This Is What Survival Looks Like

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a funny thing. Sometimes it hits you before you really know it. In every area of my life, I’ve fallen apart. But I didn’t understand why until just now.

See, in two days, June 28th, it will be the 3 year anniversary of the day my ex-partner left without warning and never looked back… 9 days before I became a mother.

Two days after that, June 30th will be the first anniversary of the first time anyone other than my father and my rapists have taken their hands and fists to my face.

July 6th will be the day I learned my dream of becoming a mother would be the most humiliating, horrible, and hardest day of my life. It was the day that would spend every single day afterward saving me. It is the day I gave birth to Lanna Mae. I still cannot believe one year has passed (…much less three!).

My partner leaving and my child’s birth forced the return to my hometown. September 18th makes two years since I found my father’s handprints on my daughter. On that day, I ran to my Sister.

August 27 is the day that changed my whole life. It was the day I was violently sexually assaulted. I went to work for two or three days… before I felt much.

You think you have control over your heart and your mind and your soul, but the truth is, you don’t. You think you can handle it because you understand it, but understanding isn’t enough.

I went on to go to therapy for six years following my assault in 2007.

After the birth of my child in 2013, I accidentally typed “PTSD” in the Facebook search bar while trying to Google how giving birth might impact the symptoms of complex PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I accidentally stumbled into a Facebook group that embraced me. More than anything, they responded to me in such a way that I learned—I saw—my voice mattered. I wasn’t crazy. I was actually pretty smart!

August 27, 2013, I started my first day of college… online. Mentally, I grew more in a year than I had grown in my life.

Truth be told, I knew I was smart. I excelled at my job, but sexual assault opened Pandora’s Box. It’s hard to work with traumatized youth and addiction when you’re fighting for survival.

It cost me my job. My job was my life. Thank god Facebook ended up giving me feet. Because it opened the door to so much. More so, it opened my eyes.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get the life I dream of. I don’t know if I’ll make it to age 45. I don’t know if Psychology is what I want to do with my life… or if it is what I do with my life every day and I’m majoring in the wrong thing for the way the Powers that be need me to use it.

I don’t know if I should even be in college or if I’m there because I’m trying to find answers for myself and my own life. I’m too smart.

The kind of smart where you think you have it all together, you can beat the odds, you can do it yourself and not fall apart.

Then one night, you have a flat tire, no family, an anxiety disorder (symptom, they mean), and you run out of smokes, and that’s all it takes to almost rattle you enough to take your own life.

That’s PTSD and it’s not a disease. It’s life broken and scars left by broken people.

I do not walk with my feet. I walk with my fingers.


If you or someone you love is feeling hopeless or suicidal, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. For help outside of the U.S., please visit Suicide.org.