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“Oh my god… WHY did I think this was a good idea…”
Those were my first thoughts upon arriving to Arts @ Large Center in Milwaukee.
About 3 weeks ago Eric (my hubby) had asked me if I wanted to be apart of a project that they had going on for his birthday.
The project was in no way related to his birthday but to his company and they wanted to do a small segment on mental health and struggles. All I was told is that I would speak in front of a small crowd about what had given me the most trouble or what had been troubling me personally.
IF you have followed me at all or my blog you know I suffered years of physical and sexual abuse at the hand of my mother. I use that title loosely because she is not one in any sense, shape or form.
I have been diagnosed CPTSD by a psychologist in Canada. CPTSD stands for Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is different from PTSD in the sense of it being much much more of a structured mess and complex as the first letter C states. There are frequent interpersonal problems and lack of emotional regulation. I am not a professional but I suggest looking in to it. It has helped me heal partly and has been very rewarding to know that I am not as crazy as I think I am. It provided relief.
In saying that, I didn’t want to divulge too much information at this event knowing that my family would eventually see the results of it on social media.
I am not supported by some of the family, I was told I was seeking attention and that I got carried away or made things up. LIAR! they said.
This was probably more hurtful then the pain I ever endured at the hands of HER but I chose to confide in strangers and that really made me feel so much better knowing I wasn’t the only one who had this happen to them.
I decided I wanted to help more people. I said YES to Eric and we went ahead with the event and on the way there I was very nervous. I helped them set up and it was a small intimate gathering which made me feel a little bit better but not by much!
We all were given numbers written on our hands.
The leader Q went first and explained the event and what was going to happen with the numbers.
I was number 1 so I went up onto the stage and told my truth. (I was scared to see what would happen)
I told those 30 individuals that I had been physically and sexually abused by a female family member off and on for 20 years. I saw shock and my voice started to shake and I continued. I wanted to tell my TRUTH. I told them how from 11-18 I wanted to kill myself, that I was so suicidal I would think about it all the time.
(I forgot to mention but this was being recorded and filmed as we had all agreed to be apart of this project for the Urban Misfit Ventures)
I didn’t want to stand up on the stage too long as it was extremely difficult on me, but I continued in saying what I wanted to mention from the start….
WE ALL GO THROUGH SHIT. ( I didn’t say shit but I wanted to!)
No matter your life story and trauma and past….
YOU DESERVE TO BE HERE.
YOU DESERVE TO LIVE.
I also made a point to mention that I had an Instagram where people had reached out to me and told me what had happened to them and I was heartbroken but felt purposeful at the same time.
I was so glad that people felt safe enough to reach out to me, a complete stranger to tell me their truth and their past.
I had people tell me in GRAPHIC detail what had happened to them.
IT’S ALMOST AS IF it was the first time they had told someone and even though it was simply text messages I could tell how much lighter this human being felt after telling me what had happened to them.
But what really hurt my heart is that sometimes a stranger would mention that it was no extent to what I had been through, that they should just get over it and it wasn’t that bad.
This made me so angry.
They deserve to mourn what had happened to them.
WE DON’T DECIDE WHAT IS TRAUMATIC AND WHAT IS NOT.
WHETHER IT HAPPENED ONCE OR 200 TIMES.
YOU DO NOT GET TO SAY
“IT WASN’T THAT BAD.” OR “YOU HAD IT WORSE”
I give you every right to grieve.
PLEASE let yourself CRY and never ever compare your trauma to someone else’s.
NO ONE has lived YOUR LIFE!
ONLY YOU have lived your life!
When I was finished I was wiping away tears and got a few random hugs from strangers, these are people I had never met before but willingly went out of their way to say “Thank you for sharing” or “You are so strong”
This was moving as painful as it was to get up there and be like “OH BY THE WAY THIS HAPPENED TO ME” it was a bit of a bombshell but I wanted to start the group off on the right foot and if I had said my powerful truth I had hoped others would come forward and tell us what they had been struggling with.
It had worked.
I feared that I would get up there and say this and not one person would say anything afterwards.
But to my shock and surprise…..
EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the entire room came up and said something powerful with what they had struggled with.
I was blown away as it was supposed to be an experimental project I am so glad with how well it went.
To the people that came to the event: You are so strong and I am so glad you decided to share a piece of yourself that was so vulnerable with complete strangers and know that I only want to pass along my good vibes and love to you and wish you well in this crazy thing we call LIFE.
It was truly a life changing experience.
I want to do it again and again until I do not cry anymore.
You never know what the person next to you is going through, the strong happy friend may be hiding their depression exceptionally well…
I encourage you to reach out to them and truly ask them if they are OKAY.
Reach out to family and friends.
Strangers (if you feel comfortable doing so)
We are all going through something and sharing it will make it easier to bear….
We can get well together.
We just need to start the conversation.
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