Welcome to Recovery
Recovery is a rather odd place to be - a strange in-between place where we recognise something requires healing, and being well again.
Recovery began with this concept: not only do I, Ashleigh need to heal from the experiences I've had as a teenager and young woman, but our nation and indeed the world needs to heal from the pain inflicted on itself. I'm aware this might sound grandiose but let's look at how many cultures around the world - especially in the west and in vulnerable communities - indoctrintae hatred, unworthiness shame and guilt into females, and entitlement, greed, recklessness, and anger in males. It is very difficult to find a culture where all the sexes are accepting of each other, and each thrives, honouring themselves and the others.
So it began in 2017 that I started to record episodes of the podcast to talk about what I was experiencing.
At the time, I had discovered a podcast by Victoria Police called Unspeakable, a six-part series designed to help it's listeners identify what sexual abuse really looked like in Australia and what to do about it. The podcast unexpectedly struck me like a needle in the core and I was flooded with a torrent of unwelcome, unpleasant memories I had not before known existed. The physical reaction was intense - my stomach dropped out from under me, and simultaneously I was ready to vomit. My palms sweated, my heart beat somehow raced and slowed to almost a standstill and my chest was tight and heavy. Breathing was laborious.
I was on a train heading home from work - after yet another panic attack from seemingly nowhere had rooted me to the spot in the middle of Box Hill Centro, just beyond the ticket barrier, in the main atrium. I had been scolding myself for not being able to just push through and go to work like a normal person would - I had tried to talk myself countless times into taking just one tiny step forward... but my feet refused to move. The only direction my body would take me in was back through the ticket barriers, and onto the next train home.
Before I could make it home, I found my feet had taken me to the local Police station where, through an unbelievably copious amount of snot and tears, I asked to report a rape - and thus began my path to healing, learning and advocacy.