I feel spiritually broken

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    I am at a point in my life where I feel so broken and so depressed and recently suicidal.
    To cut a very long story short 2 years ago I came out of a relationship with a sociopath who lied to me about every aspect of who they were and it still shakes me to this day. Whilst I was with him I suffered from depression and was in and out of work. I have never dealt with my childhood in which my father was violent, so i guess i was an easy target for him. I have always been a heavy drinker too and this is something i still struggle with. Whilst I was with him I did some topless modelling for extra money, and got introduced into making my own fetish porn clips. Just me filming myself, with a female domination theme. The work is explicit, and for people that are not familiar with this, it is similar to being a webcam girl..however the performances are pre recorded and can be brought from a website. The ex boyfriend encouraged me to do this and convinced me it was a great solution. This job took off and finally I could work from home, manage my depression and leave the sale jobs I hated so much. My work history was made up of job hopping and managing my anxiety and depression really badly. I felt safe and ok doing this job whilst with my ex,and it seemed like the answer to all my problems, and our lack of money. We were in a dominant/ submissive relationship anyway, so my life was quite alternative, and at the time I knew adult workers from the fetish scene we were both in. This man was in control of my life and I guess I was brainwashed into feeling safe and totally trusting him.
    Fast forward to the day 2 years ago he left and I discovered he had a double life and everything was a lie….reality kicked in! Suddenly I was on my own, with a job that felt dirty and wrong, isolated me, and I was suffering from post traumatic stress. The relationship ( towards the end ) had become violent outside of what I consented too, so I was also dealing with that.
    Now 2 years later I am living with a new guy who I met 8 months ago, still doing the job and training to become a counselor, and re building my life. Recently due to the personal therapy I am having for my course, a lot has come up and I feel very vulnerable. I am starting to hate what I do for a living. I am all over the internet and I get scared every day someone I know will find me, I have to lie to my boyfriend’s family and college. It makes me feel dirty, disgusting and its a mistake I can never take away.
    If i gave it up, I could never find a job that would cover my bills and college fees. My course finishes in 2 years time and my plan was to stop once I became a therapist and got enough clients. In the mean time I prey my boyfriend may get a higher paid job,or a miracle happens.
    I have to decide in 1 week whether I apply for the last 2 years of the course, its a big financial commitment and would mean I would have to continue fetish porn for the next 2 years. Or do I defer college for now, try and get a normal job and deal with all the anxieties and issues I had 4 years ago from being in the main stream work place, before I started working for myself. I also do not know how I can ever come to terms with what I have done. The last 2 years I have done this job and just got on with it, blanked out the negative side and tried to focus on my life in the future. However recently because I guess..I am more in touch with my real emotions, the reality and horror has sunk in of what I am doing . There is no going back, I always have to look over my shoulder and I cant see a way out. I feel my life is like a car crash, its a series of addiction, abusive relationships and no matter how hard I try to be happy, things go wrong.


    Dear sadily:

    A tough situation, no easy solution that I can see. I will be developing my thoughts as I type:

    You felt kind-of-okay with the fetish job (I’ll call it “the job” from now on) while in relationship with your ex. In the context of the relationship, it fit: you were already in a dominant/ submissive relationship with him, you trusted him, he approved of you and your job- in that context you felt okay with it. Then the relationship ended and the job “felt dirty and wrong.”

    You continued to do the job while taking classes so to become a counselor and while in a new relationship. As part of your education, you attended counseling yourself (It is my understanding) and got more in touch with your feelings, “starting to hate what I do for a living.” Again, you felt “dirty, disgusting.”

    You are also scared that people will recognize you, since your job is recorded online, and I am assuming you are worried that as a counselor, future clients will recognize you as well.

    .. If I was a future client attending counseling with you, and if I knew you performed the job online, I would be okay with it IF the reason I attended counseling is feeling shame over my own sexual behavior or history of such behavior. I would know then that YOU know how it is like; that you know feeling “dirty, disgusting”. I would also know that you , being a counselor, overcame such shame and triumphed.

    I would choose you as my counselor for the reasons above, but not if I knew you were STILL doing the job or if I knew you kept doing it until you graduated and until you had enough clientele. I would only trust your overcoming and triumphing, if I knew that early on in your education, you took the difficult step of quitting the job. Otherwise, the quitting of the job only when convenient, only when otherwise financially established, is .. too convenient and is not indicative of being on a healing journey.

    If I was you, then, I would quit. And put on hold your education if that’s what it takes. Then I would continue my own therapy (somehow, something you can afford) and resume my education later.

    This way, what you have done so far, the job, the dominant/ submissive relationship you had… your experience with your violent father, all your history will become part of your resume, aimed at being useful to people dealing with their own shame relating to sexual issues. That will be your expertise.

    All those things you went through are unfortunate and I am not suggesting these things should have happened even if you use them as a counselor, the way I suggested. What I am suggesting is that now that they have happened, there can be a use for it all.

    What do you think so far about my reply?



    Dear SadLily –

    First, I am sincerely sorry that you are going through such a difficult, confusing and anxious time.

    I completely agree with everything Anita has just said and suggested.

    Think of your situation like being in a burning house. Fire is everywhere. And while you may have helped start it, you don’t need to remain there. In fact, you should get out – now. Still, our human weaknesses tend to rationalize destructive situations (“maybe if I just wait this out” or “I’ll leave when the flames die down a bit” or “perhaps someone will come along and help me out” or “I’m starting to like the flames” etc.). No. Your house is burning, Lily. Get out – now.

    I find it fascinating and wonderful that you are pursuing a career as a counselor. While we live in a world full of fake, selfish people. The few that I call my friends are authentic, loving and giving; those who have endured much already – and learned from it. From drug use to sexual abuse to violent pasts to horribly dysfunctional upbringings, yes, they have scars. I do, too. But, if we have survived and grown from our negative experiences, we have been blessed (yes, blessed) with the ability to be both compassionate and empathetic. You now have these blessings in front of you – embrace them!

    You also have a chance here – to turn a very difficult challenge into a wonderful opportunity. Don’t let shame nor regret control your future. Find immediate help for your depression and then begin to write the new, fresh chapter of your life. As Anita suggested, put every negative aspect and relationship into the past – now. Gather it all together, tie a rope around it and drop it into the ocean – forever.

    I am by no means attempting to make something so complicated and lengthy seem simple. No, this change will be hard for you. You may need the help of a trusted counselor or mentor whom you can lean on and confide in for genuine support. You may feel the heat as you run out of the burning house. But once you are out, you can find safety and be able to breathe fresh, clean air. Find genuine people who care about you as a person – some churches with social groups are great places to meet benevolent, caring people. They will help you with your healing spirit.

    And lastly, forgive yourself. This is not your fault.

    Please write back and let us know how you’re doing. Wishing you peace today.



    Thank you so much for both replies.

    Firstly I could not afford to keep training as a counselor if I gave up this job. The few people I have told, think I should stay doing it for the next 2 years so I can qualify and start a new life as a therapist. What they do not realize is I feel I am spiritually dying inside.
    The guilt I feel doing this runs so deep, I think it stems from my father being violent and always feeling ‘bad’. Perhaps i have recreated that feeling ever since. When i was 17 I had a breakdown and ended up drug taking and getting into escorting. Rather than killing myself i hurt myself in every way possible, sleeping with men for money, being raped and used and drug taking. I can not believe that at the age of 30 I am linked in any way at all with the sex industry…after the way that haunted me for years.
    I just want to feel grounded and normal, I have only one close friend as I have lost so many over the years and I just feel like giving up.
    I still have a relationship with my mother and father which i don’t think does me any good. My mum has always brainwashed me into forgiving my dad, telling me i was a difficult child and making me believe that he did the best he could and i should be grateful.


    Dear sadily:

    I think that how much you’ve been suffering in your adult life is equivalent to how badly you were abused by your father and by your mother (your last two lines).

    I believe that in order for you to heal from this severe abuse that you suffered, and from the snow-ball affect of your childhood abuse, the following need to be done (not necessarily in this order):

    1. End all contact with your mother and father.
    2. Attend/ continue to attend competent therapy.
    3. Stop all the behaviors that make you think and feel badly about yourself, including the job.

    Throughout 1,2,3 you will need to endure anxiety and distress. This is why therapy is so important- to teach you skills to endure distress without automatically reacting. These skills are under the term Emotional Regulation.”

    It may make some sense financially to continue the job until you can make a living as a therapist, if you were a robot, a machine. But you are a human being.

    The reason you feel dirty and disgusting doing that job is because part of you knows that you are still, underneath, that clean and beautiful little girl that you were. Turn your back on her abusers, your parents, and turn toward that little girl that you were, that you still are inside. She is worthy, loving and lovable. Love her back.


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