'What Stops You?'
Updated: Sep 16, 2019
‘What stops you?’ A question I have been asked a lot over the past few months. And do you know what? It takes my breath away. Like a sudden blow to the stomach. I look to the floor, my eyes fill with 23 years worth of tears. I feel the pain rush up through my body. My heart starts to feel heavy and pictures of my past flicker before my eyes. I pause. I truly delve deep within myself to find the answer to that question. And in that split moment, the only answer I have is, ‘I honestly don’t know.’
Suicide. It has been my comfort blanket now for a number of years. Since the age of 7, life was like a domino effect. One trauma, followed by another trauma, followed by several more trauma’s. Life was death, to me. That was my reality. Everyone close to me disappeared for one reason or another. One of those people being my brother, Matty. His suicide hit me more than any other death I had experienced. He was the only other person on this entire planet that had walked the same walk and seen the same things as me. He had his whole life ahead of him at 16 years old. A caring and talented boy who had so many traits to offer this world. His sensitive soul had experienced more than anyone should have had to at his young age. Then one day, that was it. He was gone. He couldn’t take the pain of living anymore. It is only until now, having been rock bottom, that I could understand how he felt that day.
As most trauma survivors will agree, when life feels out of control you convert to finding things you can control by self medicating. Whether that might be controlling your weight and what you eat by bulimia or anorexia, using drugs or buying things because you think that will fill a void. For me, one of the things I wanted to control amongst many was death. I would think to myself, ‘if things get too much and you can’t take this pain anymore, then you can end it all. That is your choice.’ My fear of death kept me here through all those thoughts. I never acted on them but having them was bitter sweet. Then as life got more difficult and I was diagnosed with complex PTSD, the thoughts became more real. That suicide was my only choice because carrying this pain and feeling this helpless and alone was something I couldn’t bear for the rest of my life. I started to think about Matty and how he must have felt those moments before deciding that there was no greater option than ending his life. Nothing else seemed to work so what was the point? I tried so hard for years to be ‘normal’ and not let the past determine my future. I strived to succeed in my work, the one purpose I felt I had to wake up everyday and pushed everything to the back of my mind. But when you run away from your past, it will always catch up with you in the future.
I started to think about scenarios and what I would do to myself. How would my closest friends and Dad feel if anything at all? Feeling like the thousands of thoughts I had daily would just stop forever and I would no longer have any more anxiety was appealing in the darkest of ways. When my fear of death gradually subsided, that’s when I had to think long and hard about, what does stop me?
Something keeps me here. Perhaps it’s a greater force, like the work of the universe because my life is only just beginning and I have an amazingly magical path that awaits me. That I was supposed to endure the things I did because it was preparing me for something beautiful. That those dark times will eventually all be behind me and I can finally enjoy what I imagine peace to feel like. That small glimmer of hope that radiates inside that one day, someday soon, I will wake up abundantly happy and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world to finally know what being happy feels like. The thought of understanding my true purpose on this planet and never doubting the woman I have become through some of the most difficult times. Finding a job that feeds my soul and not just my pocket. Being able to truly help other people who have felt just as alone and lost and helping them find their light, together. Wanting to live my life and experience things that those taken from me so early on weren’t lucky enough to be able to. Feeling the sun on my skin and the warm breeze blowing through my hair on a summers day. Not wanting to see my Dad suffer anymore pain.
There is such a long list of things that stop me and even though more often than not the dark outweighs the light, I keep thinking it is those hopeful thoughts that save my life. One day at a time.
So for anyone who is feeling lost and like things won’t ever get any better or has been to that unforgettable place where they feel there is no return but continues to soldier through life and defy those thoughts. I am asking for you to tell me, what stops you? I want to know about your dark and your light because I care. You may be a total stranger or someone that I know but I haven’t spoken to for a while. You may feel alone and that you have no one but you have me. Together, we can focus on that hope and share our thoughts and hopefully find our eternal happiness.