It’s Been a Rough Week So I’m Reminding Myself of These Things

It’s Been a Rough Week So I’m Reminding Myself of These Things

Even when there are things in the world that I do not have the power to change, I use my own words to remind myself that there are things I CAN do. I can look after the people around me. I can add my voice to support mental health, survivors, and marginalized groups. I can find ways to contribute to making the world a better place in some small ways while also encouraging others to do the same.

This also serves as a great reminder to myself that writing here about these topics is never a waste. I just found some hope by going back and reading what I wrote. Who knows who else might read these words and find a little hope too? That is another small thing I can do that is more useful than wallowing in my anxiety.

It’s OK to Just Enjoy Something For Yourself

It’s OK to Just Enjoy Something For Yourself

I came upon this idea later in life than some of you may have. Thanks to an abusive childhood and a fairly demanding church involvement in my teens and twenties, I was about 30 when I finally gave myself the freedom to take on a hobby just because I enjoyed it.

For me, I grew up never feeling good enough or worthy. I needed someone else to tell me it was OK for me to do something, or heaven forbid to spend money on something just because I liked it.

Trauma Upon Trauma – Reading about Lauren Book’s Experience with Stolen Images

Trauma Upon Trauma – Reading about Lauren Book’s Experience with Stolen Images

As you might imagine these sorts of activities are severely traumatizing, and Lauren’s response in the article I linked makes that clear. I also want to address the more subtle trauma here though. That trauma comes from those of you who will read this story and immediately respond “well she shouldn’t have been taking those photos”.

I want to be very clear here. That statement is 100% blaming the victim. This is the same exact thing as saying a woman shouldn’t have walked alone at night, or had a drink, or a child shouldn’t have been so friendly with strangers, etc. Lauren didn’t do anything wrong. What she and her husband do inside of their marriage is none of our business, no laws were broken, nothing untoward was going on. She was just a wife living her life and she was hacked. The person who stole these photos was the one breaking the law. The people sharing and selling those photos were breaking the law. Save your moral outrage for them and the people requesting to have these photos used to create fake rape videos because she was a rape victim.

Anyone who can read the entire story and walk away indignant more at her for having taken photos that were perfectly legal and a personal choice instead of the people who have violated her are simply violating her again.

Why I Don’t Tell People I’m Struggling Either

Why I Don’t Tell People I’m Struggling Either

When Laura talks about the reactions she’s afraid of getting she is 100% correct. A big part of why I hesitate often to tell people when I’m struggling, feeling incredibly anxious, depressed, or just mentally out of sorts is because I absolutely do not want to hear about how many other people are struggling worse. I already know there are a lot of people struggling. People who don’t have the resources I do, don’t have the support I do, with poor physical health issues or being a part of an underprivileged group, etc. I know, and I understand that I am privileged to have the things that I do and the tools to try and take care of myself that others do not.

And yet, my struggles are still struggles. If I am telling you about them it’s because I need someone to know. I need to be heard. I need to explain what is happening in my own head to someone who will listen to me. I am not negating anyone else’s struggle by talking about my own. Please understand when I, or someone else you know, comes to you and tells you that they are struggling with our mental health, it has likely taken all of our energy just to gather up the courage to tell anyone, so when you deflect like this it’s devastating to us. We carry these heavy, heavy, burdens with us every single day of our lives and we simply need someone to recognize them and maybe help us a little bit every now and again.

Grief is Hard, and Long
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Grief is Hard, and Long

Something else interests me about grief though and that is the grief that child abuse survivors have because it’s complicated. We aren’t grieving a person we’ve lost, we’re grieving something we never had. A safe, happy childhood or a loving parental relationship that didn’t exist. The lack of any kind of family bonds as an adult, or the inability to trust anyone. Those are things we can, and should, grieve. Often we aren’t given the chance to do that. Other people expect us to “put it behind us” because it was a long time ago. We may even convince ourselves that the best option is to suck it up and forget it, no reason to think about any of that. But, I think there’s a reason to grieve the things we didn’t have as children. They are very real losses. They have very real impacts on our brains and our emotional well-being. We can’t change it now, but we can allow ourselves the freedom to feel grief over it. It’s part of the process.