One day I will be strong enough to share my story with the world

A few weeks ago I was seriously stressing about having to switch therapists. Today I am so grateful for the therapist that I have!! I’m still thankful for my first psychologist and I think she was an amazing support, but I feel like this new therapist might be a better fit for me. Her personality is so encouraging and I feel so relieved after talking to her.

What’s even better is that she has offered to help me in ways that I never expected. She has offered to help me talk to my parents about my illnesses. They have absolutely no idea about the abuse, the PTSD, the eating disorder, the self-harm…none of it. They are so blissfully unaware right now because I’ve been protecting them. But I think it might be time to finally let them know what’s really been going on with me over the last few years of my life. It’s time for me to stop holding all of this weight on my own.

My therapist has helped me realize that it isn’t my fault that any of this happened and it isn’t my job to protect my abuser. She opened my eyes to the fact that he has been emotionally blackmailing me for the last 10 years by threatening to commit suicide if I disclosed what he did to me. He has not only made me feel isolated by forcing me to keep this secret, but he has also made me feel like his life is my responsibility as well. But it’s not. He is the only one who can be responsible for his life. If he chose to end it because he could not bear the consequences of his actions, then that would be his choice and not my fault.

It has taken me an extremely long time to get to this point; I’ve spent years feeling like I have no choice but to keep this secret “or else”. But I’m slowly starting to realize that i’m being a bit of a hypocrite. I’ve been so quick to criticize my parents and others who do not hold him accountable for his actions but all this time I have done the very same thing. I have protected him from the horrible crimes that he committed. I protected him because I wanted to protect my family as a whole. My family is already so unstable (they’re fighting in the living room as I type…) so I didn’t want to add more stress to the situation.. I didn’t want to be the reason that my family split up. But now I’m starting to realize that it wouldn’t be my fault. It’s not my fault because it is not the message that would destroy them, it is the act. They would not be destroyed by me telling them what happened, they would be destroyed by the fact that the abuse occurred. Once again, it is not my fault; only one person is responsible for the abuse and that person is the abuser.

I’ve spent so much time advocating for individuals with mental health issues but I have forgotten to advocate for myself. I’m starting to realize that this might just be the next step. One day I am going to share my story with the world. I am going to tell the world how I overcame my illnesses and all of the terrible events that occurred. I’m not recovered yet, but I will be. The only way I can share my story with the world is if I first share it with my family. I don’t know how they will receive the news. I don’t know if they will scream at me, yell at him, try to throw me in an institution…who knows? What I do know is that when I am ready to tell them I will have the support of my amazing psychologist who is willing to stand up for me and protect me in ways that other people never have. I FINALLY have someone to fight my battles with me rather than against me. I FINALLY have the courage to start moving forward. It may not happen today, but one day it will. And when that day comes, I will be ready to defend myself and be my own advocate.

I’m stronger than I was when the abuse happened; I’m stronger than I was yesterday; and tomorrow, I will be stronger than I am today. One day that strength will be enough to share my story and FINALLY have the peace that I deserve.

One day…

xo

Ayla

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