September 9, 2015 was a milestone date for me. It was exactly 11 years from the day that I was assaulted.
When it happened, it nearly destroyed me. For years I was an absolute wreck. My existing predisposition towards depression became a constant cloud of darkness that suffocated me day and night. I didn’t trust the world after that; I developed crippling social anxiety that prevented me from doing the simplest tasks.
Each year, when the anniversary date of the trauma approached I became more and more paralyzed with fear. The flashbacks and nightmares that I suffered from worsened as the date came nearer. I ended up using September 9th to do whatever I felt like doing. If I wanted to go somewhere, eat something or buy something that day, I did it. I told myself that I was celebrating the fact that I was still here, but in reality I was just using any coping mechanism I could to make it through that day.
Eventually after plenty of therapy, healing, living and love from my family and friends, I began to notice that September 9th became less painful each year. Astoundingly, this year it came and went and I barely noticed it. If someone had told me back then, right after the incident happened, that I’d feel this way about it today, I don’t think I would have believed it. Even now it’s hard to understand. Still, I can’t help but feel that in a way I’m a different person now than I was then. I’ve seen and done things that I’d never have imagined possible. I’ve had relationships. I’ve advocated for myself. I’ve owned my truth. I’ve thrived.
I’ve had some difficulties lately and reflecting on how far I’ve come has been energizing. If I can come back from that, what can’t I do? In retrospect, I recognize the strength that it took for me to recover and frankly I’m in awe of it.
The tweet at the top of this blog made me think about all of my old selves. I wondered… if there was a mausoleum containing every layer that I’ve shed to get to the me that I am today, what would that look like? My crypt would be filled with sarcophagi like the insecure mean girl, the broken agoraphobic, and the girl who was afraid to admit what she really wanted. I’m so curious to see who will emerge when I shed this layer that I’m wearing now. If history has shown me anything, she’ll be much stronger and happier than I’ve ever been.