I am a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and stranger. I have been from the depths of hell to the high mountains of hope and happiness, and have bounced between for the past couple decades. I have lived my life defined by my labels, never really living under two labels at once.
When I was a child I suffered sexual abuse, it started around the first grade and lasted until junior high. I was not one of those kids who were abused and then shut themselves off from the world, nor was I one of those kids who just put it all out there and “slept around” like crazy. I chose a path somewhere down the middle, on the surface I was the kid who was shut off from the world, I kept to myself even though I had a lot of friends, and I was very private. At the same time, in “private” I was the promiscuous kid.
I knew how to play the game to maintain both aspects of my life, show apprehension when someone brought up the topic of sex, and make sure no one would ever tell. I remember clearly one day talking with a friend, of course being teenagers the conversation moved to sex and I left. A short time later my friend came to apologize, she remembered how “immoral” I thought premarital sex was. When I told her that I had been sexually active for the past year, she about had a heart attack. I was quite pleased that I was able to hide this “secret” so well, but I have always hated secrets so it hurt me to know that I had been dishonest for so long with those I loved.
My “private” life was an ever present beast, which is best way I can think to describe it. It was like dealing with a monster in horror flick, no matter how fast you run, or where you go, it follows you and will catch you and try to destroy you. After the “first time” I moved, I thought at the time that was the greatest thing that could have possibly happened, but it changed nothing, the beast followed me. No matter what I did it was always there. I stupidly decided that since it was going to go away I might as well just give in, but doing that and maintaining my public life was literally hell.
I would use the line “if you say anything to anyone, I will deny it and make you look like a fool”. From what I wasn’t hearing in the halls that seemed to be working, but that statement bothered me. I can’t really explain how or why, but when I think about it, it just cuts me to my core. After the first time my husband and I had sex, I told him that, we weren’t married yet and I had no way of knowing that he would be my husband. As far as things said in my life that is one thing I would like to get back.
In the midst of my teenage “rollercoaster” I somehow managed to join the church, find my husband, and learn that I had no clue about real life. In the years after we got married, I had suffered from severe depression, anxiety and wanting to die but not enough to want to kill myself. I became a drug addict trying to “treat” the pain of my past. I ignored all of the logical solutions and decided to fix everything on my own, which lead me down that path; I ignored the options because I felt that my actions were not forgivable.
One day, I just decided it was time, so I went to meet with my bishop, I did not tell him everything, I left out a great deal because I was embarrassed and didn’t feel any better. I thought that was a waste of time, several years later I went back, this time we had moved so it was a new bishop so it was a little easier to come fully clean. I spilled my guts, the best I could, and I can’t seem to say certain words so he had to fill in the blanks. I felt like the world had been lifted off my shoulders, I actually felt happy, possibly for the first time in my life.
That did not last long, a couple months later I would learn news that just seemed to cut me down to nothing. This put my life back on a spiral to depths of hell. I tried my best to manage but seemed to fail at every turn. Nearly two years later I was no longer going to church, never leaving my house, not talking with people much, drinking on occasion to not feel, just back in the pit again. My beast returned, this time it found a new way to haunt me. I was reminded in everything of the “bad” things I had done in my life, I felt again that I was unforgivable, I had lost hope.
A couple weeks ago I found the letter that I had wrote to myself after my “coming clean” to the bishop, I read it and was reminded not of the bad stuff, but how happy I was when I was trying to make situation better. I had a rather lengthy email conversation with a very smart person, I cried a lot, met with my bishop, and actually prayed with purpose for the first time in a very long time.
After all of that this is where I am, writing about falling and getting back up again, not just getting back up, but moving forward away from the pit and the beast.
Because I do not want to hurt or embarrass those I love, I am not using names, theirs or mine. I hope that my journey can help those out there who are also struggling, I want them to know there is hope, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now.