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The Aftermath: Emotional Effects

Anorexia Bulimia Self Injury Suicide Depression
Borderline Personality Disorder Dissociative Identity Disorder

Many survivors have to confront emotional problems
Use the links above to navigate this page
Remember that you are not alone
This is not your fault
The power is now yours to take care of yourself and to take steps towards your healing
I found the following credo, written by a fellow survivor, especially helpful

I hope I will never use a diagnosis as an excuse to stay stuck in a place or situation I'm struggling with. A diagnosis will not stop me from trying to move ahead. I hope that I use it to move past a behavior to try and fight it... Even though my therapist and my psychiatrist diagnosed me with it, I won't (or will try my best not to) use it to excuse something I do, no matter what, I'm responsible for me and the things I do are still my responsibility...
                                                             -Mouseisa, a survivor and member of Pandora's Aquarium

Anorexia Nervosa

What it is:

Anorexia is an eating disorder. A person suffering from Anorexia is obsessed with keeping their weight down, usually to an very unhealthy extreme. Survivors are prone to anorexia because it is a disease which thrives on low self-esteem, something that results from sexual assault. Anorexia can be deadly and needs to be treated. In most cases this involves dealing with the underlying cause of Anorexia, the trauma of sexual assault.

Warning Signs:

Abnormally afraid of becoming fat.
Calorie and/or fat gram counting.
Restriction of food.
Starvation dieting.
The use of diet pills to control weight.
Amenorrhea - The absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles.
Body weight less than 85% of that expected for one's age and height.
Eating junk food (usually candy), drinking a lot of coffee or tea, and/or smoking to control hunger pains.
More Signs and Symptoms


The Something's Fishy Website on Eating Disorders - Everything you need to know about Eating Disorders... Anorexia, Bulimia and Compulsive Overeating. Definitions, signs and symptoms, physical dangers and so much more.

Anorexia Nervosa - A less personal site with description, diagnosis, and research information.


What it is:

Bulimia is an eating disorder. A person suffering from bulimia binges (eats a large quantity of food) and then purges (either induces vomiting or takes laxatives so that food will not be digested and will pass directly through the body). Bulimia, like Anorexia can be deadly and has underlying emotional causes.

Warning Signs:

Self-induced vomiting.
Using laxatives to prevent weight gain.
An obsession with gaining weight.
A fascination with food - buying cookbooks and food magazines.
Rapid consumption of large amounts of food.
Extreme guilt over food eaten.


The American Anorexia Bulimia Association of Philadelphia - A national, non-profit organization of concerned members of the public and healthcare industry dedicated to the prevention and treatment of eating disorders.

Bulimia Nervosa - Mental Health Net's information page on Bulimia.

Fact Sheet: Bulimia Nervosa - Definition, symptoms, cause, treatment, self-management and dealing with relapse.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

What it is:

BPD is personality disorder. There is some evidence that sexual abuse/assault either cause or contribute to the severity of this disorder. Defined by the DSM-IV, it is "a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity."

Warning Signs (from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition)

Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (eg spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, threats or self-mutilating behaviour.
Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (eg intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety, usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
Chronic feelings of emptiness.
Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (eg frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.


Borderline UK - Provides information, contacts for, support and a voice for anyone with a diagnosis of BPD.

Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder - Mental Health on the Web's BPD links.


What it is:

Self-Injury is deliberately harming oneself as a coping mechanism. It is caused by the emotional stress that the person is incapable, for whatever reason, of dealing with. For these people, Self-Injury is an escape, a way to relieve numbness, and an expression of pain.

Warning Signs:

Dysphoria - Experiencing depression, irritability, tension and sensitivity to rejection.
Chronic anger or anxiety.
Unexplainable bruises, cuts or burns.


Self Injury: You are NOT the Only One - A very helpful, very complete site on self-injury.


SI Article by Donna Adams


What it is:

Most often caused by depression, suicide is a successful attempt to take one's life.

Warning Signs:

Depression - feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless.
Talking about or being obsessed with death and/or suicide.
Loss of interest in things previously considered important.
A sudden change in attitude. Suddenly happier or calmer.
Suddenly visiting people one cares about.
Giving things away and/or putting affairs in order.


Suicide Prevention Triangle - Everything you want to know about suicide, its various explanations, resources for self rescue, and the positive value of visual art images dealing with suicidal themes. Includes free self assessment.

Understanding Suicidal Thoughts - A Rest Stop from Depression and Suicidal Thoughts.

SA\VE - A website to educate about suicide and to speak for suicide survivors.


What it is:

Depression is an illness which manifests itself as severe or prolonged sadness which interferes with a person's daily life and their ability to feel happy. People suffering from depression often feel worthless and lose their will to live. Depression is the number one cause of suicide. Warning Signs:

Intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or anxiety.
Loss of energy. Feeling tired all the time.
Thoughts about death and suicide.
Decreased -- or increased -- sleeping or appetite.
Difficulty in concentrating or indecisiveness.
Mood swings.
Extreme irritability.
Impulsiveness that results in negative consequences.

Depression.Com -The latest news and information about depression and its treatment, with individual sections devoted to specific types of depression, symptoms and treatments.

Depression Resource Center - Information, news, books, links, message boards, search engines and more on depression.

National Foundation For Depressive Illness, Inc. - Now we can successfully treat the illness called Depression.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Click here for the Escaping Hades PTSD Page

What it is:

PTSD is an anxiety disorder brought on by an extremely traumatic psychological event (e.g. rape). Warning Signs:

Anxiety and/or Depression.
Sudden aggressive behavior.
Feelings of guilt.
Social withdrawal. Links:

Anxieties.Com - A free internet self-help site for persons suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, fear of flying and post traumatic stress disorder.

National Center For PTSD - An overview of PTSD.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

What it is:

A survival mechanism, Dissociative Identity Disorder occurs when extreme trauma causes a person to compartmentalize their pain, thereby creating multiple personalities. The onset of this disorder is in childhood, usually from ages three to nine, because it is still possible for them to break their developing "self" into multiple personalities.

Warning Signs:

Inability to recall important personal information.
Impaired social functioning.
Assumption of a new identity.
Loss of time.


Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder Information Pages - To serve as information and hope and to let every survivor of abuse know that there is hope for a better tomorrow.

Shattered Selves - An attempt from a survivor of Multiple Personality Disorder to enlighten and to allow you a chance to look into her world.

If you have an suggestions for this page, please email me.