Pain and beauty

This week I had a very bad nightmare about being sexually abused. It was so bad that it made me physically sick. It is hard to get yourself ready to face the day ahead after a nightmare like that. I felt like I had been sexually abused all over again.

For me, some days are easier to get through than others after a bad night but on this particular day I felt like I was just going through the motions. I felt lost, lonely and disconnected from everything and everyone. My pain would not subside and it demanded all of my attention. Pain is great at doing that!

No matter how hard I tried to focus on the present moment my thoughts kept drifting back to the nightmare I’d had, which then triggered other memories of past abuse that left me reeling. By the end of the day I was physically and mentally exhausted.

From experience I knew that if I wanted this pain to pass there was nothing left for me to do but accept the fact that I was hurting and actually let myself hurt. I was reluctant to do this because I knew it would be unpleasant and uncomfortable, and let’s face it, who wants to feel like that? This knowledge made me angry.

From experience I know that it is sometimes easier to sit with the anger that so often accompanies pain. Feeling angry can dull the sense of pain you are feeling. Sometimes feeling angry can give you a sense of control when in reality, we often have no control over the things that have caused us pain.

From experience I know that anger can prevent you from accepting what has been which in turn prevents you from accepting what is and being able to move forward with your life. When you begin to release your anger and start to feel the pain behind it you can easily become overwhelmed. It is a scary process. I would like to share with you some thoughts I have when I am dealing with my own pain in relation to being abused.

When I was being sexually abused I was not safe. I lived in a constant state of fear and anxiety. Survival was my greatest concern. So great was this concern that it was virtually impossible for me to envision a future for myself. I couldn’t imagine a world beyond the one I was accustomed to and I didn’t expect to survive past the age of 16. My world was tiny.

Today, at the age of 30 I am finally safe and I am no longer subject to abuse. When I am having a difficult day and am troubled by memories of abuse I remind myself of some of the things I know now that I was unaware of back then. A lot of these things are to do with nature and the planet we live on.

When I am in pain because of unwanted memories of past abuse I find it incredible to think that as I was being abused and living through the loneliest times of my life, thousands of miles away from Denver House there were families of wild African elephants travelling together and very probably giving and receiving more love in their family unit than I had ever experienced in my own.

There were exotic looking flowers and plants bursting with colour and life that I had no idea existed. There were amazing foods that I had yet to taste. The list goes on…

I take great comfort from these thoughts because they have taught me that the world is so much bigger than my own personal pain and suffering. I believe that there is so much more beauty than pain in the world when you are ready and willing to see it. I know that I won’t ever be able to erase from my heart the pain I’ve known but I am grateful that I have been able to find the beauty in it.

African elephant family
Lady’s slipper orchid
Roasted purple potato



Author: zoepattersonfightingback

Practice what you love with love, working IN the moment and not FOR a moment. The world does not stop for defeat or for victory and neither should you. I have known victory and I am no stranger to defeat. Despite my personal challenges I still wake each day with the intention to practice what I love and this has served me well. I am an England boxing coach and qualified personal trainer, working hard to help others practice what they love.

2 thoughts on “Pain and beauty”

  1. I’m so sorry about the nightmare Zoe. It must have been really horrible. The fact that you are able to focus on the positives in life when you have experienced so many of its negatives is inspiring. (I’m not sure about the purple potato though!)


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