As I regained consciousness all I could think of was gathering the strength to take one more breath, to make just one shout loud enough to distract him, a sound loud enough for my sleeping father to hear, a shout for help.
Four years ago I was the victim of domestic violence in the worst way a person could imagine. I want to share my story over the next few weeks, months, years…not in need of sympathy or pity, but for healing, giving a voice to survivors, and a human aspect to violence. My greatest hope on this journey is to give just one person the courage to recognize the warning signs of an abusive relationship, struggles a person faces when involved or attempting to leave an abusive relationship, actions any one can take to seek help, and most importantly how a victim can be a survivor!
I look forward to sharing this journey, although frightening. It is going to challenge me to be real about what happened, the acknowledgment that I was not the cause of another’s actions, my responsibility in the events that occurred, the effect it had on everyone around me, and re-trace those moments in vivid detail all in order to move forward in regaining/redefining my identity.
As I was seeking answers to the “why me’s” that haunt me daily I came across this quote “Just when a caterpillar thinks its life is over God goes and turns it into a beautiful butterfly. “ At first I just copy and pasted it to a folder I kept with inspirational quotes simply because I like butterflies; not really taking the depth of its message into consideration.
It wasn’t until tonight; after one of my “panic attacks” did I take a closer look into this quote. What do panic attacks and quotes have to do with anything?...You see, when I have a panic attack I begin to shake uncontrollably, my palms sweat, I get chills, I feel as though I can’t breathe, and I begin to feel unbelievably overwhelmed. I feel as though doom is awaiting me, I feel as though my physical symptoms have completely spun out of control and there is nothing in that moment I can do to regain it. I feel helpless. Positive I have a severe neurological disease or tumor that creates all of this I begin to let the fear take over. Doctor after doctor have reassured me that physically I am in tip top shape and these “panic attacks” are anxiety and fear taking hold. However, while in the midst of this torture a doctor’s reassurance offers little sense of relief. Logically 3 years of therapy and many meditations have shown me I am always in control. Yet, for an hour and a half I struggle to stop shaking, regain my breath, and find comfort and safety in my surroundings.
Distractions have always been the best “cure” for my panic attacks. So tonight I search for some inspiration rather than a diagnosis. This brings me to the Caterpillar and Butterfly. As I embarked on my healing I am beginning to see the significance of this message. I am the caterpillar…or at least on my way out of this cocoon of fear and shame in hopes of gaining my wings. So tonight as I fall asleep I plan to design my wings…what colors are they going to be, what vibrant pattern can I bring out, how graceful they will glide through the air as they decorate the blue horizon.