As I kept getting the news, I found myself starting to feel really empty and genuinely numb to the outside world. I was crying nearly every day and just felt a hopelessness that wouldn’t go away. It was a strange feeling that I had never experienced before. During work, the only thing I could think about was getting back in my bed. About a month after dealing with this, I was diagnosed with “major depressive disorder,” and it was really hard because all my friends wanted to go out and would practically make fun of me when I didn’t want to. I felt embarrassed to tell them I was going through it, and, even worse, having to take medication for it.
I would get stuck in conversations where people said that depression was just an excuse people make and wasn’t even a real thing. It’s funny, because I always questioned people suffering from the same thing. It was really hard, and makes you feel even more isolated. It’s strange because you begin to distance yourself from everyone, and relationships get really difficult and unbalanced. I sometimes have off days, but it was the true friendships and family support that helped me overcome it. After going through it myself, it made me look at mental illness in a whole new way that really needs to be addressed.
When I was 14, I was the victim of a vicious sexual assault by my brother-in-law. For years after that I was depressed. I kept it a secret, and was afraid to tell anyone for fear of being ostracized and treated differently. I felt alone, and since I had no one to talk to about it, I suffered in silence. When I was 15, I made a conscious decision to take my own life. I knew that my dad kept a revolver in his nightstand. It was a Saturday in the spring, and my parents went to the local fair for the afternoon. I took my dad’s revolver to our back patio and readied myself. As I was taking the gun out of its sheath, I heard a car pull into my parents’ driveway. This spooked me, so I hid the gun, and found out it was my aunt coming to drop something off.
After she left I put the gun back, went into the house, and cried. I saw it as a sign from God that I was not meant to die that day. I was still extremely bothered by what had happened to me as a child. A few years later, with the help of a friend, I was able to tell my parents about the assault. What helped me the most through my feelings and stages of utter despair was talking to other survivors who had been the victims of similar attacks. There are many people who have been assaulted as children, I came to find out.
I initially talked to a friend’s sister who had been sexually abused as a child, as well. Over the years I have talked to many other people, and it was so uplifting to know that I was not alone. For me, the cure was talking to others. No matter how bad it may seem, or how alone you may feel, others are there to help. By the grace of God and good people, I was able to get through that trying time in my life.