May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Many victims of crime, especially intimate partner violence rarely receive the therapy and justice in court for the crimes committed against them. Without support and those key components of the healing process they are often left trying to pick up the pieces by themselves.
Right after leaving the abusive relationship I tried to continue my life as if the abuse never happened. I was still riddled with guilt, anger, feelings of abandonment from loved ones and easily triggered by memories of the past. I held on to those feelings for a year and through therapy I realized that I was experiencing PTSD. Therapy and receiving justice in the courts for the crimes committed against me was a very important part of my healing-it gave me a piece of mind and closed a chapter in my life.
I have since entered a new relationship and created new friendships in hopes to rebuild myself and focus on my advocacy work. Surviving and publicly speaking out about my experience with relationship abuse has been the hardest thing that I have ever done. I have learned so much about myself in this healing process. You have the right to grieve, to be sad and to be angry--those are all a part of the healing process. You have to give yourself time to heal and you will find that even in healing, your life has forever changed because of the abuse.
Abuse is a traumatic experience and should be treated as such. One thing that I learned from my journey is that healing from any abuse, especially years of abuse, will take as long as your mind your body and your spirit needs. It’s been a four-year journey towards healing and I am no longer afraid to ask for help when I feel triggered.
“As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal somebody else.”