Exhaustion thats what I felt. I was constantly exhausted. The stress of being worried about meeting strangers. The stress of applying to college. The stress of being able to find safe spaces. I was just constantly exhausted. But I didn’t understand healing. I didnt understand what that meant. Those close to me kept saying time will heal you. I know they mean well but this caused me to rush healing. Healing seemed like an illusion a place I’d never reach. I thought healing meant conquering my fears. I thought it meant not being scared. I never thought it meant acceptance and honestly it didn’t occur to me to take time for myself and so I rushed back into my daily life. I devoted myself to constantly being busy. I would leave the house at 6:30 am and be busy with activities and school until 10 pm. I was exhausted but I didn’t understand why. I grew frustrated with myself and began to compare myself to social media versions of other people. I didnt understand why I was always sick and felt terrible. That anxiety and trauma affected the body. I blamed myself for being weak. I thought if other people can have perfect lives than so can I. But all I felt was emptiness and pain. My ADHD got worse. I lost my period began having horrible cramps. I would barely eat somedays. But I was busy and thats all that mattered to me. If I didn’t have time to think about my pain then it wasn’t real. I became numb. I lost the spark in my eyes but because I was obsessed with being perfect no one noticed or at least no one said anything to me. I kept dating my now ex. I keep playing soccer and even co-founded a small nonprofit. But I was exhausted. I was scared and the worst part it is. I thought I was doing great for the most part. I convinced myself that my feelings did not matter. Only others opinions, feelings mattered to me at the time.

I lost so much sleep trying to force myself to heal without acknowledging that I’d even been HURT. At 16-17, I did not understand that I’d been hurt. I did not know what was happening and so I thought even more things were wrong with me and I just kept blaming myself. I entered into a vicious cycle. Especially if I had a good day and still felt sad, I thought I was such a bad person for feeling down even when people were being so nice to me or I did well in school or got an internship I felt guilty for not being grateful. I felt like I just needed to be more positive and so I began to fake positive because fake it till you make it right. I kept feeding myself the lies that my assaulters planted in my brain that I wasn’t worthy, my feelings did not matter and nothing wrong really happened to me “I just needed to find the positive”. So I exhausted myself and it was hard. Some days I’m still exhausted because of these years my body began to fight itself. But I’m learning that my feelings are valid. I’m allowed to scream but I’m also allowed to be silent. I don’t have to smile all the time. I can just be me. The whirlwind of a million emotions at once. I am on a journey but rather than a traveling journey it’s learning to just be.

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