Leni

Melbourne, Australia

I am a 40 year old woman and survivor of ritual abuse. I have dissociative identity disorder and experience complex PTSD symptoms. Despite this, I am relatively high functioning and tend to be very active and engaged in life. I started remembering my abuse at around the age of 25. Prior to that I had no solid memory of my childhood and things just felt blank. I was programmed to keep very busy in order to forget my abuse and so I am always on the go and doing things.

I was lucky to find an interest in the creative arts and filmmaking, so my pursuits have mostly been very stimulating and enjoyable, though hard work. Almost everything I did kept me away from myself and I would say that I was (am) extremely disconnected from the way that I felt (feel) in general. I always felt something was wrong, but couldn't put my finger on it. When I discovered I had been sexually abused as a child, it was like my whole world changed and everything that I had felt or experienced prior to this was a lie. Everything, yet nothing, made sense. I wanted to pursue recovery and wholeness immediately, but the more I tried to do this, the more walls I kept hitting. Programming was inbuilt in me to 'not remember' and I thought I would die if I did. The paradox was, that I longed to die, and suffered suicidal ideation on an almost daily basis for over ten years. I had used drugs and alcohol from the age of 13 to self soothe and medicate and the turning point for me was when I hit a rock bottom with drinking at the age of 31.

I went into AA and that really kick started my journey of recovery. I learnt how to deal with life without picking up a drink or a drug and most importantly, I was led to my real saviour, Jesus Christ. Almost a year into being sober, I started hearing voices. I had heard these voices for a long time but had stifled them with alcohol and drugs. The voices were extremely loud and negative and told me to kill myself. I sought psychotherapy and prayer ministry and it was through these experiences that I discovered I had dissociative parts of self (multiple personalities). Since accepting this, I have definitely started to get better, although it has been a long journey. I am over six years sober now and on a very personal, determined journey to find myself within my fragmented identity.