For Years I Was An Empty Shell

I had few to no memories of my childhood. I never thought about the lack of memories. Or the pieces that felt like broken shards of glass. To me, it seemed normal to feel alone, sad with my painted smile. I know there were happy times but my body held onto the pain. My stomach was sick, I felt ugly and unloved. The drunken, unwatchful parents who knew naught of the multiple hands on their daughter. It was hard. I still think of how many times and the people I had to see regularly.

For years I was an empty shell. One night while I was living with a host family and volunteering in Armenia, the country of my ancestors, I had a dream about my experience. I brushed it off like it was nothing. The pain felt real. Almost a year later those dreams kept coming and the memories reappeared. Suddenly, I felt overly sad and happy because I had memories. The intensity of feelings was scary. I had always had anxiety but never felt depressed. I had moments of paralyzing sadness and anger. I wanted to confront all the people in my past who had hurt me. I still do. I hope one day I can. I still have memories surfacing.

The amount of times I was sexually abused still brings me to tears. I almost let the pain take me. I’ll never forget after I tried to take my life how much I realized I wanted to live. Through all that pain and suffering I was reminded that I am strong. I have always been a person who tries to instill strength in others to help them see how amazing they are. I did not realize I needed to find my own strength. I needed to learn to love myself. Now I do. Now I am able to use all my negative experiences to help others as a mental health therapist. I am still working on forgiving those who hurt me and some I may never. But I feel peace knowing I got through it and can help others do the same.

-Rose, Survivor