I was at a get together recently, where I witnessed several stories of survival. Sometimes I sit back in awe as I listen to other people: loss of family, cancer, depression. There is no way to judge one person’s story of survival over the other.. one thing rings strong through most of the stories and that one thing is depression. I’ve experienced two incredibly dark times and since I only share my stories, I will.
I believe strongly that most survivors struggle with many questions and victims of abuse are no exception. Your self-esteem bounces quickly up and down, depending on the people around you and the situations you are in. The feelings of self worth, or should I say lack of self worth can be overpowering.
I had put myself into a relationship that left me with overwhelming guilt. I was married to a man, who had his own struggles, and had little empathy left for me. My abuser had been outed and our family was a topic of conversation, speculation ran wild, and I was a mess. I was driving for work most days and there was a coulee that looked especially inviting. I thought about it many times driving by. What made me get up the next day and try? Why did I not turn the wheel? I had some good friends, my children, people that mattered to me, that needed me. I still had purpose; I could find purpose; it’s what saved me, I’m sure of it.
There was one day, I was so overwhelmed that I went to a friends house, told her I just needed a place to be. She opened her door, and I crawled onto her couch and fell asleep. She and her husband’s house was a safe place to be. I thank her in my heart right now, for not peppering me with questions, for just opening her home and letting me in. The tears are rolling down my face now, not out of sadness, but because of the profound gratefulness I have for her and others who have done similar things for me. I eventually divorced, worked through a few issues, started college and began another chapter, but it was because of this friend’s kindness and compassion and the sureness that my children needed me, that I really began the process of surviving.
Surviving is not easy; that day was 28 years ago; twenty eight years of knowing I wanted better, deserved better and could work towards it. Surviving isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon; a marathon with hills and valleys and days you want to quit. Don’t quit; I have a couch; I promise you, I have a couch.