Let's Get Deep by Avery Smith
Happy March everyone! Spring is upon us, spring cleaning is starting, and I am ready to clean up the things in my life. I think it’s time to share some more personal information with you all. We are starting to get to know each other, and if I divulge more of my story, we may feel more connected.
The first thing I want to say, your mental health does NOT define you. I remember being in therapy and bringing up my date rape; I had this feeling that it was true, but to hear my therapist say it, it made it feel more real. I felt that everywhere I went, my identity was a rape victim, someone who had PTSD, someone who was not in control of her emotions. I want to tell anyone reading this blog, I know it’s tough right now, but the other side is so beautiful, please keep going.
Prior to my abuse, I was a pretty outgoing child and I had a loving family. Maybe I was a little angrier than the average kid, but I would never harm someone or myself. My problem was, I loved way too hard and I loved the feeling of someone loving me. After leaving the abusive situation and beginning therapy, I realized my anxiety increased, I felt more depressed, and I had PTSD, which is now most likely CPTSD. I honestly never knew domestic violence could cause PTSD. I heard about it in school, but they only mentioned it happened to people who went to war, so when I started shaking during my triggers, I never understood what was happening to my body. I can say now that I feel I have these under control. I have my setbacks, but I learned how to take my control back.
My mental health was bad, but the after effects were worse. My anxiety would cause me stress, which would cause me to get these terrible headaches. My PTSD caused me to shake, which would cause me to have terrible chest pains and muscle aches. People think that mental health is only skin deep, but it goes a lot deeper than that. I remember my family telling me that I had to start calming down or else I was going to cause myself to get sick. That was something they told me my whole life, don’t stress or you’ll make yourself sick. I always thought it was them stretching the truth; just like when they tell you as a kid, if you make a funny face it’ll stay that way. In reality, they were right. My anxiety has caused me to get sick and it is actually known to weaken your immune system.
Something that really stuck with me that a woman told me on a job interview is, “health is not just physical, it is also mental.” People don’t realize that when you are sick, it might not be because you have the flu, it could be because your panic attacks kept you up all night the night prior. The sad truth is, society has made our “sick days” into being physically sick. I have hope that this current generation is up and coming and showing those around us who don’t understand that mental health is just as, if not more, important than physical health. This generation is normalizing mental health and telling everyone it is okay to have bad days, because that means you just come back even taller.
You learn something from any person you come in contact with. I love when the generations learn from each other. The older generation will teach you how they did things and the new generations will tell you how we do it nowadays. Something that is sad, but I feel has been helping many silent victims, is telling the older generation to stand up for themselves. I know so many older adults that will talk about a guy touching them inappropriately and their parents would just pretend nothing happened. Heck, even when I was abused, two years after, I was still being harassed to the point he said he would come find me and hurt me. I went to the police and they told me not to press charges because I had no case.
OUR VOICES ARE SO LOUD NOW THAT WE WILL CHANGE HISTORY.
I mean isn’t that amazing! We rewrote the laws! The statute of limitations is now set to a longer duration because so many people were telling their stories. Their stories because we made it our duty to have every voice heard.
The outcome I want you to get from reading this blog is that if you are in the midst of it, it will be so worth it in the end. You don’t need to share your story to everyone, you don’t need to completely tear down your walls, but what you do need to do is keep fighting. You are touching so many lives without knowing it. I never realized that what I went through would bring me where I am today. I love writing for all of you and if I can help one person through it, that’s all I am grateful for.
Looking back at the healing I went through, it was very hard, but I am so proud of myself for going through that process because I am where I am today. Whether you are just beginning this journey of healing or you are in the middle of it, you will get through this. There were days where I didn’t think I’d get through it, but now being on the other side, it was all worth it. You have to start somewhere, why not today? If all you did today was breath, that’s okay. I am so happy you are here and I am wishing you peace.
I will leave you with this, “Courage is not having the strength to go on. It is going on when you don’t have the strength.” –Theodore Roosevelt.