Depression and child sexual abuse

In the last of the trilogy of posts on depression, renowned therapist Anna Chandy, also author of the book Battles of the Mind, talks about the relationship between sexual abuse and depression. I have a few friends who are victims of CSA (child sexual abuse) and while they have been strong enough to move on and build a good life, the remnants still haunt them sometimes.

It's not easy and is a process of acceptance if an individual has been sexually abused as a child. The process is not just about the survivor but also the family or support system of the survivor. For the survivor to recover, it is valuable that the whole family seeks support. 

Shame associated with abuse is deep-rooted. This is primarily because the survivor of abuse is held responsible. This is absolutely not true. The person was a victim and feels powerless, unable to comprehend what is happening. At some level they know something is wrong but feel confused, guilty and afraid. If and when they share their feelings with an adult, very often, they are dismissed, the feelings negated or they are even told that they are imagining things. This leaves them more confused and ashamed.

It is important to recognise the need to share. If it is for help, then sharing with professionals is most helpful as they have the skills and competence to help others navigate and process this towards recovery and healing. It is important to first understand your purpose for sharing with friends and also be aware that you may or may not receive the support you are seeking when you share with friends.

Survivors very often feel unworthy, unloved and unable to trust in relationships; so unless they work through these issues, they play out in relationships. Survivors also have personal boundary issues since theirs was violated in childhood and it is important they learn to build a personal boundary.

When individuals do not have firm personal boundaries, there is a possibility that they feel used, betrayed and victimised. After a while, because they feel victimised, they could be driven to persecute others. These are all harmful instances and cause self-destruction.

To find out how to get help and why you should never feel shamed of depression read the earlier posts here

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