I'm Tired of Not Talking About My Rape When I Talk About My Mental Health
I exist in a world that for 12 years I have not completely understood. I exist in a world that I feel forced to comply with. A world that, although it says it accepts and acknowledges that rape and sexual assault as actions are deplorable, still does not fully protect, believe, or advocate for those of us who have been affected.
I have depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. My post-traumatic stress disorder is from my rape. We talk about rape as an action. A single moment in time. We talk about post-traumatic stress disorder as a diagnosis. I have separated the two long enough.
I am tired of not feeling like I can link the two because it makes you uncomfortable.
My life and my mental health were severely affected by my rape, that moment in time you deem deplorable. But you also think about it as it ending then. You forget that it has had lasting consequences on my everyday life.
And for that, I am tired.
I am tired of being in public and suddenly feeling like the world is falling in on me and not knowing how to escape. I am tired of being at work and suddenly feeling like I need to cry. I am tired of closing my eyes and flashing back to those horrific moments. I am tired of, recently, needing to wash my pillowcase once a week because my night terrors have been so real that I wake up drenched in sweat and tears and cannot fall back asleep. I am tired of being tired.
I don’t want you to understand what I go through. I need you to let me have the floor.
I have clawed my way through the past 12 years, and for that I am proud. But it has not been easy, and it has not been without loss. I am a suicide attempt survivor, I have battled addiction, and I have ruined relationships. I have survived a moment in time that you knowingly acknowledge is unthinkable. But you don’t realize there is much more than that. There’s the every day following it, just not the day.
Be uncomfortable. You need to for us. For all of us who have survived acts of sexual violence, who now have mental health disorders, you need to let us speak our truths. You need to listen, you need to believe us, and you need to understand the two can go hand in hand. They are not separate issues, for one can created the other.
If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
Thinkstock photo by redstallion