This is a follow up story to Raquel’s on going journey. To read her back story please click here.
“I reached my breaking point. A lot of it’s a blur, but it scared me. It scared all of us.
‘Lord, help me recognize my emotions and deal with them, but not let them control me.’
Control is something I need, something I crave in most areas of my life. They say a need for control, along with a lengthy list of other things, is common in adults who have experienced sexual abuse in childhood
Just another statistic, I suppose.
There are so many layers to that label, so many unspoken moments, unheard truths, and wounds that remain unhealed. Those moments, whether one or many, affect every aspect of your life. They show up in the middle of the night when you can’t catch your breath. They change the way you trust, as a person and as a parent. Those moments become part of your identity in ways you would have never imagined.
Years of suffocating thoughts and manipulating my mind to recite, ‘I’m fine!’ Years of remaining calm in an effort to ignore my own emotions because being numb is far easier than feeling. I’ve picked up hundreds of passions because feeling deeply about environmental matters and the hearts of others is less traumatizing than dealing with my own soul. My own emotions. My own trauma. My own heartache. Feeling for the world is noble and needed but it is far less heavy than carrying the weight of your own wounds.
My flood gates faltered. The dam broke loose. No different than a body of water that continues to take on rain, my emotions spilled out, overflowing, rushing fast and loud. It doesn’t seem plausible. I share so much, but as much as you’ve read, there is just as much under the surface.
The thing is, my breaking point didn’t come after a single bad moment. It was a cumulation of responsibilities, ungratefulness, mothering, disconnected relationships, fear, failure, anxiety, and stress. All of it was too much and lying under it all was a layer of shame and pain. Moments that I’ve tried to forget. Moments that have defined me. Moments that should have never been but are and now they’re my demons to conquer. All mine and mine alone?
For years, I confused the intentional blocking of memories with healing. I was wrong. When you use a Band-Aid to cover a scrape, it begins to heal but healing your soul is nothing like healing a visible wound. You are not meant to bear this burden alone. I was not meant to bear this burden alone. I don’t have to expose it to the world, just to someone. Casey knows the most intimate details of my life. He knows some things no one else knows but confessing my darkest moments and discussing the darkness when it feels like it’s trying to suffocate me are two totally different things.
Sharing about sexual abuse isn’t like sharing about other things. Each encounter takes a little more of you, etches a permanent scar on your soul. One day, page by page, I’ll write my story. I will expose the darkness to light but not now, not yet.
I typed all of that out a year ago. It’s incredible how much can happen in a year. I still remember the hopelessness pressing against me, but no one would have known. I was stubborn and naively believed my strength lied in what I could endure without crying, complaining, or falling apart. I truly believed I would be okay if I could just stay positive and present. I was wrong, I was so wrong.
I’ve had a year to confront the flaws that inevitably exposed my humanity, and that’s what it was, you know. Humanity. Human nature. Embarrassment, pride, stubbornness, weakness, strength, fear. It’s all very human and yet we try to escape it.
My marriage, which has always been my strongest blessing, has only grown stronger. My husband was shaken, just as much as I was, once my walls came tumbling down. We realized I do a poor job of advocating my emotional and mental needs and he has become more in tune and aware. Direct communication has helped strengthen my own voice. I’m learning to stop refusing help or a break or a moment to walk away. I’m learning my value as a wife and mother doesn’t exist in how much I can shoulder. I’m learning that healing from my past isn’t over and exposing it through written word or conversation, though therapeutic in its own right, still isn’t the same as healing. I’m learning that anxiety and depression are fueled by more than outward circumstances, which means my insides need just as much attention. I’m learning…
Mental health, once stigmatized, has been brought to the public’s attention more than ever before. I believe a lot of good has come from the spotlight but as with anything, it’s been misrepresented and abused as well. There seems to be a diagnosis for every quirk and a pill to fix it. It has almost become a trend to claim anxiety or depression. What in the world is going on? Where should we look ‘as a whole’ for answers? Because when over 25% of children and nearly 20% of adults in America are clinically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, something is off.
I believe it is imperative we become our own biggest advocates. Not all doctors have our best interests in mind. Many are well-meaning but regurgitating what they have learned through a flawed system. The pharmaceutical industry’s livelihood quite literally hinges on our health or lack of. Healed patients do not produce a profit, therefore the goal is repeat customers, not a cure.
I don’t have all of the answers, I’m not selling a ‘miracle’ and no one can do the research for you but I think one of the most loving things we can do is take charge of our health (both mental and physical) and not simply trust everything we’ve been told.
Every day, we should allow the sun to dance across our faces. Our feet need to feel the bare earth as we move and our hands can benefit from kneading dough, petting a dog, or writing the words that need space to be. We need pure water and living whole foods every single day to nourish our minds, bodies, and souls. We need to seek truth that can heal us as a whole, not quick fixes and band-aids that mask our symptoms.
‘Before you help someone heal, ask them if they are willing to walk away from what made them sick.’
‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’- Hippocrates
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. What will you be doing to become more aware of what your body needs to heal?”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Raquel McCloud, 31, of North Carolina. Follow her family journey on Instagram here and her website here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories from Raquel here:
‘Age doesn’t matter, you consented.’ It wasn’t a stranger or a creepy cousin. It wasn’t forceful, or a textbook case of victim and prey.’: Child abuse survivor cautions others during quarantine, ‘Home isn’t always safe’
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