Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Ironically, I have examined my life on many occasions and determined that my life was not worth living after careful examination. There were times I looked at my past and examined the struggles I faced on a daily basis. Doing so left me without hope and a desire to bring an end to it all. Growing up I felt that I lost important aspects of my childhood which I believed was stolen by the men who sexually abused me. I grew up feeling like there was a secret to hide, my abusers instilled fear in me, and they made me believe that I was in the wrong when in reality they (my abusers) were. I wanted to protect my abusers I was afraid of being judged by those who did not know the history of the situation.
As a teenager I was molested by a member of the church, when the news broke the congregation turned against me. They blamed me for the fact that someone decided to take advantage of me. The perpetrator used his position in the church to exercise his authority over me. As people accused me of being in the wrong I felt ashamed, I felt judged, and wanted to escape. My life became a prison. My friendships became strained, and my family life filled with questions about how I could have allowed myself to get into a position where someone decided to take advantage of me sexually. On top of the pressures that the abuse brought with it, I tried to live each day as if nothing happened. School became a chore, and the typical high school experience was filled with its share of teen bullying with my life threatened by those who did not know my past. I was not like other kids, I did not find fun in the same things everyone else did, if only they knew why.
Getting older did not change my outlook on life, in fact it became harder. The older I got was the more I questioned why there was nothing normal about my past. I felt alone. While I did have friends I never felt I could be totally honest with them. I had the scar of people judging me before, and I felt that my friends would do the same. I was alone in my battle. Each day I had to fight the demons of my past.
The feeling of loneliness traveled with me throughout college, and just over a year ago the demons of my past came rushing back, and I fell into severe depression. Almost every night I cried, I cried because I felt helpless, I cried because I felt no one cared. At least 3 times before I had contemplated suicide as a teenager but never found the courage to carry out the act. However in 2012 I came extremely close. My world felt like it was falling apart as I could no longer contain the psychological trauma of my past life experiences. Everyone saw me and thought I had it all. People figured I was happy, but I was not. I hid the true me, what they saw was merely an act.
No longer could I tolerate that I was living a lie all my life. I could no longer tolerate being the victim and feeling ashamed for something that was not my fault. I gave power to my perpetrators which I should not have. In my moment of despair I sought ways to end my life. In desperation I went online and searched for ways to commit suicide. Looking back it seemed absurd, but when you feel alone and hurt, everything seems reasonable. My desperate desire for an escape took away what was left of rationale thought. Cutting my wrist would hurt too much, so I thought about overdosing. How long would it take for the pills to take over my body and put me into a deep sleep? As I contemplated ways to end my life the thought of death became more embracing. It meant an end to the past that haunted me, an end to the constant gossip of people behind my back. Sure I went to college and became academically successful, I had a great job, but nothing mattered anymore, I wanted to escape.
In seeking an escape, as I searched online I came across several websites dedicated to helping those like me, who felt like giving up. As a last ditched effort I grabbed my phone and dialed 1-800-273-8255, it was the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I was overcome with emotions and tears flowed, the moment a counselor answered everything came rushing out, I could not control my emotions, I told her everything that haunted me. I told her how helpless I felt, and how I felt trapped in a world that seemed foreign to me. The counselor on the other end of the line just listened and provided assurances that everything would be okay. She allowed me to talk, to get my emotions out. I stayed connected on the help-line for over an hour, and after just talking I suddenly felt relieved. I felt like I had someone to listen who was in no position to judge me. Before I hung up, I promised that I would seek the assistance of a counselor in order to continue the process that I had started by calling the suicide prevention lifeline.
In about two weeks I had set up an appointment to do an intake session with a professional counseling service. By so doing I took the first steps to begin the healing process. The truth is, despite my past and all that I had ever been through, I never started to heal. The pain remained just as strong as it did years ago when the molestation first began. I never had an opportunity to have closure; I never truly forgave myself or those that wronged me. At my lowest point what I wanted was not a relief from life, I wanted someone to listen, but I felt that I had no one. Life was passing me by and I kept my emotions and my hurt to myself. Doing so only made the pain worst. When you are down and feel all alone don’t forget that there are people around you that truly care. If you feel you have no one just reach out for someone and I promise there will be someone there to hold your hand, it may be a stranger or that friend that you least expected to be there. It is never the best alternative to take your own life, examine your options as best as possible.
My counseling sessions lasted several months, and there are issues I am still dealing with today. I found that having a counselor assisted in bringing rationale thought back into the equation. My counselor listened intently and encouraged me to look at my situation through a different perspective. Ultimately I came to the realization that who I needed to forgive was me. I blamed myself for years, and kept the pain inward. But inside me was the little boy who had been wronged so often in life. Dimitri, the little Dimitri, was scared. He felt he had no one, and in my adult body the child in me still cried for help. No one listened, not even me, but thankfully one day someone did. It took drastic measures but fortunately for me it was not too late. I promise you that it is not too late. No matter what you are going through I promise you that things will get better. Pick up the phone; call a friend or a family member. Don’t ever give up, exhaust all your options, and if you do and still feel alone, reach out to a stranger. We are all in this race of life together, and it is up to us to help each other. There are resources there to help you, I promise.
I began writing my blog as a part of the process to assist me in healing. Each day I talk about the things that once haunted me and I put it out there for the world to absorb. My life is no longer a secret, it’s an open book. I took back my life and realized that living was up to me. Know that I am here; if you feel that all is lost I am willing to listen. Sure I may be a stranger, but our state as human beings makes us family. I will listen because listening was what saved my life, and I hope it will save yours too.
Life will throw us curve balls and at times brings us to our knees, however you should live knowing that we are built to overcome everything that comes our way. We were built to overcome and as long as we have life there is always a fight in us. Don’t stop fighting because your life is worth more to this world than you know. You complete the canvas of this world in the art of life. Things will never be the same without you. Think about your family, think about that friend that would cry uncontrollable if they lose you. Don’t make your tears the burden for someone else to bear. Shoulders are there for you to cry on, and in life there is always hope. Tomorrow will be a better day, and you are too valuable to give up. I pray that you find strength to make it through the things that bother you today. Take it from me, life is worth living. My life today is better because through my worst I was able to find people who cared more for me than I ever thought. I promise someone cares for you too, don’t give up.
© Dimitri Lyon and dimitrilyon.wordpress.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dimitri Lyon and dimitrilyon.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.