I am posting this for me. I don’t care if anyone reads it. I’m not looking for validation. I am doing this for me and me only because for once in my life I’ve got to ignore and tackle my pride. At this point, I’m not concerned with what people think. I’ve got to get it all out somewhere, and while it would seem to make more sense to just talk to the people directly involved in my life, it’s so much bigger than that. It’s not about who is listening. It doesn’t need to make sense to anyone else. It is about being able to say that I finally did it. For once in my life, I am no longer concerned about how others feel about me. I’ve finally realized that having other people like me doesn’t make me like me. I’ve internalized everything I’ve ever felt up until this point, and this is the first step I have to take for ME towards healing and learning to love ME.
I’ve always advocated for the importance of acknowledging, accepting, understanding and believing those with mental illness or those who experienced trauma. I’ve also believed heavily that the way society views mental illness and the way society handles sexual assault is the biggest reason people suffer alone. All the while blind to the fact that I have these views because I am directly impacted by them. I ignored my pain and my need for intervention by healing and helping others get better. I understood and admired how beautiful it was that a person could endure so much and still turn out alright. I survived by making others feel happy because I hadn’t been able to feel happy myself. It’s my turn. I need to see my own beauty.
I need help. I’m sick. I admit it.
Everyone who knew me 6 months ago and everyone who knows me now could see that SOMETHING finally gave out. SOMETHING obviously and drastically changed. I’ve reassured several times since then that I’m actually fine, that nothing is wrong with me, that nobody has to worry. The reality is that even 6 months ago something was wrong. There has always been something wrong. I figured that it was easier having people think I’m just newly single and “being 20,” because if people just forgot about me or assumed I finally broke, I wouldn’t have to deal with the questions. Justifying my behaviour like it was a right of passage. I was lying to myself, but I didn’t realize it until I completely deteriorated. I was in denial and everyone knew it. I denied countless offers of help, I denied that I was obviously dangerously and recklessly self medicating. I convinced myself that I wasn’t worth the trouble and that I wasn’t allowed to make excuses. I had naively hoped people would believe and be satisfied with me suddenly changing every single thing in my code if I insisted it was totally normal. I pushed those most important to me away before they could leave me. Before they found out that I was actually a twisted ball of emotional and mental mess. While I now realize that they probably would have loved me the same and saved me before I ever got so bad, my anxiety constantly overrules my rational thought. I did things intentionally to disappoint them because I was disappointed in myself. The more guilty I felt, the more I acted recklessly and carelessly. Slowly I’ve come to realize that the only person that I was truly trying to convince with perfecting that act was myself. It’s created a situation where it’s now hard for those close to me to understand and believe that I really have now gone absolutely, completely insane, because I hid it and I fought it and I faked it for so long and so well. For years I have dealt with everything that’s happened in my life entirely on my own because I didn’t want people to pity me, I didn’t want to be weak, I wanted to be somebody else. Anybody else. It’s so common that people lie about their past, or fake mental illness, or wear anxiety like a badge from the cool kids. I have decided that nobody is going to see how badly I need to be saved if it’s become cool or normal to be sick. No one is going to take me seriously when I’m surrounded by people using mental health as a cop out or an excuse or to get attention. I absolutely do not want any of those things. Because I hated myself so much, it became a solution to pretend that I had a completely different life and that I never experienced any of the horrors. It worked, but it never made it go away. If I relaxed, if I made friends, if I let my guard down even a little, everything was right there. So I never stopped. I had 3 children, a perfectly kept home, always paid bills in full and early, my children had the best of the best, and I moved according to a schedule set in stone that was never to be broken, no exceptions. Eventually I realized that I actually was capable of success and I was pulling this off. I wasn’t pretending, I was winning. I made a life for myself. I didn’t settle. I didn’t use my past as an excuse. I used it as a motivator. I truly thought that somehow doing those things made me a better person. I felt that now that I was one of those people who mattered and not just another dirt poor, troubled statistic I wouldn’t get hurt again. Like it protected me somehow because that was the only explanation I could find for being abused a grand total of 11 times between Kindergarten and Junior High. 7 of those times being father figures, people of authority or those I trusted deeply. I concluded that obviously I was doing something wrong, that it was my fault, because there is no way that I was in the wrong place and the wrong time with the wrong person THAT many times. I didn’t matter then, but I do now. So that must be it.
I split up with Shawn. Everything I knew, everything I built, everything that I used to distract from the crap changed, but I still rocked it. When I started to share custody of the kids with my ex, I was left with a lot of alone and quiet and I wasn’t always busy. I figured i should find something to occupy my time because I could feel the darkness creeping in again. Make some friends. Meet people. Get out there. And I did. And over the summer I was assaulted, again, for the first time in years.
I had a true mental breakdown. I was flooded with the realization that it didn’t matter what I did, who I was or how hard I tried to escape, it followed me. I started to drink, and then I just basically didn’t stop. When I did stop, the realization that everything I built over the years was destroyed within months consumed me. The fact that I was not being the mother I should be for my kids was crippling. I started to “cope” in other ways. Mental illness runs in my family, and so while I “coped” I made things progressively worse. Every. Single. Memory. that I had suppressed for so long surfaced with a vengeance. I spent every day trying to find answers to questions that didn’t have any. I finally actually acknowledged every assault individually, I was forced to accept and face that they were real and I was angry. Angry at my abusers, angry at my friends and family for not figuring it out and then angry at myself for expecting anyone to know things I refused to share, and finally angry at me for being ashamed, blaming myself and for never reaching out. In the time since I’ve given up. I am tired of just surviving.
I didn’t want to accept that the reason I’ve spent my twenty years of life so absolutely obsessed with order, control, reputation and caring for those close to me was only because I couldn’t tidy the chaos inside my head. I’m lonely, I’m weird and people don’t understand me. My soul is exhausted. As long as I can remember, people have complimented me on my mind. “Old soul,” “wise beyond your years,” “naturally intelligent.” Sometimes it is definitely something I am thankful for because if I didn’t dedicate my every effort on analyzing and understanding how and why people do the things they do, I wouldn’t be able to finally realize that I’m not broken, the people that hurt me are. However, the remainder is not something I view as a gift. My mind is forever busy, it is loud and chaotic and mean. I was constantly battling myself because I was fighting to bury and erase the things that I subconsciously wanted and needed to make sense of the most. I constantly questioned why in the hell I could not just be twenty. I’m wired with this intense ability to feel but I’ve only ever been able to truly feel one way. And realizing that I’ve spent my entire life feeling this way because I carried everything on my own is devastating. All I can think about now is how different things might be if I just got help when I first realized I needed it.
I’ve hurt a lot of people, people extremely important to me. People that made me feel like I was so much more than what my depression had been slowly engraving into my mind since before I can even remember. For this, I am terribly sorry. I care about all of you, I’m not dropping you because I’d rather party or hang with boys. I’m ashamed and I cannot face any of you because I’m not the person I thought I was and I’m petrified with realizing that I don’t even know who I am. I’m not good. I’m not a superhero. I’m not strong or brave. I’m human, I was good at pretending… and I’m sick.
I was the poster child. I made everything I did look so easy. I was a god damn machine. I achieved amazing things and I was respected and idolized by people twice my age. I made friends with good people. People who were responsible, reliable and respectable. People who I both envied and idolized as a child because people like me aren’t made of that stuff. And it felt so good to be involved with them, let alone BE one of them. It never ever made me better. I still suffered every day. But for some reason, isolating myself and bottling up years and years of trauma was normal, easy and cleaner. I felt that if I didn’t talk about it if people didn’t know about it, and if I could persevere despite it, I was ok. I was wrong. I am damaged because of my past, and as long as I take the steps needed to overcome and heal, there is nothing wrong with accepting that maybe what I went through DOES excuse some of my actions. What is not ok is giving up, continuing the mess, feeling sorry for myself and blaming it on the universe. I am 20. I have made it this long and I have people who need, love and want me. I don’t have to continue to live this way and I don’t have to keep quiet. Hopefully soon, by taking the steps I will be taking in the next while, I might actually believe those things.
If I was brave enough and strong enough to battle everything by myself all this time, but I didn’t have it in me to ask for help… maybe talking about it isn’t weak. Maybe it takes the most bravery and the most strength to admit that I’m not my best me, but I want to be.
I don’t care about “winning” anymore. I just know that I’m done “losing.”