**Potential Trigger Warning: I debated posting this and held the post for several days going back and forth about whether I wanted to share this piece of my story. This morning I concluded that nothing will ever change if no one knows any of our stories. So I’m posting it. What’s done is done and there’s no going back, but there are lessons to be learned. I invite and encourage others to share their stories as well. This post is being filed under “Mental Health,” because I don’t know where else it really fit and because our life experiences certainly impact our mental health, for better or for worse.**
It was midway through seventh grade and the last day of school before winter break. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was an honor student, but my grades were slipping. My emotions were all over the place. I hated myself. I hated my life. I hated school. I hated home. I hated everyone around me.
I was called into the guidance office once again. At this point, it seemed like I was being called or sent in at least once a week, sometimes more.
Every time I’d insist nothing was wrong.
I didn’t know why I couldn’t concentrate. I didn’t know why I was nearly failing some classes. I didn’t know why I would sometimes break into tears for seemingly no reason. I didn’t know anything.
Why wouldn’t she leave me alone? Why wouldn’t anyone just leave me alone?
I couldn’t take it anymore.
That’s when I finally told.
I’ve regretted it pretty much every day of my life since.
It was a whirlwind of sorts. Sitting there, in tears, scared and worried. The final bell rang. I wasn’t allowed to leave.
Outside the guidance office, the halls filled with the loud shuffling and happy chatter of a school’s worth of children excited to start their winter vacations and holiday festivities. Inside it I sat, scared and crying. I was already wishing I had stuck with insisting that nothing was wrong. I just wanted to be going home with everyone else. At least at home, I knew what to expect.
But it was already too late. The wheels were set in motion the moment I stopped insisting that nothing was wrong — the moment I told someone about the things he’d done to me and how I wanted to die because of it.
No one cared that I adamantly professed I would never actually act on those feelings.
The next thing I remember is being at the hospital. A social worker explaining that because of the holiday and time constraints she was unable to find alternative placement. She claimed it was the only place she could find a bed for me. I was ushered into a room and asked to disrobe.
Nope. No. Not happening. I tearfully refused.
Male nurses were brought in to hold me down while I was medicated, stripped and searched. I punched, I kicked, I screamed, I cried. Nonetheless, I woke up strapped to a bed sometime later.
Because that’s how a 13-year-old girl should be treated immediately after disclosing that she’d been repeatedly molested.
And so continued the series of life lessons that taught me everything I know about the world I live in — trust only yourself.
And sometimes, not even her.