For many, many years I was a very depressed, suicidal, and self harming person who tried every coping strategy in the world to feel more balanced. I tried to get better, feel happier and function more “normally”. I went to therapy, signed up for self-help seminars, read books, tried medications, and did every single thing I could think of to do in order to be well. Nothing worked. I was so down on myself about it. I felt like I was such a failure.
For many years there were good reasons for me to be down but when I got to closer to 30, things began to turn around and my life improved a lot. I was safe, loved, I had a good paying job, I was able to be at home and raise my children, I was able to buy a home which is something I thought I would never be able to do… life was good but my mood still wasn’t. I got so angry with myself and thought that I must just be an incredibly ungrateful person. Why couldn’t I feel happy when I had absolutely no reason to be sad?
More therapy & more medication… yet nothing worked.
After living through 43 years of mental hell, I was hospitalized. It was a voluntary 8 week admission and I went on my own free will but in reality, it was my last hope. I HAD to go. If this didn’t help? Nothing ever would and I was well on my way to taking an early check-out of this life. I just couldn’t take the pain any longer.
There were a whole plethora of great lessons that I learned while in hospital and each class taught me how to start caring for myself far better than I had been. I didn’t even know that I wasn’t taking good care of myself. I was absolutely clueless. In fairness to myself, how can you do something for yourself that you had never been taught?
My biggest breakthroughs began when I started to share little pieces of my past. For many weeks the little bits that I let out were small and measured but then one day in a letter that I wrote to my mother (the kind you never send), everything began to tumble out. The secrets that I had held for 4 decades fell from my pen to my paper.
At first this destabilized me and I felt FAR worse. I was put on “suicide watch” and cared for very well/watched closely during that time.
Eventually I started to find my balance again and the heavy load I had always carried around with me became lighter. It has taken me the past two years and some VERY intensive therapy (including a second 8 week hospital admission) to continue the work that I need to work on. Now I am able to share not only the nuts and bolts of each issue or memory, I am working on processing it all. Actually allowing myself to begin feeling what I have needed to feel for the past 4 decades but just couldn’t do it before now.
True healing only began when I was both willing and able to admit what happened. Putting words to the terrors I had held inside for so long. With each admission I learned so many things that were so vital for my healing.
I learned that what happened to me really wasn’t my fault. I believed in my heart that it was.
I was ready to realize that I was very young and terribly brainwashed in to doing everything that was asked of me. I could not have known better, done better, told more people or yelled louder. I did everything that I could that a child and teenager in that specific situation could do.
I learned that I was not dirty, disgusting or gross because of what I’d been through. The people who took part were the dirty, disgusting ones who should be shameful.
I found out that I matter. I really actually matter. There is a place in this world for me and I am not only here taking space from someone more important.
I could go on for pages and pages but I really needed to learn a lot.
Now I see those moments of opening up and allowing my life and my story to see the light of day were the moments where true healing began.
Brene Brown says it best when she was quoted saying that…
When I began to share my story with the professionals that were there to help me, secrecy and silence were the first things to go. It is with a grateful heart that I can also say that they NEVER judged me. They certainly could never judge me as harshly as I had always judged myself.
In the past 2 years I have continued to be open. I do not feel the need to splatter my traumas all over the place but I can share what I struggle with and what I learn in this blog, with friends who now know the truth of my life and have been nothing but compassionate, and with my husband who was the hardest person for me to tell but he handled it like a champ and still supports me 100%.