Throughout our lives we witness memorable moments. The moments that are either mile stones in life – graduating from school or university, moving out of your parents’ house and learning to stand on your own two feet. These are some of the normal mile stones that people experience in their lives. Sometimes this doesn’t happen, uncontrollable events and factors appear and push us off course.
When I was 13/14 I was physical and sexual assaulted at school by three pupils. I lost my voice, my dignity and myself. I became fearful of my surroundings, of the three pupils, I didn’t trust anyone and I lost faith in a school that should have protected me.
Now ten years on, the impact is still as strong and powerful as it was back then. For me and my family. We all have personally struggled to deal with what happened to me. My whole family have had to witness me in hospital struggling to want to live – not eating and drinking, NG tube fed, harming myself because I thought I was better off dead and believing I didn’t deserve a life. The three individuals took that, I thought. Seeing my flashbacks daily is traumatising for anyone to witness but my family would be there holding my hand until the flashback had past.
When I have a flashback I relieve the trauma as if I was there. I have no sense of anything around me, I become lost in another world. They are horrible for me to experience, but as I am learning to cope with the memories. I begin to realise how difficult it must have been for them to witness them on a daily basis feeling powerless to help.
We all deal with these difficult situations completely differently, some people need to talk, some people avoid the subject completely and others hold it in until it just explodes one day. Never sure when it will happen but all we can do is support, accept the decision and listen. It is not as easy as that, when emotions are running high, anxiety in our bodies and fear of the words that will be spoken puts everyone on edge. It hard to hear the truth, the pain, the anger and unspoken words that have ruminated for years. We don’t always deal with it right or react in a certain way, voices can be raised, and the tears pour down our faces. Trying to find the answers, trying to help but all we do is make it worse. People will talk when they’re ready. For me, the silence, the unspoken words scare me more, I feel helpless but sometimes in life we have to remove ourselves from the situation for others to feel comfortable to open up and express their feelings.
My family and I are still together, sorting through the things but it is when the unpredictable events happen that throw us off course but we always come back together. I am aware of the pain, the torment, the uncertainty and fear they have experienced. The times when to speak your mind, emotions and thoughts would have made the situation worse and constantly walking around on egg shells must have been very frustrating and isolating. I am sorry for that. I never asked to be hurt, to be abused. I have regrets and I have made mistakes, I am not perfect but I can’t keep looking back and apologising. I was severely ill for many years with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and physically worn but now I am healthy, working towards recovery. I have hope in my heart. This is all down to my family who have been there from the beginning.
Some days it feels that we are all ‘lost stars’ trying to find the light in the darkness. Sometimes we shine bright, sometimes we fade but we never disappear. We are alive. Sometimes we need to share our light with others to help them through the darkness. It can be lonely and isolating in the darkness but as the night passes and the morning sun shines through. It makes me believe that things won’t always be this way, for all of us.
If we break apart now the three pupils that hurt me ten years ago, would have been successful, not only attempting to destroy my life but also my family’s. I will not allow this to happen because we are all worth so much more than that. The pupils have no control over me, they have no power.
We are stronger and more powerful by living, by holding on to the positive moments and by choosing it not to control our lives any more.