I remember as a child, I used to think that victims of domestic violence were homeless and poor with raggedy clothes and funky body odor because they literally were running away for their lives. I had no idea that they came in the form of everyday people with what seemed to be a normal life. People who would actually fake the funk. Put on a front that they had the perfect life with the perfect family and perfect job. Or they had to make everything appear to be perfect. Isn’t it crazy that I did not fall apart until I was 27? I was one of those people without even knowing it. Somehow, I had suppressed my childhood in the back of my mind and was not truly living my life.
My whole world came crumbling down on that day. I remember it clearly and can replay every second of my downward, dark spiral. I was at work (a job I had had for almost 5 years) and I was having a breakdown. I called my friends and they told me that I needed to go home. I called my boss and for some reason, held back no discretion, and I straight up told him that I needed to go home because something was not right and I wanted to “kill myself”. It was a bizarre, unwanted feeling. Suicide had rolled off my lips in the past but I only contemplated it during two phases of my life. I never had acted. This time it came at me in full force and there was no running away.
I went into the deepest, darkest, black abyss I had ever experienced and NO ONE COULD UNDERSTAND. Only I felt it and I could not sit and listen to anyone nor cared to. A person who once was the most caring individual, suddenly did not care for anyone or anything. I couldn’t hear anything or pay attention to anything. I WAS JUST GONE. I didn’t want to see anyone or for them to see me. I didn’t want to do anything but lay in bed in the dark in my pjs. I guess I was just hoping I would never wake up. Friends tried and I lost touch with my brother because of our differences in opinion. No one could pull me back to reality. Thank god they make you take these therapy sessions in order for you to stay out of work. I hated them but they helped me. Sort of. Many therapy sessions, and a couple of misdiagnosed prescriptions later, I wasn’t miraculously healed. I went through the worst inner struggle of my life. Thoughts of what the purpose of my life was and it’s meaning.
The whole time, I thought I was so stressed out at work that I had broken finally. One 10-minute session with the MD…changed my life. Within 5 minutes of talking to me and reading my file while she was writing my prescription, she told me I was suffering from PTSD. I thought there was no way and she was delirious. I told her “I haven’t been through a war or anything…how could I have PTSD?” Baffled, I went home…and upon thinking about it for hours and days, I realized that she was right. All that time I had therapy and group sessions and they had no idea what was wrong with me…they said it was depression…and all it took this doctor was 5 minutes. I knew it had to be something deeper. And it explained so much. Needless to say, I stopped going to therapy once I fulfilled my required amount. I was no longer in denial.
Slowly and with caution, I started picking up the pieces now that I had an answer for why I was feeling the way I was. It was as if I was reborn…as if I had shed my old skin and was born anew. Baby skin. Starting all over from scratch. Rebuilding a new life with a different path for myself. I realized how this epiphany would change my life forever.
The first phase was over and I faced it head on. The next phase was about what I would do with this new-found awareness. Would I get back into the same depressing cycle (which was my fear) or would I be able to move on? Could I really leave all the trauma behind and live a life free of my past…the tormenting flashbacks…the negativity? To my own amazement, the whole experience made me stronger. I didn’t have therapists telling me what to do or how I should be able to move on. I did it at my own pace and I truly believe that was what strengthened me mentally. I did it because I WANTED TO and because I could do it on my own. A sense of overwhelming empowerment had taken over and I had no idea what I was capable of. And that is what continues to drive me.
I found love…and he is the one who helped me through my broken time of healing. His love and support meant the world to me. It’s true what they say…timing IS everything. He came at a time when I needed the support the most and for him, I will always be truly grateful.
When I tell people a little about my past, most can’t imagine and I can tell they feel bad for me. But I started talking about my past, not for pity, but to share the strength in my story…where I came from to where I am now. I don’t feel bad for myself. I appreciate my experience, as awful as it was, because it has helped mold me to be a better person. I was able to tell wrong from right and I broke the cycle.
I will be raising my kids in a loving environment. I used to say I would never bring kids into this ugly world, but I realized that we all can teach goodness and pay it forward by being an example. My goal in life is to share the goodness and share my story so those currently suffering know that they too can get there eventually. By no means is it easy, but it IS possible to move on. I still think about things and cry at times, but I am no longer weak. My tears are those in mourning of my past life. I know who I am and what direction I am headed. And it feels amazing. I want to help everyone to feel this way…this positivity…this happiness. Because that is what every single person deserves…a chance to live a full and happy life.