Preview: The Road to Becoming a Survivor

September 24, 2015

The Road to Becoming a Survivor Cover

*Note: The content of this book contains references to violence, sexual assault, drugs, addiction, and abuse.*

I was afraid to tell them what my family did to me though. They really messed me up, but they were the only family that I had, and I didn’t want to push them apart more. My family already had enough to deal with since my mom had just recently moved out of the house; I didn’t want to be the cause of more issues for everyone. However, I was at the point where I almost had to talk about what had happened to me. I was still processing what had happened to me and I had to tell someone to get it out in the open, to make sure I wasn’t crazy and that it had actually happened to me and I didn’t just have some messed up dream.

Before I told them anything, I made sure that they weren’t going to press charges against any of my family members, no matter what I told them. They said they couldn’t promise that, it depended on what the response was from my parents. I don’t think I fully comprehended that statement at the time because I still ended up telling them what happened to me. More like blabbed it all. It didn’t take me long; I rushed to get all of the information out of my head. I told them that I had been sexually assaulted by my older brother, Carl, for many years; by my father for a few years; a female cousin; and a neighbor kid.

Of course, with my luck just saying that statement didn’t satisfy them. I had to give them details about each situation. It was difficult to talk about any of it. I only gave them bits and pieces to work with because I was so afraid I would be in trouble with them and my family, and that they would think I was crazy; like they would think that I was lying. They must have had enough information though because they didn’t continuously push me for information. It took a while for us to finish though; we were in that room for over an hour talking about everything. It’s always hard to talk about but once I start talking, it’s so odd for me because it’s sort of difficult to stop. It’s strange that way.
As I get older, I start forgetting more and more of what happened to me; which, in turn, makes me feel like I’m crazy and it never happened. That is why I’m trying to type it all out. I feel that if I get it all out on paper and it’s not in my head anymore, then I won’t feel like I’m losing my grip on reality. I know these things happened to me, but if it’s not in my memory anymore, then it makes me question myself.

If I don’t remember, did it really happen? Or was it all just a very bad dream that seemed too real? I think way too much about these types of questions. I’m trying to move on from what happened to me, but at the same time I’m holding on to the memories too tightly. Part of me doesn’t want to let them go because then what is all of my suffering for? If I don’t remember it happening, then it didn’t happen, right? And if it didn’t happen, then there is no reason for me to be going through all the issues that were caused by the situations that I don’t remember. It’s a big huge circle and doesn’t make too much sense, but this thought process is always in the back of my mind, especially when I’m trying to process the entire traumatic cluster that is my life so that I can try to move past it. It’s a weight that is constantly on my shoulders.

It’s almost as if my brain is trying to keep me feeling crazy. It’s trying to help me by making it so I don’t have to have these terrible images in my head reminding me of bad things that have been done to me over the years. At the same time, taking those images away from me only makes me suffer more and question what is real. If they are gone and it was only a dream that seemed way too real, then what else am I mistaking for dream and isn’t actually reality? Why is it I’m so traumatized over something that wouldn’t be real? Do I need to be hospitalized because of the different things I’m seeing and feeling? I’m rambling now, but these are the thoughts I have almost every day because of the crap I have been put through. I’ve even thought about going to a mental hospital to see if maybe that would help. Then I remember that I’m poor and would never be able to afford the hospital stay. Plus, who knows if they would even be able to help me. I know that mental illness never really goes away; you are just able to adapt. My mom even tried threatening me with the idea of committing me when I was 16.

My mom threatened to have me committed because she found the cuts on my ankle while we were trying on an outfit for my aunt’s wedding; my dad’s older, and only sister. I was trying on shoes and she saw them and freaked out. I had been cutting for about a year at the time, but I was trying different areas of my body to hopefully make it less noticeable. Some classmates had started making comments about it at school and questioning me.

I wasn’t doing it for their attention. I didn’t like attention and definitely didn’t want to deal with that sort of negative attention it was bringing from them. I had enough to deal with as an adolescent without dealing with the scrutiny from my peers. So I had tried using a scissors to cut on my ankle. I didn’t like it though so I stopped cutting there. But, of course, my mother had to find it as the cuts were healing.

I only remember my mom, dad, and myself being home at the time. She took me into the living room where my dad was watching something on TV and told him what she found. She asked me why I was doing it and what about my life was so bad that I felt like I needed to hurt myself. Of course, I couldn’t answer her. I just stayed silent, not knowing what to say. She kept yelling and even cried a little she was freaking out so much over finding out I had been hurting myself. She said that if I did it again that she would send me to the mental hospital and have them commit me, then sent me to my room. I didn’t really care if she did commit me or not at the time. I have no doubt that she saw cuts again but she never mentioned it after that. It was an empty threat just like every other time she tried to threaten me.

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