My family life growing up was, in short, traumatizing. There were nine kids, an alcoholic father and uber-controlling, bible-thumping mother. Chaos reigned daily and fear of being beaten or chastised weaved through the fibers of my daily existence. At nine years old, I dreamt about my funeral continually, not knowing if I would physically survive, and if anyone would ever know I was missing.
Fast forward to my adult life: each day is a battlefield of sorts that I navigate to find joy in. Anxiety and self-control dictate my plans as to what I can tolerate when it comes to meetings, going out, and public appearances. And no one knows. The suffering is packed right beside the pretend excitement, all while I mentally target a time frame until I can get back to my safe haven and recuperate. My income is dictated by interaction, which depletes me, and still no one knows. Until recently, I just prayed like a zealot to endure each day, making bargains with God to help me through.
Then, I found a podcast for survivors, or CoDA. I’m seeing myself in these conversations, and crying my way through each one. That little lost girl, who was hurt and abused by people entrusted to protect her, people who hurt her repeatedly—that’s me, and I am going to help her heal. Without my higher power, I’d be dead, for sure. Today is all I have, and I’m going to love myself and heal, and repeat daily.
Lauren – April 16, 2020