The first trauma I had was at age four – when my mom died very suddenly. One day we thought she ‘just’ had the flu, the next she was gone. Me and my family never went through any therapy for it, because “we would be able to deal with it together”. Although this thought came from a good place, it wasn’t helpful for me. In the years after I was bullied a lot in- and outside of school, and gradually my mental health was getting worse and worse. Because I didn’t want to burden my father and other loved ones, I never shared much (or anything really) of what was going on at school. I hid my bruises or attested them to my own clumsiness, if I cried I told them I was ‘just missing my mom’ again. Which wasn’t false, because I did, because I got very convinced that if she hadn’t died none of this would’ve happened. Even though I was clearly surrounded by people who loved me, I felt very lonely. Very few people know about this, but before the end of primary school, I was already constantly thinking about and figuring out ways to end my life. My self-worth had hit rock-bottom and this somehow became a magnet to even more torment and bullying. Honestly, I don’t quite remember how, but eventually I managed to pull myself out of it.
My teenage years were riddled in unprocessed traumas, insecurities, and pain. I had so many amazing friends and was never bullied again, but still I cried nearly every day and nobody quite understood why. To be frank, I didn’t even really understand why. I saw a few counsellors, but it didn’t really help so I gave up on therapy altogether. My current partner and I started dating at 13 and he really pushed me to open up about my feelings. He was – and still is to this day – the only person that I told everything. Every detail I could remember. He always supported me and encouraged me to seek out professional help, regardless of my failed attempts with the counsellors. When we went off to university, we moved in with each other. I’m not super sure why, but this was the first time I felt that I had the freedom to seek professional help without feeling like I would hurt or burden my father. That is when I was diagnosed with PTSD.
The road that followed was tough. It still is. And you know what, I’ll probably never ‘get over’ everything that happened, but that’s okay. My past is what shaped me and made me into the person I am today. It brought me the amazing friends I have, and my even more amazing partner. What I hope for others to take away from my story is to please never give up on yourself. You are so só worth the effort. You deserve all greatness there is to find. And it may not always seem like it, but there will always be sunshine after the rain, no matter how long or heavy the rain can sometimes be. You are not alone!
-by Simone Da Ponte