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Living in the Void: 1in6 Thursdays on the Joyful Heart Foundation Blog

Void: Lack of matter or a vacuum. Perfect. That is exactly what I wanted. The pain of betrayal was just too great to be able to fake it for very long at a time. It’s not like I was a hermit or anything. Looking back I had some good connections here and there, it’s just that they didn’t make it very far into my consciousness and then I retreated into my void. The only place I really felt completely comfortable and safe. 

The door was locked and there was no phone service. I usually got high in some fashion to make sure nobody could get through and I could safely hide from the world (oh, I suppose the memory of what I survived too!). No pressure to do things a certain way or say the right thing or wonder why he did that to me, just peace. 

I thought I was strong in that room. The world worked for me in there, it didn’t outside. Over my life I probably spent more time in that room than anywhere else on earth. Looking back now I see things a little differently. I still sense the safety and comfort in that room, but now I am aware that I was not alone in my private little void. 

My faith in a higher power, which I had never completely lost, helped me more that anything else

Somewhere along the way in my recovery, I realized that I was not strong enough on my own to overcome all the distortions my abuse had set in motion. My faith in a higher power, which I had never completely lost, helped me more that anything else; well there was that amazing therapist (thanks Karen!). And there was power in her helping me acknowledge and get in touch with that faith in my life.

The spiritual presence, that I call God, was with me every minute. I don’t think I would have felt the safety in my void if I had been truly alone. And there is no question in my mind that I would not have had the success I have in getting healthy, without believing and having faith in a power much greater than my own. 


I am not sharing a particular brand of religion here, because I am not talking about religion or churches. This isn’t a sermon. I am merely sharing that I found an artesian well of strength when I accepted that I did not have to do this all on my own. It still wasn’t easy, but at least what seemed insurmountable became possible. And the further I traveled on my path more and more became not only possible, it became a new reality and life.

Now I am aware of my faith and the presence of a higher power every day. Only now I am generally appreciating a relationship with someone I love or even a stranger I get the opportunity to connect with. Or how beautiful nature is, or the amazing opportunities I get to impact the world of abuse in a positive way. 

I will admit I still occasionally visit my void, but not very often and I rarely stay long. My healing path, with a lot of support outside of myself, has led me to a contrary world to my void….. one that is named Enough; Full; Sufficient; Meaningful; and Valid.

May all survivors find this Grace.


– By Randy Ellison



Speaker, writer and author of the book Boys Don’t Tell: Ending the Silence of Abuse, Randy Ellison is a child sexual abuse victim’s advocate and an activist promoting cultural change working with local, state and national organizations. He addresses abuse prevention and healing for survivors from a survivor’s perspective. Randy is a member of the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force. He is a founding member and former board president of OAASIS, Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service. 

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