Wednesday 5 June 2019

In the Beginning


I’ve always told myself that I would never submit anything anonymously. I guess the vain part of me wanted the glory. It wasn’t until I considered telling this part of my story that I felt I couldn’t truly be me. That’s not to say that I’m ashamed of what I’ve been through. I’m trying hard to work past that feeling, and this is step one.

I didn’t think I would ever be sitting here sharing so much of myself with the outside world. I kept my mouth shut to protect other people, mostly my parents. I wouldn’t have been able to tell them. It would have caused more grief than I could ever stand to put them through.

My mom and dad are gone now, and it’s time to stop worrying that I will disappoint them. The other people involved are still alive, and I don’t care about protecting them. I’m doing this anonymously now to protect myself. Something I wish I could have done before now.

It’s all still incredibly painful, even all these years later. The nightmares and the PTSD are all piled up on top of the bipolar disorder. It’s more than anyone should have to endure. Here I am, struggling to keep my head above water.

For the first time, in a public way, I’m admitting to being sexually assaulted by two family members. I was nine years old when it happened, and I can recall four separate incidents. That may not seem like a lot; I know I was lucky. It could have gone on for years. That doesn’t make my pain any less valid.

I spent a lot of time alone as a kid. I guess the attention, no matter how toxic, was better than no attention at all. I wanted to be loved, and I didn’t think anything was wrong. As I got older and realized what I had been through, I blamed myself for all of it. As if I was asking for it.

For many years I kept my secret, not even remembering until I turned 18. Suddenly, there were nightmares and flashbacks that were far too real. It took a little time, but eventually, I could recall every detail. Before I realized what was happening, I was cutting myself and dwelling on self-loathing.

The self-injury plagued me for years, and I was in an out of different types of facilities. I got involved with men that treated me badly, but it didn’t matter to me. I wanted the attention. I kept my secret for years. I didn’t see any other alternative. I thought I could handle it.

Here I am, at my age, still carrying around the trauma from what happened to me. I never told anyone that could have helped me in any way. The people responsible for all this pain are still around, but we have no relationship. I’ve struggled for years with the idea that there were more victims because I didn’t speak up about it. It’s a feeling of guilt that I don’t know if I’ll ever get over.

Maybe talking about it even in an anonymous way will help me move forward with treatment. Maybe a time will come when I won’t carry so much guilt. Perhaps all of this will make it easier for someone else to come forward. Helping someone would make it a little less painful.

For now, I lead a pretty good life. I’m happily married to a man that values and respects me. I still have my day-to-day struggles. I suppose I always will. At least I know that I’ve started to take steps in the right direction, no matter how painful they may be.


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