My Recovery

Recovery is a story of trauma and recovery, as told by Marcia Wickham, a childhood incest survivor. The project draws upon 7 years of production and 55 hours of VHS home movies to address the question: in an age of disclosure, what comes next? 

My Recovery

We are living in an age of disclosure, when it is finally possible to speak the truth about the past. These acts of disclosure are crucial, but they are also just the first step. Disclosure itself is incomplete without a process of healing. RECOVERY is an attempt to address the next question: once we’ve spoken the truth, how do we recover?

As a child, Marcia Wickham experienced unfathomable degrees of horror and suffering. Her father raped her every Sunday, from the ages of eight to fourteen. He stopped abusing his daughter when he announced that he had found Christ, become a born again Christian, and therefore was instantly absolved of all of his sins. Must be nice.

Marcia tried to put it all behind her. She married at age 17 and adopted two children. Then her father died. He was never charged for his crimes, and took his secret to the grave. Marcia thought his death meant that she had escaped, but she was wrong. After the funeral, the revelation that Marcia’s older brother was also abused unlocks something in her that she cannot control: flashbacks, bringing her right back to the sights, sounds, smells, physical sensations and emotions of her childhood. These are the symptoms Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but they were explained to Marcia by her Christian minister as “attacks of Satan.”

The flashbacks became too much for Marcia to withstand. On the tenth anniversary of her wedding, Marcia attempted suicide. She took eighty Ritalin pills, gave herself a heart attack, then lay in a coma for two days. When she woke up, Marcia was in the psychiatric ward of a local hospital and began a psychotherapy that would continue for nearly a decade.

When we see people behaving in wanton, self-destructive ways, perhaps they are responding to a pain from the past. Perhaps it is pain in their memory. Perhaps they re-experience it over and over again, when they least expect. Perhaps they believe that it will never end. And yet, through her efforts, Marcia was able to recover. This film tells the story of how she does it. She learns to trust, she learns to love, she learns to accept love, and she learns to love herself, especially to love her own body. Her participation in the film is one the final steps of her recovery, because she is able to tell her story without shame and without guilt. The foundational interview in the film is the first time Marcia spoke publicly about her childhood experiences in detail.

Jon Bulette - Director

Viridianna Lieberman - Editor
Smokey Nelson - Cinematographer
Christian Beetz & Eric Friedler - Executive Producer
Caroline Schaper - Producer
Tori Lancaster - Production Designer
Nora Mandray & Jason Cole - Writers/Producers, 2nd Unit Directors