So it’s been a while since I last posted. It’s been a hectic couple of months. As well as dealing with ill health, I’ve moved house and started university! I can’t believe it’s been a month since I started my course!
When trying to think about what to write for this next post, there are one of many things I could potentially write about. Some things I will write about in a later post, but for now I want to talk about one thing in particular.
For those who have read my blog before, they will know that I talk a lot about mental health and there is reason behind that. I believe that the more I can share my experiences with mental health, the better chance we have of raising awareness and ending the stigma faced by mental health sufferers. It’s never easy to write the things I do, but I do it to try and make a difference. Today’s post is probably the hardest posts I’ve ever had to write. I hope sharing this may help people who may be in a similar situation. So with a lot of tears about to fill my eyes, it’s time to write.
This could also be considered a trigger, so please take care whilst reading it.
For many of you who have read my first blog which shows my mental health story, I wrote about the stigma and discrimination I have been faced with. One of the people mentioned in my story who stated he ‘felt sorry for whoever knew me’, and didn’t want me to ‘open my legs,’ and ‘felt sorry for whoever I bring into this world’, has actually become my biggest fear. It feels weird to have such a fear of one person. I’m scared of spiders and moths, I’m scared of airplanes and I’m terrified at failing, but those feel like nothing compared to the fear I have with this one particular person. Obviously for confidential reasons, I am keeping this person’s name anonymous.
So why does this person scare me so much? It takes a while to sometimes realise why. Sometimes it takes other people to even tell me why. But the truth is, I was abused by this person. Verbally and emotionally. I still have flashbacks to last November, where I was verbally abused down the phone; called every rude word under the sun. I also remember when said person also put me in a position where if I didn’t answer his question about something very personal with me, then he’d commit suicide. I was scared. All I had in my head was, “If I don’t answer his question, is he actually going to commit suicide?” I was terrified this was the case. I didn’t want him to know about something very close and personal to me. At the same time, I felt not answering would make things worse – ie suicide.
I also still remember a time where this person was a bit too close, and made me feel very uncomfortable. He pretended that having a hand close to my neck was a good thing stating, “I thought you liked it rough.”
To this day, I am still afraid of this person. I have flashbacks often to those times. I hear his voice in my head. I see hallucinations of him physically hurting me or the people around me. To this day I still struggle to sleep because of the anxiety and pain of this guy. Because of him, I felt weaker. I felt I needed more support for my mental health, and I am now seeking counselling and I’m on medication to help me cope. It’s the people around me who told me that is was abuse. I guess I knew it was, but I tried to dismiss it, the more professionals, family and friends I talk to, the more I start to believe that I am an abuse victim.
Abuse is hard to forget. Many people would say, “You’ll be fine tomorrow,” but in all honesty, it really doesn’t work like that. If I walk past this guy I have panic attacks. I ask my Mum or boyfriend if I can speak to them on the phone just to help me escape that situation. The abuse I had and what many people may have had too, isn’t an overnight fix. However I have managed to grow stronger.
Although today I still struggle with what has happened, I have found what my counsellor calls, my ‘inner strength.’ I have managed to walk passed him at our university more than once and have managed to keep my head held high. I stood in front of this guy before for over 10 minutes. And at another point, I sat near this guy for over an hour! Granted it was difficult to do these things. On one or two of these occasions, I had anxiety attacks, but the more important factor was I was able to face my fear. Normally when I see this person, I just want to run and hide under the duvet and never come out again. However finding this ‘inner strength’ in me has helped me try and take a step forward in the direction of demolishing the fear that has destroyed me for so long.
I’m definitely not saying that challenging your fears always helps. Things like this are extremely difficult to overcome. I’ve come to accept that this fear I have may always remain. But I am trying to deal with it by celebrating my victories. Just in smaller doses! I decided to go to the same university as him because I didn’t want some nasty person to stop me from studying at the uni I’ve dreamed of going to. Every time I have to walk passed this nasty person, I’m just going to walk passed with my head held high and give myself a pat on the back. Even if I have to be near this person for a minute, I am still going to celebrate what I have managed to do. With the love and support from the people around me, they are helping me day by day challenge my fear. I am so grateful for my loved ones and friends.
To anyone who may have been abused, I know the journey you face is difficult. I’m sorry you are/have had to go through it. But believe me when I say you are stronger than what they are. I know it’s difficult, but if you seek support then people are there to help you. Speaking out about my situation has helped me. I think I wouldn’t feel as strong as I am feeling today if it weren’t for everyone around me. But make sure you take baby steps. I’m not saying it’s easy, but things will get easier with the right support in a way you won’t be able to imagine. You are strong. You are loved. Together we can stop the abuse.