A few months before Choo-choo’s second birthday, Diesel and I had a life-altering fight. I had been having daily panic attacks, sometimes several in one day. I was in such a state that I couldn’t explain to him how I felt or what I needed him to stop doing.
You see, he was cleaning the kitchen. A fairly innocuous thing to do, except my OCD and anxiety despised germs and had decided only I knew how to get rid of them properly. I cried, and he wouldn’t stop. I stuttered through the panic, begging him to halt his actions. He wouldn’t.
Diesel believed I needed to be pushed outside my comfort zone in order to help me. Boy, was he wrong! This fight made me say something I didn’t mean and instantly regretted, but it had just flowed out of my mouth so quickly and easily in the moment.
We were on the verge of shattering our marriage, this much I knew. It was difficult for either of us to separate what was real with what was imagined. Emotions raged in us both. We had expressed things that shook us to the core. The only option I saw in that moment was the most painful one I could think of. Something needed to be done.
With time to process, however, a new solution appeared. Therapy. To be honest, I was utterly terrified. My anxiety produced hundreds of irrational fears about everything, including counseling. I had zero idea what to expect. I’m not good speaking to strangers, and the thought of divulging every ugly part of me was frightening. I was afraid I would be judged, afraid I would be thought of as a terrible mother, afraid I would never find the happy me.
I went anyway, though. Slowly, with the help I so desperately needed, I dug my way out of the darkness. I began to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I started medication too, something I considered a necessary evil at the time but now something I embrace as simply necessary.
While I still have dark days, they are just that: days. Not weeks or months in a row. The anger is still there, as is the anxiety. I am better able to manage and control them now.
And, most importantly, I can finally enjoy time with Choo-choo and Diesel without wanting to run away. Sure, that thought pops up every once in a great while. The “oh wouldn’t it be nice to run off to Tahiti and never come back?” But the difference is, I don’t actually mean it now. I will never just take off and disappear. The same can’t be said of the me two years ago.
My marriage to Diesel is on track again, too. It’s still a little bumpy sometimes. It is even occasionally bumpy and hilly and mountain-y, but we are better equipped with finding our way to honesty, respect, understanding, and love.
I have learned that my past doesn’t have to control me and that what I experienced does not mean I am incapable of being a good wife or mom. Though I am still learning how to deal with life’s ups and downs, I am in a much better place than two years ago.
I now understand that I am never truly alone. Not in an emotional and certainly never in a spiritual way. My loved ones are my loved ones again, not people who don’t understand me and don’t want to help me, as my depressive thoughts made me believe.
As after the rain there is a rainbow, after my darkest days of depression, I know true happiness once again. As paraphrased from the “Sex and the City” movie, I’m not happy all day every day, but I am happy every day. I now see that I do have a purpose in life and that I do matter. I wish this and pray for this for not only other survivors of sexual violence, and violence in general, but for everyone.