Recently I have been so emotionally uplifted, and continuously reminded of how blessed I am to be here (quite literally) after watching certain things on the tv and reading some wonderful posts that I have felt inspired to share a little bit about myself, what shakes my soul and makes me HAPPY!
'When in South Africa' driving along the coast on the way back from Cape Town, wind in my hair, head out the sun roof struggling to catch my breath! = HAPPY Lauren!
We all have our stories, and the most amazing thing is that we are still here and able to tell them, perhaps for our own personal growth or to help/guide others that have been, or are in similiar situations. Today I am feeling like I want to share with that hope in mind, for the first time ever.
❤ My story ❤
Growing up was a bit of a rollercoaster, and one that was prone to breaking down. I experienced years of sexual abuse, self-harm, and depression. Despite all this, somehow, I do recall my childhood not always being soley focused on the 'dark side'. I do have good memories that weigh out the bad, but sometimes the scales do tip, and everything isn't so 'perfectly' balanced.
Even now, I find it difficult to express my sadness infront of others, and have to wait for a time when I can be alone to do so. I guess on some level, I feel embarrassed and it would mean knocking down that sky high wall I have crafted so well (it's a pity you can't see it, top marks for stability - ironically!)
I consider myself to be a private person, which for the majority of the time isn't such a bad thing, however I do know that I am infact 'only human', and should just let my emotions flow free. It is something I am working on with myself, though I obviously don't plan on being a snotty mess very often haha!
School was particulary difficult in the beginning. I was an easy target for bullies because of my quiet nature and absolute refusal to conform to be like the 'cool kids'.
Things got heavy and I was sinking further and further which made the cutting all the more easy. It was my coping mechanism for when I felt anger or sadness, it was a release and a reminder that I could infact have an ounce of control over what I felt.
Things got better as I got older and I was able to remove myself from the abusive environment. I hadn't told anyone what had been going on until I stopped it. I remember being in class one day and my head was so far away from my shoulders I could almost see the stars, a place I found myself quite often.
I chose that that was the day I would tell my parents the agonizing secret I had been keeping. I (in my tactful ways) approached a teacher once the class was finished (a trusted teacher I had confided in about the self-harm) and simply asked if an abuser could be prosecuted for sexual abuse if it had been a couple of years since it happened. Naturally for him, alarm bells started ringing and home was contacted (making the most difficult step done for me).
Of course they wanted to contact the police, however I pleaded until I was blue in the face that they didn't. I was too afraid. However, they say that hindsight is a beautiful thing, but in this case it's a real bitch!
I enrolled to college studying Psychology, Sociology and Health and Social Care, and it was all going so well, I was content with life. Until one day I snapped. I would see my abuser walking the streets, hear his name in conversations from people asking how he was (unknown to them of what a monster he was) etc, it was becoming difficult. He was my grandfather and no matter where I turned, in some form, he was there.
So, I moved to another college in another town, thus meaning less time was spent in my home town, apart from weekends... so I got a job! It was ok to begin with, but then my mental state was going through those sickening loops on that spiraling rollercoaster and I couldn't keep up. The anxiety kicked in and that black hole had swallowed me up. I dropped out of college and was in a funk. A funk that lasted a few years until I reached out and got help. I had counselling which helped me look at life differently and alter my thought patterns (commonly known as Cognitive Behavoural Therapy).
At this point I wasn't sure of what I wanted to do with my life and so figured I would get myself a full time job whilst I decide. I started work and held the job for 2 years, until the depression crept in again, and so I left and went back to part time work at the local chemist. A fresh start, or so I thought!
I thought, stupidly, that I would be ok there, in terms of not facing 'him'. I had previously worked at the local co-op/supermarket and he was a no show, so figured I was safe again. However he made two appearances and I could not cope any longer. I had decided that day was the day I wanted everything to STOP and CHANGE! I later went on to contact the police and FINALLY had the courage to report everything. I wasn't going to let him rule my life.
'He' was arrested and taken in for questioning and was then given a bail date. At last I was feeling as though I was floating high up with the clouds, on top of the mountain and was FREE!
(Myself taking in the beauty of South Africa's coastal roads)
Until June 14th 2016 happened. The date of his bail. He took himself to the train station to catch the train to the next town where the force was located. He climbed down onto the tracks in time for the through train to speed by and hit him. That was it. Finished. Again, he stole what was mine, and so many others - all hopes of justice had well and truly gone.
Since then my life has got a whole lot better, and I have grown so much. I was able to put my new coping skills I was taught in therapy into practice, and go forward which led to meeting some wonderful people and seeing amazing places. I admit, to this day I still hold a great deal of anger about what happened and how it 'ended', however I refuse to live my life full of resentment. I choose to be HAPPY and am living the life I WANT because it is ME that CAN make that happen.
As some of you may know, I just LOVE flying out to South Africa on my own and visiting my friends. I find it to be revitalising and on some level, for which I can't explain, it feels like home. The place shakes my soul and makes me HAPPY! As you can probably tell...
2016 - A stop off somewhere on the way home lol!
2016 - The day we went up Table Mountain (yes I am wearing flip flops! I had just got a tattoo on my ankle...as you do! And so my trainers were a no go! Ha!
2016 - Lions Head and Robben Island in the background!
2016 - One of THE MOST exhilarating things I have ever done! A shark cage dive! Wow! I'd do it all over again! Despite the sea sickness haha! ;)
2017 - One of the best days of my life!
2018 - The most HAPPIEST and HEALTHIEST I have EVER been!
Don't ever feel that you are alone, there's ALWAYS someone who wants to listen and help. Write about it, sing, draw, all of this can help express, and get rid of those demons that are stealing your happiness. You DO matter, BELIEVE that and you can achieve anything! Be kind to yourself ❤ #mentalhealthawareness