“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” -Graham Green

When we experience trauma today, one of our go to methods for coping are mental health professionals.  The benefits of counseling after a tragedy are important, but unfortunately, access to those benefits can be tough. A report from the National Center for Children in Poverty showed that 75 to 80 percent of children and youth in need of mental health services do not receive them.  Gaps in medical coverage and higher costs for caregivers mean that even where professionals are available, there are still barriers to getting services.

Writing for the Soul Workshop™offers youth that have already been identified as at-risk, an opportunity to work with caring licensed counselors, facilitators, and mentors to improve their ability to develop a positive attitude towards their future through writing and sharing. Exposure to our program is enough to start the healing process, and equip participants with tools and resources that can help them in many different ways.

Gary accessed our program and wrote about being sexually abused by his father. Listen as he shares how Writing for the Soul Workshop™ changed Gary’s life and then read his submission from Stories of Hope:

Out of The Ashes by Gary, Stories of Hope TEASER:

I know there are others like me that have been abused or who struggle with severe anger issues. That’s why I decided to share my story…. here it is. From the time of my birth to the age of six, I was abused. I suffered severe child abuse from someone I thought I could trust and love. That person was my father. I should call my father “Dad” but I refused to do so. My father is a monster …and this is what he did to my life.

My father was a manipulator and an alcoholic. When he drank, my father became very angry. When he got angry, he got violent. When he wasn’t being violent, he did other things to me.

Being in that house was like being in a fiery house of hell and no one knew. My father would act nice in public and then beat me at home …that two-faced loser. He got away with it until one day after beating me; my mother noticed the bruises on my arms and legs. I believe I was around 5 1/2 years old. She noticed them while drying me off after giving me a bath.

She confronted my father and he began hitting her. It was at night, and I was asleep. I heard a big boom and woke up. I heard the sound of my mother’s voice crying out for my neighbors to help. She cried out for help to protect a newborn, me and my other brothers. It all happened so fast.

Later that week, my mom filed for a divorce. I didn’t even know that it was called a divorce. Mom simply told me that her and my father weren’t going to live together anymore. About six months later, my father signed his parental rights away from my brother and me. END OF TEASER. 

Gary’s testimony about how Writing for the Soul Workshop™ changed his life and his behavior, is just one of many from the youth and parents that have been impacted by our programs. Now we want to make an even bigger impact. That’s why TGIM has partnered with The Arc of Hope for Children to launch the #WriteForHope Project. 

Ark of Hope for Children is empowering advocates and donors to bring care and awareness to those victimized as children by human trafficking, child abuse and bullying. Ark of Hope is a human rights umbrella organization using a trauma informed approach to serve survivors through our various programs. Together, we want to help you tell your story.

What’s your story?

We all have a story to tell. Let us help you tell yours. All ages are welcome to participate. Who knows …your story just may impact someone elses life. Submit your short story, poem, music, and art to be included in the release of ‘Removing Chains of Child Abuse’.

About Removing Chains of Child Abuse

The short stories collected in ‘Removing Chains of Child Abuse’ are from survivors of human trafficking, child abuse and bullying. This project was made possible through our Community Partnership with Ark of Hope for Children. Ark of Hope is a human rights umbrella organization using a trauma informed approach to serve survivors through our various programs, including sharing their stories through our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ program.

A recent study found that almost 76% of adults reporting child physical abuse and neglect have at least one psychiatric disorder in their lifetime, and nearly 50% have three or more psychiatric disorders. Exposure to our program is enough to start the healing process, and equip participants with tools and resources that can help them in many different ways.  These powerful stories help not only the writers, but will show other survivors that they are not alone and they too can recover.

Guidelines for Sharing Your Story

Please do not submit manuscripts that contain any of the following: obscene or explicit material, unnecessary profanity, vulgarity, or inappropriate or graphic love scenes. Any material considered for publication that is found to be graphic  will require a mandatory edit of the material and may result in a rejection of the material.

Please note that we do not publish graphic material. Therefore, you may be asked to remove graphic material or language.

Submitting your story is easy! Simply use the Contact Form below, or send your story to us via email at: submissions@tgimonline.us.  Everyone who submits their story will receive a complimentary Stories of Hope eBook which contains Gary’s story for participating.

About Stories of Hope:

Stories of Hope is a compilation of heart wrenching, and liberating short stories written by youth participating in Writing for the Soul Workshop™ around the world. Through a unique structure offering both engagement -and reward, this workshop brings education and passion together in a way that offers permanent life changing impact. As noted in the forward by educator Sarah Lankford, these unique and amazing individuals have received a rare opportunity to share a story they needed to share … and develop a love of writing as a result.

iii-stories-of-hope-cover-300dpi

Details

Soft Cover: $12.99
eBook: $9.99
Size: 6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Color: Black & White on White paper
Page Count: 158 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1537368849
ISBN-10: 1537368842
BISAC: Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / General
buy-now

Purchase a copy of the book, or download the eBook to read it from your favorite device today! Stay connected with updates from our workshops in the United States on Facebook at: Writing for the Soul Workshop™ in North America, and Ark of Hope For Children.

3 thoughts on “Our Impact: The #WriteForHope Project

  1. Matt thank you so much for sharing your story!

    Yes it is so common that people that have affectedly “stuffed” their memories have them resurface up to 20 years later, with a vengeance. We are here with you in what you’re going through, at whatever level you allow, and are so happy you are getting counselling therapy!

    The C-PTSD will lessen over time, as you see your therapist, and I believe it can do so even faster when we connect with individuals that are willing to be that open door or window for us when we need it. I’m praying you have or will find that in person and/or through our RemovingChains.org support website.

    Blair Corbett

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Update:
    The #WriteForHope Project recieved its first submission, and you wouldn’t believe where it came from. It was submitted from the UK. In Petworth West Sussex England to be exact. That means that this project is already having a global impact.

    We also recieved a story that touched me to the core, and I had to post it here. Not just because it moved me, but also because it comes with links to connect with the author for support while writing your story. Sometimes, writing our story is hard. For some of us, it means re-living our experiences all over again. Even though those experiences are relived on paper, it can still be a very difficult thing to do.

    RECENT SUBMISSION:

    My daily life of living as a survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Living with Dissociation, Anxiety, and PTSD by Matt Pappas

    Living with a history of childhood sexual abuse as a guy, is not something many are willing to talk about. As men, we are trained to be tough, strong, hide our feelings, and never ask for help. So many think that speaking out and seeking help, or showing emotions is a sign of weakness. It’s a stigma that I am doing my part to break. 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused as a child, and those feelings are with us our entire lives. It affects every part of our daily life whether we realize it or not. It’s only by seeking help and reaching out that we can feel better and live the life we want and deserve.

    This is a bit of my story of what it’s like living with this past. My hope by reading this is that if you or someone you know has experienced this type of abuse, or any other type, go get help! Stop living in fear and shame, there is healing available and caring people all over the world that want to help and they understand what you are going though. I know, I live with it daily and seeking help was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

    What does living with PTSD/CPTSD mean to me? That’s both an easy question and a difficult one, mainly because while I could spout off a bunch of facts about what it is, the symptoms, causes, treatments, and all that, it’s much more personal to someone who suffers from it.

    Living with the trauma of being sexually abused when I was young kid is something that I suppressed for about 30 years before I finally realized it was high time to reach out for help. It’s not something I ever “forgot”, but rather just pushed aside and compartmentalized so much that I managed to never consciously deal with it. The little box in the closet in my head that holds these memories was pushed to the back and then buried under decades of other memories.

    I started talking to a therapist about the abuse in the late summer of 2015 and since that time we discovered that I suffer from PTSD, and with that, Dissociation, Flashbacks, Anxiety, and the Depression that comes from it all.

    One of the biggest problems of living with PTSD means that I suffer from flashbacks of the trauma. They usually hit me in the mornings, and average about 5 times per week. They vary in intensity but normally last for a few minutes, presenting various memories of what transpired at the hands of the perpetrator. Sometimes the memories are so vivid and intense that they cause me to literally freeze and feel stuck, and other times they are just random visions of the room or other places that the abuse took place in.

    So many people are unable to function after experiencing these events; they can be out of commission for hours, the entire day or even longer. For me though, it’s different, I dissociate while having a flashback. So after the event is over, I am actually ok after a few minutes and I can go on about my day. In exploring why this happens, I’ve learned that my mind is protecting me and only allowing me to experience some of the trauma at a time. On top of that, I’ve learned that I dissociated while the sexual abuse events were happening to me, so now when I have flashback, I’m dissociating within a dissociative event. Literally having traumatic memories about something I can’t even fully recall because my mind took me away while it happened.

    Other parts of having PTSD mean high levels at Anxiety. It’s somewhat rare for me to actually be able to relax, unwind, and enjoy life in the moment because I’m always worried about something. My mind doesn’t shut off, it’s constantly thinking about, well everything. When is the next flashback coming, why didn’t one happen today, what if something goes wrong that I can’t fix work? What are we going to do for a vacation this year, how will my youngest do on a big test, what if the car breaks down? You get the picture, right?

    Then there’s the Dissociation, the spacing out. I do that quite often, at home, out and about, hanging out with friends, virtually anywhere or anytime. I’ll just gaze off into nowhere, and then come back after a few minutes. One of the most annoying things about that is having to reread a paragraph or page of a book a couple times so I can comprehend it and retain it. Even writing this article, I will have to go back when I’m done to make sure I don’t repeat myself.

    Another tough thing to deal with is Change, what an awful thing that is. I don’t adapt well to it; in fact, I pretty much can’t stand it. I like my structure and my routine, that’s when I’m most comfortable and functioning at my best. When life throws curve balls of any kind, it totally throws me for a loop. Even something as small as a friend bailing on me at the last minute and cancelling plans to do something can send me spiraling down from a normal or even good state of mind, into depression within minutes.

    Now, think about that in the context of bigger life changes that happen and you can see how hard adapting can be at times.
    Lastly, when your mind is constantly thinking, and you don’t take time to live and enjoy life, you open yourself up to depression.

    The overwhelming sadness and despair can hit at any time. I get so used to my brain going 100 mph that when it finally decides it’s had enough for a while, I shut down and just do pretty much nothing but stay home and try to self sooth. I’ll watch TV, listen to music, play my bass, read, or just lay around doing nothing.

    After reading that you might wonder how I even function on a daily basis. The answer is, I just find a way to “just do it”. I know that sounds cliché but the fact is, I force myself to get up each morning and work through my day as best I can. I go to work in my career as an Engineer, and put on a happy face because I have to support myself and my kids.

    I keep up the façade of being ok around family and friends because it saves me from having to answer questions around things I may not want them to know.

    I run errands, go to appointments, go for walks and bike rides, and do what countless others do every day, and live life the best that I can.

    The difference is that I’m waiting for the next flashback, anxiety attack, change in life, or random memory to strike that will send me into shut down mode again. I know it’s coming; I just don’t know when.

    Where am I today and what accomplishments and positives can I take from this journey so far?

    • I’m proud of the fact that I started SurvivingMyPast, and being able to share my story and impact others in a positive way to know that they are not alone. They can seek out help like I have and be who and what they want in their lives.

    • By seeking therapy, I am learning that it wasn’t my fault, that I’m not to blame for what happened to me all those years ago, and that I’m not permanently screwed up.

    • I’m proud that I have 3 amazing kids who never give up on me, love me, and are proud of me.

    • It’s been about 3 years now since my 2nd marriage ended, but I’m still here alive and kickin’ (more or less  ). I am living, healing, have a good job, and working on bettering myself.

    • I’m honored to be a part of the survivor community online, and share our stories together as we help each other. The hope and compassion of other survivors is just mind blowing.

    • I’m discovering that I have a passion for helping others and for Mental Health awareness, and I’m working on furthering my education into a career change as a Counselor or Trauma Recovery Coach.

    -Matt

    Thank you for sharing your story Matt. Here are some ways that you can connect with him:

    SurvivingMyPast.Net – My life with Dissociation, Anxiety, and PTSD as a result of childhood sexual abuse, narcissistic abuse, and bullying.
    • Twitter: @SurvivingMyPast
    • Facebook.com/SurvivingMyPast
    • Pinterest.com/SurvivingMyPast
    • Instagram.com/SurvivingMyPast

    Again, writing your story can be dramatic. TGIM Digital Publishing and Ark of Hope for Abused Children are not licensed counselors. If you have thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, please dial 911. If you just need someone to talk to, Removing the Chains has 15 FREE, anonymous live chat rooms for survivors offering group or one-on-one support. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Liked by 1 person

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