I want to thank everyone who's posted their words of support and encouragement to others here. While my story is different from many others who post here, I have benefited greatly from reading your stories and words of encouragement to each other. This is my first post here, and I want to share that your kind and supportive words to each other help everyone who reads them, whether they are contributing to this community or not.
I honestly do not know if I was molested as a small child or not. I exhibited a host of behavioral red flags common to young abuse victims, and I have dim memories of molestation and physical abuse from a young age.
My family was a conservative religious family that taught me that masturbation would send me to hell. One of my red flags was constant masturbation, which created a vicious cycle of despair, masturbating (trying to self-soothe), and more despair. By the time I was 11, I was having nightmares about being hell-bound, where I would be attacked, degraded, and raped....this is why I don't know if my memories of abuse were from actual events, or were just a product of my mind.
I am 33 now and am a totally different person. I have gone through periods of major depression, drug abuse, and very low self-esteem, and I cannot say that I am out of the woods yet. There is hardly a day that goes by where I don't deal with emotional scars from my childhood. But reading others' comments and support here helps. It helps so much, and makes me realize that all my issues are shared by so many others. Thank you to everyone here who shares their stories of abuse, their words of encouragement, and their stories of growth.