For many different reasons I think it is time for me to write this post. Having come out and been very open about my mental health problems and my road back to a healthy, normal life, free from depression and unhappiness, it is time that I also come out and talk about what (most likely) made me the person I am today. With all my issues and flaws.
I am not going to get into the gory details, or name or shame anyone involved, as that is irrelevant and would not be constructive. That would be to dwell on the past and re-hash it, which makes no sense and fills no purpose. I have let go and I do not feel bitter or resentful of what was done to me, or other members of my family. In fact I often say that I am grateful for those experiences as they no doubt made me the strong and independent woman that I am. And I firmly believe that those life experiences were a big part of getting me to where I am, in my professional life. I chose to look at it that way and focus on the silver lining rather than on the cloud…
But I think it is an important matter and I hope that by having the courage to speak openly about it, I may inspire someone else to do so as well. And maybe, with a bit of luck, give someone the courage they need, to stand up and walk away from an abusive situation.
Because the biggest problem with physical abuse in my experience, is not the physical injuries and scars (at least not for me as I was lucky not to suffer any major injuries) but the psychological. The complete lack of self-worth and the deeply rooted belief it installs in you, that it is your fault. That you caused the abuse because you’re just not good enough. Those are the deepest scars that take the longest to heal and for many victims never heal at all…
That is why I, in my moments of despair and hopelessness, when ridden by that dark, deep depression, always felt that I was completely and utterly worthless.
It is an incredibly crippling feeling when you believe that to be the truth. Overpowering. It is like a poison that spreads through your entire system and everything in life and can even eventually become the truth, because it is such an all-encompassing and destructive emotion. It can easily take over your life thus becoming something completely self-destructive and very dangerous. You stop caring. There’s no point. You are useless anyway, so why care? Why take care? It can result in recklessness in the end and not only hurt yourself but also others close to you, if you don’t deal with it.
I am not sure exactly what kind of depression I suffer from but I know it is labelled clinical. It could be a result of trauma, or it could be what they refer to as “learned depression”, which is very common for children to develop, after being subject to repeated violence and physical abuse. The child simply gets imprinted with the notion that it is their fault. That it was because they did something wrong that the adult repeatedly screamed at them, punished them or struck them. Or other members of the family.
This obviously is not true. As a normal, healthy human being will not strike, or in other ways abuse, their child. It is them who are “not good enough”. It is them who are doing something wrong. Not you. It is never you. It is never your fault.
So why am I sharing this? When I am anyway not going into specifics, you may wonder? Well, first of all, who would benefit from me providing details? What difference would that make? Just know that the physical scars have long since healed and the mental ones are very well on the way to healing. They are fading quickly but will always be there, faint in the background. But for the most part I will no longer see them, or even think of them, thanks to the tools I have acquired through my self-improvement work.
So I am simply sharing this, to let you all know that it is possible to move on. To heal. To learn to embrace and accept what happened and not let it destroy you.
You can in fact learn to love yourself again. You can break that vicious circle of self-loathing and stop beating yourself up for being worthless. I am writing this to give some hope to anyone out there who may be, or have been abused, as a child or as an adult. You can move on and you can heal.
I have. And so can you.