My "Light at The End of The Tunnel". I took this picture during the fireworks show at Disneyland, my happiest place on earth.
Wow, life has changed so much in the past couple of years. I sit here and think of all the plans I had; I have always been a planner. I had a plan for everything. That’s how I liked to live, there was a plan and it was to be followed exactly. That way there were no surprises or disappointments. That way everything would be perfect. I had my college plan, where I was going to go, what my major would be, what school I would transfer to after doing my undergrad. I knew who I was going to marry, how long we would wait to get engaged then married. I even planned out the age in which I wanted to have and stop having children. I had a plan because it made me feel safe. That I was going to be okay in a world that seemed as though it could fall to pieces, at any second.
I had held those plans with white knuckles, never daring to loosen my grip even for a second. Even with my determination, life still happened. When all those plans started to fall apart, I did too. I couldn’t function. It sounds crazy, like, come on, Tessa just edit your plan; make a new one, roll with the punches. I couldn’t, so, I stopped participating in life. When I did start to “function” again I did things to keep my mind off of the fact that my life wasn’t perfect. Not only was it not perfect, it was awful. I thought I was a failure. I tried to distract myself by making bad choices, which only added to my downwards spiral. I had dug myself into a hole and wasn't sure how to get out. The only thing I knew that I could do was to keep on digging.
After about 2 years of living life alone in my problems, I let someone into my deep dark hole, for the first time. We were on one of the worst trips I have ever been on and things were finally too much for me to take all by myself. So, I ripped off the bandage that covered the nasty, awful, wound and shared my secret. Finally, I said, out loud, what had been eating me alive. What had been killing me. What had torn me apart. What had destroyed me. Through tears and shame, I told her what he did to me. She climbed into my deep dark pit and sat with me. For the first time in 2 years, I wasn't alone.
I experienced a significant trauma. Trauma is defined as: a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. This trauma came right after a few of my plans had fallen apart and put every single other plan I had through the shredder. Looking back on it, I can see I was in survivor mode. I was trying to get through each day and desperately grasping for any sense of control over my life. Life was really messy for about 2 years, not to say life isn't messy now, it was just extra messy for awhile. During that time, I had let a lot of things go. Such as friendships, relationships, grades, school, my health, my faith, nothing had mattered to me anymore. My life mentality was screw everything.
It has been over a year since I first told my secret. Life is really different now. I am getting help. I was diagnosed with PTSD, Anxiety, and Major Depressive Disorder. But I am getting better. I still have days when I feel like the world is caving in, however, they are appearing less and less.I have people standing by me, holding my hand through it all.
Looking back, I have much more grace in my heart for myself now. I went through a traumatic experience and didn't have the “tools” to deal with it, and that is not my fault. I still have to remind myself of that daily, but it is easier to remember now. I'm still on the journey, but, I think I see the flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.
If you need help:
National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline
1 (800) 656-4673
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1 (800) 273-8255