There will be many links in this post. Feel free to follow them for more info. I am trying not to rehash in detail things I’ve talked about before. But this is my story into and hopefully out of or at least to a managed depression.

My name is Michelle and because of my rape and how I was further traumatized at the hospital. I was sent spiraling into addiction, faithlessness and depression. These experiences drove me to a very dark place. A place where I hated my lovers touch on my face, I hated myself, I punished myself by cutting and I hated myself enough to try and die not once but twice.

Though 15 years separated the attempts each was for the same reason. Fear and isolation. Fear of what people will say, think about me. Fear of losing my job, my home and my wife. Fear of the stigma associated with mental illness. Fear people would be afraid of me and think I’m a monster.

The fear causes isolation. It makes you feel alone.

I was fourteen when I was raped, beaten and nearly killed. As I sought answers they weren’t found. The longer I struggled the more distant people became. The more I heard things like “Shake it off already”, “Isn’t it about time you got over this” and my favorite “Pray about it”.

Everywhere I turned people just thought telling me platitudes would fix me. Quoting the bible would fix my broken faith. At the time I needed to hear god didn’t do this I was told “it’s all part of his plan”. I lost my faith entirely soon after my son was born. Yup after being raped, beaten and left for dead I was pregnant. Surprise it can get worse!

I choose to have the baby, against doctors orders and against all the advice I’d received. Now with my faith destroyed I faced more problems. I was now a teenage mom and we all know it had to be because I was a whore, a slut, a tramp. How do I know it must be that? Because they called me that. Other parents wouldn’t let their kids play with “that kind of girl”

I slipped further and further into darkness and despair. By this point depression was more than simple and my PTSD was left fully untreated and incorrectly treated. It was getting worse by the day. Certainly I should have been a hero for carrying that baby but alas even at church I was “that girl”, you know the dirty whore who had a child. At least it felt that way with all the stares, whispers and rude comments.

Sure I was deaf since birth but I could read lips just fine. Even from across the room. I heard them, I heard the things they said. It hurt, it hurt worse that the rocks I would use to try and die the first time, the knife I used to try and die the second time and yes even my rape. The one place (my moms church) that I should have been safe, I should have been the brave hero who choose life. No not even there.

The nails were deeply in the coffin now. At just fifteen years old I tried to kill myself. I already couldn’t stand the sight of my disfigured face. I couldn’t stand to see myself, my self esteem was shattered and the names were unbearable. It took many months to recover and even to just walk again.

Then began cutting because I couldn’t feel anymore. I was numb to everything. Soon it became my new addiction. I withdrew from most people, I became the slut and for a while this was enough. As with any addiction I didn’t stop I needed more, deeper, longer, more pain, more blood.

I cut until I was 18, I stopped then because I’d found control of men. Stripping gave me power over men. I certainly used that power in every way I could. I remained mostly cut free during these years. I had something I was missing. Power over those who made me the monster.

Following my years stripping my depression was already firmly rooted long before. My PTSD was getting worse, doctors, medicine, nothing was working. So I returned to cutting until one day it almost took my life. My wife Sarah couldn’t take the pain any more and I almost lost her to my addiction.

I’ve struggled to stop. I’ve had my ups, my downs and a roller coaster in between. Justice is cruel. I endured five trials, and every year or two these guys try and get out on “good behavior” and I am forced to relive the worst day of my life. I would then relive it while I was alone again. The day I died and the monster that remains was born.

I volunteered at the crisis center hoping that helping others would help me. I’ve worked hard to understand my mind even when it refused my commands. This work has brought me hope.  I’ve since decided to go back to school to become a psychiatrist.

I’ve struggled, I’ve tried and I never managed to really make progress. No I slipped and slipped more. Things have been bad and for a long time got worse. After my last attempt to die, they’ve tried several medicines. Tons of techniques and coping mechanisms and we finally have a plan. It’s been baby steps and there have been set backs even recently. But we’re moving in the right direction.

I’ve worked on repairing my faith which was previously shattered. I’ve come a long way there too. Recently my face has been healed. I no longer need the prosthetic. That doesn’t mean because my face is now mine that I’m fine now. Far from it though I am better just not always.

This is my story of pain and agony and of triumph and victory. My victories may seem small to you but to me each is a gold medal. I’ve taken time to remember the important things. I’ve been focused on getting better.

I’ve focused my time on my son who never quit on me and who surfed to remember his mothers smile. My time with Sarah, my faith, my surfing and the joys my creator has given me.

I haven’t yet retired the monster in the mirror but I’m working on it. One day at a time, one victory and one set back. I’ll do it with my friends and family. I don’t intend to hide it from here either. Victories we’ll celebrate together and defeats I will draw from your encouragement as well.

That is my story in a nut shell to present. Please add yours to here.

~Michelle

I maybe absent a while, this post and this much transparency is difficult on me still. Forgive me if I am catching up on posts next week.