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Stop Therapy Doll Shaming - A Personal Plea

Published : 2020-12-25
Author : Thecla - Contact: Disabled World (www.disabled-world.com)

🛈 Synopsis : A personal plea by Thecla, a survivor of childhood abuse and bullying, to stop therapy doll shaming and discrimination. I use therapy baby dolls which have helped me tremendously and keeps me calm during a trigger. I want therapy baby doll shaming to STOP! I know there are women and men who collect these lifelike dolls as a hobby, trend, or YouTube entertainment.

Main Digest

I am a survivor of childhood abuse and bullying. I was bounced around from foster care to foster care til I finally ended up with this family, I'll call them the Senolives. In that family I was severely beaten, emotionally abused, tortured, sexually abused as a minor, and locked away from society. I cried out for help to the police department, the school guidance counsellors, neighbors, church people, but no one would help me because the Senolives put on this front as being the perfect church going family. The head of the house, Mr. Senolive, was a pastor of a church I had to go to every Sunday and Wednesday.

When I told the police and my teachers what the Senolives were doing to me, and even showed them bruises all over my body, the Senolives  would punish me by taking off all my clothes and making me stand on the porch completely naked. I cried for hours as cars passed by and did nothing to help me. This started when I was six years old.

Even through all this abuse I continued to be a whistle-blower and expose the Senolives and report them to CPS. CPS would come to the house a couple of times because of my numerous reports, but after speaking with the Senolives a few moments, CPS would always leave without once investigating or leaving the living room to find me to see the injuries to my body and remove me from that foster home.

The Senolives decided to come up with a plan to discredit me. They locked me in a mental institution. That was the first time I felt safe and happy. That was the first time I slept. That was the first time someone listened to me. The doctors found me to be completely sane and wanted to release me back to the Senolives after a couple of weeks. In fear of going back to that abuse I began to pretend to be suicidal in order to buy myself more time in that safe place. It worked and it extended my stay two more weeks. When the doctor was ready to release me the second time, I again pretended to be suicidal and it bought me two more weeks. After that the doctors caught on to my manipulation and released me back to hell. This time when the Senolives continued to sexually abuse and beat me, no one believed me because the Senolives could now tell everyone I used to be in a mental institution. This as you know carries automatic stigmas.

As a result of years of abuse and little human interaction at that foster family my mind reverted back to a childlike state such as before I came to live with the Senolives. I developed detachment issues because no one showed me love. I developed attachments to loving baby dolls because in my mind they loved me back. In 1996 I was kidnapped and became a part of human trafficking. They targeted me because they knew I was mentally ill and slow. These people kidnapped me for the sole purpose to breed babies for money. This story is too painful to go into details. What makes this story so traumatic is that the Senolives were in cahoots with the kidnappers. It was this event that caused me to lose my mind. It was this event that onset my Dissociative Identity Disorder. I have not been right in my head since. It was this event that onset a series of phobias I suffer from to this day. This is the short version of my story.

Author holding a therapy doll who is dressed in an orange vest with a Therapy Doll name tag clearly seen.
Author holding a therapy doll who is dressed in an orange vest with a Therapy Doll name tag clearly seen.

Fast forward to today. I am currently 48 years old and to this day...tears are streaming down my face as I write this...to this day I still suffer from severe PTSD from the abuse the Senolives did to me for years. I still have recurring nightmares of being burned, the beatings, sexual abuse, and guns pulled on me. I still have severe flashbacks about the torturous diabolical things those kidnappers did to me. I still have recurring nightmares about the constant rapes and all of those babies they forced me to have. In order to cope, I carry around lifelike therapy baby dolls. It is not a hobby, as some reborn dolls are to some doll hobbyists and collectors, it is a part of my mental well-being. It is a necessity. It is my medicine. Not a hobby at all!

The therapy baby dolls help keep me calm when I have triggers from PTSD. They also lessen the anxiety and depression from the childhood abuse I survived. They keep me from killing myself because they are the only things that love me, besides God, whom I love very much. Even though I am 48 years old in my body, due to the trauma from childhood abuse, my mind reverted back to the mind of a child, the age I was before I lived with the Senolives. I am unable to easily discern bad people, like an innocent child.

Now that I have shared the backstory I will get to the point of what I hope for. I have experienced therapy doll shaming from people who walk up to me and say things like, "Why would an adult carry around a doll, you shouldn't do that...only real moms should have babies in strollers, you are an insult to real mothers...why don't you just have a baby of your own...why don't to foster a baby, why don't you be a baby sitter or work at a daycare since you love babies so much, why don't you just get a dog...Those dolls are creepy and weird...You are weird and crazy... etc..."

I am laughed at behind my back as I walk away. I would like to go shopping and do my errands without being bullied, harassed, or discriminated against because of my mental illness and using my therapy baby doll.

Therapy doll seated in a highchair with plastic food and utensils.
Therapy doll seated in a highchair with plastic food and utensils.

I was also cyberbullied regarding my therapy baby dolls. There are people who collect lifelike silicone and reborn dolls and make YouTube videos for profit and/or pure entertainment purposes. Some of these doll collectors and hobbyists have cyberbullied me for my therapy doll I use for my medical condition. Some of these doll collectors and hobbyists with large followers will create YouTube tags to deliberately attack individuals like myself who use our dolls for our medical condition and therapy. Some of the tags will be titled, "Don't you think it is taking it too far to treat these reborn dolls like real babies?....Don't you think it is taking it too far to use expensive works of art dolls as therapy?...Don't you think it is taking it too far to take these collector dolls out in a stroller?...Don't you think it is taking it too far to put a therapy doll vest on these expensive works of art?...Don't you think it is taking it too far to take these works of art to be used for therapy?...These are luxury items in which we do not have to have, etc..."

Most of my bullying and therapy doll shaming has come from YouTube channels who use these lifelike reborn and silicone dolls as profits and/or entertainment. Many of these YouTube doll collectors and hobbyists have slandered me and defamed my character over my therapy baby dolls. Some of those therapy doll shaming and slandering videos about me are up on YouTube to this day. As a result many people who watch those videos immediately hate me and also start bullying and slandering me like a domino effect. Those cyberbullying therapy doll shaming and slandering videos from many YouTube doll collectors and hobbyists about me are the main reasons why I gave away my therapy dolls multiple times. Doll collectors who make fun of individuals using therapy dolls are likened to dog lovers making fun of people who have service dogs. The two are not the same. I consider my therapy baby doll as my service doll because I cannot function without my therapy baby doll. This has caused me great stress and has taken a toll on my medical conditions. This therapy doll shaming can cause a person to commit suicide. Those slandering videos almost pushed me to do so.

Unfortunately, due to all the therapy baby doll shaming I have endured I gave away my therapy baby dolls and tried to be normal. But time and time again it caused a severe turn for the worse in my mental state and the triggers from childhood abuse worsened. I became depressed, paranoid of being around people and developed Agoraphobia. I would not leave the house for months other than disposing of rubbish. To cope with the void of not having a therapy baby doll I would binge eat which led to anorexia. My faith in God is what gives me the strength to hold on. Unfortunately, certain religious organizations in which I desire to fellowship with also therapy doll shamed me and excluded me. Many religious organizations are not educated in mental health and lack adaptations for us. Therefore I am alone in this world with no friends, family or support. That is why I cleave to God and my therapy baby doll who are all I have and who love me unconditionally.

Two therapy dolls holding toys lay side by side on a small blanket in an armchair.
Two therapy dolls holding toys lay side by side on a small blanket in an armchair.

When I purchased the therapy dolls again all of those symptoms previously mentioned would either subside or completely cease. I would become calm and start living a normal productive lifestyle again with healthy eating habits. I have self-esteem and love myself again. I would daily get up smiling and singing, and dress my therapy baby doll, go to the park, go shopping, come home and read to my therapy baby doll. I was happy and calm. But when people started therapy doll shaming me again on my outings I would give the therapy dolls away again and the cycle continued. This last episode was the worst I had ever sunk. I missed my therapy baby doll. This time is the last straw! I am saving up to get another therapy doll. I use my disability money to make the layaway payments on the therapy baby doll. This time I refuse to let anyone Therapy Doll Shame me! But I could use some help.

I hope sharing my experience will bring awareness to the fact there are other women and men out there with my story who are afraid to take their therapy baby dolls out due to bullying and shaming. I believe it should be against the law to discriminate, bully, and shame disabled persons with therapy dolls. It is not something you hear about everyday, but there are hundreds of hurting individuals who use their therapy baby dolls (or reborn dolls as they are also called) not for a hobby, but for health reason due to losing a baby, inability to have babies, child was taken from them, their child or children have nothing to do with them, empty nest syndrome, mental or physical disabilities, depression, loneliness, etc.

It is very upsetting when TSA gives me a hard time with my therapy baby doll. They handle the therapy dolls very rough and throw them around and have been known to completely take them apart by removing the head and all the stuffing. I have had the bomb squad come and take my therapy doll apart because no one knew what it was and what was inside. After ripping my therapy doll apart I have been told to box my therapy doll up and have it travel under the plane because they did not know what the materials were and could not identify what it was on the x-ray machine. It broke my heart to helplessly watch strange men remove the nappies from anatomically correct girl doll and touch the doll all over. It was creepy. When I tried to film them doing this they told me to stop filming. It felt like my baby girl was being molested and I had to stand there and watch helplessly. TSA are uneducated to how fragile the silicone dolls' necks are. These agents throw the therapy doll around like a suitcase. They can cause damage and could break the doll's neck, scratch the paint work, break their delicate glass eyes, or tear the silicone skin. This causes me great stress and anxiety. If we have a doctor's note for our therapy baby dolls we should be exempt from having our therapy dolls disassembled.

In closing, I would like to add that some disabled persons use therapy or service animals. I use therapy baby dolls which have helped me tremendously and keeps me calm during a trigger. My therapy doll even has a therapy doll vest. Unfortunately, I keep experiencing therapy doll shaming and discrimination. This could be from random strangers at a store verbally attacking and harassing me, religious organizations rejecting me or condemning me, or bus drivers and TSA agents giving me a hard time and treating me like a terrorist for having my therapy baby doll. All of these scenarios happened to me. For this reason I have stayed secluded and alone. People tend to fear, reject, or attack what they do not understand.

I want therapy baby doll shaming to STOP! I know there are women and men who collect these lifelike dolls as a hobby, trend, or YouTube entertainment. That is not the case for me. My therapy baby doll is a service doll, my medication, my prescription, my medical doll, my lifestyle. Together, maybe we can stop therapy doll shaming.

I wrote the song to help bring awareness to therapy baby doll shaming: https://soundcloud.com/love-god-and-therapy-baby/i-love-my-therapy-baby-doll

Note: All names and locations have been changed.

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Cite Page: Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: Thecla. Electronic Publication Date: 2020-12-25. Title: Stop Therapy Doll Shaming - A Personal Plea, Source: <a href=https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/blogs/therapy-dolls.php>Stop Therapy Doll Shaming - A Personal Plea</a>. Retrieved 2021-04-11, from https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/blogs/therapy-dolls.php - Reference: DW#322-13913.