I suffer from PTSD and panic attacks from being a survivor.
I started a blog in 2012, moodyspeaks.com, about my journey of healing. It has been read in 110 countries. I get so many positive responses and “thank yous” from people for my speaking up. I know I am making a difference helping others know we can overcome living with trauma and have a great life.
My story has been told in the Huffington Post, Atlanta radio and television programs, the Atlanta Business Chronicle, in a film entitled “Darkness to Light,” and in a recent story was written in May ( https://rainn.org/news-room/may-2015-survivor-spotlight-2).
My journey continues and I will always fight through the fear. I learned not to worry about dying, because I will miss living. I am going to soak it all in with whatever time I have left on earth, and do my best to make a positive difference in other lives around the world.
Keep enjoying the journey of life and never give up on the healing process. We can live some incredible lives. Keep helping others and expect nothing in return for your help.

Enjoy some pictures of our recent trip to Sao Paulo Brazil for the international Rotary convention.

My Experience as a ALI Fellow at Harvard

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Wow! It’s hard to find the right words to express one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I just completed the first phase as a Fellow in the Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI) at Harvard. This program is a new stage in higher education, designed to prepare experienced leaders to take on new challenges in the social sector, where we can potentially make an even greater societal impact than we do in our careers. The final stage of ALI features presentations by each Fellow on our individual projects, which we hope will make a difference in the world. In November, I will fly back to Harvard and present my project. In the meantime, we will work on developing and fine tuning our projects. I’ll share the details of my proposed project in my next post.

For now, I want to tell you about this awesome experience of living in Cambridge, Massachusetts and attending Harvard. Karla and I moved to Cambridge on January 22, 2015, into an apartment neither of us had seen. I was a nervous wreck, because that last time we rented a place sight unseen was in Atlanta in 1983. The picture of the place didn’t match what we found in person in 1983, so this experience brought up bad flashbacks. But we were pleasantly surprised with our small apartment in Kendall Square, Cambridge.

I was still in disbelief that I was attending Harvard and Karla and I were moving away for 4 months. I know God was directing me to this program and this experience. Here’s why I feel this to be the case; I was looking at a magazine in June 2014 and saw an ad for the Harvard ALI program. It was late in the application process but the deadline hadn’t passed yet. I said, “why not apply? It sounds interesting and I probably won’t get accepted anyway.” I didn’t tell anyone that I had applied so that I wouldn’t be embarrassed if I didn’t get accepted. The application process was moving forward, and by late August or early September, it was starting to look like I would be accepted as a Fellow in the ALI program. So in September, I told my wife about this opportunity. She just smiled and said, “we are a team and we are life partners, so if you get in, let’s do it.” In the interview process, I told them that I had a week in March when I had to go to Honduras with a group for a working mission trip. It just so happened that the mission trip and spring break were the same week. I said, “God, you are making this happen.”

I had been planning for the last two years to promote Ike Tiggs to President of CD Moody Construction. Ike accepted the position and was doing a great job. Once again I said, “God, you want me to go to Harvard.” I got accepted despite applying towards the end of the application process, spring break was during the time I wanted to go to Honduras on a mission trip, I had picked an excellent person to serve as President of the company and Karla was supportive. So I knew God was leading me to take this opportunity. Now I had to mentally adjust, which was a little tougher than I anticipated.

I was leaving the business I started from scratch in 1988, I was leaving our home, our adult kids, our church, the organizations I was involved with and everything else I had known for the last 32 years. We were going without a car and living in a small apartment like when we first got married. I would be busy and Karla would be in a place that she didn’t know anyone or the area. We arrived with no car and had to go to the grocery store by cab, and I thought, “Lord, did I hear you right?” Then the worst snow in over 100 years starts falling in Boston, and I thought, “Lord, did I hear correctly?” My anxiety was starting to kick up because I started feeling like I had made a horrible mistake and ruined everything by moving us.

I was so wrong in those thoughts, because this turned out to be an incredible experience. When my anxiety started kicking up I said to myself, “If I have the faith I claim to have, then I need to just go with the flow and see where this journey takes us.”

We lived one block from the Charles River and one and a half blocks from the subway station. We found a service called Peapod that delivers groceries to the apartment front door. We quickly fell in love with urban living. We loved not having a car and we walked everywhere or took the subway. There was no fast food restaurants around, but plenty of good restaurants within walking distance. We loved our little apartment and felt as if we were newlyweds again, dreaming about the next phase of life.

The energy and classes at Harvard was an unbelievable experience. It quickly became freeing and liberating for me. It was neat being invisible; no one knew me and they didn’t care. I was just another student. I quickly adjusted to college life and became the free spirit I was always wanted to be in my life. After the first few weeks, I stopped shaving and grew my first beard of my life. I let my hair grow for the first time in 20 years and realized that I’m going bald on top of my head. But it was ok, I didn’t care how it looked because I looked like any other student. I dressed like a student not wearing suits or sport coats. I only wore comfortable clothes.. I took a class called the history of the New Testament. What a wonderful class! I also took the history of art and architecture of Rome class. This class was held in the Museum of Arts at Harvard. It was so neat to have two days a week after class to roam the museum. My fellow ALI classmates, ALI classes and ALI instructors are awesome.

I have been able to take some incredible pictures during this time. I take so many pictures and share them with others because I want to share the new joy I experience through my camera lens. I have been on my journey of healing for years, and the last few years have been the best part of this journey. My eyes see things like I’ve never seen them before in my life. I’m coming to grips with being a childhood sexual abuse survivor and finally getting deep into true healing. By attending Harvard to soak up the energy and knowledge, I learned to believe that we can make a difference in the world.

I am excited about our construction business, and implementing what I have learned at Harvard to create a project that will help others around the world. This project is long-term and I am working hard to really place trust and faith in God as He guides my steps in this next phase of life. It doesn’t matter what your religion is or if you’re even religious. Just know that we all have a story and we can do something to make this world a better place.

I have a lot more to share but this post is already long enough. Enjoy some pictures and a Youtube video of a typical day at Harvard from this winter.

Check out this video on YouTube:

 

What I Learned On My Mission Trip To Honduras

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Sometimes in life we find lessons where we least expect to find them. Karla and I are currently experiencing a new adventure in our journey of life. In May I will share this current adventure that we started in January. I want to complete the first part of this adventure before sharing it with you.

On March 14, 2015, I took my second trip to Honduras in the Agalta Valley on a working mission trip. It was an awesome experience to work with 60 other volunteers from all walks of life to help others and hopefully give them hope to keeping going for their dreams.

We worked hard everyday painting, landscaping, sewing, and teaching music.  I was on the concrete mixing crew. It was hard work but good work, and it was great teamwork among the volunteers, and the people of the villages. After a hard day’s work we would return to a 1,400 acre working ranch. We would get cleaned up, eat dinner and relax to get ready for the next day. This trip I spent more time reflecting and learning more about the different organizations that are involved in Honduras.

During times of reflection, a couple of items really stayed on my mind. One was the importance of decisions and listening to that inner voice that resides in us. One evening after working in Honduras and just staring at the mountains and the huge cross from my bunk. I thought about a decision that seemed small at the time but was actually a life changing decision. I was thinking about how in 1981 after finishing architecture school I had to decide on what job offer to take to start my career. One was an offer in DC with a major construction company and the other was with Bechtel in Ann Arbor. I love DC and Karla and I weren’t dating at the time. Something said take the job at Bechtel. At the time both companies were great companies and still are great companies. I went back home to the college town of Ann Arbor and Karla and I reconnected and as they say the rest is history. As I reflected in Honduras I realized how different my life would had been if I had taken the job in DC in 1981. I know for sure God directed my steps and still does when I listen. Every decision we make big or small can be life changing. Believer in God or not, listen to that little voice inside.

The other item that stayed on my mind while in Honduras was about my Grandfather James Moody Sr., who came to America in 1901 from British Honduras, which is now Belize. He worked his way over on a banana boat and landed in New Orleans. He knew no one, as he had left his family and friends in Belize. He was determined to get an education. When he arrived in America, He was put back into the 6th grade at the age of 17 yet he went on to finish college and became a supervisor in the colored only school system. He and my Grandmother raised 8 kids in a shotgun house in Baton Rouge, LA and all 8 kids finished college. He never owned a car. He said he could walk faster to get where he was going than a car could take him. His story is so inspiring to me, and when I am in Honduras I am only a few hundred miles from where the Moody’s once lived. I feel like I am helping the next James Moody Sr. and just a few hundred miles from a big part of our family history. Below is a picture of him. I wish I could talk to him now. When I am in Honduras on the ranch, I feel a sense of peace.

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I reflected about listening to the inner voice (God is my inner voice) that guides me. I reflected on the impact of the decisions we make in life. I thought about how we can do anything we want to do if we just take the first step. My grandfather took that step to come to America, and a few people of HOI.org had a dream over 25 years ago to work in Honduras and start a school. MAP.org started 60 years ago and on this trip gave it’s 5 billion dollars worth of medicine world wide.

As the sun began to set and the moon began to rise I listened to the cows and the the birds outside my window while I laid upon my bed. I thought about how we can make a positive difference in the world. All we have to do is take the first step. Will we take that step??? In May I hope to announce a major project I will embark on to help other adult childhood sexual abuse survivors that are still trying to heal, find God, Joy and Inspiration in the midst of Trauma.

I hope you enjoy the slideshow of pictures and check out the short video of our trip to Honduras. http://youtu.be/KlEfspDE834

A New Journey Begins for 2015

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A lot has taken place since my last post and it has been inspiring, uplifting, fun and exciting. I have recently spoken at 3 events. One for a conference on sexual abuse survivors and sexual abuse prevention for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a new construction class for the Westside Works construction class, and a graduating class of business owner’s for the City of Atlanta. I have gotten comfortable speaking in public on the subject on being a childhood sexual abuse survivor when that is the topic to be discussed. I had my first article that I wrote for Huffington Post published about how travel is healing for me. My number one goal is to be as transparent as possible on my journey of healing from the affects of being a childhood sexual abuse survivor.

I had an opportunity in late November to do a sleep out with other business owners and civic leaders for the Covenant House. The Covenant House helps homeless young adults. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking speaking with many of the young adults that were homeless and they shared why they were homeless. We all can make a positive difference to help others in our communities.

My blog has now been read in 102 countries and has over 19,0000 views. I receive weekly from someone a word of encouragement or a heart-felt thank you for sharing my journey. I know I will always live with the panic attacks, PTSD and fear that comes from being a survivor. This is why I share my story, to help others find God, love, peace and joy internally so we can share it with others.

I recently took a weekend camping trip to Cumberland Island to hike and take pictures of the wildlife, nature and ruins on the island. We picked a very cold weekend to sleep outdoors. We had a great time and the island was beautiful. I had a moment the first night when I almost had a panic attack. I usually camp out in warm weather and my tent is open to the outside. Because it was cold, I used my rain shield to cover my tent from the wind and I couldn’t see the stars or feel the breeze of nature. I woke up during the night in my small tent, I couldn’t see out or feel the breeze. Panic started to come over me because I felt trapped in a small tight space. In the past I might have really started down the road of a full-blown panic attack. Because of my counseling, learning the triggers and coping skills, I gathered myself, opened my rain shield flaps and just breathed and prayed. I was back asleep in about 20 minutes. I share this story because I want others that suffer from panic attacks or know someone who suffers from them to know, that we will always live with them, but we can overcome them with the proper coping skills. I had a great weekend and didn’t let that one episode ruin a great camping trip. I don’t want my blog to ever give the impressive I am free from all affects of my past. I still have moments, but I know how to cope and overcome.

I have some exciting things I am working on for 2015. I will share more about the activities as they take shape. Enjoy the article I wrote for Huffington Post. I have posted some pictures from the last few months. Keep going for your dreams. I am working on a photographic essay book and my theme will be “Finding God, Joy and Inspiration in the midst of Trauma(Chaos)”. It will be my pictures and my journey of healing. I started my photography website Christmas. It is http://www.davemoodyphotography.com check it out when you get time. I am constantly adding pictures to my photography website.

I pray you find a reason to smile everyday and do something to help someone else and don’t expect anything in return.

Here is the link for the Huffington Post article. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/c-david-moody-jr/traveling-is-healing-for-_b_6117166.html

I Know The Direction I Am Going!!

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My last blog was titled Where do I go from here? I really didn’t know where I was going with my blog or sharing my journey to help others heal. I took the last 4 months to listen, reflect and then move forward in the direction I believe I am being lead. I like the direction and the new adventures I have taken and will take over the next 12 months. The first important change in my life has taken the last 2 years to accept and know it is the best decision for the business and myself. I am promoting a well deserving person to President of my company and I am moving to CEO. The time has come to give someone else the day-to-day controls. As I approach 27 years in business, I know this is the time to make the change in leadership. To start a business from scratch and give someone else control is exciting and scary all rolled into one.

My wife and I took a life changing adventure to Europe this pass fall. It was our first trip to Europe. It was more amazing than I imagined. My love for architecture, construction and the architectural history I studied was finally seen by me in person. I marveled at the construction and design of these structures, some 1,000 years or more old. I would just stand or sometimes sit for hours and just feel the energy of the buildings. I would try to figure out how did they build these massive structures with no electricity, tower cranes, concrete trucks, earthmover, or gas engines. Riding in the water taxi in Venice was like being at Disney World, it just didn’t seem real to me. I realized how old the world really is and how small the world is today. I spent 18 great days and saw so many amazing things and places. This trip confirmed I had made the right choice for promotion to President of my company. This was my first trip where I didn’t say I was ready to come home, I could have continued traveling for a long time. I felt free and at peace. I had no worries of panic attacks and no triggers that cause my PTSD to act up. I really enjoyed how I was feeling for those 18 days.

The biggest change I am making is going to Harvard in January for their Advanced Leadership Initiative program. It is for CEO’s with at least 20-25 years experience that want to do something that can make a change in the community, and the world. I have learned in the last 2 years sharing my journey of healing has been a big help to many other survivors of different types of traumas. This will also help me bring closure to my past. I have beat myself up for years for not speaking up and letting my abuser go free and possibly hurt others. My blog, speaking at events, and now this program at Harvard will help me accept I am doing everything possible in a positive way to help others know we not only survivor but we can thrive. This is giving me closure to my past. I might not have spoken up as child, but I will speak up now and share my journey so others can heal and enjoy a great life. I am no expert by any means, I just remember in 1992 when I finally told my wife (the only person I had ever told) about being sexually abused as a child. How my body reacted a few months later with panic attacks and then PTSD was scary and sometimes an unreal experience. There was no one to turn to that had shared the journey of going through panic attacks and the affects of PTSD from childhood sexual abuse. In 1992 I had a nervous breakdown but I had to keep working. My wife who is a registered nurse put me together daily so I could function. I use to say I came as close as possible to having a nervous breakdown without having one, my wife nicely says to me, you had a nervous breakdown, but I just you kept functioning daily, and God gave you the strength to endure and heal. God’s grace, my wife’s love and her hard work and my determination not to let my abuser abuse me again if I didn’t heal, today still drives me. It is interesting how it has taken me 48 years to say the effect on being sexually abused as a child causes so many hurts and problems for the victim. This is why I speak up, so many victims don’t have the support system I had, and feel so all alone. I am no longer ashamed to say I have panic attacks, PTSD and suffered a nervous breakdown in 1992, all from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. The damage done is for ever, but us victims can overcome and enjoy a great and happy life. My goal is to help others heal, and my mind is open to the best way I can help. I am no expert, just a survivor that is no longer ashamed of my past and willing to share my journey to help others be free and heal.

Please enjoy some pictures from our trip to Europe. I saw some of the most stunning sunsets and sunrises I have ever witness. I will keep you posted on my journey and I pray that anyone that suffers from any kind of trauma, will get the help needed to continue to heal. Life is great and the journey is awesome. I love you all and my blog has now been read in 100 countries. Enjoy a link from a article on my journey in Huffington Post.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5838914?1411129521

Where Do I Go From Here???

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Update on July 28, 2014. A video has been added at the end of the post.

Welcome back to moodyspeaks. I have reach the crossroads of my blog. Where do I go from here??? It has been a great experience, a healing experience, a spiritual experience and a learning experience writing my blog. I started my blog on October 3, 2012. I had no idea what I would write for each post and I never imagined my blog would be read in over 80 countries. The most amazing fact for me is since October 3, 2012, there has only been 1 day that someone somewhere in the world didn’t read a post in my blog. I have been humbled by the readership and responses. To date there has been over 16,183 views of my blog. I never dreamed my blog would go on this long, or the subject of being a childhood sexual abuse survivor would impact so many people in the world. This blog started as a way to celebrate 25 years in business yet God had another plan for my blog. My blog also shared the impact on my life from suffering from PTSD, panic attacks and other items from being a childhood sexual abuse survivor. My blog also talked about healing, hope, love and my walk with God on this journey of life and healing.

The responses to date have been overwhelming and positive. I use to feel all alone on this journey of healing before starting my blog. I have become aware of many survivors that exist in this world from sexual abuse.  I have kept writing about my journey of healing to keep giving hope to others and a voice to those that still suffer in silence. That is why I am asking now, where do I go from here??? How do I keep helping others heal? How do I keep giving others hope that not just surviving but thriving is possible in life? I want others to know who suffer from any type of childhood abuse that we can be happy, have great careers and a enjoyable life. We will never forget the past hurt and trauma, but it doesn’t have to consume us or take our joy. I remember when I hit my lowest point in 1992 and thought I would never recover from my panic attacks and PTSD. I look back and know there is a God, because only the grace of God, the good people God put in my life to recover, got me to where I am today. I wish I could have found someone who shared their story of overcoming childhood sexual abuse when I was suffering and didn’t think I would make it.

Where do I go from here??? Do I keep sharing my journey of healing? I never dreamed I would have the courage to tell the world I had been sexually abused as a child and I suffered from PTSD and panic attacks. I knew in my heart I had to one day help others that suffered in silence and I didn’t know how I would help. Then I started my blog and my blog became the way I would help other survivors. I have never been a writer or dreamed of writing. I just knew speaking from the heart and being transparent was the best way to get my journey of healing across to others in the world. .

I have no idea where I go from here on this journey of life. I am excited about the future, my business and this journey. Enjoy some recent pictures of nature, and a recently completed construction project. I am going to close with the names of every country that someone has read my blog. Until I write again. May God keep you, and you keep enjoying this journey of life. Embrace everyday like there is no tomorrow. Keep going for your dreams and never give up and smile everyday. Give love and allow yourself to receive love from others. Remove the things and people who keep you from your joy. Remember we all have a story, and it is up to us how it ends. I love you all and I pray that you exceed your greatest dreams. Please pray I hear and follow what is next on my journey of sharing my story to give others hope and help others heal. When you can, help someone else and expect nothing in return.

Here is the list of all the countries where my blog has been read. USA, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Egypt, Brazil, India, Russian, Republic of Korea, Panama, South Africa, Philippines, Mexico, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Bermuda, Jamaica, New Zealand, Malaysia, Bahamas, Japan, Jordan, Ireland, France, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Puerto Rico, Palestine, Spain, Algeria, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Iraq, Pakistan, Italy, Costa Rico, Sweden, Argentina, Honduras, Morocco, Nigeria, Finland, Poland, Yemen, Portugal, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Thailand, Ghana, Cyprus, Dominica, Kenya, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Israel, Guyana, Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Kuwait, Tunisia, Syrian, Peru, Guatemala, Djibouti, Romania, Taiwan, Chile, Lithuania, Qatar, Turkey, Slovenia, Angola, Oman, Denmark, Colombia, Bahrain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Greece, Dominican Republic, Nepal, Nicaragua

When you have time please view my survivor story video produced by Darkness to Light. The filming was done 2 years ago and recently this segment was released on YouTube.

Getting Outside of My Comfort Zone

 

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It has been a little while since I wrote my last post for my blog. I wanted to let some time go by and reflect on my journey on healing and life. I am now 58 years old and I have learned how fast times goes by and how much I still want to learn about life. This blog was started to celebrate 25 years in business. I quickly realized as I opened up and dug deep inside, I couldn’t tell an accurate story on my journey in business without telling the accurate story of my life. As I wrote each post early in my blog, I begin to realize I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor who kept it quiet most of my life. I learned that the abuse had changed and influenced my entire life. I never realized until writing this blog and going deep into myself, how my childhood trauma of sexual abuse had changed my life forever. I learned if I wanted to heal completely and help others heal, I had to get out my comfort zone.

In earlier post I wrote about suffering from panic attacks, PTSD and other affects of my childhood trauma. I want to focus more on the positive of my journey of healing since I started writing my blog. Here are the top ten positive things I have learned since starting my blog.

1. I am not alone in this struggle. Unfortunately childhood sexual abuse happens far to often to innocent children. Many of us suffer in silence. My positive is we are not alone, and we are strong. We not only survive, we can thrive. I speak for those that can’t talk and still suffer in silence.

2. It was not my fault I was sexually abused as a child. So often we blame ourselves for letting someone sexually abuse us as children. My positive, I finally accept I was the victim and the abuser took advantage of my innocence. It was not my fault and I can release this guilt.

3. Love is the greatest gift, to be able to give love and receive love. I have always been able to love, but it was hard for me to accept being loved because I always felt tarnished from being a sexual abuse survivor. My positive, real love is great to give and receive.

4. Don’t live in the past. For years I have lived in the past wishing it never happened. I felt guilty for not speaking up as child to prosecute legally my abuser. My positive, was learning forgiveness, especially forgiving myself. Having my faith in God and to trust God that things will be handled with my abuser even though I will not know how it is handled. I learned I had to let go of the past and live in the now.

5. It is ok to be transparent with others and share my story of being a sexual abuse survivor. My positive, it has been healing for me to speak up for those that suffer in silence. I realize sharing my journey of healing is helping others heal and most importantly giving myself and others hope our past doesn’t have to be our future.

6. Get out of my comfort zone. I learned I was staying in my comfort zone of life. I gained the knowledge that we can live in pain and get comfortable with that pain and stay in that place. I knew what living in that pain was like and it had become comfortable but not enjoyable, just livable. My positive, I learned to push myself out of my comfort zone of life. I was afraid what life might feel like to share my story. Would the pain be worst? Would people laugh, and distant themselves from me? Would my PTSD or panic attacks be worst if I got out my comfort zone? None of my fears came true. I have learned to truly embrace my family, the people close to me, and my business. I feel being in nature in a new way that I have never felt before in life. It is like my eyes are now open for the first time. I hike and take pictures so my pictures can tell a story without any words, I want my pictures to provide an enjoyable journey for people. Everyday I want to give someone hope by my actions and words.

7. Believe in your dreams, they might come true. I have suffered from low self-esteem my entire life after being sexually abused as a child, and I never believed I would get close to living my dream or good things happen for kids that had been tarnished by sexually abuse. My positive, I have exceeded my dreams. Good things will happen in life and I am stronger than I ever realized. I have worked hard, I keep learning and I refused to quit. What happened to me as child actually made me push myself even though I never felt worthy of anything good coming my way. I almost went through life missing all of the good in my life because for 47 years of my 58 years of living, I lived in fear of my childhood past.

8. Embrace every minute of life. My positive, find a reason to smile and be thankful for being able to wake up and face another day. Regardless of the challenges, I embrace everyday with thanks and know nothing stays the same for too long. Embrace my time on earth and make the most of it and do something to help others along the way. Hope is powerful, it helps me know I have a chance to do incredible things I dream about everyday.

9. Get my proper rest along with my physical, emotional and spiritual exercises. My positive, when I get my proper rest, I feel better and I am ready to face the world.  When I get my proper physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment I am like a well running finely turned engine. I can face the day and know I will survive and I feel I can do things I once thought were impossible.

10. God is in control of my life. My positive, a closer relationship with God and a desire to learn more about my religion and other religions. I have a healthy respect for God and what I can still learn everyday. I respect the earth, and the limited time we have on earth. I try not to waste time. I want to make our planet a better place for those that will come behind me.

Today, May 21 as I post this to my blog, I turned 58 years old. I feel like a young adult since I started this journey and full of emotion to seize the positive energy of life and those around me. I am enjoying life even though it is all unknown, it is the excitement of freeing myself of my past and setting new dreams to achieve. I am enjoying this journey of life. I pray I have many years to go and I promised God and myself, I won’t look back worrying and living in fear from my past trauma. I am going to embrace everyday with a smile and hopefully make a difference in small way to give someone else hope that life is worth living. We all have story to tell and it is up to us how our story ends.

Until next time, keep enjoying this journey of life and enjoy the pictures in the sideshow. By the way turning 58 is pretty cool. My life is like my passion of architecture and construction. We keep building and getting better with every project, everyday.

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Real Love is Healing

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Hello and welcome back to Moodyspeaks. The month since my last post has been inspiring, uplifting and educational. I have been inspired by my fellow survivors stories and the courage of their journey for healing of their mind, body and soul. I have learned the journey of healing has many paths and is different for each person. I have seen some common threads about being a childhood sexual abuse survivor. Many of us suffer from panic attacks, PTSD, low self-esteem, and blame ourselves for the abuse. Many of us feel it is our fault that the abuse happened. Unfortunately many survivors because of the trauma and pain turn to drugs, alcohol and other destructive behaviors. I pray for all of us survivors to have the strength to heal. I have joined a few adult sexually abused survivor Facebook groups. I have been inspired by the courage of my fellow survivors. I realize that many of us survivors suffer in silence because of the guilt, shame and worry of what others will think about us as a sexual abuse survivor. I was like that for 45 years, afraid of what would people think of me being a childhood sexual abuse survivor. I started this blog 18 months ago to help with my healing process and give a voice to those survivors that might never get comfortable enough to say it out loud, that they had been sexually abused. Everyone has to heal in their way, and I speak for those that suffer in silence. I write to give hope and show healing is possible and a great life is livable.

Recently I had an experience that shows what my title of this post is about; Real Love is Healing. Last month I had to get a root canal from my dentist. He has been my dentist for 20 years. I had never told him I suffer from panic attacks or why I suffer from them. Anyway he had to use a rubber dam in my mouth. Everything was going well but the laying flat in the dentist chair and trouble breathing from the rubber dam started a panic attack. I was getting very anxious and starting to breathe fast and I was starting to panic. I could see my dentist was getting frustrated because I was not cooperating very well at that moment. Because of my new peace from the healing process, I raised my hand to stop, and explained to my dentist I was having a panic attack and why I have them. I immediately saw his assistant and my dentist go from frustration to compassion for me. They gave me all of the time I needed to regain my composure and we completed the root canal. Once again I saw what love in people can do for another person. Their love poured out for me as a person in need and their action showed that love. My wife is the greatest person on earth. Her love over the years has been unconditional and her patience in this journey of healing has been my strength. My wife and my kids love for me, gives me the courage to keep healing and sharing my story. I have learned the power of true love from people.

My healing journey has helped me for the first time run my business with out the fear of having a panic attack in a meeting or letting anxiety get the best of me for no reason at all. In the past just certain things could trigger the thoughts of being abused and create panic. I am handling the triggers must better as I heal and speak out. I have more patience in business situations. I am not letting anxiety drive me to make emotional decisions. I am excited about running the business in the second half of my life. This healing process gives a calmness I have never had before in stressful situations. I still have my PTSD moments and panic moments, but they are fewer and less powerful than the past. In the past I enjoyed activities and events but it was short-lived. I would always worry about having a panic attack or what would people think if they knew I had been sexually abused as a child. I now fully enjoy activities and events until complete because I now know how to handle those anxious thoughts that try to creep in my mind. Because of the healing process, my blog and getting involved with organizations like the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, I feel like I am helping others heal. I always carried a guilt because I never spoke up and I let my abuser go free and unpunished. I am making a difference in my way now, and this gives me a release from the guilt of letting him go unpunished.

Every day is good day that I can wake up and face the challenges of the day, and hopefully give someone hope for healing. I pray my example of healing gives another survivor hope and the desire to go for their dreams. We are strong and not alone on this journey of life. My faith in God, and God’s grace and love gives me the courage to speak up about the power of healing from sexual abuse. We not only survive but can thrive. Never lose hope, we are in this world together, and together we can heal.

Please enjoy the slide show of some recent activities,  and the video of a recent day hiking. I enjoy hiking so much, the calmness and exercise from hiking is important to my healing.

Until next time keep enjoying life and healing. Go for your Dreams.

A New And Better Feeling Is Starting

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I want to wish everyone a new and exciting 2014. Welcome back to Moodyspeaks and my personal journey in life and business. Thanks for taking time for reading my blog and sharing my blog with others. My blog has been viewed over 14,175 times and in 65 countries. One of the things I have learned since starting my blog, and writing about being a sexual abuse survivor. I have learned there aren’t many places to go and read or listen to someone talk about the journey and impact sexual abuse has on their lives or the success in overcoming  the damage done. So often we read about successful people, athletes, entertainers, and other celebrities coming out and saying they had been sexually abused as a child, but they don’t really talk about their journey of healing.

By the feedback and number of readers, I realized so many people want to understand the journey of healing. I know first hand when you are going through the panic attacks and affects of PTSD from childhood sexual abuse, you feel so alone and weird. You really don’t want to discuss it with anyone. During my lowest points of dealing with being sexually abused as a child, I searched for stories of people who describe their journey of healing, and I could not find that story. I wanted to read and listen to others that overcame panic attacks, PTSD, and other affects survivors suffer from in life. Because I knew how much I needed to hear and read about the journey of healing.  I decided to be transparent with my blog and the journey of healing. I hope my story will help someone else heal and be able to enjoy a happy and fulfilling life.

I want others to know we are not alone, we aren’t weird, and most importantly we can overcome and thrive with great lives. As I go through my science experiment of this journey, I have learned so much about the body and mind. I still have moments when a trigger, such as someone trying to take advantage of me in a daily life or business situation, or someone I trust breaks that trust, I can feel my PTSD start to overcome my body. My body starts to feel cold and I can’t seem to warm up, I feel my body tense up, I can get sluggish, and I might even get a low-grade headache. Sometimes I feel the doom and gloom kick in. I use to fight this feeling and it only made it worse.  Now when something triggers PTSD or the panic feeling, I just go with it, I let it run its course. I tell myself everything is ok and just allow my body and mind to go through the process. Because now I understand and allow the process to run its course, and it is over much quicker and easier.

I still have moments with the feelings of panic attacks. Even though I have not had a full-blown panic attack in 20 years, I have the feeling creep up more than I like, but I take time to breathe, relax and get back in the game of life. Because I had my first one driving 23 years ago, I still have some days when driving alone can take me back 23 years to my first panic attack. Even though I understand panic attacks. Just the thought of them can still make me nervous. I have missed meetings at times because of the panic attack feeling and I just want to stay in my safe zone. My safe zone is my office, home, exercises, or outdoors with nature. Sometimes I miss my rotary meetings and other business meetings because of that panic feeling and I just don’t feel like fighting the panic feeling of driving, even though I know everything really is ok. I know for some people reading this post will think this is weird, but those that have lived through panic attacks and or PTSD understands every word.

Over the last 23 years when it all started, I use to think I was weak because I couldn’t rid myself of panic attacks, PTSD and other affects from my childhood trauma. But since I started this journey in 2010 when I visited the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy and started on a true path of healing, I have realized how strong I really have been in my life. I had the courage to start a business from scratch, raise a family, be involved in my community, push myself when I didn’t want to drive alone. I push myself when the PTSD wanted me to stop trying. I have pushed myself and never lost the desire to be happy, to smile and enjoy life. I pushed myself to never lose my faith in God, I push myself to let my life and my actions give others hope for happiness. I have pushed myself to share my story with whomever wants to read about my journey of healing.

I am working hard in my business with running it with a new found freedom from my childhood trauma. I am at a new place in my life and it is very weird for me. I spent the last 47 years hiding from my childhood sexual abuse. For the first time I am transparent with myself about it, it happened, and I am stronger and better than I have given myself credit. I am already seeing the benefits of some decisions I have taken in my business, my personal life and photography. For the first time my eyes are wide open, my mind and heart is wide open to receive love and enjoy the beauty that awaits me in life.

I will continue to share this journey of healing, and please pray for all of us that have suffered a trauma that still impacts our lives. Pray we realize we are not alone and our past won’t control our present or future. We are more than surviving, we are thriving.

Keep going for your dreams and enjoy life. Life is great and jump in and enjoy it all. Please enjoy some recent pictures I took over the last month. We have a beaver and an otter taking over our pond. I have attached quick  video from me just saying a few words. I thought I would try something new by saying few words on a video to go along with my written words. The video is 55 seconds. I will be back soon to Moodyspeaks. Enjoy

What Could We Do If We Used 100% of Our Talents???

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Welcome back for my latest post. On December 8th, my wife and I were out-of-town in the Bahamas for a friend’s from college birthday party. That Sunday morning I was watching on my iPad a friend’s pastor give a sermon back in Atlanta. The pastor asked “what would an extraordinary person do?” That question started me thinking about something that has concerned me about myself. I have asked myself a certain question over the last few years, “what could I do if I used 100% of my talents, my brain, my heart in everything I did everyday?” The reason I asked this question was over the last few years I finally started to peel back the layers of my life and evaluate how childhood sexual abuse has affected my entire life.

Over the last 15 months since I started my blog, I started to get more information from professionals on the impact of childhood sexual abuse. I really started to understand more about myself and how sharing my story is helping others have hope and heal.  I learned most survivors like myself suffer in silence for many reasons. Most people who have spoken out about being sexually abused usually just say they were abused, but few talk about the journey of healing and the impact it is having on their life. After I started my blog and I began talking with professionals on sexual abuse, I realized some one has to speak up and tell the story of the impact of childhood sexual abuse and give hope that we can not only survive but thrive in our lives.

I share my journey in hope I free myself and others from the pain of childhood sexual abuse. I share my story of living with fear, anxiety and PTSD in hopes that it will help someone heal faster and find peace sooner than the 47 year journey I have been on dealing with my childhood past. When I started having panic attacks in 1992, I focused more on understanding panic attacks, my therapist helped me learn they started from me finally saying I had been sexually abused. Unfortunately I spent the next 20 years learning how to manage my panic attacks and PTSD, but I didn’t really dig into the long-term effect my childhood trauma has had on my life. I guess I still wasn’t ready to dig that deep inside. Overall my life is very good and I am very thankful for my blessings in my life. In 2010 I went to visit the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, an agency that helps abused children heal. I meet the executive director Nancy Chandler and after my tears, I felt a desire to learn more about the impact on my life. It would be the Penn State coach sexual abuse scandal that finally made me dig deeper and take a journey into the impact of my entire life from sexual abuse.

As I begin to dig over the last few years into my past and my inner chambers of mind and my heart. I learned some very helpful things about myself. I learned I suffered from many of the same things as other survivors. I also realized there isn’t many places for childhood sexual abuse survivors as adults to go and learn why we feel the way we do, react the way we do from our childhood sexual abuse. The feedback to date and the fact my blog has been read in 65 countries and over 13,800 views confirmed there is a need for a safe place for adult childhood survivors to go and get information about the journey of healing. I am not a professional in any way about sexual abuse, just a man who is sharing his story in hopes we can prevent sexual abuse to children and give other survivors hope for a peaceful and loving life.

Since I have started this journey I have found my senses have been heighten. I see nature more clearly and beautiful. I hear the noises of nature more clearly, I experience love from others more deeply. I use my pictures I take now as a way to tell a story without saying a word. I see through my camera lens more clearly. I look at people now and can feel their energy and no longer waste my time with people who have negative energy or thinking I can save them from themselves.

I am learning not to worry just to worry, I am learning not to live in fear and thinking the other shoe will drop at any minute. I have learned PTSD and anxiety is real and when it hits, I just have to ride it out. In the local paper a few days ago, a 28-year-old sexual abuse survivor spoke at the trial of the person convicted of sexually abusing him as child. He said it so well ” it doesn’t affect me on a day-to-day basis, but it is paralyzing when it does set in”, and he said “I want to let the court know even at 28 years old, it’s still something I deal with”.

This is why I tell my story, I want us survivors to know we are not alone and we can do great things. We don’t have to let it paralyze us forever. I think because I never got closure to see the person punished for their crime probably adds to my anxiety and fears.

I am learning to quiet my mind and enjoy the second half of life with my family, my business and myself. I have no idea where this journey will take me, but I am determined to keep healing and helping others heal and keep going for my dreams. I have promised myself let’s see what I can do if I use 100% of my talents, mind and my heart everyday. In the past I have probably only used 60% of my talents because of my childhood trauma. In the past I didn’t think I deserved anything good to happen in my life.

As I stated in my last post I am using myself as a science experiment on healing  and overcoming PTSD and anxiety. Life is good, the future is bright, let’s all keep growing and going for our dreams.

Enjoy the YouTube video I did for my wife a few weeks ago for our 31st wedding anniversary. I thank God everyday for a great family and life. I am going where God directs me with my life, business, and the sharing my journey.

Enjoy the slide show and talk to you soon. Never give up hope, we can overcome any challenges in our life. Smile and make someone else smile today.

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