The Road To Survival

woman walking on bridge
Photo by Matej Čerkez on

I would like to welcome a new Guest Blogger Jennifer. She writes honestly of her journey of surviving trauma, depression and anxiety. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

“My name is Jennifer, everyone usually calls me Jen. I look back on my life now and think, “Damn, I have endured a lot of trauma, depression, anxiety and pain throughout my 41 years”. But I’m still here, I am surviving and I embrace every day and appreciate it as if it were my last.  It has taken me many years to come forward with my story, but I’m so thankful that I discovered blogging and an avenue with which to share my journey.  I no longer blame myself for any of the events of my life.  The trauma is what has shaped me into the person I am today; strong, confident and able to face any challenge with perseverance.  I believe that it is important to be open and honest with yourself and with others in order to achieve ultimate peace and happiness. I find that the more I speak of my journey, the more peace I find within myself. I don’t care what people think or say…the whispers, the judgments, mean nothing to me….I simply ignore it all.  I don’t allow negative energy into my space and I am a better mother, wife and friend because of that. After so many years of therapy, I have finally found my voice and I’m thankful to God for allowing me to be strong and knowledgeable, so that I may help others in my situation.  The story that I’m about to tell is a condensed version and I will be going further into detail in my future posts, as it can get quite overwhelming.

I am a Sexual Abuse Survivor. I was sexually molested by two immediate family members from the age of 7 until approximately 13 years old. In August of 2018, I decided to share my secret with the world via social media. It literally felt like 100 lbs of weight was lifted off of my chest. I knew that by speaking publicly, I would likely be disowned from some family and friends. I had not spoken to my abusers for quite some time and never had that “close knit family” that people speak of, so you don’t miss what you never had.  I wasn’t at all surprised that my mother would be upset and had essentially already accepted the consequences. My mother called me from Newfoundland approximately 2 hours after I had posted my story. She does not own a computer, or have much knowledge of how they even work, so I knew someone had called her and filled her in.  She demanded that I remove the post, that I was embarrassing the family and that she didn’t want anyone at her church to find out that I had been abused. I simply told her that it was a part of my healing and that I was not removing the post. This was my right to speak up. She then told me that she didn’t want to have anything else to do with me and I accepted her choice and wished her well. It was the hardest thing ever, knowing that it was likely the last time I would ever speak to my mom, as she is 74 years old. I love my mom, always have and always will and I have the upmost respect for her, but the fact that she has never been supportive of my pain and healing, made it easier for me to accept her rejection. She never wanted to admit what happened to me, although she had known most of what happened for 7+ years. She was born in a generation where you did not speak of any form of abuse, you just lived with it.  Well that just wasn’t enough for me. For most of my childhood and adulthood, I had dealt with anger, depression and unhealthy relationships, due to the abuse that I had suffered. Since I have released these skeletons from my closet, I have honestly never been happier and more positive.

It takes years of shame and a lot of courage to come forward as a sexual abuse victim.  My only regret is that I wish I had the guts to speak sooner, if I had only known how good it felt to release myself of that heavy burden. But that is common of child sexual abuse survivors, to wait years to tell anyone, if they do at all. I do not look for pity, nor do I feel pity for myself. It has taken me a very long time to finally love myself for me and to not blame myself for what happened and I’ll be damned if I’ll ever let anyone bring me down that low ever again. I finally got fed up of protecting the abusers and more focused on healing my own wounds.  I was simply tired of putting on a happy face and pretending like nothing had ever happened to protect monsters.

I am also a suicide survivor. My childhood sweetheart, and father of our only child, took his own life on Valentine’s Day in 2005. I became a single mom to a 7 year old boy. To say that Jerry’s suicide intensified my anxiety and depression would be an understatement. I went through so many stages of emotions over Jerry’s death…so many moments of wanting to die myself, feelings of abandonment, loneliness, fear. I went from extreme lows to extreme highs and many years of therapy and medications. The depression was at its worse in those first few years after his death. I did my best to hide it from my son and shield him from the ugliness of this world, but it was sometimes very difficult to hide my sadness.  l had no family support on either side of our families, which may have proven to be a good thing. You see, both sides of our families are toxic and dysfunctional. I will share more on this later in my upcoming posts.

The suicide will be with my son and I always. We still struggle to this very day with “why” and “what if”….no amount of therapy has ever really taken that away. It hovers over our heads like a black cloud, a situation that no matter how hard we try, we cannot change.  The shock of Jerry’s death never leaves, we just learn to get through each day.  We lean on each other and talk when we need to.  My son is my absolute best friend and I know that I am his.  If you haven’t been personally affected by a suicide, it is sometimes hard to understand.  Suicide is not like any other form of death, you never get answers, you never get closure, you spend everyday wondering how you could have saved that person.  No amount of therapy can ever take it away, it’s a choice you have to make solely on your own to continue life and appreciate the people you love and who love you back.

I am here to help anyone who is struggling as a Sexual Abuse Survivor, or as a Suicide Survivor. If you need to reach out, or share your experiences, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  If you would like to guest blog and share your own story, please contact me through the link provided.

I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment. All feedback is much appreciated. Thank you. Erin

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