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No Longer Alone

No longer alone with my secret

Guest Author: Stephanie

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

I have always cried for no reason, felt sad for no reason and generally been unhappy.

I thought it was because I was the only girl in the family, had a Christmas birthday, wasn’t pretty enough, not thin enough and so on.

Both of my parents have had nervous breakdowns.

My 25-year marriage fell apart and me along with it.

When I was a child I was molested by a neighbour. I didn’t think it had any bearing on my life but it has affected my whole life.

My 25-year marriage fell apart and me along with it. That was my worst time. Panic attacks, not sleeping or sleeping all day. I was struggling at work and hid in the bathroom when I couldn’t control the tears.

My boss called me out on my poor job performance and suggested a leave of absence. I would drive home from work bawling, nobody gave a shit about me, not my husband, not my co-workers. I wanted someone to talk to but who wants to hang out with a negative, crying depressed baby?

On my drive home from work I would drive past this one tree and every day, I thought about driving into it. No one would miss me, I thought. Then I remembered I bought a car with nine air bags!

I was scared and thought I had lost my mind, so my doctor started me on anti-depressants and sent me to a therapist. He was fabulous. Did you know that you can’t change the past or the future? I was worrying about things I couldn’t change and things that may or may not happen. Sound familiar? Finally, I felt better and stronger. I decided to move out and end my marriage.

I was still crying and feeling sad. Why?

I continued with therapy. Each visit was tough but slowly I was starting to feel better. I had spent so much time making sure my husband was happy that I lost myself. I did not know what it was that I liked to do or what made me happy. I successfully completed therapy and started my new life. Yet I was still crying and feeling sad. Why?

I stumbled across a company that sells makeup by direct marketing. The mission of the company is to support the one in four women that were abused as children. Sales of the products funds a retreat for these women at no cost other than transportation to the nearest airport to the resort.

I said to myself, “Hey, I am one” and I applied.

One day years after applying I received the call that would change my life. I was chosen. I had no fear and jumped right in. Four days at a private mountain retreat, our own chef, yoga, makeover and photo shoot — oh yeah, I’m in!

I was no longer alone with my secret.

From the minute we (20 women from all over Canada and the U.S.) were picked up at the airport, my world changed. I was no longer alone with my secret. We had group therapy sessions and learned how our young brains were affected by the trauma. It all finally made sense. I finally understood the sadness, the fear and the anxiety and it was all okay.

I know how it adversely affected my marriage. I wish I could bottle the way I felt on the last day — so strong and whole. Those four days were filled with tears but a lot of laughter. I got my laughter back!

Fast forward a few more years and I’m still on my meds, just different ones now. I still have waves of sadness that hit me for no reason. Most people know my story, I don’t keep it a secret. I tell new friends so they know what to expect. I’m aware of my bad days and have reeled myself in. I don’t let the anxiety voice take over from my logical voice.

There is a strength that comes from acknowledging that you are not okay and that there will be bad days and sometimes bad weeks but they will pass. I found things that I like to do and when those sad days hit, I can either sleep the day away or I can grab my camera and go. Either choice works.

We all have different stories and pasts that have affected our brains. We are all fighting something, be kind to yourself. You are not alone!

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