So many of us build walls in order to protect us from our past. The problem is that this actually can do the opposite and it can prevent us from moving toward our future. These walls that are meant to be made temporary and not allowed to encompass us entirely. All too often those who built these walls get comfortable behind them. They end up becoming trapped behind that which they built to protect them. It is natural to want to never be hurt again after you survive, but by projecting on to the world the acts of specific people or events all you do is close yourself off from the love and good that you should be allowing yourself. Do not allow yourself to remain the victim forever. Allow yourself the time and then be sure to start healing. The longer you build that wall the thicker it will become and the more difficult to tear down.
I have written about my history and the fact that I was molested and then raped when I was young. I have not spoken about how that man stole my soul as it was as a young girl. That very first incident changed my life forever and this man stole that from me. Do we as a society think about this as much as we think about the acts themselves? Innocent souls are stolen by the predators and when they are caught they are given unimaginably short sentences after giving a life sentence to their victims. The victims are shamed and often, like myself, don’t speak out. In my case, I blocked my trauma out for 5 years and during that time had self-hate and harm. I thought about suicide many time and actually attempted, just wanting to go to sleep and stop the inner voice from continuing to tell me horrible things about myself. My inner voice hated that I didn’t get her justice and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting help or why I wasn’t making sure the man that stole our innocence got punished. When I finally allowed myself to remember the rape again 5 years after, I promised myself I would never be silent about this again.
As a society, we tell children that sex is bad and that it is not something we talk about. Even this is wrong. We need to stop stigmatizing the act of sex and put the focus on the fact that these people that do these acts to children are predators and need to be given as extreme of consequences as they impose on their victims. These predators steal the souls of their victims and need to be punished as such.
This journey from Survivor to Thriver and Then Beyond, is in no way easy but it is truly within reach of each of us. Myself, I am between the Survivor and Thriver Stages and I work every day to take the necessary steps to keep moving more forward that backward. This road is often bumpy and there are many days I just think "Maybe I am good with just being a survivor. Why do I need to thrive anyway and is the beyond really that amazing? I am happy as I am now. Why do I need to keep pushing myself?"
The simple answer to all this is: I am meant to do MORE! My journey hasn't ended so why should I just stop working to achieve the ultimate life I am meant to live? I survived sexual abuse! I survived suicide! I survived a life of negativity. Why? The only logical explaination I can come up with is that I am meant to THRIVE and even more importantly reach BEYOND! I am meant to share my story so that others can survive themselves and know that if I can do it they certainly can. If you have done the work to survive your past regardless of what it held, be sure you are working toward thriving and living this life you have, to it's fullness without regret.
I want to discuss Post Traumatic Stress and how it feels as though our souls have been stolen after a traumatic event. There are of course various levels of Trauma but no one can really say that one level is easier than another. It truly depends on a multitude of variables and it really isn’t anyone’s place to determine how each traumatic event will effect each person. Two people can go through the exact same event at the exact same time and each will process it all differently. No one person has the knowledge or power to determine another persons thoughts or emotions. Everyone of us is unique and need to process things in our own way. For society to tell us we need to just accept something and get over it isn’t realistic in a lot of cases.
I battled with PTSD myself after I was raped at the age of 12. I repressed the incident so that I wouldn’t have to face the truth and continue to relive the act over and over in my nightmares. This is how I dealt with the trauma and it almost killed me as I dealt with suicidal thoughts and attempted, thankfully I failed. The one thing in my life I can honestly say today that I am proud of being a failure at. Those thoughts can really get the better of you and for those not having them you have no way of comprehending what it is like. The only way I can try and describe it would be like this… Have you ever had a recording of something you hated play over and over and you couldn’t get the player to shut off? You feel anxious because you want it to stop but it just continues no matter what you do? It is kind of like that but the voices or images are inside your head and there is no off button to push, or power cord you can pull. Think of it like those battling with those voices and images in their head finally have enough and they make suicide their disconnection from the ultimate power source of life. Typically, they resort to these measures because they believe there is no other way to get them to stop and no one can possibly understand what they are going through. Those battling with memories of a traumatic event, continue to replay that event over and over in their minds because their brain is trying to resolve the issue and can’t change the outcome. They are the star of their own personal thriller movie in their minds and they are often scared to share with anyone for fear that no one will believe them or will believe they are weak.
No matter why, it is wrong that they should be made to feel they are the ones that did anything wrong. They need to be ensured that they are loved and that they will not be judged for the acts of others choices or even their own in some cases. Things that have happened in our past, whether that is yesterday or several years ago, can never be changed or taken back. We have to learn to acknowledge those events and history and accept who we are today. In order for us to overcome our past we have to put it in the past and not allow it to continue to tear us down in our present and definitely not let it hold us back from our future. We are on this journey together and we all need to help one another achieve the future that we were meant to have.
Who is your support system? When you need to talk, vent, cry, get advice, etc. Who do you reach out to? We all need someone to turn to at times. Make sure those you have in you support system truly have your best interests in mind. We often have people in our lives that until the time comes that we truly need them they tell us they will be there for us while taking from us everyday. Then the day comes when we need that support returned and they are nowhere to be found. Be sure you are surrounding yourself with those who will give support as much as they take it. Be certain you are able to trust that they have your best interest in mind and that you have theirs as well. Having a solid support system is crucial in feeling secure and confident in yourself.
What is it depression? A feeling of loneliness? A feeling of there being no hope and not being able to change what has been done? It is a feeling no one wants but just about everyone has experienced at some level in their life. Some of us have been able to get through it, some of us have not. For a certain percentage of people, it was too much to handle and they cut there life short. For others they are still fighting it. It’s a long battle and some start to feel it’s a war they are losing but they are keeping their head up and thinking positive.
Then there are the strong ones who were able to see the good things in life and pull themselves out of it and move on. They put a smile on their face and said it is staying there no matter what happens. We can all hope we are these lucky ones that can pull themselves out of it. Some things are just too difficult to pull yourself out of for some. Death of someone held close to the heart or the loss of a loved one due to break up or divorce can be things that are just too much to pull yourself out of. Bullying and shame will cause people to do things out of desperation as well.
The key to pulling yourself out is knowing no matter what situation you are in, you have support groups. Some lean towards music, others lean towards their friends. Then there are those that have lost all friend or family support and can’t find happiness in music so what do they lean toward? Counseling or psychiatry is always a good choice. Your counselor and/or psychiatrist should know somewhere that can get you help or they personally may know how to help. The key is do not give up; suicide is never the option. No matter what you may think, your death will affect someone. There is always someone, somewhere that cares about you, whether it is a friend, family, or someone you would never have thought of. DEATH IS NEVER AN OPTION TO FIX DEPRESSION.
Remember your life matters and if you are having suicidal thoughts or know someone who is call your local Suicide Prevention Hotline. There is always someone out there that wants to listen.