This blog could potentially contain triggers. Please make sure you are emotionally safe before continuing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Your Story is Important

I have been honored to have many people thank me for telling my story.  They tell me it helps them not feel so alone.  They tell me it helps them believe that their feelings and experiences are valid.  They tell me it gives them hope.

For whatever reason, sharing my story has helped people.  What an incredible privilege. 

It took me many years to get to a place where I was ready to tell my story.  Many years and lots of therapy.  And sometimes I still struggle.

But even though it's difficult, I believe it is important.  I believe prejudice about mental illness is so common because people don't talk about it, except to mock.  I believe abuse runs so rampant in part because people look away.  People don't want to know about the dark stuff.  Or they are afraid that they carry some shame or guilt because of it.  They are afraid they will be judged, looked down on, or in danger if they tell their story.

And, unfortunately, sometimes that's true.

I am blessed that I am at a place now where I do not fear those things like I used to.  I do not tell everyone I meet, but if I asked I will own these things as part of my past.  And part of my present.  Part of who I am.  I speak because I can.  I speak for all those who cannot.

But I believe every story is important.  I believe everyone should get to tell their story even when others don't want them to, even when they are afraid.  I believe strength comes from saying, "This is what happened to me.  It is not who I am, but it does affect me.  And it was wrong."  I believe healing comes from saying, "This is what I did.  I hate who I was.  I am trying so hard to change."  From saying, "This is what I struggle with and I am ashamed."

Whatever your story, I believe you will be stronger and more whole when you are able to share it.

I offer to tell your story for you.  If you want your story known, but are fearful of the outcome, share it with me and I will share it here.  I have had people ask about this, if I would be willing to post their story here.  Yes, I am willing. 

If you do not want to share it publicly, I am still willing to listen.  Feel free to email me and we'll "talk" electronically (without your story being published here).  I am not a therapist.  I will probably not give you any advice.  But I will listen and honor your offering.  If you are uncomfortable talking to me, please find someone who is emotionally safe for you, someone who has never violated your trust.  Talk to them.

And if you aren't ready to talk about it, I suggest writing about it.  Electronic or paper, writing will help get the toxins out.  You are not your past.  Don't let it keep holding you hostage.

Please don't feel pressured to do this.  I do not mean to push.  Everyone comes to their moment(s) of healing in their own time.  But if you've felt like you might want to move ahead, I would be honored to help.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Tough Day

I've been kind of lost today.  Unsure of myself.  Without direction.  And anxious.

Today is my dad's birthday.  I have been unable to decide how to deal with it.  I feel like I should make some kind of contact to let him know I remembered.  I really don't want to see him.  It's impossible to buy him anything. 

Today I wished I lived far away.  That way I could send a birthday card and that would be enough.

I'm afraid to initiate contact because I don't want a conversation.  I don't want two-way communication.

I spent the whole day trying to decide what to do.  Until I noticed at about 11:00 tonight that it was too late.  By not making a choice, I guess I kind of did.  I did not make contact.

I wrote happy birthday on his facebook wall.  That doesn't really count though because he doesn't check it.

I'm thinking maybe an apologetic "Sorry I missed your birthday; I hope it was a good one" text tomorrow.  I know it sucks, but it's really all I feel good about and honest in offering right now.

There's a small piece of me that is afraid I'm in trouble.  I doubt it because he doesn't feel insulted very often.  He'll probably just shrug it off.

But maybe I am in trouble.  I guess I won't know until tomorrow.

I'm trying to remember that I'm an adult.  Just because he gets upset it doesn't mean I am in trouble or that I've done anything wrong.  I'm trying to remember that he doesn't control my life, that he doesn't have the ability to punish me anymore unless I let him.

Now if I could just figure out how to stop letting him.