I had a mostly normal childhood, I guess. There was one dark area of my life I kept hidden for a long time. I had great parents, they split up when I was 15 but had a great relationship even afterwards and I never felt like either of them missed out on part of my life. They got me my first car, helped pay for college and I could always count on them for anything. There was one mistake they made however, i’m not sure if its even right to call it a mistake because they did not know any better.
A babysitter they got when I was 9 years made sexual contact with me. I was so confused and he was incredibly manipulative. It only happened one time, my memory is fuzzy but I believe I made it clear to my parents I didn’t like him and to hire someone else next time. That’s all I said. Even then I felt shame about what had happened. I’m not even sure if it was shame back then, but I was told by my abuser not to say anything and something told me what had happened was really really bad.
Needless to say, holding in that secret from just that one day had a very powerful effect on my mental health. After that day anytime my parents went somewhere and hired a babysitter, I always insisted it was a female and they had no idea why I felt so strongly about it. I’m actually a little surprised they didnt see the signs that something had happened, but I guess I can’t expect them to notice.
Growing up through high school I was a loner. I just couldn’t trust anybody I felt like. Kids weren’t mean to me but most of them just left me alone, which was nice I guess. At least they weren’t mean. I got good grades and put on a charade like I was happy, but I was miserable.
When I was 17 I first smoked pot, it was the first relief I had felt in what felt like forever. I had found my remedy to my trauma. Drugs.
I graduated high school and convinced my parents I was not ready for college (I was scared to be on my own) and they finally said that was okay after some convincing. I got a crappy part time job and I started experimenting with various hard drugs. It was the only excitement and relief I could find. Plus it actually had me socialize with people sometimes. Just not the best people to be socializing with.
At 19, I met what would become my best friend. Heroin. It completely washed away all of my bad feelings like a warm comfortable blanket. I thought if I just could stay high forever, things would be okay. What a horribly dangerous belief that was, it turned into the most vicious cycle you could imagine.
By the time I was 21, I was a full blown heroin addict with no job and was stealing from anyone I could get close to. I had turned into a monster. It didn’t matter what got between me and my drugs, I was going to find a way to get them no matter what because otherwise I would not only feel withdrawals, I would feel all of my awful emotions i’d been stuffing down for years.
I OD’ed a week before my 22nd birthday . My parents got me into treatment the next day. Thank god i survived. Since then I have so many horror stories about people walking into their friend or family member laying dead, cold on the floor. Another overdose victim.
When I was at rehab I got to talk to a therapist about my trauma, she wasnt the first person I told but was the first person with some resolutions besides telling me, ‘they are sorry that happened’. I was introduced to the a 12 step program in there and that proved to be a process that helped me face and heal from my trauma more than I could have ever expected.
I have been sober for 16 months now and life is far from perfect. I still have trust issues and PTSD from that one terrible day, but I am reasonably happy. I have faith in myself. I feel like I can grow and move forward from that day that defined me.
Drugs fixed nothing, it just swept things under the rug. I swept those emotions under the rug so much that it almost killed me. If I have any advice to anyone. it’s to find a professional or someone you really trust and tell them about any abuse you have faced. Holding it in and keeping a secret is the complete and total wrong way to go about it. Telling a therapist felt like such a giant weight of my shoulders. She told me that it wasn’t my fault and that there was nothing I could of done to prevent it, and just hearing someone say something simple like that really helped me. I’m not sure why but it just did.
I know you think telling somebody won’t help but I promise you it will.
Don’t keep the secret any longer.