My life changed about four years ago when I started to have anxiety and panic attacks. I only had them at work in a small cooler. I knew what it was about but I fought myself for a few months, I kept promising myself it would get better and they would go away. In the back of mind and in my soul I knew that was a lie and they would not go away until I got help. I finally found a therapist and told my supervisor at work the day before my first appointment the reason why I was going.
I was molested when I was ten years old by an older boy that my family knew. I never received help before. I had spoke up when I was 17 but that was a huge flop. The high school counselor and the state social worker didn’t really explained anything to me. As well they involved another counselor and between the three of them lead me to believe that I would be “cured” in 6 sessions. They made it seem that it was no big deal. I knew it was though. I didn’t connect with the counselors and choose to not get help because I felt all the help out there would be like the two ladies. I felt disconnected with the helping world, and uneducated.
Fast forward many years later, during the time the social worker died, so did the guy. So the anxiety and panic attacks started a few years later. As I sat the first day in the parking lot arguing with myself that I wasn’t that much in need of help, I smartly texted my supervisor is also a very, very dear friend. She was able to convey through texts in her mom voice, that I must go inside and get help. It worked! I listened. After a few months I was able to see there would be a long journey but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I kept it up and was able to work through a lot of the anxiety and the panic. After almost a year I went looking for the state file of my story that was filed by the state social worker. It ended up being a huge sadness because it was gone and there is no record of me ever meeting her. I must have had some strength in me that I didn’t know about. The day I found out the file was gone, I was at work and two friends were very supportive of me and helped me get through it. I am still in awe of myself that I didn’t have a full on break down. I realized at that point this is my story, I am living it at that moment. I realized that my story does matter. That I had a story that had twists and turns that I never thought it would have.
A few months later I found out about a retreat for survivors that I was really interested in. I applied to go, was accepted! I went a few months later and so glad I did. I told my family the night before I flew out. I was so nervous telling them but once I did that, I felt that my journey was complete. The week at the retreat flew by. I meet a great group of other survivors, something that I never thought I would have meant. Six months later I went to visit two of the girls I meant at the retreat. I never imagine I would friends who are survivors. The connections mean a lot to me. I felt that I was understood without the need to explain myself. I felt part of a group.
Through it all I am amazed that I survived as much as I have. I thought I would never speak of what happened to me. I thought it would go to the grave with me. Once I told my family I felt free, and the shame lessen. I learned that what matters the most is what I feel, what I think, not others. It’s my story, and my story to tell. I can tell it how I want to, when I want to.
I still have times when I am not sure if I am doing the right thing, yet I know in the end it’s my decision. My story will continue on, how I want it to. I feel secure when I need to I can call my therapist and get an appointment. I know there is no shame in doing so and I am so happy that I feel comfortable about doing so. Even though I have switched jobs, my supervisor is still a great friend and I know I can count on her through life’s ups and downs. It has been a tough journey yet one that I would never give up, or change. I am still standing, I am standing with pride for what I have been through.