I was starting to wonder why my old ghosts were haunting me so vividly recently but this morning I realised why. March is just around the corner and with that comes the memories of March 2006. That month brought me to my knees as my whole world as I knew it completely changed. When I think back to that month I just remember feeling so fucking lonely. I remember moving house too much to escape the terrors that followed us. I remember sitting on the edge of a rock on a hill near my house with nothing to accompany me except a pen and notebook. I remember being lonely all of the damn time back then. One of the biggest problems I had was my own feelings towards reaching out for help. I felt so bad for reaching out to others that I started to hate myself for doing it. I felt like a heavy burden despite reassurances on the contrary. I self harmed and got drunk because it was easier. Even after I had my list of emergency contacts and after many counselling sessions I still turned to unsafe coping methods. Why? Does that mean I didn’t heal or that I fucked up?
I still believe that my list of contacts and all of the amazing people who dedicated so much of their precious time to me were my saving grace. Without them I could have been so much worse, so much more self destructive. I told myself that I had moved on enough to cope without talking to anyone but in reality I had simply gotten better at hiding my thoughts and ignoring what’s happening right inside of me.
I really want to be different. I want to the type of person that doesn’t spend so much time climbing up a steep and painful hill just to go tumbling back down it. Scars should heal and never be ripped open again, they shouldn’t part to reveal such darkness. I hoped that one day I would just be okay and like it had never happened. That day may never come but I think I’m okay with that. This is just me. “Okay” is my “good”.
Child sexual abuse is still such a taboo but I can’t help but want to talk about it. I’m 23 years old this year and I am also nine years free from abuse. When I say I am nine years free from abuse I am not including the years I spent battling for justice through the Irish legal system. Nine years really isn’t that long in a way and it’s easy to forget that I was gripped by controlling and disgusting men for the majority of my life. Surviving those nine years involved a lot of coping mechanisms, I’m going to tell you about my list in this post.
When I was younger, maybe about sixteen years old, I made a list of people to contact if and when I needed to. Some of the names on the list were of people who I could really trust and others were good to have a laugh with. I felt lucky to have so many people to call upon. I felt like I had a safety net in place with so many people happy to help me but now that list is so much smaller yet that doesn’t make me feel like I’m alone. It actually gives me independence to stand alone when the world is weighing me down, strength to stand tall despite all else and wisdom to see that just because someone does not remain in your life permanently does not mean that they should be crossed off of your list.
That list got me through some difficult times. No, difficult isn’t the right word actually. It got me through the moments when my little world was spinning out of my control, when I was carrying on like the walls I built weren’t crumbling around me and like I wasn’t ready to just give up on everything. That list was once my lifeline and just because the list is smaller it doesn’t mean that it is now something I no longer appreciate. My list was one of my safer ways of coping. I must tell you all that the people on this list didn’t actually know they were on the list or even that such a list existed and probably don’t know how much of an impact they had on my life. People put me in hell but other people helped me to find my way back.
Tomorrow is spaghetti day which is something I’ve been looking forward to even though I was the one who decided it should happen on a Tuesday. I enjoy looking forward to things even if its something as simple as a meal that I’m going to cook myself. I’m not feeling well physically tonight but my mind is at ease. I’ve been cleaning and throwing out unwanted clutter which always seems to lift my mood. Most people get a buzz from getting something new but I actually get more of a thrill from getting rid of things. Even though these items aren’t actually cluttering up anything I still like to call it decluttering because it helps me to feel like there is more order and organisation surrounding me. How are you doing? Is life treating you well and is it everything you want it to be?
Not too long ago I was feeling like any effort I was making to change my life and better myself was going unnoticed or wasn’t good enough. Perhaps this was a bit of a silly idea but it was a feeling which consumed my thoughts greatly back then. I thought that I’d made bad choices career wise but now I see that I’m heading in the exact direction that I’m destined for. I love being able to help people and make meaningful connections with others so a caring profession is right up my street. I’m going to make a difference, I promise. I see that I can be good for others and I can be a trustworthy, inspiring figure in someone’s life.
Why do I want to make such a difference, you ask. I grew up feeling invisible and unwanted. I felt turned away from social groups, family and my own father. I felt like teachers expected too much and couldn’t see how much help I needed. Friends who promised a lifetime of loyalty when we were teenagers gave up on me so easily so I figured in the end that I didn’t have an important place in the world. I felt that my existence was unnecessary and I don’t want anyone else to feel that way so I’m leaving my mark on this world through helping others. It may sound selfish in ways but I genuinely want to see others live their lives how they want to and I want to help other people to find happiness. I hate seeing other people experiencing the same deep emotional pain I felt for so long. Surely I can help to change the path of at least one person.
I look forward to making more meaningful connections with people and having deep conversations. Life left me frayed around the edges but my core remains warm sending flames of life to my worn exterior. Life is a roller coaster, friend, but always hold on tight and you will make it through anything. That’s what I learned anyway. Things get so much better than you’ll ever believe.
In follow up to my last slightly negative post here’s something a bit more positive… here’s my top five recommended boosts to your general wellbeing.
1. Take at least an hour or two every week to unwind. Sit down and enjoy doing nothing, chill out with a movie, read a book, do whatever you really enjoy doing. Your you time should preferably not include several other people shouting “shots!” as you drink yourself silly while partying the night away. That’s awesome too but it’s not really going to help you relax, is it? Spending Saturday nights in front of the tv with some munchies and a warm drink can be a welcome break from a hectic night life or from a busy week.
2. Grab your partner, best friend, Mother or sibling and do something you’d both enjoy every so often. Check out a new movie, go to a gig or restaurant or even visit a new place together. While you’re there take plenty of pictures. Making great memories matters so much more than sitting at home surrounded by pretty items that are often meaningless. Spending your time and money on experiences is a much better investment than dedicating most of your cash on random items. Less is more when it comes to stuff but you can never get enough of life and what it has to offer.
3. Remind yourself regularly of the great things you do have in your life instead of focusing so much on the things you don’t have. Chances are the things you don’t have probably won’t make you as happy as you think they will. The happiness that comes from shopping is only a temporary feeling which is not to be confused with the happiness that comes with personal contentment. Being envious of other people’s relationships, families or children is a wasted emotion because not everything is always as great as it seems on the outside. Comparing yourself or your items to others and their possessions will mean that you will never actually find real happiness because you’ll end up constantly chasing everyone else’s dreams.
4. Organise your surroundings. If your home is organised it will more than likely help your mind to feel more organised too. It helps your mind to relax when you know that the items, documents and general contents of your home are in order or at least it eases my mind! If that fails then it’ll still be a bonus to not have to face any stressful situations of not knowing where certain things are – that really wrecks my head, hence why I rank organisation as such an important thing!
5. Go for walks often. I mean a walk for pleasure not to actually get somewhere. Avoiding junk food and going for strolls is a fantastic combination that will really help your body to feel less sluggish and more energised to complete your healthier lifestyle. Throw in some water instead of fizzy drinks too or dare I suggest swapping one of your coffees for a bottle of water to refresh your body even more. Junk food tastes great but it tastes so much better when it’s a rare treat rather than a daily necessity and your body will be seriously grateful. A healthy body, healthy mind and well nourished soul will have you feeling tons better over time.
I’ve made adjustments to my life that genuinely make me feel so good so the above list is just a bit of advice from me to you based on my experiences. I thought I was doing just fine until I started changing some small things then some bigger things. Little by little one goes far. Love yourself, always.
This was the sky here yesterday evening. It’s so beautiful! The sky amazes me. It’s so complex yet it still connects us all together and while we may not see the moon at the same time it is still up there above us all. It’s waiting to shine hope during the darkest of times.
It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. – Aristotle Onassis.
These little sticky notes are not only cute but are inspirational also. If we could take away even half of the judgement out there, even a bit of our own self hatred and even a portion of the insults so easily thrown around, life could get so much better. I felt myself getting a bit down recently but I fought against the urge to drown in misery. My life is good and I know that. Sometimes we just need a reminder of how lucky we are. .
I have a few wonderful people in my life. I don’t struggle a lot financially. I have a nice home in a decent area. I am lucky enough to be reasonably healthy. I have fought against those who have done wrong to me by using the legal system and I won.
Those five sentences are just a sample of the things that make me feel like I have a lot to be thankful for. I saw that a friend of mine on Facebook was nominated to post five positive things about her day everyday for five days. I thought it seemed like a pretty cool idea. If anyone is up for the challenge feel free to go for it! Let me know if you do decide to do it. I’d love to follow your trail of positivity! Everyday I log onto Facebook and read at least half a dozen bad news stories after a mere few minutes of scrolling and every time my page refreshes there’s more waiting to be read. So, consider this my nomination to anyone who’s up for the challenge: I nominate you to reveal five positive things about your day for five days. Good luck if you decide to take this on and please feel free to nominate others too, if you like. ❤
Where do you begin when there isn’t an ending yet? Well, I suppose I should start at my beginning. The beginning I can remember anyway. I am a survivor of sexual abuse which happened frequently throughout my childhood until I was around 14. These horrible things were inflicted upon me by three different men. Things like that leave their mark on you in more ways than you can ever imagine. My head was in a spin from it all. My Mother and I left behind our family home in order to get away from one of my abusers. We left one evening with no idea what to do next. We had no income, no home of our own and very little possessions. Years later we have much better lives.
It was getting to this stage that was difficult. I always say that people should talk about their problems and their issues. True to my own advice, talking is exactly what I did. Unfortunately people often didn’t know how to react to the issues I had. It wasn’t their fault. It is hard to give advice to someone who’s in the situation I was in. I fought for justice for six years against one of these men. During those six years the court case was adjourned many times, new items were asked for such as my medical records and even notes from counselling sessions of mine, and in the end he was found not guilty. I appealed this decision and finally got the guilty verdict I so desperately wanted. By then I had leaned on many different people for support and I worried that they were going to look at me differently or see me as a burden. I was raped, sexually abused, emotionally tortured, stalked and afterwards I was ripped apart on the witness stand more than once. I had self harmed, I had swollen knuckles on several occasions from inflicting pain upon myself and the nearest wall. I attended counselling. I had support from youth workers and even teachers. I also had help from my friends. Despite their willingness to help I still couldn’t help being afraid that I was asking for too much by talking to them.
What changed my perspective on my fears was actually a mail on Facebook from a good friend of mine. She told me that listening to me and seeing me going through my personal battles inspired her to actually finally speak to someone about hers and to face something that she had avoided for many years. You think you are being a nuisance but in reality you are probably your confidants’ greatest inspiration. I was. Talking is so important and I really cannot stress that enough. I may reveal more of my history in time but for now feel free to ask me anything and if I feel comfortable answering your questions then I will. Take care, wonderful people.
We’ve all felt depressed and many of us have even been on the verge of suicide. Maybe as members of the LGBTQ rainbow we are more susceptible to these powerfully consuming feelings. I’ve been there myself. I have felt my spirits depleting as black waves threatened to drown me. My problem was mainly attributed to my past. I struggled so much to move past the horrors of my childhood. My experiences haunted me to the point where they had made it into my subconscious and plagued my sleep as well as my waking thoughts. It’s so difficult to deal with and even more difficult to explain the raw feelings associated with it to someone else.
Imagine you are lying on the cold, hard ground and are trying so hard to get back up, trying with all your strength to push yourself back up but every time you get close you are shoved back down again by a force which you is terrifyingly stronger than you. Now look again at this scene more closely. Every time you tried to get up there was a hand reaching out to help you. It is the helping hand you need to make you unstoppable against the dark force that relentlessly propelled you down time and time again. That hand is always there, even when it is almost too dark to see it, it is still there.
In your darkest days there is always someone there ready and waiting to help. It might be an old friend, new friend or even an acquaintance. Your help may even come from an organisation designed for your needs. Nobody wants to see you suffer.
One day things will be so much better for you and you will be glad that you stuck around for these better days. I was prompted to write this post because too many people suffer in silence alone. Remember, somebody always cares.