Sm-CaseSheridan-9-2014

Stigma Fighters : Casey Sheridan

This is hard for me write because I’ve never written about this before, nor have I talked about it to anyone other than my psychologist.
Rachel Thompson has a saying she often posts on her social media streams, “Write what scares you.” Or something to that effect, anyway. Writing about this doesn’t scare me and I don’t care what people are going to think. Well, okay, maybe I am a bit concerned about what others may think.
I’m a survivor.
I survived sexual abuse as a child at the hands of my alcoholic step-father, along with his mental abuse of humiliation, and later on, as an adult, I survived a rape.
But I’m more than just a survivor. I’m also the author of erotica and romantic erotica.
The sexual abuse I survived wasn’t something that happened every day, every week, etc. It happened three or four times at most, starting at the age of five and ending when I was twelve. Anyone who has survived this knows that even one incident of sexual abuse is one too many.
Because my memories are fuzzy, shadows really, ghosts that float around behind my eyes, no hard vivid events or timeline, there are some that feel it’s possible my abuse may not have actually happened.
That’s bullshit.
In my opinion, a bad memory is a bad memory, whether it’s a fuzzy memory or a solid, vivid one. I didn’t dream this shit up (my poem Bad Memories )
What isn’t a fuzzy memory, are the few times I was targeted for humiliation. I was made to stand in a corner in my undershirt and underwear while I was told how ugly I was, how stupid, how worthless. If I cried, I was laughed at, and made fun of.
I think there’s a statistic out there somewhere that relates how survivors of childhood sexual abuse often become victims of rape later in life. I hate to say I’m a statistic, but I guess I am since I was raped in my early adulthood by someone I knew.
I buried my abuse and rape deep down inside. Things like that don’t stay buried though. They come out and want/need to be dealt with. The real me was buried along with them. To keep people from knowing these things, I became what I what I was called every day as a kid—”You’re such a BITCH.” A nasty, hate-filled and bitterly angry bitch. It got to a point where I couldn’t stand myself. I don’t want to be like that anymore. So I started to see a psychologist.
I was lucky to find one that I connected with immediately. It wasn’t easy and it took some time, but I’m glad I went. She helped me with so much.
I saw her for five years. She helped me to understand a lot of things and I still learn new things about myself. I’m not “cured”. You’re never “cured”. But I learned how to deal with some things and how to work toward changing others.
Some may wonder how I can go through sexual abuse and rape, and then write erotica and romantic erotica. Or maybe you’re thinking I have a warped sense of boundaries and write some really gross stuff. I can’t blame you for thinking that. There’s a huge side of the erotica industry that contains material that makes me cringe. What I write never contains those “ick factors”, a term some publishers use for things such as rape, incest, etc. What I write is completely different. And I didn’t start writing erotica until about two or three years after I stopped seeing my doctor.
While many who have survived sexual abuse and/or rape have issues with sex, and understandably so, I don’t have those issues. I never have. Believe it or not, writing erotica and romantic erotica is quite liberating and therapeutic for me.

Some issues I deal/dealt with:

Trust. I don’t know if that will ever change completely, if at all, but I am trying. To that end, I’ve learned to rely on my instincts/intuition as a sort of protection. For me, trust is only for those I connect with on a deep level, for those that I can give my heart and mind to, and that’s a tremendous thing, so my circle of people is small. If you find yourself among that group remember how fragile trust can be.

For most of my life I walked with my head down because after having it drummed into me that I was so ugly, I believed I was. Keeping my head down meant that others wouldn’t notice me. I don’t walk around like that anymore. I walk with my head up and I don’t think I’m ugly. I’m not pretty certainly, but I know I’m not ugly.

Growing up under that cloud of abuse I learned to keep a low profile, to do what I could to keep from being noticed, to fade into the background. Even now, doing things to bring attention to myself, such as promoting myself as an author is difficult, but I’m trying. That’s a good thing.

I learned to keep my mouth shut. People who know me well will not believe I know how to keep my mouth shut, but seriously, I do.
My fight-flight-freeze response is set on freeze. I don’t know how to change that. Unless you hurt someone I care about, then I’ll kick your ass.
I learned to shut down emotionally. I feel things intensely and I don’t know how to deal with what I feel. At times, I’m flooded with so much emotion it’s overwhelming, so I shut down and distance myself. Especially if I think I’m about to be hurt physically or otherwise.

Every day is a struggle, some more than others.
What I’ve gone through is a part of who I am and has shaped who I have become, the type of person I am. I think I turned out to an okay person.

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Sm-CaseSheridan-9-2014Like most authors, Casey Sheridan began writing when she was very young. It was later in life when she read her first piece of erotica and it was on a dare that she wrote her first erotic story.

Casey writes erotica, and romantic erotica, that is sensual and fun with unique storylines.

An introvert by nature and lover of chocolate, Casey is happiest when writing. She enjoys spending time with close friends, listening to music, watching movies, and reading. She loves animals and volunteers to care for some local feral/outdoor kitty pals.

Casey can be found on her blog, Facebook and Twitter

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  • http://www.gumonmyshoe.com Marty Baker

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, Casey. That took courage!

    • http://www.casey-sheridan.com Casey Sheridan

      Thank you. I don’t feel particularly courageous, but thank you. 🙂

  • http://www.edenbayleebooks.com/ Eden Baylee

    Wow, what a powerful post, and Casey … I applaud you for writing this. I know it could not have been easy to do. Thank you for sharing with those who will gain courage by knowing they are not alone.

    You’re an amazing woman, and you have taken a deeply dark time in your life and worked through it, and continue to work through it. THAT is courage. Everyday that you write about love in your fiction is a win for you AND your readers. xoxo

    eden

    • http://www.casey-sheridan.com Casey Sheridan

      It was difficult, but it was necessary.

      Thank you, Eden. For always supporting me. For your kind words. xoxo

  • Pingback: I Am A Survivor! « Author Casey Sheridan()

  • http://maxwellcynn.com Maxwell Cynn

    Touching post, Casey. I know that took a lot of courage to write and share. You are a brave woman and an amazing writer. Just keep being you. <3

    • http://www.casey-sheridan.com Casey Sheridan

      Thank you Max. 🙂
      I will do just that.
      Thank you for your support. Always. xox

  • Kitt O’Malley

    Thank you for writing about what scares you. Thank you for not keeping your mouth shut about sexual abuse.

    • http://www.casey-sheridan.com Casey Sheridan

      Thank you for your support, Kitt. I appreciate it very much.