Re: Jack Hickman
Date: March 28, 2011 12:09PM
I think it is important to note that the path to healing from such an ordeal as being a victim of a mind controlling cult becomes different or personal for each individual. All of us who have moved on in our lives from this ordeal, whether you moved on 30 years ago or last week suffer from or maybe experience is a better term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a psychiatric condition. Like all psychiatric conditions, the symptoms run a long a spectrum from mild to severe, that is defined by the level of severity the symptoms impair your ability to function in 3 main areas of life. Personal relationships, your vocational life (can you work,attend school, be productive, contribute to the general good of society) and third your physical/mental health. Probably the most severe forms of any psychiatric condition severely impacts all 3 areas. If you ran a spectrum line along a continuum of severe to mild psychiatric disorders, schizophrenia would be on the severe end of the spectrum while anxiety/affective disorders would be on the lesser severe end....I'm talking the severe forms of psychiatric disorders, not things like adjustment disorder which is basically fancy terminology for someone adjusting to a change in their life like a child moving to a new school district, etc.
The good news for us is PTSD, depression are psychiatric disorders that respond favorably to treatment(s) which may or may not include medication, psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, self-help groups (like this forum).....The path to healing has different time frames and levels for each individual. A therapist once told me, "You can never put it behind you, but you can put it beside you.."..Iv'e come to believe through my own experience and working with PTSD patients that that is indeed the case. It is very possible to integrate the trauma into your life so it makes sense for you and you can move on to a productive, over all healthy quality of life. I do not have a certificate from my therapist, or "shrink" that I have achieved that, because I think I will continue to do that till the day I die.
Please understand Dissillusioned, that it is vital for PTSD victims to tell THEIR stories. Especially to other people who have experienced the same trauma. That is why for example, Vietnam War veterans respond more favorably and probably faster to treatment offered by other veterans themselves. It is an enormously powerful, cathartic experience to tell your story and place it in the overall context of your life. I can only say that is all I was doing by telling my stories as I did above. You're right do I think it matters who I hung out with in this group 30 years ago, No, it means nothing, only to me, because I lost a dear friend over it and yes, that stays with me to this day, in the close friendships I have cultivated in my life. It takes time, therapy and yes telling your story to others and sheer will of just trusting people to figure out not everyone is out to steal your money or take away the human need to be accepted, loved for who you are, plain and simple.
This forum is healing for different people in different ways. Telling the stories, bizarre as some of them are are the individual's reality and to tell them to others who lived it in some way and to be believed is the part of the healing process. You see, PTSD victims are victimized twice when they tell their stories of the abuse to other people, even professionals, and are not believed. The worst thing anyone can do to a child who comes forward with an accusation of abuse, is to NOT believe them, to dismiss them, to minimize the abuse. The person in essence is de-humanizing the victim, the typical response to a child who says "Uncle whoever, touched me and did this to me", is "Uncle whoever wouldn't do that"....the abuse to the victim already seems un-real to them and now others are telling them it really is un-real...the victim comes to doubt their experience, their emotions, their memory, etc...it can be so severe the individual develops a psychosis, or disassociates from reality.There is some evidence the most severe example of this is multiple personality disorder. The victim literally takes on another personality, identity to avoid living their own painful identity.
So in conclusion, we all heal differently and at a different pace. What this forum did for me and I suspect some others is provide a means to tell "my" story to others who came from a similar experience. Not exactly the same experience, because as I said your experience is your reality, I cannot and will not judge you as to whether or not it was or is "real". It's real for you and that's all that matters. As I have said in older posts, I strongly suggest therapy for victims of this phenomenon of living in/with a cult. I cannot begin to even pretend to know the pain, emotions of the individuals like yourself who were raised, immersed in the life of this cult "community." I had a life before this Hickman cult, and I have a life after it. As you so astutely point out, that life is all you ever knew and know. I only wish you well, but as I said above, you really need to talk to a therapist, who you can at least begin to try and form a trusting, helpful relationship with. It is vital to your healing process, in my professional opinion. I apologize to you and anyone else on this forum if my past
posts, telling my story, hurt you, or caused you pain, they were not meant in that spirit. As I wrote those posts of the "stories" I didn't realize how much they were a part of my healing, until I read your comments. So, on that note I thank you for that and for again- another revelation that I too am still progressing in my healing process.