It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Warning: This post my contain triggers associated with sexual abuse, depression, and anxiety. Please proceed reading with extreme caution. My intention in sharing this post is to help people and hopefully encourage those who may be suffering to seek help.

This time of year is always a struggle for me. Mid January carries an enormous amount of pain associated with horrible memories; memories that I feel at times will never dull.

Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the winter months with the shorter days and colder temperatures, but my struggle is not part of this. I make it a priority to find joy in my environment any time of year. If it’s hot outside, I tend to spend time down by the river tubing or laying out with a good book. When it’s cold I look for snow and a tall mountain to get some good runs in on my snowboard or at the very least look forward to when I can take a trip to a higher altitude. When it’s raining, I remember slow dancing in a rain storm with my Fella when we first started dating and smile.

My mood is not typically adversely affected by the season or the weather. No. My depression starts creeping in mid January because on January 20, 2011 I was raped by someone I once called friend while he held a knife to my throat. After months of suffering the same fate by the same abuser, that day was the first in my life that I not only wished for death, but the reality that I would not survive to see another day was very real.

I accepted death; a death that would have inevitably been premature. I was 18-barely an adult with still a lot of life left to live. An entire story yet to be written with the closing paragraph merely sentences away. I wanted to fight. I wanted to run. But after suffering for so long, my will to fight was depleted and my desire to comply became my only hope. I wanted to survive.

I did survive and most of the time, I thrive. I’m blessed beyond words with a ridiculously amazing husband, friends I adore, a family that supports the hell out of me, a satisfying job, a beautiful house-an overall pleasant life. But sometimes I struggle.

I’ve developed triggers over the years; situations or even objects that spark panic associated with memories of my abuse. For the longest time I couldn’t warm up my car before leaving in the colder months for fear of my abuser sneaking up and attacking me again like he did previously. When I’m alone in my car I’ve picked up the habit of locking my doors as soon as I’m inside; something I never even thought about before.

Anxiety can make you habitual.

When I’m watching a movie or tv show and the story line involves sexual abuse, my heart rate quickens, but I’m usually able to watch without much issue. It’s when the assault portrayed involves a knife that I tend to stop watching. Another scenario that is hard for me to watch is when a girl is depicted to lose her virginity. Mine was stolen from me and it took a lot of therapy sessions for me to come to terms with the fact that I’m still desirable; that I’m not soiled, damaged, or any less of a woman-thoughts that I struggle with to this day.

Depression has no rhyme or reason.

A few days ago, I was in bed with my husband. We were sharing an intimate moment when I started crying. Nothing he did triggered thoughts of my past. Instead I just had a thought about how not every sexual encounter I’ve had in my life had been full of such adoration and it saddened me. Lying beside the man whom I love with my entire being and I was on the cusp of having a panic attack.

Depression follows no timeline.

Even at work my mental health is put to the test. I was sitting through a mandatory training of workplace violence and what to do in the event of a possible threat. During the web-based video, there was an audio file between a staff member and a 911 operator from the Columbine shooting. The stress, the panic, the fear was so unbelievably real interrupted by the sounds of gun fire in the background and all of a sudden I couldn’t breath and tears were racing down my face. I’m fortunate enough to have my own office, so I shut the door and wept in solitude. I pulled myself together long enough to excuse myself outside and take a short trip around the block in my car with my windows down allowing cold air to blow across my face and blast loud music to help muffle my thoughts. I was afraid of my co-workers seeing me in my depressive state.

Anxiety and depression are embarrassing.

I hate how my depressive episodes affect those around me. I feel ashamed when someone asks me if I’m okay and I can’t share why I’m upset. I see the looks of pity and sympathy when I’m struggling to catch my breath during an episode or attack and want to become invisible in that instant. I hate sharing my true thoughts and feelings about my mental illness with loved ones; I don’t want to burden them with my issues.

Anxiety and depression make me remorseful.

This is my cry for help. This is my sign to get help and to encourage others who may be struggling with the beasts that are anxiety and/or depression to get help as well. I haven’t been to therapy for about 8 years. I’ve told myself that I can handle it on my own; I’m a strong, independent woman, but I’m finding that’s not even close to being accurate. I need help. Mental illness is personal, but your fight against it can be a team effort. I’m in search for a therapist and will be seeking treatment very soon.

Things will get better, but right now, I’m not okay. And that’s okay.

11 thoughts on “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

  1. It is definitely okay to not be okay.. I think you are amazing to be able to share your story, it think it makes you an incredibly strong woman and able to help those who have been in the same situation as you and feeling like they are alone. You are truly amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are a strong and empowered woman!! Thank you for being so brave to share this part of your past again in a new way. I’m sure there is someone who is suffering in silence just wanting someone to share their pain with and you are there to give them validation that they are not alone. You are amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The week gone by — Jan. 19 – A Silly Place

  4. I’m a rape “survivor.”

    You are expected to have times or incidents you are triggered and not be okay.

    I have never reacted typical of a rape victim. I was rational and I took blame for putting my intoxicated a drug induced 18 year old walking target; into a bathroom I got closes in my 4 guys.

    I never even cried about it until my mom said I lied and my dad started to cry.

    I still am not ok. Like I’m sea it is in that movie The house on the left (I think it’s called). And sexual joke of anyone that gets excited over rape.

    I get very triggered when rape victims are joked about while watching thing like SVU.

    I look in my 20 year old sons face sometimes. That rape gave me him (we think his dad didn’t want a test to check dna).

    But I cry after I keep
    Him when I refused to get abortion. And I had four kids, one with autism. And that fifth time? I could afford it. I couldn’t physically handle it. I had an abortion. That’s hard. I chose my oldest; but now I have to terminate because of that pregnant that affects me I was high risk. Got worse all 4 kids. I couldn’t carry another child.

    So it’s okay to not be okay.

    Not many women I know that when they talk about rape or reasons for abortions around me; I had my first child as a rape baby. But my body can’t handle that fifth. Smirk and smile at them.

    I cry when kids are sexually exploited. I get very defensive of a rape scene in a movie is laughed at or joked about.

    I would go so far as taping a picture of their daughter on that actor and see if it’s so funny.

    It’s okay be not be okay.

    Liked by 1 person

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