Today’s SameHere Hero Story: Andrew Wilson
When I was 13 years old I was raped. I hid and suppressed what happened to me for the next 30 years of my life. My trauma impacted all of my social interactions and personal relationships as well as my personal behavior. The trauma I experienced was extremely confusing to me because I knew the person who assaulted me. I felt tremendous shame and guilt (I must have done something wrong). I suppressed what happened to me for the next 30 years of my life. In my forties, I started to suffer from panic attacks, depression, and thoughts of suicide. My doctor put me on antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications. I started to experience panic attacks and nightmares on a consistent basis. All of these experiences started to occur in my forties, I had been able to suppress and block out my trauma up until that point.
I asked for help in my forties because my behavioral choices were starting to dismantle my family and personal life, I was drinking heavily and using drugs (pot) to numb myself to the emotional pain. Prior to my drug and alcohol use, I was engaging in obsessive/compulsive behavior in college. I ran and controlled my food intake losing 45 pounds, my parents thought I was suffering from anorexia.
I was able to tell my wife in my forties, I was at a low point and fearful that I was going to lose her and my family. I put my wife through a lot with my drinking and drug use. My wife got me to go to counseling, I was finally able to talk and open up about my experience. She was also able to get me to write ( a workbook for victims of sexual abuse ), it was extremely helpful to me. I practice self care through exercise, eating healthy, breathing exercises, meditation and prayer. I have been an ice hockey goaltender since I was 7 years old, hockey has always been a positive outlet for me. I was able to come off of my anti depressant medication, I still use my anti anxiety medication for sleep and panic attacks.
Going public with my story was a gradual process. I let it out a little at a time. I told my wife first in my forties, I told my therapist a year later, I told select people in my life over the next 15 years, a couple of weeks ago I posted my story in a facebook group called ” Lift the Mask ” and finally I posted my story to my personal Facebook page for the world to see. I am no longer ashamed or feel guilty about what happened to me. The positive response I have received from the members of the ” Lift the Mask ” community has been overwhelming. I can not express enough how helpful the group has been to me. I finally have told my truth, I feel like I am finally free from the pain that my trauma caused me and my family. I want to be able to help others who have had a similar experience