*Disclaimer: This is in no way a political post or me forcing my views on anyone. Just me venting my thoughts and reactions.
On my way to and from work I always listen to NPR. A habit I’ve picked up from my wonderful parents. Last Thursday one of the reports was on the passing of Doctor-Assisted suicide in California; which in turn reminded me of an article a friend sent to me last month. Knowing what I’ve been through he wanted to hear my thoughts and opinion. Just reading the title jolted me; “Sexual Abuse Victim in Her 20s Allowed Suicide by Doctors in Netherlands.”
As I continued to read, I learned about a girl that was sexually abused between the ages of five to fifteen. How her doctors deemed her “incurable” and the result of the sexual abuse was “unbearable.” To me this article is missing key information such as, where is her family in all this? What treatment was tried? For how long? What does “in her 20s mean?” With a little more research, I’m left with more questions such as how can one be of “sound mind” making the decision to be euthanized, but also diagnosed with PTSD and left with “unbearable” pain? That to me seems to contradict itself.
People’s comments that compared her suffering to a cancer patient left me perplexed, which brings me back to the NPR report. My understanding from the report and a quick read on WSJ, The California End of Life Act is for a terminally ill patient that is given six months to live (along with other requirements and restrictions). I seriously cannot believe I just wrote that, I’m baffled at this. There may not be a cure for cancer and I’m not saying it’s an easy path, but I have friends who were able to have their family members around for important milestones and even YEARS though they were given mere months to live. On the other hand, I know people that passed quicker than the time they were given. It’s hard for me to agree with this act one way or the other, as it’s devastating to think about taking away someone’s life let alone hope.
Focusing on the article that was sent to me, I completely support and echo Dr. Yael Margolin-Rice views. Not only does it take years to work through trauma, it can take years to find a therapist that you feel connected with. And I’m talking from personal experience.
I remember my first year of high school was rough. And not because of school, but I was dealing with too much emotionally. One morning I woke up in a state of fright, drenched in my own sweat and in agonizing pain. I dreamt that I was raped. Again. I was completely taken aback. I had finally started to feel safe in the physical world, but suddenly I wasn’t even safe in my own dreams. The pain I felt emotionally was unbearable. Almost immediately, I started cutting on myself and became suicidal. I had no idea how to deal with the pain inside, let alone know how to tell someone about it. But physical pain was no stranger to me…
At the age four I was sexually molested by one of my baby sitters teenage daughter. At the age five I was raped while in the hands of another babysitter. That was twenty-four/five years ago and I remember vividly everything done to me. It’s been burned into my memory and sadly one I know I’ll absolutely never forget. Since I went from one unsafe living situation with my mother to living with physical and emotional abuse from my aunt, I was never given the chance to deal with the pain. Moving in with my parents was the safest I’d been since living with my Grandma and I believe subconsciously my mind started letting out the pain I had endured.
I’ve talked a little about receiving help here. In all my years of therapy, I’ve truly only felt connected to two women. One named Sandy, when the physical abuse first came out. She was gentle and sweet. Let me do whatever I wanted during our sessions, which usually was drawing or playing with toys while we talked. I needed the distraction while I told her the horrors done to me. The other was Tina who I saw while I was the live-in facility several years later. She was stern and always blunt, but in a caring way. The facility even made an exception for me to continue seeing her after I finished my program and left. My parents knew I trusted Tina and didn’t want to sever that link for any reason. These two women were polar opposites, but what I needed at those times.
My point in all this is I’m beyond thankful for the people that didn’t give up on me. Even though I wanted to end my life because I felt worthless and unloved, my parents tried everything to show me otherwise and get me help that I needed. I’ve been on numerous medications (none that worked) and tried tons of different therapy with different people. Most importantly I was given time to process and heal. It’s not over, I still have days that are harder than others, but I rely on my strength and love to live each day. Because I’ve learned it is absolutely worth it.