DEAR ABBY: I am a 53-year-old woman who is a sexual abuse survivor. This has consumed every aspect of my life. It started when I was around 2, I believe, and was a daily occurrence until I was 14. My abuser was my paternal grandfather, now deceased.
I've sought counseling and therapy groups -- whatever I could -- over the years, to no avail. I just can't shake it. I have dealt with flashbacks, nightmares, failed marriages, etc. I just want to be and feel normal, and I don't know how.
Am I searching for something that does not exist? I don't know if you can help me, but please, if you have any advice at all, I would be beyond grateful. -- LOST IN THE SOUTH
DEAR LOST: My heart goes out to you. You have experienced an atrocity. The groups you have been attending may not have been the right ones for you. One-on-one sessions with a licensed mental health professional, someone who specializes in working with victims of sexual abuse and/or PTSD, might be more appropriate.
A good place to start finding the help you're looking for would be the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). It's the nation's largest anti-sexual violence network. You can find it online at rainn.org or by calling 800-656-4673. I wish you healing and success. Please let me hear from you again and tell me how you are doing.