Stay;

*WARNING – this blog contains discussions of Suicide. If this topic triggers you in any way, please reach out and ask for help*

With September 10th being National Suicide Awareness day, I’ve decided to share my story. This one will be the most difficult, as with it I carry my deepest shame. But my hope in sharing, as it has always been, is to raise awareness, to break the stigma and to hopefully inspire others to share their story or to choose to Stay;

For those that aren’t aware, the semi-colon has become a world wide symbol for suicide, depression, mental health and addiction awareness. It is used by authors when they could have chosen to end a sentence, but instead use the semi colon, to continue that sentence.

My story probably starts when I was 10 I guess. That life altering moment that would indescribably change me as a person, right down to my core. (For those that are reading my blog for the first time, I was sexually abused at this age and have written about my recovery in my blog titled Taking my Power Back) It was this event that altered my path. It made me feel ashamed and guilty. It made me see myself as weak and powerless. It completely changed the foundations in which I grew up on.

I learnt back then how to block my emotions. Anything that my subconscious mind thought I couldn’t deal with was blocked and stored away. I didn’t even remember the event until I was about 16 and started having flashbacks. That’s how strong my ability is to block things I can’t cope with. And to this day there’s things I’m still blocking from that time.

Coming into my early 20’s when I started to try and deal with these emotions, I realised I didn’t even have the basics to deal with small emotions, let alone the ones that come up surrounding such a horrific event. I was an emotional wreck. I was depressed. I was out of control. I was drinking constantly to try and numb the pain. My way of blocking these emotions was no longer working and it was all bubbling over and I was powerless to control it.

I hated myself so deeply and so wholly and I felt like I couldn’t escape the pain. When you hit such a low point in your life, you’re surrounded in it. It completely takes over. It doesn’t just come and go. All day. All night it hits you over and over. It’s utterly relentless. It wears you down. I was too afraid to sleep because of the nightmares. Which left me completely neurotic during the day and always angry and on edge. I felt like I was on high alert to my surroundings and loud noises would make me jump and terrify me. If anyone tried to touch me it made my skin crawl and I wanted to throw up. I felt like people were staring at me, like somehow they knew my dirty secrets that I’d buried. And I truly felt that it would never end. It slowly built up over years and only ever got worse over time.

What follows next I’m not going to go into too much detail as I don’t think it’s necessary to get my story across. But it starts with thoughts of just wanting to take the pain away and thoughts of honestly believing that everyone in your life would be better off without you. And for me on more than one occasion, it’s ended with an attempt to take my life. On many more occasions it’s ended with me having these feelings, but choosing to Stay;

It’s hard for me to even describe what that feels like. To be so depressed and so low that you think the world would be better without you. Sitting here now with rational and logical thoughts, it makes no sense what so ever. I know how devastated my family and friends would be. But I can say hand on heart, that when I’m in that dark place, there is no one that could convince me that me leaving, would have anything other than a positive impact on them.

I know that people who haven’t felt this darkness, struggle to understand these thought patterns. I get it. If I hadn’t experienced it myself, I admit I would find it difficult too. However I beg of everyone reading this, if you can’t understand it please at least don’t pass judgement on it. Don’t judge someone for something you don’t understand. This is where the stigma and the shame comes from. Because people say it’s selfish and stupid to think like that. I can’t comment on what others feel, but with me I felt at the time that it would be the most selfless thing for me to do. To rid myself from everyone I care about so they don’t have to deal with me anymore. I truly cannot see the horrific impact it would cause when I’m in that darkness.

I feel that these judgements cause fear in people that are struggling. It makes it harder to reach out as people are scared that if they admit they are struggling and having dark thoughts, that they will be judged and criticised. They think they will be looked at as being weak or that they have something wrong with them.

We need to drop this stigma. We need to stop the judgement and criticism. We need to step up and speak out and spread the word that it’s OK to not be OK. It’s ok to struggle sometimes and feel like the world is caving in on you.

I truly hope that me speaking out can show a tiny part of my world that it’s OK to feel so shitty sometimes that you can barely breathe. And that it doesn’t make you a lesser person when you’re finding it hard to cope with life. I hope that by me choosing to stay; and writing these words, that I can help even just one person make that same choice. I hope that I can inspire others to share their stories. I hope that those that have in the past chosen to pass judgement on suicide and mental health, can maybe see it in a different light and show compassion to those in need. I hope that this message shows people that there is strength in choosing to keep fighting those battles inside their minds. I hope that by sharing this it can lessen someone’s shame that they carry from their story.

The one thing that really shines through for me when writing this is the hope I feel. Because it takes a whole lot of strength and a whole lot of guts to fight your way out of feeling utterly hopeless, and to change that to feeling to one of hope.

And my biggest hope, is that everyone finds their way and chooses to STAY;

The end….and the beginning

So I started this blog 4 months ago and this will be my 24th publication. I began writing as a form of therapy to help release some of the shit I was struggling to deal with, and publishing these thoughts turned into a different type of therapy in itself.

I’ve not only discovered so much about myself along this journey, but so much about those in my life and also total strangers that have reached out who have been touched by my words. It’s been such an eye-opening and utterly amazing experience that I will look back on and remember for the rest of my life.

I’m honored and also shocked to say that out of the thousands of comments I have received, not one has been negative in any way. My biggest fear in releasing such personal information and admitting to my deepest struggles, is that I would receive negative feedback from trolls and or people who just didn’t have anything better to do than to try and tear someone down in their moments of need.

Every comment has been filled with encouragement, support and an outpouring of love. I’m still blown away by the kind and heartfelt words people have taken the time to send me. I’m still speechless by the stories that people have shared with me about their struggles and how my words gave them the courage to step up and make changes for themselves and to face their fears.

I can’t begin to describe how much this means to me. I’ve been through the worst 2 years of my life and faced things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I’ve allowed myself to be raw, vulnerable, brutally honest and sometimes pretty blunt. I sometimes felt so alone and lost that I thought I’d never make it out the other side.

But I did make it. And to the thousands of people that have come along this journey with me and left words of support, I could never find the words to thank you or to show just how much I’ve been touched by you. I sit here racking my brain for a way to describe it, but nothing works. No words seem good enough. All I can say, is from the bottom of my heart I thank you and I will never forget your kindness.

I’ve written in past blogs that as I go through this journey, I find old ways of getting me through are no longer working for me and I have to rediscover something different. This is one of these moments. And unfortunately, writing these blogs just aren’t giving me therapy they used to. I’m struggling to find the words that used to come freely. I’m finding that due to the enormous changes I’ve made and the new techniques I’ve found to deal with my emotions, I no longer need to write so much down. I have found a way to deal with these things in a much healthier way so that they don’t get on top of me to the point in which I need to write to release all the emotions that come with the struggles.

I’m by no means at the end of my journey or self-discovery. But I have reached a point in which I feel comfortable tackling things before I get so overwhelmed like I used to. I still have little relapses where I fall into negative thinking patterns or get overwhelmed by the smaller things in life that shouldn’t bother me so much; but the difference now is that rather than falling into a rut of being anxious and over emotional for weeks, I can now face the issues that triggered me and lift myself up within hours or a day at the most.

I can take a step back and recognise why I’m reacting a certain way to something that triggered me. I can sit with the discomfort or pain and allow myself to feel it so I can then move forward and heal from it, rather than fighting it and then having it completely take me over.

This shows just how much growth I’ve made over this journey and all I can do is sit here and smile (with tears in my eyes). I look back at the broken form that I was when I started this and I just want to hug her for being so brave in finally facing her demons. For finally stepping up and asking for help. For finally having the courage to take her power back from the abuse she went through 25 years ago. For finally admitting she wasn’t living life on her terms, but was living to please others.

I will never forget my struggles or the journey I’ve been on, but my focus now is solely on looking forward, not backward. The hardest part to begin with was that I had to look so far back to face the trauma’s that had affected me, in order to deal with them and heal from them. Now the hardest part is trusting in myself and knowing that I have done the hard work properly this time, rather than skipping through it and getting hit with it all over again in a few years time. Deep down I know I have and I tell myself this whenever the fear sets in.

So moving forward to the next stage in my life is all about helping others to get through their journey’s. Having so many people reach out to me and share their pain and difficulties and confide in me that my words helped them, was so humbling. It made me feel like I was finally making a difference in the world, one tiny step at a time. I want to do more of this. I’m not sure what that looks like at the moment or how I’m going to make it happen, but I know that I feel a stirring in my gut to make a difference and I’ll do whatever I need to in order to do it.

I know I’ll probably still feel the need to release emotional baggage from time to time so I will occasionally add to this blog. I just won’t be doing it on a regular basis anymore.

I’m also turning my words into a book. My goal is to delve deeper into these blogs and really discover the fundamentals of what caused me to end up the way I was. And to also share on a deeper level, the techniques I used to get through and pull myself out of hitting rockbottom.

Once again I can’t thank you all enough for the support and love you have shown me. I can’t wait to share my book with you!

For those that have reached out to me to share your stories or for guidance, please don’t hesitate to continue doing so. I’m always available to chat and I’m great at listening.

And as this part of my journey comes to an end, the beginning of another is just getting started and I’m so excited to see where it takes me.

So much love to you all xoxo

Self pity rant

I’ve worked tirelessly to not feel self pity through this journey and to also find ways to express myself other than anger. I had a really bad habit of bottling things up so strongly that when the bottle finally cracked everything came out forcefully and I would react with anger.

But right now I’m fucking angry. And I’m full of self pity. And I can’t keep quiet any longer.

When did it become an acceptable practice to blatantly ignore people you’re meant to care about? When did it become ok to use people and then treat them like trash when you no longer see a need for them? When did people decide that when someone goes the extra mile for them to help out, it’s no longer necessary to even say a basic thank you?

It’s fucking rude and disrespectful and I’m done with it all.

Even during my darkest moments not once have I ever ignored anyone in my life. Wether it’s a random question they ask me or if they are reaching out for help or advice. I don’t ever go without replying. And sometimes all I can manage is a “I’m sorry I’m having a terrible day can we chat tomorrow?” But at least I reply. I make the effort to not make them feel unwanted and uncared for.

Yet somehow there is numerous people in my life that vow they care for me and are there for me no matter what, yet choose to ignore me. To blatantly not reply to text messages or calls.

And I’m not talking about being ignored because you’ve had an argument with someone and they just need space. These are “friends” and also someone who said she wanted to be in a relationship with me.

Out of the blue with no prior arguments. Ghosted. Completely ignored. No explanation. No apologies. Just completely pushed out of their lives. Or at the absolute most, one worded responses or messages that leave no doubt they are being blunt and to the point and show that they have no time for me and I’m inconveniencing them by just saying “hey how are you going?”

These are people that know what I’ve been through. That I’ve opened up to and been vulnerable with in telling them my biggest fear is being abandoned. And for whatever reason, they choose to do the same and hurt me all over again. Choose to put me in another position where I question everything I did and blame myself.

It used to be basic manners and basic human decency to treat people as they treat you. Now it seems the norm that if you go out of your way for someone and choose to be kind and helpful, the person you did that for then seems to feel they have the right to walk all over you. To look down on you and treat you as sub par to them.

I was just going to write that maybe I expect too much of people. But screw that. I’m not asking for anything other than basic manners. Basic respect. Basic communication. And I’m only expecting to be treated how I treat them. That’s not asking too much. And it shouldn’t even be an issue. I shouldn’t have to ask. These are people that have said they care about me. That I thought played an important part in my life.

People that know me, know that I’m loyal beyond reproach. If I care about someone I’d literally walk through fire for them. Yeah a bit extreme but that’s just me. But on a basic level when someone reaches out to me for help or advice, if possible I drop everything and do what I can to help. And if I can’t help I’ll be upfront and tell them I can’t help right now but am available at a different time. And then I always make the effort to check in with them and see how they are going. If someone I care about is going through a difficult time I’ll jump up to help in any way I can without being asked. Going over and above to make their lives even just a little easier in their time of need.

Is it too much to expect even just basic support in return? I’m not asking them to drop everything for me. Just to reply to a bloody text message when I reach out. Surely that’s not so fucking difficult to do for someone when they have been there tirelessly for you?

I’m absolutely done with it. I’ve tried to not let this whole process harden me or make me bitter. I’ve tried to be patient and understanding. But enough is enough. I’m sick of making such a huge effort to only be ignored and treated like crap. I’m sick of getting kicked while I’m down over and over. I’ve tried to work through it and keep it bottled but no more.

When someone can’t even say a simple thank you when you go out of your way to do something for them. Or can’t even make the effort to respond to a text. Then I’m done.

I’m no longer going to be the one making all the effort. I’m no longer going to chase people that make no effort for me. If those that haven’t made the effort or have ignored me, decide they want me in their lives; they can chase me. They can make the effort. They can step up and prove it. I’m done!!!

Self pity rant finished!

Onwards and upwards. Out with the people that don’t make the effort for me.

(This vow of not making an effort only applies to those that haven’t been doing the same for me. Or have ignored me. Or treated me like an object to use as they please. I’m obviously still going to be me and make the effort for those in my life that do the same and that have been here for me. I’m just realising I need to be even more careful when choosing who to trust and who to go out of my way for. And for those that have been there for me, I thank you again and I appreciate so much the effort you make xoxo).

Taking my power back

*Warning – sensitive trigger subject*

This will be the hardest blog I release. Opening up about the moment I had my power stolen from me.

But I feel like it’s going to be my most important one too. This week I took my power back and it’s the most amazing, and, well the most powerful feeling in the world.

It’s hard to even type the words as I’ve carried this burden for so long. The shame and the guilt. The feeling of powerlessness. I know I just need to spit it out… at 10 years old I was sexually abused.

I’m not going to go into details obviously. No one needs to read that.

25 years ago someone took my power from me. He took my innocence. He took my confidence. He took my ability to feel comfortable saying no. He took my trust. He took my feeling of safety. He took the feeling that humans are inherently good and kind.

He took everything good from me and replaced it with everything shit. Guilt. Shame. Self blame. Confusion. Mistrust. Fear. Defiance. Anger. Pain. Over bearing emotions that I could never find a way to cope with.

I truely feel that the person I was originally born to become, died that day. From that moment I was never going to be the same. He fundamentally changed my personality, my heart and my soul.

This is so difficult because I don’t want to talk about the fact that he’s had a lasting impact on me for 25 years. I don’t want to open up about the fact that even now when people I love touch me, it sometimes makes my skin crawl. I don’t want to admit that I still have nightmares. I don’t want to tell anyone that up until a few months ago I couldn’t accept compliments because my first thought was always “what do you want from me?” I don’t want to fess up that even hearing his name makes me feel sick. I don’t want to share the details of how I sometimes get a bad gut feeling around certain men that makes my heart race, my hands shake, I start to sweat and feel the walls closing in like I can’t escape.

I don’t want to share any of this. But this is the reality of my life. And the reality for so many others that have been through the same trauma. This is the lasting impact that this has on our lives.

But as of a few days ago when writing this, all of it changed. And I feel like a million pounds of weight have been lifted off my shoulders.

I was talking to my therapist about how I feel so powerless right now because my ex has total control over my life. How it sends me absolutely crazy every time she takes even more power from me. How I get so emotional about it and feel like I can’t find my way out. How I’ve always been triggered when people take my power away from me.

She asked if there was a time when I was a child where I feel I lost my power. Obviously the abuse came straight into my mind. I did try to stumble my way through a few other minor things because I was scared to step up and face my demons.

I stopped myself and there was silence for what felt like an eternity. I knew I had to face it. I knew this was my moment to deal with it. I knew I couldn’t carry it any longer.

I took a deep breath and said the words. The flood gates opened.

She suggested a few options we could try and I felt that the imagery work we’d used before sat best with me. A quick description of what happened was that I visualise up to the point where I started to know something was wrong. I then visualise “Adult Jess” stepping in and taking “little Jess” out of the situation and comforting her until she’s feeling ok and safe. Then “adult Jess” and my therapist walk back in and get everything off my chest that I’ve wanted and needed to say to him my whole life.

The entire experience was so difficult, yet so healing. Especially the point in which my therapist says to him that it’s his fault not mine and that it’s his guilt to carry for hurting me and for choosing to hurt others.

The feeling that’s burdened me the most is the guilt that I feel because I didn’t stop him and because I shut down to try and cope and didn’t tell anyone, he hurt others. And I have blamed myself for that my whole life.

Hearing those words that it’s not my burden to carry anymore, broke down so many walls I’ve had up. It shattered the weight I’ve always carried. It transferred all of the shit he gave me, and returned it back to him.

In that moment I felt that I took back all the good he stole from me. I took back my innocence. I took back my confidence. I took back feeling comfortable to say no. I took back my ability to trust. I took back my feeling of being safe. But most importantly, I took back my power.

I walked out of that office feeling like a new person. I barely recognise myself. I feel entirely different. It’s like I actually see the world differently. I can’t find the words to explain it properly. But it feels good. It feels amazing actually.

And by no means do I feel that I just walk away and forget it happened. Like I’m magically better and won’t ever think about it again. I will always carry the scars from this trauma. I will always remember. I’ll probably always get the random flash backs and the nightmares. But I’m hoping that these things will lessen over time now that I’ve faced it and feel myself healing.

For the first time in my life, I don’t feel like a victim anymore. I feel like a survivor. And that is incredibly important to me. I faced one of the most horrendous things a child can face, and today I stood my ground and took my power back!

I’ve been going back and forth in deciding whether to write a blog on this. I don’t mind sharing these details with the hundreds of people that read this that I don’t know and never will. But it’s especially hard to share such a traumatic event with people I know. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. Or to look at me with pity. Or to feel uncomfortable around me because they don’t know what to say. No one can say or do anything to take away the pain so please don’t feel that you need to “fix” anything. I’m sharing this because I know the worst thing about being abused is that you feel like you’re the only one.

So I want to stand up and say, you’re not alone! If we’ve never met, or if we’re best mates, or if we work together or if we fell out years ago and have never spoken since, I don’t care… you’re not alone in this. If you need to reach out then I’m here. You’re not alone.

The other emotion you carry is the guilt and self blame.

So I want to stand up and say, it wasn’t your fault!

The only person to blame in this situation, is the perpetrator. No one else. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my parents fault. It wasn’t society’s fault. It wasn’t his parents fault. He alone made that choice to hurt me. Him. No one else.

I also wanted to share this as I made a promise to myself when I started this blog, that I was always going to be open, raw and honest. And this is the most significant trauma in my life and has impacted me so much. So standing up and facing it, will have an enormous impact on my journey.

And hiding what happened is a way of him still holding power over me. So I’m standing up now and saying no more.

“You, you piece of shit, no longer hold any of my power.” It’s mine!!!