July 13, 2021

Victim to survivor. Ginn's story on healing from sexual abuse.


Trigger Warning: This episode may act as a trigger as it covers a topic of sensitive nature.

Ginn has been on a healing journey for five years after experiencing sexual abuse at the age of five. Throughout her life she struggled with several addictions including sex and drug addiction. She never understood why. She actually had forgotten about her traumatic event until a memory came into her head years later. After remembering this, Ginn went from being a victim to becoming a survivor. In this episode she shares her exact tools that has helped her heal. She talks about why talk therpay and journaling played a huge part in her healing process. She also gives great advice when asked what's the biggest thing she has learned about herself through all of her life experiences.

Check out Ginn's blog here: https://www.themisbehavingmind.com/
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Transcript

Ginn:

I think for me on my healing journey that was the biggest point in which everything just turned because I was finally able to say, I'm not lying. This wasn't false information. This actually happened to me. And this makes so much sense as to why I felt so much hurt.

Melissa Bright:

Welcome to the bright side of life, a podcast where people share their personal stories of struggles, pain and grief. But through all of that, they are still able to find the joys in life. Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of the bright side of life. I am your host, Melissa Bright. And today I have a very special guest, her name is Jen. And Jen is going to be sharing her beautiful story of going from victim to survivor. But before we get started, I would like to add that this episode does cover a topic of sensitive nature, Jen has had a crazy life story, that unfortunate events that she will talk about that happened in her childhood. But she is here to talk about everything that has transpired since then, and just really her survivor story. So Jen, thank you very, very much for being here. How are you doing? Great. Thank you so much for having me on. I'm doing really good. How are you? I am doing good. I am doing good. And thank you again. So let's just go ahead and get started when I actually read your blog, and it had your whole story on there. And the very first thing that you talk about is you being able to remember the little girl that that was you when you were younger. And unfortunately, things happened when you were a little girl and you don't have to go into too great detail. But there there was an event. And if you can just kind of talk about that event. So then we can kind of shift from there. And then just kind of how this led you on the path throughout your life of where you are now. Absolutely.

Ginn:

So when I was five, I experienced sexual abuse by a family friend. So my parents are going out for the night. They left us with a trusted family friend. And he Yeah, like he just did things that he should have never done. And that really changed who I was with them. A huge part of my story is forgetting that that had happened. Like it was so traumatic. And I couldn't understand it at the time. So I really pushed it down.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, yeah. And so that was that was one of the biggest part of your story that when I was reading it is you legitimately forgot that this had even happened to you. So if you can remember, do you remember like the days a couple days after or even months after? Was it still in your memory? At that point? Do you think you can remember at what point that it just went away? That you just pressed it down so much?

Ginn:

You know, I honestly I can remember like that night. And then I don't remember having any like recollection of it even the day after? You know, it changed my behaviors. But I didn't understand why. I couldn't remember that event at all.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So then you go into basically you say that you just became an angry teenager. So can you kind of touch on like, what what kind of things were you doing that that made you angry that you remember? Remember about that? Yeah. So I was really rebelling, I was pushing against my parents as hard as I could.

Ginn:

I didn't, I wasn't making friends because I was so angry. And they just didn't understand myself or the world. And I just really didn't feel I had a place I belonged. And I couldn't understand why. And I think that really added to my anger because there was no reason that I was feeling this way. But it was so deep. And I just it was so hurtful.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And did did your parents ever, you know, ask why. Why is this happening? Why are you acting this way? Because it's frustrating. It is for you that you don't even know why you are feeling this way. Now you're adding like your parents what's going on with you, Jen?

Ginn:

So we did go to counseling a few times. And at that time, I still had no recollection. Like it hadn't come back to me at what had happened. Um, really, they just thought you know what the typical teenager I was like, just rebelling like most teenagers Should I was going a little bit further than most might.

Melissa Bright:

Sure. And can you kind of go into whenever you say you went further than than some might? What kind of thing are you doing that most 14 year olds weren't doing at this point? Absolutely. So at this point in time, I was lying.

Ginn:

I had a compulsive lying habit. I was lying to them. I could feel I belonged, I would make up the most insane lies. I think one time I lied about having like a twin sister or something, just so that I could feel like power and in control of what was happening. And also I kind of in my mind, it was like, if I tell this certain lie, maybe this person will like me, and I'll finally have a place where I belong. And so that actually led to me going online on dating platforms at the age of 14. Yeah, and saying I was 18. So I actually put myself into a situation where at age 14, I was dating a 23 year old male. He at first he thought that I was 18. Because I lied about that on the dating site. It did come up that I was 14, though, and he, for a time afterwards still continued to see me. And then he broke it off with me. And that hurt me quite badly. I didn't understand why. And I felt really betrayed. Like, he was the first place that I found, where I felt I belonged. And I felt accepted. And so when that ended, that was all of a sudden gone. But we had also started having sex. So And with that, I felt, I felt like numb, but I also felt Okay, for the first time, too. So that really spiraled out of control when we broke up. And in my mind, it was like sex is the answer to all of my problems if I don't feel okay, like go have sex with somebody, and then that just spiraled, and I was dating so many people in a very young age. And, like, so sexually active. I like no one that age should have ever been that sexually active.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So let's back up just a little bit about the the the boyfriend that's 23. So how long did you date him? Was this for a couple months? A year? It was a summer. Okay, we started dating and like, May and then we broke up like September. Okay, gotcha. And then did what? What was his reasoning for breaking up that he gave to you? Ah, you know, he

Ginn:

just kind of wanted to, like, move on with his life. He just he really, there was no, there wasn't really like a real answer, I guess.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. But what did you chalk it up to? Like, did you think like, What's wrong with me? Something's wrong with me.

Ginn:

Absolutely. Yeah, like I thought, you know, like, again, I was just being rejected. Right? I thought, like, what had I done wrong? And there was no more answers. So that led to even more confusion for such a young teenager like, Oh, yeah.

Melissa Bright:

So then I know, on your blog, that you kind of labeled this time for you as you are numbing out the pain. Now, were you necessarily aware at this time that that's what you were doing? Or was it just kind of like, I'm just having fun, and I'm, I'm being promiscuous, and I, this is what I'm doing?

Ginn:

Yeah, you know what I felt I felt cool. I felt cool. Um, I was I was having people that wanted to be with me. And I'm like, Yeah, I felt like I belonged.

Melissa Bright:

So, yeah. So these people that you would be sexually active with? Would it be like more than once? Or would it just kind of be like one time, and then just moving on to the next? Because I know, a lot of times, you know, when girls are looking just for that person to accept them. Were you just looking for it from one person and just kept kind of having sex until you found that one person that really just like, made you feel okay, or was it just like, no, I love getting the attention. I love having this with everybody. I don't care at this point.

Ginn:

Yeah, no, I wasn't looking for one specific person. It was the attention. It was the excitement. It was meeting somebody new, and then adding that person to list of people that liked me. Yeah, my thing was, I wanted as many people to like me as I possibly could. And how I was going to do that was going to be having sex with men.

Melissa Bright:

Sure. And were you still living at home at this point? Yeah. Yeah. And were your parents, like, aware of what was happening or anything? Um,

Ginn:

I don't think that they? You know, that's a good question. I don't think that they were but at the same time, I don't think that they were necessarily wanting to open themselves up to seeing, like, I don't say I was going to a friend's house, but like, how many times can you really go to a friend's house in a certain week? You know?

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And how old were you at this point?

Ginn:

So this continued my whole teenage like, my whole team, like from 14 until about 19 was really like this whole sex. one night stands that continued for about five years.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And you you describe it as just chaos. Just constant chaos. Did you do at that time, not looking back now, but at that time, were you were you happy? Did you feel that this was kind of your answer? Two things was just like, yeah, this is great. I'm getting all this attention, or were there times that you would just kind of like sit back and reflect and being like, this is not what I want. But how do I get out of it? What if you can kind of talk about that.

Ginn:

So there was definitely a point when it came to be really quite damaging to me, I was literally always looking for sex, either having sex, or in the aftermath, feeling bad about it. Because there came a point where, you know, I, I wasn't even sure of how many people I slept with, there'd become different times when I'd run into people be like, Alright, we had sex and then not remember that and knew that that was an issue. So there was definitely a point that, like, shame and disappointment in myself came into play. But I still I still couldn't stop it.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So at what point? At what point did it finally stop for you What had to happen for you to not continue this behavior anymore?

Ginn:

So I have, like, I have this best friend. And we've always been close. We've been close since grade seven. And she said, you know, you have a problem. This isn't Okay, this is damaging you. I can see like the depression kind of setting in I can see that you're not really present with anyone anymore. And she just could tell that it's a huge issue. And at the time, she also had a daughter, and she refused to let me see her daughter anymore until I kind of went out and got help.

Melissa Bright:

Wow. And you did get help?

Ginn:

I did. Yes. So then I went to, I went online, and there's this sex Addicts Anonymous site. And they have a 40 question quiz. And so we access that. And, you know, it was like, 37 out of the 40 questions. I was like, Yes. Okay. I might have a problem with this.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So just really quickly, I just recently had on Brianne Davis. I don't know if you listen to that episode, but it was like, the 14 question talks about those also. And you were only 19 when you went? Yeah, absolutely. So in your time there, you you filled out the 40 questions you you knew, like, Yes, I absolutely have a problem. What else occurred while you were in this program? Okay, so

Ginn:

after my first meeting, you know, I sat through the meeting, and everything was fine. I was listening to stories, it was very, you know, it was definitely a sad experience to realize that you have a problem. But then afterwards, I was sitting in my car and like, this memory came flashing back to me of what had happened that night, when I was five. So all of a sudden, I'm admitting Yes, I have a sex addiction. And then it also comes back to me that I was sexually abused at the age of five.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And what was that? What was that moment? Like when that thought just came flashing across your head?

Ginn:

Yeah, that was who I think that was one of the hardest moments I've ever had in my life. Like, I obviously I couldn't try. I sat there for at least an hour afterwards, just trying to breathe, trying to like, make sense of what was happening, like, this memory in my head, like, Where has this always been? And why am I just feeling this now? And yeah, like, it really hurts.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So once this memory kind of came out? Did you ask yourself like, so where do I go from here? What do I do? Did did things eventually, or things at this point, make any kind of sense as to like, well, no wonder why I'm, I'm acting this way? Or did it kind of take a little bit longer? That's a little bit of a loaded question. So we can kind of break that. So I guess first question is, is like, what did you decide to do? Like with that information, like now, you know, some now what do you do that, you know?

Ginn:

So for me, I've always been a writer, journaling has always kind of been a thing. And I've always used it for my emotions. So I did that. So I wrote about it as much as I could and tried to put the pieces together and make sense of it. And really, I was just kind of dealing with it on my own for that first little bit. And then I took that the journaling and my story to my parents. And they were the first people that I told. Yeah, but I think that added more to the confusion. Because we had a rocky past there was trauma that had been done between me and them. You know, I wasn't easy to live with. I wasn't an easy daughter. So you know, they really questioned unfortunately, if this was something that had happened, right. You know, what's it's just another story that I was trying to make myself bigger with, which sounds terrible to say now, but, you know, like, having been such a compulsive liar, it was hard for them to tell and Even myself, I was still very confused. And, you know, I think even my lives really clouded whether or not this was a truth.

Melissa Bright:

Right? Yeah. And that can that can be really hard for, for like anybody that, especially a memory that is from so long ago, I mean, you're talking 15 plus years ago, not just like a month ago, where, like now I still question stuff like a month ago, I'm like, Did this happen? Like, is that what that what that person said? I don't know. So for that to happen like this, this memory come across you. Now I do want to back it up a little bit in terms of journaling, because journaling is something that like, I've, I've done a little bit, but then it's like, it's another chore that you have to do. So can you kind of tell me how journaling helped you why it helped you? Just because some people out there haven't started journaling yet. And they might not understand like, what are the benefits of this. So I just like to hear kind of your thoughts on that.

Ginn:

So for me, journaling was always a way to kind of put my situation on paper, but also be able to take a step back and look at it as like a third party, be able to kind of dissect a little bit more, and maybe put the pieces together. And also just kind of like find a solution. I think when things are in your head, they can get so confusing. But when you have it in papering, you can see it really adds this like aspect of, Okay, well, that's where the problem lies. And this is how I can do better. And maybe this is what I should consider next time.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, so you would often go back and read those journal entries, just to kind of reflect and it makes sense, alright. Because we're I'm like almost the opposite. I don't want to go back to him. I'm like, maybe I will at some time. But sometimes it's literally just just get these thoughts out on paper. So they're not like stuck in your head. But um, everybody's journaling stuff, you know, is different. And so I just like to hear other people's, like, the ways that they do it. And and you're right, it's just to go back and to make sense of it all. And to see it from a third person. I really like that. But then at the same time, it's like, no, but that is me, like I wrote these words out, you know? Yeah. It's amazing. It's awesome. It's definitely so healing. Yeah, yep, definitely. And I've started doing, like, since I don't do writing down because I feel like I have so much to say, but I don't want to write it like this could take forever. I've started doing like audio journaling, where I'll just do a voice memo in my phone, and I'll either be driving and I'm like, I just got to get the stock out. I just need to like, say it. And so I'll just like start talking into my iPhone with like, the voice memos. And it feels better, you know, kind of like if you don't like, maybe I don't want to go to my boyfriend about the situation or my daughter. It's just something that I'm kind of like dealing with internally, but I've gotten it out of my head at least now. It's somewhere else, you know? Absolutely. Yeah. Awesome. Okay, so now here we are, you have told your parents? How long did it take for them to like, actually really believe that this, believe you that this event did occur?

Ginn:

Ah, that's a good question. Honestly. I think it Oh, I don't know if they ever really was like, truly believed. Yeah. I don't know if they really settled in with that. Until I had taken it further and, like, took him to court.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So let's, let's talk about that. So now you you have told your parents, they're still not really sure. Because of everything that has happened in the past with you guys. How did all of this happened that you wound up taking this man to court? How did you even you know, find this man? What made you make this choice to do so all those things?

Ginn:

Okay, so, um, I had received a Facebook message. And it was from somebody I didn't know. But the same person, like the same person that had hurt me had also hurt them. And it was actually her uncle. So we still had connection. And the reason that we decided to take it to court so many years later was because he was living in a house with other children. And that was something that we just, both of us were like, okay, so now's the time to tell our story, to tell what happened and maybe save somebody else from having to go through the same thing.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So how did this girl know that you were also part of like a victim of him? Did had you told somebody or what made her know this and even reach out to you? Yeah,

Ginn:

you know what? I'm actually a good question. I believe. So her daughter, like his daughter, sorry. I obviously knew the both of us. And she knew that I had been around him as a child. And I think one thing just kind of got put together there because it wasn't at the time something that I talked about. Yep. Wow. Yeah.

Melissa Bright:

So, now you guys have decided to do this? And how, kind of walk me through the process of Okay, we know what we want to take them to court. But that probably isn't a quick process. So what kind of things did you do? And then kind of talk about the emotional toll that it took on you? Because Okay, well, we might be skipping forward a little bit, because I also know in Tell me if we are because I know besides. Okay, so let's, let's then back up a little bit. And you can absolutely, because I know that there were still other things that you were doing. So is it before you even went to your parents that that you kind of was doing other addicts that you had other addictions? Yeah, absolutely, no.

Ginn:

So I would say that I, through that period, from the time that I was sitting in my car, and at first hit to when my parents, like, when I had the conversation with them, I was more. So working on understanding that. And that was really my main focus, I spent a lot of time on my own, just trying to put the pieces together. And then I told them, and it didn't really like reconfirm my story as I thought it might have. And that hurt. So now I was left with a confusion of them not believing me, me not being so sure, like not being able to make sense of it. And I needed to numb out because I wasn't ready to deal with us again. So then that led to dabbling in drugs, which then led to an addiction. Yeah. Again, I wasn't able to feel so that was very helpful. Right?

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. Yeah. And did you know, like, did you say to yourself, like, subconsciously or consciously I am going to do drugs? So I don't feel or was this just something that you just kind of did, because I know a lot of stuff makes sense, like, looking back on it. But it's like, at the time, it's not really making sense. Like, no, I just am going to go do drugs, because that's what feels good now. But I don't know that I'm necessarily masking a pain or covering up or pushing it back down. Exactly.

Ginn:

I had I didn't I was not aware of what I was doing. I just I wanted to go have fun. And I wanted to go feel alive and forget about, like what I was going through. I did. I was very aware of forgetting about what I was going through. But I wasn't aware that I was just trying to numb out again.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And how long did your drug addiction last?

Ginn:

That lasted on and off for years. But it was really hardcore for about a year. And then I went to Narcotics Anonymous, I found myself in another 12 step program. And that was healing. And I was able to do some work on that. And I wanted to get healthy, which then led to another addiction because I was feeling healthier. I was eating better. And I was losing all this weight and people were complimenting me. And again, I felt wanted. So I wanted to get that as hard, like as fast as I could. Yeah. And that led to an eating disorder.

Melissa Bright:

Oh, my goodness, and what kind of eating disorder did you develop?

Ginn:

Bulemia Yeah. Because then I could Numb by eating, and then I wouldn't have to have the repercussions of it.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. Yeah. And so how old are you at at this time of the eating disorder and the drug addiction? And did they overlap?

Ginn:

They definitely did. Yes. Um, and then throughout the whole chaotic mess. I also had a daughter this time, too.

Melissa Bright:

Wow. Okay. Yeah.

Ginn:

So it definitely went on until I was about 25, which is when I received that Facebook message.

Melissa Bright:

Okay. And what kind of drugs were you doing at the time?

Ginn:

Pretty much anything I could get my hands on. So anything from like cocaine to? I've done heroin a few times to?

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. I'm asking like a million questions. I just, you know, when people at when people are, you know, stories, you know, sometimes people are like, why did you choose this drug of choice? What did it do for you to like, numb this out? You know, sometimes it's alcohol, sometimes it's cocaine. Did you have a drug of choice that you felt, let's say, quote unquote, the best on or that helped you push things down. Everybody has a drug of choice or something of choice and addiction of choice.

Ginn:

So I definitely think that cocaine was my was my go to, because I am also a very shy person. And that allowed me to step out of that bubble and be this person that I thought people wanted to be me to be in like, very outgoing and chatty and fun. To be around.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, that makes sense. So now you had you had the drug addiction, and then you developed the eating disorder. Were you? Did you? Did you ever find that you were like these commonalities, like all this stuff is kind of centered around? I'm assuming some type of control some kind of acceptance. Was there any point that you like had this aha moment of like, Oh, this is why I do I've done all these things.

Ginn:

No, not until after I'd done the work and had taken the course and accepted that and was in therapy. Okay. All right,

Melissa Bright:

well, then we won't, we won't get to that point yet. So then, with the eating disorder, how long did that continue on for?

Ginn:

Oh, that's been off and on. And you know what I think out of everything, it's still one of the things that I struggle with the most. Okay, you struggle with the most still?

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, yeah. How old are you now? So now, I'm 30. You're 30. Okay, so this is still all pretty, like, recent, I mean, only five years ago that I consider that being pretty recent, you know, to go to go through, like, everything that you've went through, and to now be telling your story. On the other side, I feel like five years is just like, the snap of the fingers. Yeah. So have we missed anything from the point of the drug addiction, eating disorder? Is there anything else you want to add? there? You tell me?

Ginn:

No. I think that kind of like covers, like, all of it, really, all the bad stuff, the addiction and all are part part of it?

Melissa Bright:

Sure. So now we're going to move ahead kind of to whenever you guys did decide to move forward in the court proceedings at this point? Had you gotten any? Like, were you still involved in drugs? Had you sought any help in terms of therapy or anything yet? Or was it? Where was your focus at this point?

Ginn:

So at this point, I definitely, I hadn't really gotten much help yet. Because I just wasn't able to accept that. But like I said, I did have my daughter, so I had stopped getting sick and using drugs for a period of time. But I think when you're left with an unhealed wound, it's only a matter of time before that stuff kind of creeps back up on you. And so with having my daughter, I wanted to put the distance there. So then I was also working all the time. So I was, you know, not allowing myself to feel anything. And I was just trying to pretend My life was on hold and trying to keep myself on as straight a path as I could without, like using drugs and stuff. Right. So I did that by working as much as I could. But I worked two jobs.

Melissa Bright:

Two full time jobs, basically. Right? Yeah, it's just something that could replace something else and not make you feel guilty because well, now you have a daughter. So now I'm like, I'm doing good, because I'm sober. But I'm just working all the time instead. And so that's just I just want to point that out for listeners, because through her journey, it was just like replacing one addiction with another constantly over and over and over. She would you know, let's say become sober from, you know, sex addiction, but then it quickly became replaced with drugs and then eating disorder. So on and so forth. Just kind of pointing that out for people. So how long did everything last? In terms of the court proceedings? You know, what did your parents say? Like when you when they kind of found out like, Hey, I'm gonna try to do something about the guy that hurt me. Thank you to better help for sponsoring this podcast. I have been using better help for almost a year now. And the progress that I have made in my mental health has been incredible. I just want to tell you, my listeners a little bit about better help to see if it might be a great fit for you. Their mission is making professional counseling accessible, affordable and convenient. So anyone who struggles with life challenges can get help anywhere, anytime. They offer four ways to get counseling from video sessions, phone calls to live chat and messaging. It's also available worldwide, you will be matched with your counselor and 24 hours or less better help offers a broad expertise in their network so it provides users with access to specialists they might not be able to find locally. Financial Aid is also available for those who qualify so visit better help.com slash bright side of life that's better help.com slash bright side of life, join over 500,000 people taking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional and four Your first month you're going to receive 10% off by being a listener of the bright side of life. So let them know that I sent you by using the link better help.com forward slash bright side of life. That's better help.com forward slash b, r i, g, h t side of life, the link will also be in the description section of this episode.

Ginn:

My mom was very supportive, and my dad was very hurt. When we went through the whole process, they asked us to relive our stories in as much detail as we possibly could. So I literally had to almost replay what had happened, like a movie inside my head. And so, you know, like, even though I repressed those memories for so long, when I was asked to do that I can vividly remember that night I can vividly in my blog, I talked about what I was wearing that night, because I can see it so clearly. No, right. Right. And so my mom really stepped up to the plate. When we were going through it all, they did ask for support. So like, they did ask people that were involved in whatever way to come forward. So because my mom had been high school friends with him and was the person that knew him, that was the connection there. She came forward to talk about what she knew when, you know, me telling me hurt like me telling her my story and stuff. So she definitely did step up to the plate huge for me in that way.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And why you said that your dad was hurt. What was he heard about?

Ginn:

I think just the fact that he couldn't stop it, and that he didn't know about it. Okay, so he kind of felt like, helpless that this. This happened to his daughter, and he had no idea. He has that kind of what you mean? Absolutely. Like my dad was he was a firefighter. So he was so used to saving people. Right? And being the guy that, you know, went into the burning building and took people out and did as much as he could and to know that for his daughter. He couldn't stop the trauma from happening.

Melissa Bright:

Right. So at this point, we're not when you had to, like relive your story, you know, through the courts and everything. Your parents at this point definitely believed you, you know, Yes, correct. Okay, what, what and how long did this like court proceeding? Go on? Like, how did every How long did everything last? You know, it

Ginn:

was about a year. And luckily, we really didn't have to do much in court because the first court meeting, he fully took a responsibility for it. He admitted what he did.

Melissa Bright:

Wow. Yeah. And were you were present at that time. At that time? No.

Ginn:

We had the option if he had fought back against it, then we would have gone to court with him the next time. But I think it was healing in the way that we didn't have to face him face on. Right. And that he just kind of said, Yes, this is what I've done.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. Wow. Do you know if you two were the only two victims,

Ginn:

we were the only two that came forward. But there was other things that I'd heard through the grapevine and that we weren't the only ones.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, yeah. So how did you feel? And what did that do for you? Whenever he found out that he did admit to what he did.

Ginn:

It definitely allowed me to heal. You know, it was I finally was able to look at my problem be like, yes, this actually happened. This is the truth. And I think for me on my healing journey, that was the biggest point in which everything just turned because I was finally able to say, I'm not lying. This wasn't false information. This actually happened to me. And this makes so much sense as to why I felt so much hurt growing up, and then in my early adulthood.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, yep, definitely. And that it does make such sense. And I remember in your blog that you said that he basically gave you your truth. Now it was for sure he admitted it, it was no longer like in question because that's, that's got to be so hard for you. It just being in your head and like, Is this true? Is this not true? So now that he, he went away, I'm assuming, okay, and what what happened for like, talk to me about your healing journey, because that is pretty much what started it. So what kind of other steps did you take as soon as you know, like, I don't want to say as soon as you but after he admitted he was guilty, whatever, what kind of steps did you take?

Ginn:

So I got myself to a therapist as soon as I possibly could. I did go through a few before I really found somebody that I connected with And then also I talked to my doctor. And I was put on antidepressants, but only for a very short amount of time. Just because in that situation at the time, they only made me feel worse. So really, it was just the talk therapy.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So what about therapy? So you said, you went through a few? What were what made it about the few people that you did go through the therapist that you didn't like that it didn't sit well, with you, whatever it was, what did you make, made you move on from them?

Ginn:

I definitely felt in some situations, I was being forced into, like, telling parts of my story that I didn't necessarily fully connect with. So instead of just being allowed to talk, I was more so told, like, well, this is why you feel this way. And I've always been a person that has pretty strong feelings about why the thinking a certain way. Um, so that just didn't connect well with me. And then I also I just felt like sometimes, you know, I was talking, but I wasn't given any tools. I wasn't, you know, shown, hey, like, maybe when you're at home, and you're feeling this way, like, try the 54321 method, you know, like, calm yourself down, instead of just coming here and talking.

Melissa Bright:

Right? Yeah, that's really helpful. Because a lot of people, you know, they'll try one therapist, it doesn't work out. And they're like, well, therapy just didn't work for me. And that's not always the case. It's okay, if you have to seek out several therapists to see how you connect with them what they're doing, you know, it's just like anything else, there's probably, really, really great ones. And then there's ones that aren't so great. So I just wanted to ask you for that reason, like, what is what specific things did you not like, and I love that you said, the tools because that is extremely important, because you can talk all day to a therapist, but when they're not with you in real life situations, every single day, you got to have some kind of tools in your back pocket for when experiences happen. When life happens when you're sad, depressed, anxiety, want to go do drugs, want to go have sex, whatever it is, you're gonna have to have some tools in your pocket to not go do those same things. So can I ask you what type of therapy you wound up like doing besides talk therapy? Was it a cognitive behavioral therapy? Was it EMDR? What kind of therapy was it? You know, it was just, um,

Ginn:

I honestly Wish I could tell you, but it was through my family doctor, and it was just like a free service that was provided at that point.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. Yeah.

Ginn:

So like, I tried, like a whole bunch of different therapists through that. And then finally found my one.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, so let's talk about let's talk about your one and why you connected so great with that person, and kind of what tools were you given? I'd like to talk about that.

Ginn:

Yeah, absolutely. Um, so I definitely think that the therapist that I connected the most with, and gave me permission to just sit with my feelings. Like, I'd never been told that I could just be okay with sitting there, and not having to do anything at the moment other than feel it, because for the longest time, I pushed it all down. So I numbed out. And I think that made things worse, because I was, you know, in my head, my feelings weren't meant to be there. They were all negative. They were all bad. But the therapists that I really connected with allowed me to see that there's beauty, and there's lessons in the way that you're feeling. You know, your mind is trying to tell you something, and you should hear that. And then yeah, like, I think the biggest one for me, because I can get quite like quickly swept up in my own head is the 54321 method. Okay? So five things that you can see four things that you can hear three things that you can feel, and then two things you can smell and one thing you can taste.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. I love that method. Except for the fact that I'll always forget which ones which I'm like waiting by things that I can touch for that I can see. Right? I told my therapist that and she's like, well, I guess it doesn't really matter just as long as like you're focusing on those things, whether no matter what it is, if you confuse them. If that's not the point of the whole thing. It's just kind of about grounding and connecting and being present.

Ginn:

Hugely. And like I think that's Yes, that's your so right. That's like the biggest message to take away from it. Like if you forget that. It's five things that you can see and you're like, Oh, it's five things. You can smell it. Well, I think that might be a little bit overwhelming. But like, you know, you're still you're still being present. It's about being right here in the moment.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, absolutely. So how long are you still currently in therapy?

Ginn:

No, I'm not anymore. Okay, definitely like, I feel like my, my toolbox is quite full of things I can do in the moment. Yeah, no. So I'm not in therapy anymore. I mean, I work in mental health. So I have a lot of people I can talk to. Okay. But then also in being open with my story I have connected with a lot of people that I can also talk to. And I think for me, it's always been the talk factor. And then really realizing that like, it's okay to feel our emotions. It's okay to be where we're at and meet ourselves there. Yeah. And then yeah, like just sharing my experiences with other people hearing there's that's very healing for me.

Melissa Bright:

Yep, absolutely. So let's talk about you now being in the mental health field. How did you how did you decide to kind of do this? I mean, I don't want to assume but I just kind of want to hear your answer. And what is it that you do now in the mental health field?

Ginn:

Okay, so I'm in like, throughout my addiction, when I was 17, I started going to university, I went to university for criminal justice. So the actually been in the mental health field throughout all my struggles. And yeah, so I'm a frontline residential support worker. Okay, so I work in complex needs programs, which are usually dual diagnosis. So be it borderline personality mixed with a learning disability schizophrenic or, you know, brain injury, like, there's such a wide spectrum that I work with,

Melissa Bright:

yeah.

Ginn:

And we really do support them on the day to day we help them find community resources, we get them into therapy, we talk with their doctors, because it's, my individuals are so complicated in their diagnosis. They really, really need a huge team. And us frontline support workers work hand in hand with all of them.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, that's amazing. And what does that like? How does that make you feel that you're doing that kind of work? Oh, man.

Ginn:

I just, I don't think I could do anything else. I think that this is my calling. And it is so fulfilling.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. Yep. That's like, so simply put, and when you know, like where you're supposed to be it, just everything kind of like makes sense for you. Yeah. So okay, so you're not doing therapy anymore. You work you work in the mental health field? What kind of things do you do on a daily basis? So how long has How long has it been since he's went away? The person's went away, or so that would have been?

Ginn:

He would have gone away about four years ago. And then he was released two years ago. Oh, my God. He was. Yeah. So he was only sentenced to? Yeah, I want to say like 18 months. Like, he wasn't sentenced to very much, but he was he's now registered as a sex offender. Okay. Which, I mean, doesn't do as much as I would like for it to do. Sure. But if you look it up online, you can, you can tell who people are and stuff. And they're certain, you know, obviously, he's on I haven't really followed up, but I would assume he's on probation, and there's certain places you can't go. And if he does, he risks that and, you know, he could find himself back in jail.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, he didn't serve for very long. Okay. And you were you aware at the time, like how long his sentence was gonna be? Yes. Yeah, you did. Okay. So you were kind of like, prepared for it. It wasn't something that was no, it wasn't a shock. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So what are some things? Okay, so it's basically been four years since since all that, but he's gotten out, but what are some things that you do daily, to help with your mental health, you know, to help, I mean, you have been through a lot, not only the event that happened when you were five years old, but you have went through sex addiction, drug addiction, eating disorder, all of these things, a lot of things. And I haven't been addicted to anything, I don't think, um, but what helps keep you grounded, sane, sober. Anything you know, that you feel is most important? How do you do? What does that look like for you on a daily basis?

Ginn:

journaling is definitely something that I've kept up with. So keeping myself in track on track by checking in being willing to feel my emotions. And notice that like, hey, that's okay. Or you know, sometimes, like I said, like, my eating disorder will kick up some times, and like, looking at it beyond right now. So looking at it as, okay, so I'm feeling like I want to resort back to this behavior. But why? Like, what is causing this? Where am I at right now that I'm not okay with, you know, like that just being mindfully aware of yourself?

Melissa Bright:

Yep. I literally just did. And I don't know if you've listened the episode but I did 12 Mel's mental must have on this last episode. And literally two of the first things that I put was one becoming aware, like, just aware of anything, no matter what it is you're trying to fix or not even necessarily fix. And then like just asking yourself questions. And that's so important. Like, why is it that I'm wanting to go use drugs? Why is it that I'm wanting to go resort back to this eating disorder? What, what is it that's happening right now inside me or externally, that's making me want to go do these things. And that's so important. Because once like you've said before, if you're not getting to the root of it, it's just gonna keep coming back up. And that's it, it's so, so important. And something else I think that's important is, I want to ask you, because at least this is how I feel, especially when you're talking about things keep or things can come up. And so I think it's important to say like to listeners, this healing journey, it's never just done. It's not just like, Oh, it's gonna be Tuesday, August 15, and I'm just gonna be healed. And it's gonna be great. So can you kind of talk about, I'm trying to figure out how to word this question, have you? Do you feel that you've accepted that and kind of known that, that this is just going to constant be like, constant work throughout your, your life? Yes,

Ginn:

I have this, like saying that it's mental health is a journey, not a destination, you know, you're never gonna be, I don't wanna say, you're never going to be fully okay. But things are always going to come back up. You know, I mean, I took him to court and I went through that process. But that's, that doesn't mean it doesn't come back up. Doesn't mean that I'm not like, sometimes hurt because of it, or, you know, sometimes triggered. Yeah, you know, that's very much real. And you just have to work through that, you know, you have to realize that I survived these feelings last time, I'm gonna survive them this time. And I think as you do that, it gets a little bit easier over time. Absolutely. But it's still always gonna be there.

Melissa Bright:

Right? And now you have like different tools. You're like, oh, before, I had nothing, and that's why I went for sex and drugs and everything else, where now it's like, No, I have these different tools. Now I'm actually aware of what the hell is going on. Like, I cannot explain how important just being aware is because like you said, You numbed out for so long, like, that's also just, I don't want to say necessarily denial, but it kind of at the same time is denial, you didn't want to deal with the shit that was really at hand. But at the same time, you didn't even necessarily know that there was shit to deal with. I'm almost like, I mean, I don't I don't know how this sounds. But I'm so glad that that memory kind of did come back in your head. Because where would you be? Like, maybe you would still be trying to figure out why the hell? This why you act the way that you do, you know? Yes. And set. Like I just, I just read the book by Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry, about what happened to you. Yep. Instead of what's wrong with me like, Yeah,

Ginn:

right. And I definitely think that, um, you know, like, kind of going back to my job, I think, because I can see how the world reacts to mental health, like, on a daily basis. I think that there's really been this huge shift that makes healing almost more acceptable nowadays, like, you know, I think it's definitely podcast and talking and all this kind of stuff is really opening up these lines of communication, that allow for humans to be humans and connect with each other. And that's where the healing comes from.

Melissa Bright:

100% and I feel like it's been to when I obviously since starting my podcast that this is where the healing has came from this whole journey. I started podcasting and therapy literally, like within the same frickin week. And so now I'm like, Is it just me or am I just, like, immersed more in mental health, but it's like, I feel like more people are talking about it. And I'm like, this is huge, because my mom went through a lot of shit in her childhood that really affected her being an adult. And yes, she did some therapy, but I'm like, gosh, if she was still alive to this day and knowing a lot more stuff now. Maybe She could have coped with things a little bit better, you know. And so I'm grateful for this awareness that's coming about. And I feel like it takes me, you, and so many other people that come forward to talk about their stories, so that more and more people can come. Oh my gosh, you know, Jen did it, Melissa did it. Now we can now I can talk, you know? Yeah. I think it's beautiful. Right? I think when you open up yourself and your story to others, you make space for them to open up themselves, and be comfortable and sharing their stories. Yeah. And it Oh, and sometimes, it just, it does take one person, one person that that that other person might have looked up to or admired or just really liked them, or, holy crap, I never thought that Jen would ever you know, she was this quiet, shy person. I never thought she'd open up about her story, well, then I can do that. I'm, whatever it is, like every person that does it another person. You know, I have had 50 year old men messaged me telling me, you speaking about your mental health has helped me with mine. Like, that's a really hard thing for a man to message, you know, a younger female, I think in saying I have issues with my mental health. Yes, that means a lot to me, you know? And I'm like, wow, okay, so I'm not going to shut up about my mental health. And because no, please do not. So we do have a little bit of time left. And I know that unfortunately, this kind of stuff, you know, sexual abuse happens every day. So if you could give advice to first of all, I'm going to say if you could give advice to a little, a little girl, let's say if you could give advice to your five year old self, what is it that you would say to a person that maybe has just experienced this and they don't know what to do?

Ginn:

I definitely think finding comfort in sitting with it and reaching out, I think finding the strength to reach out. Yeah, I think Yeah, I wish I had done that. I wish I had like, whenever was younger, I've been able to be more open about my pain, whether or not like I ever knew what the leading cause was, I think I wish I would have just been more open to saying like, hey, like, I, this is how I'm feeling because like I said, like we were I was in therapy when I was younger, but I never really opened myself up to it.

Melissa Bright:

Right? Yeah. And I think also, and I've never experienced this, but my mom did for a really long time. And we know we didn't have a big conversation about it. But just knowing what she went through in terms of like, the threatening, like, if you tell anybody, I'll kill you, if you you know, tell anybody like you're dead. And that that is very, very believing for a little kid that's believing for an adult like, so you don't know what to do. You think something's wrong with you, you think that you deserve this for whatever reason, like all these beliefs can start forming in your, in your head, I'm assuming I can only assume I haven't been in this situation. But you know, I just, it just breaks my heart for for little kids that go through this. And then here you are as an adult, and you're like, this is what it has done to me, you know, but you have the survivor story. So now, given that you are 30 What advice would you give to somebody now being older that say let's say maybe they haven't came out and told their story yet or haven't even told anybody? Or whatever it is somebody that has went through this experience? What would you say to them?

Ginn:

I think the first thing I would say would be I believe you. Like I think had somebody told me matter of factly that like I believe you, when I first came out with it, there would have been a lot less hurt. And I think victims are also like often kind of put on the wall Are you sure because like if you come out with this, you could completely change this person's life when really like it's their life has already been completely, you know, damaged. There's already been that trauma that's occurred. And then also not to look at coming forward as a cry for help because I think a lot of us that go through stuff kind of see it as a weakness. Or like, you know, in my situation, I questioned I even questioned myself like am I coming forward with this information. Because I want more attention. No, I think really like, that's not even the question about it at all. Like, I think that there's so much strength that is, in fact involved in coming forward. Yeah, it's not a cry for help. It's a show strength.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And I mean, like I said, I've never been in your situation. But that takes a huge amount of strength. And had you not, like I said, you could still be immersed in in drugs and alcohol, all of that stuff, because he could potentially still be doing that, or he's never going to get these consequences of what he did. And I think it takes a great amount of strength for several reasons. Like you said, people were questioning you, you know, you start questioning yourself, you start questioning why you even want to do this in the first place. And that just sucks to be questioned like that. Like, yeah, I it's just got to be so hard. So I think it's extremely brave. And I think you agree, it allowed you to heal and start healing. Absolutely. Yes. And you. So if you could say, like, what has been your greatest? I'm throwing some deep questions here. If you can't tell, um, what would you say is like your greatest lesson in all of this? What have you learned the most about yourself? And through your whole life experience?

Ginn:

Yeah, um, that, I think the biggest lesson I learned about myself is that I'm very scared of my feelings. But that that's also super. Okay. Don't be afraid of your feelings. Like, you know, sometimes they are so big, but that they're not meant to be fixed. You don't always have to fix them. You just have to allow yourself to feel them. Yeah, I think that's been the biggest thing, you know, not to numb out but just to learn to be okay with them and work towards making things easier and doing better.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And it's so it's so huge, because I said, or one of my mental must have mental health must have the very last one was sitting with your feelings and being okay with the pain and like, it looks different for everybody. Like I literally said, it's not like you just pull up a chair and be like, okay, pain, come on over here. Let's sit and be together for a little bit. Um, it looks different for everybody. So I know what I do. Can you kind of explain like, what it is what what, what you might do or what it looks for looks like for you, whenever you are sitting with your pain or accepting your feelings, not numbing them out? What does that look like for you? Okay,

Ginn:

so when the hard feelings come, for example, I have a very hard time crying, but sometimes I just need to let it out. So I have found a few TV shows. I don't know if you've ever seen this as us. But I know that show on and I will cry the whole time. And I come out of that feeling so much better. And it's not necessarily the show that's making me cry. It's just making space for myself to have those feelings.

Melissa Bright:

Wow. That is so you are so right. Because they're like, if you don't, I just had a Oh my god, rapid transformational therapist on my podcast. And she was talking about we all like, we're all made up of energy. And that energy can be in several different ways. One of them getting out the energy is crying, like, and there are times where it's like, just at the like at the tip. And you're like, I can't cry. I can't cry. But I know I need to because I feel so much better. And that's a really good tactic go put on a damn sad show. Right? That's a really good point. Now, can I ask because you said something that kind of was like, Oh, why? Cuz I don't think I've ever like realized this because I think I cry so easily. Do you know why it's hard for you to cry? And when did you notice that it was hard for you to cry?

Ginn:

I definitely think it's always been hard for me to cry. Never been super comfortable with it. And I do think it's because for the longest time I had that internal voice telling me that like my weakness, and like any show of negative emotions was not meant to be felt it was meant to be hidden away. Wow. And I think that as much as I have worked with that, it's very much ingrained in me. And that's why crying doesn't come naturally. But I can get it out like I said by watching a TV show. Right?

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And that that's like brave of you because you're not letting that voice tell you that you're weak. Now you're like no, but I know I need to get this out. So I'm going to go do something just to make it easier for me. So I think that's incredible. I have one last question for you. But is there anything else that you want to add about your story or that you would like listeners to know about your story?

Ginn:

I think you've really covered it. So very well, and very nicely.

Melissa Bright:

Awesome. Thank you. Well, I have one last question for you. And I always ask all my guests this. So Jen, in your own words, what does the bright side of life mean to you? Okay, I

Ginn:

think it's being able to take our pain and suffering and use it for good. using it to help others and also for us to know how to better love those that are around us.

Melissa Bright:

Yes. Oh, that's beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful. Well, Jen, thank you very, very much for coming on here to share your story. Thank you for listening to this week's episode of the bright side of life, Jen story is truly one of going from victim to survivor, she has had a number of addictions from her unhealed wounds and all the hurt that she's had. And the craziest thing is, is she didn't even recall the horrible night that changed everything, because she suppressed her pain so much. That is how powerful the brain is. It will protect you from remembering traumatic experiences. But that doesn't mean that they go away. As you can see, for a long time, Jen couldn't make any sense of why she was doing the thing she was doing. When all along something something actually had happened to her to behave in those ways. I hope her story was able to help you in any of your experiences. And some things you may need to heal from, I promise you, there is still time to get help and to heal. Really quickly, I do want to add that I've added a couple of new shirts to our clothing store. So if you would like to check those out, we have some new summer tank tops. And you can head over to the website, which is the bright side of life podcast calm, and then just go to the store there. And also, if you would like to support the show, the best ways you can do so is you can subscribe and share what you can do so on any of the platforms that you listen to, you can write us a review, or I'm also part of buy me a coffee, which is a way for creators like myself to accept donations from their listeners. All of this can be done directly on my website. You don't have to go anywhere else. So just go straight to the bright side of life podcast calm. And as always, if you know someone that may need to hear Jen's story, please share it with them because we never know if this is the one that puts hope back in their heart.

Ginn

Ginn

https://www.themisbehavingmind.com/my-story/

My story of my trauma can be found here. I would like to take it a little further with you podcast though. In hopes of inspiring, connecting and educating your audience.

I was raised in a home where kids were meant to be seen and not heard. If we had bad days we were told to suck it up. To be stronger. To get over it. We really weren't allowed negative emotions. Any sign of weakness was very much looked down upon.

I honestly feel like my parents just didn’t know any different. Their parents had the same views. And it was just what they knew.

Otherwise, I had a very normal childhood. My parents very much did the best they could with what they knew.

My dad came from a home where his mother was absent for much of his teen years and his father was very hard on him. My mom grew up in a house where her dad worked all the time and her mom went through struggles with her mental health but no one really talked about it at the time. My mom spent a lot of time off on her own doing her own thing because of this.

My parents very much loved us though and wanted the best for their children.

As I grew I became a very angry teenager. I became one that just didn’t understand herself or the world around her. I always felt that I didn’t belong. I never felt worthy enough to be accepted by others. This led to a pretty big problem with lying. I lied about pretty much everything. I lied so I could feel I was acceptable.

When I was 14 I found somewhere that I felt accepted. That was in the arms of a 23-year-old man. And then my problems really just escalated from there.

I went through realizing I had a sex addiction which eventually led me to realizing what had happened to me. I told my parents but still doubted my truth

Unable to deal with the pain I swapped out my sex addiction for drug addiction, an eating disorder, and overworking myself. I just swapped one method of numbing out for another for years.

The physical sensations caused by my pain and the suffering I was going through were so intolerable that I would do anything to make them go away. So I had sex with anyone who came along to make it disappear, I used drugs to make it disappear, I developed an eating disorder because that to me was easier to focus on than the pain I was going through.

My addictions, eating disorder, and being a workaholic were all symptoms of a much bigger issue. It all stemmed from a childhood in which I experienced trauma. I truly believe that childhood trauma is very much the biggest leading factor to so much of modern society's mental health issues.

There was this real shift that occurred when I went from thinking I had no problems that I was totally normal just going through hard times to realizing I did infact have a problem. At this point I was ready to realize that I could in fact heal, which for the longest time I just thought I deserved what I was going through. So realizing that I never did deserve it and that I could move past it made a huge difference.

No survivor ever deserved it. And I really don’t think that is talked about enough.

I think the biggest part of healing from trauma is believing that you can heal and having faith in yourself to do so. The remainder is doing the work. Sitting in the emotions. It was really hard for me to accept the emotions are meant to be felt not fixed. That I wasn’t supposed to just suppress them and pretend they didn’t exist.

Being able to take responsibility for my thoughts, feelings and actions really allowed me to check into the world that existed outside myself. It really allowed me a different view of the relationship I had with my daughter.

I was able to realize that I was pushing my daughter away because of my pain. In my head, I had told myself that the same thing that happened to me would happen to her. I felt as though I couldn’t handle the pain of that so I was pushing her away so that I wouldn’t get hurt again. But luckily through my healing, I was able to pick up on this. I was able to recognize that I needed to show up for her. I needed to be her protector and do my best to keep her safe.

I needed to make room for her to grow and for her to feel safe in taking up space in this world. I needed to do better than the generations before me.

I think it's important for my children to see that I am human. I have my struggles. My good days and my bad days. And I work through it.

I was never allowed to see that from my parents. My parents never showed us the hard times. So I think when I got older this feeling of well that’s not how things should be was very real.

Kid's don’t need a happy perfect parent. They need a real parent. One who has a range of emotions. One that is comfortable enough to express those emotions and then show how to cope with and process them.

You both deserve to be human. Everyone deserves to be human.

The way in which we parent, the attitudes we have and the behaviours we present are what our kids pick up on. Who we are around our children determines so much more the type of person they become than the lessons we try and teach them.

You cant teach your children how to grow up and be functioning healthy adults when you're a hot mess. You cant teach them how to cope with their emotions, how to have self-acceptance or how to live a healthy wholesome life when you aren't able to do those things yourself.

It always starts with you.

We raise kind, respectful aware humans by being one.