One issue that’s very close to my heart is what you do in a situation where you think you’ll hurt yourself or those around you when you reach out for help. It’s a difficult thing to admit to hurt or abuse even if you’re suffering. I am the victim of sexual abuse and a long-time, closeted sufferer of depression. Until you seek help, you feel “wrong” or “broken”. It’s the fear of what will happen when you say what you’re feeling or what has happened.
I learned to shut up about the abuse I was put through. I attempted to tell an older cousin who had also undergone abuse. She understood and called my mom on the spot, explaining what I had told her. My mom believed me, but because the abuse was by another cousin of mine, the rest of my family refused to believe me. My mom wanted to do something about it, but my family “kept things within the family” and so his sexual abuse of a five year old girl went unpunished. I got in trouble for talking about the abuse. So I learned not to talk about it. Similarly, when I first began thinking seriously about suicide and attempting to commit suicide at age ten, I tried to talk to my mom about it. I realized how much it hurt her, how much it hurt my whole family. So, again, I went quiet. I learned to shut up about my feelings, all the bad things I thought, and weather storms of pain on my own. Things were so much different when I got help, real help. I received counseling for the abuse I was still suffering from, years later, and still cope with today, along with therapy for my depression. It hurt, everywhere, in places I didn’t even know existed when I saw my dad trying not to cry and heard my mom’s reaction. This was something I needed though. It was the difference between this pain from what was happening with terror of what will happen next and me killing myself or never being able to have a normal relationship. I made a good decision to seek help. I’ve begun to feel better, be okay with comforting hugs and be able to just cuddle with my boyfriend, share my pain, and tell people when I need help. These were things I couldn’t do before. It’s still different every day. I don’t know when I’ll have a good day or a bad day, or freak out because some guy bumped into me. I know I’m getting better though, things are improving, and that pain and fear are a distant memory. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, because things will get better. It takes time and baby steps and crying and laughing, but it gets better. Counseling services here at Rose-Hulman are located in the lower floor of the Union, right next to the health clinic. If you feel like you need help immediately, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. For information about abuse and support groups, please visit www.thehotline.org.