At the weekend, while I was on a short break visiting the Greenbelt festival. I took some much time out to embrace respite. During these periods, I used it as a time to reflect and refocus on what I have been through. One question that came to my mind is ‘do I see myself as a victim?’
Firstly, I looked up the meaning of victim. One meaning I found was ‘a person who has come to feel helpless and passive in the face of misfortune or ill-treatment. I then took a while to focus on the question at hand.
I have never been a person that has liked labels. With someone who has been brought up with a severely disabled sister, I have heard so many. Spastic and Handicapped to name but a couple. Now I appreciate various medical forms have to have certain slots filled in but for me, my sister is my sister and nothing else. She has Autism but that is a part of her, it is who she is. Shelley has Cerebral Palsy but as with Autism, that is her, it is who she is. None of these complexes can be changed so I have never had to focus on the label that comes with them.
The question I came to next was, do I carry the label of victim around with me? I have been bullied, I have been sexually abused, I have been beaten up on numerous occasions, I have battled depression, social anxiety and OCD (obsessive thoughts, mainly at night).
On first appearance, it would appear so. I have just typed a list of scenarios that are often seen as labels. They can or could make me a victim. There is no doubt that a lot I have had to face has become a trigger for my illness. It would be easy to just say, Yes! I am a victim but the deeper I looked, the more I realised that actually I am not!
On the second glance, the questions raised was ‘does writing the articles and poetry make me a victim?’ There is no doubt that as I write the book I am having to relive what I have gone through. I have to be honest to both you and myself, It has hurt, it has been agonising at times but as I work past this and I then realise that actually, I have moved on. I have worked through the torment of what has been thrown at me.
For anyone new to reading my blog, there are several reasons as to why I write the articles and why I am writing the book. Firstly, I started writing quite a while back but kept the writings private. It was a way of getting my thoughts down and helping work through the issue at hand. After a period of time, I looked back over these writings. Some of the work was quite distressing but some quite enlightening.
I had this sense of calling which is why I now publish the writings and this year, blogged as I have gone along with a battle. One thing that I learnt about depression is that it is a lonely journey and this is quite similar with most illnesses but I knew that it could help not just myself but others. For anyone wanting to understand what it is like to battle depression then the articles, will hopefully help. Then there are other people in my shoes, I had hoped that the articles would help them realise that there is help and that they are not alone!
Since I have started to publish the blog articles, I have thankfully received a lot of support and wonderful feedback not only from friends and family but complete strangers. This is not about arrogance or bragging but self reassurance in knowing that people have come forward and told me how the articles have helped. This alone helps me to move on and grow in my recovery.
It has taken a lot of courage to face the battles head on and share my life, particularly the negative part, with the world. I am a realist and know that I face trolling albeit, that really does not bother me. There is a chance that I can go back down with my illness although I truly hope not. The roads can be long.
The fact is, a lot of what I have faced and battled has actually moulded me. I am not wanting anyone to go through what I have gone through. I have really faced hell at times but for each battle that I have faced and won, I have grown as a person and for the better. Okay, my sense of humour might be dodgy, especially as I use it to hide any anxiety but the final answer that I came too, was NO! No I am not a victim. I have fought and I have won. I have screamed but I have come out laughing. I have faced death but now I embrace life as much as I can.
As I continue my recovery, I can knowing that despite everything, I am not a victim.
Thank you again to everyone for their support and words of encouragement.