ESMB has entered archive mode. All posts and threads that were available to the general public are still readable. The board is still searchable. 

Thank you all for your participation and readership over the last 12 years.

If you want to join in the conversation, please join the new ESMB Redux at

Featured Sallydannce's Story

Discussion in 'Stories From Inside Scientology' started by Gottabrain, Mar 26, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Gottabrain

    Gottabrain Guest

    The following personal counseling testimony on the effects and resolution of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was sent to me by an exScn. Due to the intimate nature of the sessions, this person wishes to remain completely anonymous on the forum.

    I request that discussion of this be limited to the technical aspects or to Scn, rather than to the person, as this is a vulnerable and personal area for this individual

    "I have experience of what deep trauma does and the chaotic overload it creates (PTSD).

    I was not diagnosed with PTSD (fear of medical/mental health establishment prevented me from seeking help when it hit me). I have since read up on PTSD and recognised what happened to me. My unceremoniously dumping Hubbard’s ideas out of my life and another major life event hit me a few months apart & threw me into a traumatised state.

    I would have these pure chaotic episodes in my brain. I could feel them. Hard to describe – like a raging storm in my head. It was like things had collapsed in my brain. Or put simply – I was a total mess. Anyone who dismisses the impact of trauma ain’t lived through it. It is very real stuff. It feels like you have been hit right off the playing field of life. Everything gets very hazy and nothing is defined. I literally could not do my daily cross-word (a habit of many years), or at times, recognise my own face in the mirror.

    In my view it is a culture clash (as you describe above) – an overwhelming contrast which induces great fear/terror - and also a triggering event(s) which is way outside of the persons level of experience. Also deeply lodged emotional pain that has not been addressed gets triggered (stirred up) by this extreme life event(s).

    It seems to me that what traumatises one person, may just bounce off another. I explored why I became traumatised when others in similar circumstances were not impacted the way I was.

    What I discovered, (for me – this ain’t no science project) was that it was patterns – emotional, intellectual, social conditioning, etc, and deeply lodged neuron pathways (under-developed, faulty, lacking totally, etc) which provided me with automatic responses – data files, if you will, automatically responding to situations, emotions, etc. When they all got over-loaded, assaulted, and shuffled around too fast my brain said “fuck this! Enough! I am throwing all the switches to protect myself – and you.”

    I have worked with a therapist on this stuff. Eventually I could no longer deal with things on my own and with some loving intervention from some friends, I conceded I might explore getting some professional help. The ex-scio girl nervously entered the therapist’s office and announced “there is something you need to know about me. I don’t think I believe in your theories. I’m only here because I have run right out of bright ideas…and I have my back to the wall like I never knew could happen. I may run out the door any minute.” The dear therapist probably had that thought that all therapists possibly have from time to time “Damn! Someone tell me why I chose to become a therapist?”

    With her loving support I got past my phobia about therapists…first phobic dealt with. And there were a bunch more to come as I progressed.

    With good guidance & lots of re-education I began the hard work. I worked on the brain pathways – very gently and in a very loving supportive environment. The “new” pathways I have gently opened take time to become “habit”, and to make them stronger. I never thought I would say this, but I can actually feel the changes in a tangible way. The connection between brain and emotions and behaviour has become very real to me.

    When I felt a chaotic “brain-storm” hit (I learnt how to detect the sensations and notice the changes in my body) I would use gentle soothing messages to calm things down.

    Slowly, week by week, there was a noticeable change. The chaotic episodes weakened and lessened and eventually went completely. The lodged trauma dislodged and together with the support of my wise & empowering therapist, worked through.

    I am re-programming my brain, my responses, my emotions and my sense of myself. The pathways I had since childhood were addressed – getting to these was hard work but was done very gently. This ain’t no “2x intensives to EP” stuff. The work has gotten faster and deeper and more powerful in the past few weeks. It seems to be like any muscle - stronger and easier to use the more it is exercised.

    There was another aspect to this for me – spiritual. I work with a therapist who works with both knowledge about neuron pathways and spirituality. I use a mix of science and ancient techniques (in particular Buddhism and Taoism). For me this works in a harmonious way. It was key for to have my spirituality “issues” addressed - the installed thought system of scientology was colliding heavily for me with everything else I was struggling with.

    It has been big work. Ultimately, for me, it has come down to identity. The formation of pathways and subsequent behaviour/responses which the person uses to identify themselves with and their world.

    I hope this makes sense. I am struggling a little here to write about this. It is a very personal journey I have been on. This is the first time I have attempted to describe this. So please forgive me if it reads in a clumsy way."
  2. sallydannce

    sallydannce Gold Meritorious Patron


    It was me.

    I am doing okay.

    I want to start telling my story. It's not easy but I think the time has come. It isn't easy to "re-live" some of what happened. I was advised to take it very slowly and not push things. It was good advice and I have heeded it. Some of what happened is shrouded in amnesia and I was advised to just let that be. Recently some more details of what happened surfaced and I was able to gently work through that and even laugh about it. Laughter is so healthy and healing.

    I've just got on with my life in a very slow way. I've come a huge distance and I am frankly, really proud of myself. I'm not perfect and I know I annoy the hell out of some people in my life. Some even walked away, out of my life.

    It is here on ESMB where I feel "got" and the safest. I don't post much and sometimes I don't read ESMB for months. But I always come back to the place that gave me deep solace and hope during my very dark days. So thank you Emma. With all my heart, thank you.

    I don't know if my story has any value. I don't know if talking about surviving what I survived is worthwhile. If perhaps I can give hope and love to one other person who may be going through something similar to what I did, then I guess there is value.

    Anyway I'm doing okay. I've learnt so much these past few years. More than I learnt all my years in the cult. And for that, I am extremely grateful.
  3. Good twin

    Good twin Floater

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    :biglove: Sallydannce!!!
  4. I told you I was trouble

    I told you I was trouble Suspended animation

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    I'm so happy to see you back here sallydannce (BTW your wicked sense of humour helped me a few times when you were posting regularly).

  5. ChurchOfCylontology

    ChurchOfCylontology Patron with Honors

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Sally, everyone's story has value and I believe that this site is one of many places for you to share it. Every tree makes a sound when it falls in the forest, it only takes someone with ears to hear it. Think of what the world would have been like if no one read Anne Frank's story. And she wrote it thinking no one would ever read it.

    There are many in the world like me, a non-Scientologist with no real agenda who comes here to read stories from people like you so I can learn and hopefully educate others.

    So please know that you have an audience. Your story has tremendous value and you are adding to a valuable conversation.
  6. sallydannce

    sallydannce Gold Meritorious Patron

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Thank you all for your support. I know you “get it”. I also know I am not the first – or only – person to be traumatised when they left the cult. I don’t claim to be unique or special. I have been very humbled by my experience.

    This has been a very powerful experience. Life is very different for me now. I don’t sweat the small stuff much these days though I can become irrational quite easily. This is usually when I get triggered on issues of trust, rejection or abandonment. I’ve been blessed with having some brilliant people in my life and have read my arse off to learn and learn and learn.

    I don’t know where to start with what happened so I’m just gonna jump right in and write whatever comes into my head…

    I had been in scientology about 18 years when my then husband got a job up in China (end of 2005) He was into high-tech engineering, a smart man and good at his job. He got offered this gig up in China and we went up there under the protective umbrella of a large corporation. Ironical fact #1: we went there to earn more money to get to Flag. China catalysed me out of scientology. Yay for China!

    The ex had just come back from Flag a few mths prior to us moving up to China. That fact becomes highly relevant to this story a little later. Some of this stuff I have not talked about before because it always just sent me out the roof with anger when I did. So if I get angry or cry all over the keyboard, too bloody bad! Let it rip!

    This is a story of dirty deception & totally screwed up behaviour with me caught in the middle of it all. The cult weaves its way through it all, like some dark clumsy anachronistic beast. These days I can only laugh at some of things that happened but it took me time to get over my rage.

    I am now grateful for all that happened because as the saying goes “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and I am living proof of that. I have explored my deepest vulnerabilities and my strengths. I also know that life is sometimes about suffering and that suffering is a great teacher. I also know that life isn’t about controlling every damn little thing and I continue to learn about this.

    I have learnt to not be afraid of my emotions. I spent so many years in the cult trying to contain my emotions, being “uptone” and only expressing any negative emotions in auditing (counselling). That created an explosion of high-powered pent-up emotions which when released, was overwhelming. On a couple of occasions I found myself laughing hysterically and sobbing simultaneously. That freaked the hell out of me. Intense times. I had no idea how to feel authentic emotions. Not a damn clue.

    Anyway here I go telling the story of what happened. It is a little surreal to me to finally be talking about this “out loud” but I am ready. Shit happens and then you get over it.
  7. Ladybird

    Ladybird Silver Meritorious Patron

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Thank you so much Sallydance for sharing your feelings. I sucked it up and kept quiet for a long time and made it "go right" but eventually the rage boiled over.

    I think there are a lot of ex-scientologists and especially XSO and their children who are suffering from PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) and could benefit from therapy.

    One of the mind traps built into scientology is that we were taught that all psychs and medical people are evil, and anyone who says anything against scientology is evil and all drugs are evil too, even an aspirin for a headache.

    I still feel sometimes that even if I have a stuffy nose I somehow pulled it in. I am soooo out of scientology, and I would have died if I hadnt been kicked out ... but that back thought is always there.

    Thank you for giving me a new look at the facts.
  8. sallydannce

    sallydannce Gold Meritorious Patron

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Hey Ladybird. Yeah that installed phobia about medico's, mental health workers & drugs is a tricky one to break through.

    It is only very recently that I took an over-the-counter painkiller totally on my own volition without a pile of crap entering my head. I felt so liberated. None of my friends in my new life could understand why I was so thrilled to have "pain relief" and then rattle on about "they work ya know, these pain-killers rock!"

    There's been so many "firsts" - like the time I put some perfume on. Oh my! That was a big day! Channel No 5 I think it was. I quite liked it. I ended up dancing around the kitchen with tears rolling down my face - joy! Freedom!

    Unless you've been mind controlled it is hard for people to understand what it feels like to be back in control of your own thoughts, decisions and life. The simple act of putting perfume on when for years you were told it was not acceptable behaviour can be a real celebration.
  9. sallydannce

    sallydannce Gold Meritorious Patron

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    China is a nation of contrasts. Right from the first morning I arrived I was constantly dealing with striking contrasts. A perfect example of this was getting off the plane and being driven about two hours to the first city we lived in (Suzhou) on the fast freeway. We were roaring along with our driver managing to not hit anyone or anything (a relevant comforting detail when living in China) when out of nowhere this old man is cycling towards us! I can still see this old man on his tricycle. It was a three-wheeled bike with a terrific and very practical tray to cart stuff around in on the back of it. He was gently peddling on the verge of the freeway towards us. I was like “WTF!!!!” The ancient and modern having an outing together in the fast-lane!

    Contrasts stimulate and challenge. They inspire and they provoke, sometimes at an uncomfortable level.

    I got used to living a life where I did not understand much of anything. My days were filled with really basic stuff like finding food to eat which I recognised. The story of trying to buy salt is a good example of how outside of my comfort zone I was living. It took me several trips to the shops to eventually find some salt. I lived my life using business-cards with translations on them of what I wanted or where I wanted to go. My ex was seldom around as he was travelling around China doing his work.

    I loved it! I hated it! And I had no idea what was happening to me was going to be as huge as it turned out to be. The contrasts started to melt the mind-control – the scientology programming. I didn’t have time to plug into the programming in my head. I was living by the seat of my pants, on the edge.

    Another powerful catalyst has to do with language. I had no Chinese when I arrived in China. Well I had two words “hello” and “thank you” and in the very early days I’d even screw those up. I’d say “thank you” to greet someone and “hello” to show my appreciation. Talk about humbling!

    I stopped thinking with the scientology language. I wasn’t aware this was happening until much later though. In the past I had framed everything with a scientology term. I.e. if someone had a cold, I’d think “they are PTS”. After the programming fell away I saw how I had thought with scientology language constantly. I spent considerable time re-naming my world when I became aware of this. It felt like I was two-years-old and learning a new language.

    I started learning Chinese (Mandarin) and that loosened things up even more. Mandarin is a very difficult language to learn especially if you learn the written language simultaneously which I tried to do. The language has sounds which we don’t have in English (or any other language as I understand it) and so I’d end up with my tongue in knots. It was really very funny at times. I had a brilliant teacher – Gao Ming Jie (love you darling teacher!). He’d come to my apartment and patiently teach the confused tongue-tied Western lady whilst we sipped real nice tea.

    During this period I did listen to some LRH CD’s I’d taken up to China. But for reasons which I couldn’t explain I just couldn’t get into it. It all seemed too fake and plastic. I became very confused because I’d always loved listening to LRH. I’d look up my words (I was a good student per the scientology system) and still I felt something was wrong. I tried and tried.

    Months went by. Life was strange. I felt strange. Looking back a huge storm was brewing and my world was about to fall apart.

    The scientology programming was being hammered by the experiences I was having. Day by day, it was being kicked around and I was waking up. I jokingly call it “my great leap” into the real world. More like I fell, about as ungraciously as a woman can.

    There was another factor which I feel compelled to mention – with warmth and loads of smiles. The people. My experience with Chinese people was overwhelmingly wonderful. Because I had little to no language I started trusting my instincts (unaware at the time) and feeling the warmth of the people I dealt with. I was helped and supported in ways that still blow me away. Simple human connection without agenda – something I was not used to in the world of scientology.

    Initially I was highly suspicious but after a while I relaxed and found I was able to connect with people in a way I never had before. This brought a whole new issue into my life. Love. Unconditional love of one’s fellow humans. Well…can of worms when one has been an agenda-riddled fanatic.

    I have kept a journal of my time in China (and since) and often I have written that it was love that ultimately broke me out of the mind-control. And I mean that most sincerely. It was wild. It was beyond words!

    China and love got me out of the cult of scientology! The landing in my new world - life – however was not smooth. I ended up adrift out in a churning ocean – unable to find my shore.
  10. Ladybird

    Ladybird Silver Meritorious Patron

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    I understand Sally! I still have issues with scents, even if it is my neighbors using those dryer sheets blocks away. Have you read about how L. Ron Hubbard demanded that his clothes had to be rinsed 8 times to remove all scents from the soap? It is just so weird and so insidious.

    I just read the post before mine. Go Sally go!
  11. La La Lou Lou

    La La Lou Lou Crusader

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Sally, so it's true what they say about travel broadening the mind! Loved your description of China, I could see it.

    PTSD is indeed a factor for escapees, it was for myself. In my case though it's power was based on earlier PTSD which is now addressed by a wonderful counsellor. She gave me the best ack ever. I had just told her about being thrown in the lake at saint hill. I did describe all the sensations and she jumped and said ''I really felt that!''

    When we shook hands after the counselling had reached all the parts that needed it, she told me that the counsellors there saw their supervisors regularly to offload any stuff that had effected them. What a good system.

    I have had counsellors before that I just couldn't relate to, it is important that you can feel you can say anything without embarrassing the counsellor or without getting sideways glances from him or her. I do recommend counselling though, it is life changing, do not expect it to be like auditing, it's not, it works.
  12. degraded being

    degraded being Sponsor

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


    I spent a year in China. In a town of about 500 000 people.
    What a fucking amazing time!!!!!! I have lived in other places, but in
    China, right up till the time I left I was constantly amazed. The encounters
    with people, everywhere, anywhere, on the bus. on the street, invited here,
    there everywhere, people at the dentist's surgery sitting waiting in line.....
    right IN the surgery!!!! coming over to stare into my mouth while the dentist
    worked! :roflmao: You will never be alone or have no one to talk to in China.
    Frustrations too, also amazing. And a lot of really lovely people. There were a few nasty ones in Shangai though. Caution.
  13. Good twin

    Good twin Floater

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    I have no words.....

    :bigcry: :biglove: :drama:
  14. Daisy

    Daisy Patron with Honors

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


    Please go on, this is the stuff I want to talk about. Yes, it took me 8 years to seek help. Wish I had done so sooner.

    I'm so happy that you are able to put into words what goes on with a lot of exes. I truly believe alot of exes have PTSD but choose to convince themselves that it is something else.

    I also have visited china, so your story rings true to me too.

    Looking forward to more.
  15. Sautez

    Sautez Patron with Honors

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


    Thank you so much for sharing and I hope you know how much we can all relate to what you're saying here. I am thrilled for you. You will be telling your story for thousands of us who cannot speak out yet.

    I will be cheering you on!

  16. DagwoodGum

    DagwoodGum Squirreling Dervish

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    I feel so bad that you are not hearing the answer to your question as it revererates throughout our personal universes, as well as THE universe: a resounding YES IT HAS ABSOLUTE VALUE AS WELL AS MUCH RELATIVE VALUE. Who could lead you to such doubts? You talk, we listen.
  17. Magoo

    Magoo Gold Meritorious Patron

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


    I am Sooooooooooooooooo happy

    OUT :happydance:
    Free :fly2:
    Speaking out~! :cheers:

    I can't say it enough: Thank you for telling your story,
    and please keep telling it! :thumbsup:
    I look at Scientology as an onion. Each time one speaks out, another
    layer of that onion is peeled off, a bit more.

    Granted, for some/for many---they're not ready to speak out, and that's
    Ok too. There are many ways to heal from PTSD,as noted above.
    My theory is this: If we can help *one* person by telling our stories--
    it's worth it!

    Look how many you've already helped! :clap:

    :thankyou: and :bighug: to you and ALL here!

  18. sallydannce

    sallydannce Gold Meritorious Patron

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


    Thank you so much for your input. I need to sit down and read your comments. I will a bit later. Again, thank you.

    For now, I just want to add a few words about what this experience of writing this and posting is like. It brings me to tears. I lost so much. I lost everyone I loved and I lost my mind and I lost myself. I still miss my so-called friends (from scientology), I still love them. I miss the security of being married (not the man I was married to and there is a HUGE difference). I miss waking up each morning and having a burning purpose.

    Conversely I gained more than I thought possible. The life I have re-built is far from perfect for I do not seek perfection. But it is MY life. I fiercely guard my new life and I confess I am probably far too wary of anyone that might try to take anything from me without my full consent.

    Ultimately I got myself back. I got my mind back. Day by day, week by week, I came back from the dark place I went to. And what more could anyone want! Okay, some good chocolate might be nice! Oh and some fine music!

    Anyway let me wander off into the depths of my computer and write about my epiphany. I shake my head - did this all really happen to me? Yep.
  19. sallydannce

    sallydannce Gold Meritorious Patron

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    I sigh with the resonance in your words. Never alone. Always stimulating.

    Shanghai became my home. Initially I hated the bitch. I mean I wanted a one-way ticket home and take me to the airport now!

    But I couldn't leave as my life was there at that time. So I would wander around the streets and just observe. I stopped thinking. I stopped trying to work it all out and just felt life.

    Shanghai has an energy. I connected into that energy (forgive me for sounding all hippy trippy but there are no other words to describe how it felt). She has desperate people all desperate to make a buck. She has every example of humanity bashing out an existence. I loved watching it all. It was so raw. So real. And God knows after 20 years of living in a tunnel of fake ideas I needed to see raw and real. So Shanghai was a great teacher for me.
  20. sallydannce

    sallydannce Gold Meritorious Patron

    Re: Scientology and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Hi Daisy,
    It isn't easy to put into words and it isn't easy to admit. One of the many internal battles I have fought has been putting aside the language of Hubbard, his PTS this and his weird concepts about that. I had to throw it all out and learn new stuff.

    I had no language, no concepts for things like PTSD when this all hit me. I literally just wandered around in a daze. Lost. I could not trust any other theories. The psychs are all evil rang loudly in my head. So I stayed inert and damaged for far too long.

    I've had a lot of thoughts about why some people never fully give up the Hubbard ideas. From my own experience, I now believe it is to protect self. To admit to oneself that Hubbard was full of false ideas which he managed to package and sell, is just far too confrontational and painful. It is simply easier to cling to the man's brand and live in denial.

    I had that option. I could not take it. I want to live my life in the sunshine and Hubbard's way is so shadowy.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.