122. The Effects of CSA




Acrylic on canvas, 50x50cm
I have a home but I am sleeping rough. I can’t stay in my house, I can’t be on my own in that house, it makes me suicidal… I need to go out and be among people. For the last 30 years I’ve been afraid to fall asleep alone because of the nightmares I have about the sexual abuse in my childhood. It determined my life and caused my addictions – drug dependence and hoarding. In my nightmares those assaults happen over and over again. I use ice because I need to fully exhaust myself in order to get to sleep without having nightmares. The Art project and all the painting I did has ignited an important process inside me. I surprised myself; I realised for the first time in my life that I was able to sit down and do something (painting) for hours without thinking about using drugs. I expressed my childhood trauma through my painting. I wasn’t planning to, it just happened. I was able to acknowledge my anger, frustration and fear in a new way, in a constructive way, and it made me realise all my life I have dealt with my problems in a destructive way; that my coping mechanisms – drug use and hoarding – are not working. I need to change something. The Art project helped me to acknowledge the problem I have and find the courage to look for the solution. I started counselling sessions that will hopefully help me to work on my problematic drug use and hoarding. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without all the hours and days spent painting at MSIC. The hole in my painting is the hole in my heart that cannot be filled with any material thing – not with drugs nor the items I keep on dragging into my house. It is a hole in my life that being sexually abused as a child made. Now I have an idea of what I can fill that hole with, in a way that no drugs or possessions can. It was a God shaped vacuum and now I’m able to acknowledge and accept that. He walks with me, beside me or carries me…. I am on the way there… and when I get there I will tell you what it is. It was such a cathartic experience and an extremely spiritual journey for me. The art project has opened a floodgate of creativity and put me in a place where I’m no longer ashamed of or afraid of my past, but I am able to confront it head-on and seek the professional help I need to help me understand the complexities of the issues I haven’t had the courage to face before. I thank MSIC and every member of staff for being there when I needed them. I wouldn’t be in this place or head-space right now if not for them or the facility. It’s impacted dramatically on my drug use as well, because since the beginning of August I’ve only used 6 or 7 times; instead of 2-3 times a day. Now all I want to do is paint my feelings.

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