When I first shared my story, I received mixed reactions from everyone in my life. Some were appalled, others were proud, and most were just confused. I’ll be honest that displaying my secrets on the web for all to see made me, for a time, a nervous wreck. But then something beautiful happened – I felt myself begin to heal. Then, miraculously, I was able to help others begin to heal.
You see, silence is dangerous.
My therapist made a really interesting analogy this week. He likened the guilt I felt over the assault to a .22 caliber bullet. “Do you know why a .22 bullet is so deadly?” He asked me. “Because they can make it into your body, but they’re too small to make it back out. So they bounce around, tearing up the inside rather than coming through the other side.”
If you are struggling in silence, you have been shot by a .22 caliber psychological bullet. It sucks. The quiet ache, the secrets kept inside, they mangle who you are. They damage you in ways that are inexplicable. I felt that damage every day as I tried to move forward from both traumas, as I battled uncontrolled bipolar disorder, and as I watched my life be taken over by OCD. I was humiliated and I was scared to admit that I needed help.
But I spoke up, and it saved my life.
Believe me when I say that fighting alone is not worth it. Pride tells you that you can handle it. Embarrassment demands that you have to. Fear keeps your mouth shut. Courage, however, frees you. Since I began writing, I have been amazed by the number of responses I’ve received in which people open up about their own battles. I’m touched by the gratitude that some have shared over my posts, and I’m grateful for those that have allowed me to help them in their healing process.
I am not ashamed of who I am or what has happened to me. I share it because I want to heal and I want to help others. You don’t have to write out your whole life story on the internet to break your silence. If you need help, if you need to talk, there are so many people around you willing to listen. And who knows, maybe they need you to share your experiences with them. Maybe you’ll both come to find that you’re not alone, no matter what it is you are struggling with.
I just want to say thank you to those who have allowed me to share my story with them. I’m grateful to those who have listened.
Let’s keep moving forward, okay? Head above water.