Just as everyone you meet will have experienced happiness, hunger, thirst, love, loss…everyone you meet will have experienced pain and sadness.
The emotional scars left after traumatic experiences, just like physical scars, can stay with you forever. Sometimes, the emotions left behind, the flashbacks, the pain, the memories can be so all consuming that everyday life is unimaginable.
I struggle to talk about the moments in my past that caused me the most pain and anguish because, for me, talking about them makes it real. My lowest points are memories, which I am so thankful for, but when I bring attention and thought to these memories – this is where fear takes over.
When I feel a moment, however brief, of sadness I am reminded of that all consuming nightmare I was once in. I’m reminded of using all my energy just to attempt to keep my head above the water, reminded of being stuck in a downward spiral in which every time you reach the bottom, the floor opens up and somehow you fall further. I’m reminded of the days, months, years spent fighting and the days, months, years where fighting seemed unattainable. I’m reminded of endless sleepless nights, and endless days in bed. And worst of all, I’m reminded of the all consuming fear of life and belief that my life had no worth.
I’ve spent many years thinking that the events of my past have been trivial, that I’m so incredibly lucky to have had the upbringing and opportunities that have been presented to me. I’ve felt that how I was feeling, and how I’d let the “small” setbacks in my life affect me was selfish. So many people had it worse, i’ve not been abused or tortured. What gives me the right to feel like this?
However, I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m learning to accept that not everyone will understand how I’ve felt and how things have affected me. No, I may never be able to talk completely openly about my life without a huge amount of discomfort, and maybe I will always have that lingering fear of falling in the back of my mind. But there is no reason why I should let that stop me from feeling enjoyment, happiness, and life. There is no quick fix to stopping your past defining you but every year I’m further away from hell than I once was.
What you’ve been through will never be your fault. It will get easier, even on the days where it feels like it will never leave.