Submitted by a brave survivor.
I just arrived after a long trip from NY to Toronto. It was a really tough drive as it was raining really hard the whole way. It was very hard to see out and the markings were so vaguely visible. Additionally, there were many trucks flying past me spraying off their mist from their tires onto my windshield.
At one point I needed a break from the stress of the drive and pulled off to a rest stop. I turned off the car and drifted into a deep sleep. In my sleep I dreamed that I was driving. It was a beautiful sunny day. There were no cars or trucks whizzing by me. The highway was freshly paved, and the lane markings were so clear. The drive was a true pleasure. The majestic scenery on the side of the highway blended together with the beautiful music that was playing in the car.
I was suddenly awoken to a loud thunder shaking me into my reality. It was a nice dream but unfortunately it wasn’t the truth. I got back at the highway and somehow made it to my final destination.
This, my friend is the life of someone struggling with emotional illness. Emotional illness doesn’t discriminate. Abuse doesn’t discriminate and can happen to anyone. Emotional illness doesn’t have any visible symptoms and therefore one can suffer tremendously from emotional pain and yet come across extremely successful and stable.
We all travel along the highway called life. We all have a starting point and a destination where we need to reach. We are all given a mission to accomplish. That mission is to complete our trip and get to our destination. Some of us are lucky and get to drive through life without any major storms. Although everyone has an occasional storm and some of them may even be a hurricane, it’s usually a passing storm and soon after it’s over, we can put it past us.
However, there are those, like myself, that were given a very difficult journey. The first parts of our journey were filled with abuse and trauma and we are then forced to continue driving along life with all the damage sustained from the trauma. It’s a hard and painful trip. There’s very little scenery. The drive is so very hard. It’s so scary. Every mile marker is a challenge. Every truck that passes by is a challenge. There’s this gripping fear that at any second I can lose control and it will be all over. Perhaps, it’s even something that I want. When the fighting gets too tough, it’s a thought that keeps coming to my mind.
At times I find myself holding onto the steering wheel so hard that my knuckles turn white. It’s almost impossible to continue. It all seems so bleak and painful. I think about my dream and just imagine other people’s journey through life and can’t help but get so jealous of their seemingly simple life.
My life is all darkness. It’s all a desperate battle just to stay in my lane and get to my destination safely without a breakdown. Along the way, there are shabbosim and Yomim Tovim that I need to get through. There are weddings, dinners and parlor meetings that I need to get through. There are birthday parties and family barbecues that I need to attend and although I’m there in body, my mind and vision are blurred from the raging internal hurricanes that are going on inside of me. There are hundreds upon hundreds of triggers and flashbacks that are thrown at me.
I don’t usually ask the “why me” questions but I do ask the “how” questions. How am I going to do this? How am I going to continue along? I don’t have the strength anymore. I don’t have any ammunition left to keep fighting this way. Or so it seems, and then when I get through yet another day, I see that I really did have some ammunition left.
Yes, I do get an occasional reprieve, but they are usually short lived. Like when I drive under an overpass or through a tunnel and all the rain stops momentarily. I so wish I can stay there, but I can’t. My life’s mission was to travel through the rain and storms and I can’t simply stay in the tunnel.
With all this, I’m sitting here at my destination and realizing that I made it through and got to the other end. It was hard, almost unbearably hard, but I did it and I can’t help but think, maybe, just maybe, I had more strength than I think I had. Maybe, this journey is possible to do.
Maybe, I even wanted a difficult journey because it’s so much more rewarding at the end. The sense of accomplishment is so much stronger. Was is hard? Yes. But maybe, just maybe, it was all worth it.
Finally, maybe, just maybe, a full healing is possible, and I can now be living proof to all those who are still traveling, that yes, healing is fully possible and attainable.