I Should Be Dead
Trigger warning: sexual assault, incest, child abuse, suicidal ideation. Please care for your own wellbeing when choosing to read or no.
Today is World Mental Health Day.
If you don't know my story, but you want a place to start, go here:
The simplified version is that as a result of 3.5 decades of trauma I live with PTSD, severe depression, general anxiety, and chronic physical health issues stemming from the effects of repressed trauma on my body.
I have been told my multiple therapists multiple times that I should be dead.
As in actually buried and in the ground or burned to ashes dead.
I have wanted to be. I have sat frozen, yearning for death, battling the part of me begging me to do it. More times than I can count I have said, “No, not today. I choose not to kill myself today.”
Instead, in choosing to live, I also elect a life with mental illness.
I am cultivating an online presence, doing the work to share my story with raw authenticity, because I know one simple truth:
Engaging in the story of others changes us.
We grow in processing our own stories when others share theirs.
We move from apathy to empathy when we see the humanity of people who aren’t like us.
We learn to be motivated by love, not fear, when we see others who have lived through hell and they are alive and free.
My story is literally about me but it is also literally about you.
You see, I spent most of my life believing my story wasn't so bad, that there are others who had it worse. Women have been gang raped by strangers, so is it really that bad that my rape began at 2 days if it was my own father and it wasn't painful? People have been beaten to the point of broken bones, so does it really matter if I was slapped across the face so many times I can't count them? People have been homeless as children, so do I really suffer effects now if the poverty I knew never came to that? Women have been forced to be captives in marriage, so was the religious system that diminished my humanity to wife and mother really so bad?
If someone else’s experience seems worse to me than my own, is my pain real?
The truth is YES. And I have been "in my feelings", if you will, processing my story as I immerse myself in the stories shared by others. Some people have similar stories to mine. Others have stories completely different in every imaginable. But as these people process their lives out loud, transparent in their pain and failure as well as their joy and triumph, the lessons they have learned become available to me. I apply them to my story, and I change. I share my story, and I heal.
After the horrors of a childhood with every kind of abuse and abject poverty, instead of being dead, I am alive.
After the trauma of soul-crushingly oppressive religion and spiritual abuse, I am free.
My hope is that you engage with my story and the same process happens for you.
With regards to mental health, this is the only way we break the power that is held in darkness and silence. We see someone else living with all that is bound in their existence, and we know we are not alone. Our struggles, our fears, the burden it is at times to be alive in this world, all the parts of us we actively bury, suddenly matter because we see others process their story and find their worth.
Because I matter, you matter. And because you matter, I matter.
Let’s matter together on purpose.
Let’s not just live; let’s be alive and free.