Aly Raisman opens up about her recovery: ‘we won’t feel like this forever’

In November 2017, gymnast Aly Raisman came forward as one of Larry Nassar’s victims. He is currently serving up to 175 years in prison. He won’t be able to harm anyone else, but his victims still have to live with that trauma. At Nassar’s sentencing in February, 2018, she delivered a powerful 12-minute statement. She told People at the time that it was hard to say she was sexually abused and that “I’m still processing it and coping with it.” One of the ways that Aly is coping is by speaking out, which is how she’s recovering her identity.

Aly is also sharing her journey with her followers on Instagram. On Tuesday, she posted an update on her recovery, which People transcribed:

“Had a productive, but exhausting therapy session yesterday,” the 25-year-old athlete shared in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

“I feel completely drained, as if I just finished an intense training session. My body aches,” she continued. “At first I felt alone like no one would understand, but then I remembered so many of you who have kindly supported me and also have been brave enough to share your own stories with me.”

“I hope you know you gave me comfort and hope,” she told her supporters.

“The road to recovery isn’t easy,” Raisman admitted, getting candid about her journey. “Some days I feel like I am moving forward and then the next day it feels like 3 steps back. Sometimes when I feel like I am beginning to heal from one part of my trauma, another memory pops up. When this happens I feel so sick that it is hard to have an appetite and it is hard to sleep.”

“I just wanted to send a note out to anyone who felt the same way,” the three-time Olympic gold medalist added. “I hope you know you’re not alone & no matter how hard the PTSD gets we won’t feel like this forever. Sending a hug and love to anyone who needs it. Just wanted to let you all know how much your support has meant to me. I hope you feel my support. I stand with you.”

[From Instagram via People]

I am so glad for Aly that she is taking care of herself and that she’s finding therapy beneficial. It can be so hard to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable talking about intense, vulnerable, traumatic experiences. I can imagine that as someone who is well-known, Aly might have felt like she was under even more of a microscope. I also respect how candid she is about how the recovery process isn’t linear: You feel like you make progress one day, and then the next day, fall into a hole when another memory surfaces or something unexpected happens. Emotions are also, as Aly says, draining and physically exhausting, so after a therapy session, the fact that Aly is tired and aching doesn’t surprise me. Her body is literally holding onto trauma.

Aly and the other survivors won the 2018 Arthur Ashe Courage Award. I’m grateful to her for sharing with the rest of the world something that she could keep private. I am sure that there are so many people reading her words who are processing their own trauma, and that she’s given them a bit of reassurance. I hope that Aly continues to heal and that she continues to share her experiences as she’s ready to.

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