Live Out Loud
Let’s say you’re reading this because you have survived child abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault or any combination of trauma. You pulled yourself through the mud, through the fire, and are left standing with mental and emotional health issues that are unfair and staggering. Maybe you’re still in the middle of surviving it and looking for a way out and wanting to know what comes next.
Sometimes it’s hard to see past all of it and find the hope to go forward. After all, you’ve survived so much already. Nobody would blame you for wondering… so now what?
Now is the time to focus on your mental and emotional health. Statistics show that as much as 80% of child abuse survivors alone meet the criteria for at least one psychological disorder. This is a frightening and overwhelming reality for those of us that have already lived through so much.
But know that you are not alone and there is help available.
There is no shame in admitting you are struggling with depression, PTSD, anxiety, or any other form of mental illness. The stigma is there because this is a faulty world we live in. It takes brave people like you to speak up and speak out and bust through the barriers of stereotypes we have about discussing mental health.
It is a stigma that grows in silence, much like the stigma surrounding speaking out about child abuse. You don’t have to be a victim to this oppressive silence.
I believe that if you aren’t struggling in some capacity after surviving a trauma like child abuse or domestic violence then you aren’t being honest with yourself. Trauma invades our lives to the very core and it takes years before you truly see all of its harmful effects. The earlier you make mental health a priority and seek out help the faster you can get on the path to healing and to no longer remaining a prisoner of abuse.
Getting help can look like many things. It can be confiding in a counselor or social worker. It can be talking to a friend or trusted family member. It can be reaching out to sites like Ark Of Hope For Children or Removing Chains for information and forums where you can share with others, as well as receive advice from advocates about how to deal with the effects of trauma.
The important thing is that you do reach out and you do get help. Don’t try to fight this alone. You’ve proven your strength by surviving. Take a deep breath, stretch out your hand, and allow someone to take it. You deserve help.
Sometimes mental health treatment involves medication. That medication can have unpleasant and exhausting side effects. But if you are given something to take to help alleviate your symptoms, please take it. It has been proven that those that go off of their medication have a higher rate of relapse and return of symptoms, according to this study published by Ayse Akincigil of Rutgers University. Give your therapist and your medication the chance to work for you.
By no means am I an advocate for pharmaceutical companies or medication. What I am an advocate for is you living your best pre-abuse life, free from as many mental and emotional symptoms as possible.
Nobody should have to live with flashbacks, panic attacks, depression, or nightmares. And while none of this might completely go away it can be reduced.
You have survived. Now go take care of yourself and leave the stigma whisperers in the dark. You deserve to live out loud in the light.