Today’s SameHere Hero Story: Emma Goldman-Sherman
Life hit me with autism and gender dysphoria. I was sexually abused from infancy until I was 12 years old. At 19 I lost my physically and emotionally abusive mother to cancer; she was 44. When I gave birth at 37, my traumatic memories returned, and I realized that I needed to do some serious healing. As I healed from PTSD, I uncovered autism at 55. It’s amazing to learn so much and be alive to share it!
I was suicidal at times, depressed for decades. I had no memory of abuse, so I thought something must be wrong with me. I struggled to maintain relationships never thinking it was trauma and autism. My therapists were useless until very recently with new methods from polyvagal theory and IFS.
I started therapy at age 8, but nothing helped. No one diagnosed girls with autism back then, especially if they got good grades. I was misdiagnosed and drugged with everything you can imagine. I coped by writing, and pouring my heart onto the page helped me enormously. Without writing, because I have alexithymia, I wouldn’t even know how I felt. By writing, I could name my feelings and try to understand myself.
Walking/hiking in nature, loving my dog, meditating, breathing exercises, regular exercises and healthy eating has helped a lot. Knitting helps me too as a form of bilateral stimulation (walking and EMDR are other forms of bilateral stimulation). Any kind of creative activity helps me to calm and reset and get to know myself better. Especially writing.
I’ve been sharing my story for a few years now as a playwright. My play FUKT (www.FUKT-the-play.com) will be produced this fall (2022) in NYC. If you’re not in NYC, it will also livestream! It’s an oddly uplifting show about traumatic memories and healing.
I’m hoping to help whoever is out there who is living with a secret or a mystery they can’t solve, whoever is hurting and wants to feel less alone. And the people who love people suffering with trauma, they need to understand what’s happening in our brains – this show gives people a way to understand.
The reaction to hearing my story depends on who you tell. My family is not interested, but that doesn’t surprise me. My partner still loves me and supports me. My friends, my true friends, have stood by me. And I have found my people the more I stand in my truth. But the reality is that you don’t have to get stuck in the telling forever. You can heal and move on.