For most of my life I have been an open book. I like swapping “war stories” with friends/strangers and hearing other people’s life mistakes and successes, and how they have grown and learned from each experience. I’m proud of where I am and who I have become, so I like telling stories about my past experiences and reflecting on where I have been, where I could have ended up, and how far I have come. I guess it’s not a surprise that I’ve come to share this experience, but it is not something I thought I would ever do. This was one experience in my life that I didn’t know how to talk about. For a long time, I didn’t know what I had learned from it besides being exposed to way too much way too soon. I didn’t know who I could tell because I didn’t know what they would think, say or do. Also, I really just didn’t want to talk about it. I just tried to “sweep it under the rug”; forget about it. The thing about sweeping anything under the rug is that the dirt/dust doesn’t really get cleaned up or dealt with. And this dust is not something you just forget about. Eventually you will just have a really dirty rug. I had to learn ways to deal with the reality that my rug was becoming dirty; myself, my well being – I was not healthy.
Dealing With the Memories
I’m going to stick with the whole tidying up thing for a minute. Like thoroughly cleaning a room – and I guess we can just pretend this room has a rug in it now- you have to put in work to deal with the memories of abuse in a healthy way. This work has to become routine to maintain a clean room; healthy mind. You have to have tools and supplies to clean up the mess and dispose of the trash.
For me, it took meeting people through different stages of my life to acquire the tools that would help me effectively cope with what had happened to me. I found that therapy, anger management, mindfulness meditation, journaling and staying physically active were the most important tools for me to remain physically and mentally healthy. They helped me learn how to treat myself and others with respect.
A Light at the End of the Tunnel
If you come to this site and relate to the stories that are being shared – I am so sorry. No one deserves to go through the things that we or our loved ones have. It’s not fair. It’s not right. And it’s not okay. But here we are, and we are okay. Everyone’s experience is different and the same is true about how we cope. No matter how long things were bad, how disturbing our experiences were, or how much it sucks that we will never forget, there is hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. And to bring it back one more time – There is a way to make our messy rooms clean again. I am glad to finally be in a place where I can share what has worked for me to overcome my anger and depression that was leading me down a dark path, and I hope my words can help you know you’re not alone.
I use the “tools” I mentioned above every day and I will be sharing more about how I found them, and how practicing them as routinely as possible has helped me view my life in a more positive way. Thanks for reading – Treat yourself nice today.