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At the age of 9, I was diagnosed with PTSD, and subsequently also anxiety and depression. I had been sexually abused for years, and when finally reaching out and going to therapy, a slew of problems were brought up to my parents; concerns about my mental health. I was taught things a young child should never have to be taught; how to properly manage a triggered PTSD attack, how to get your body to rest when you cannot sleep, how to calm yourself after a flashback. I was told that while it will get better, it will never go away.
At the age of ten, I had my first suicide attempt. I couldn't handle being seen as "damaged goods," and now that my abuser was gone, I couldn't put any value in myself. I was groomed and taught that my only value was sexual, and most people don't want a ten-year-old girl sexually.
At 13, I started cutting myself. The guilt of being able to do nothing to make myself better had started to eat away at me. I couldn't comprehend how to handle everything I was feeling, and self harm gave physical feeling to emotional pain. My friends rallied behind me, trying to be supportive and help, but none of them understood the horrors I had seen, nor the internal battle I had on the daily just to get out of bed. Thirteen saw another suicide attempt. A week in a hospital bed.
At 18, another attempt. I didn't think I would make it to adulthood, and graduation and the crushing reality hit me like a truck.
At 19, the end of an abusive relationship. I sold my body online to pay bills while my ex moved out of our apartment. While I loved him, he took advantage of my mental conditions, gaslighting me and forcing me to believe everything was my fault in the relationship. My first real love left me, and I saw no other way to pay for things than selling myself online on live cams, selling photos, and videos. It's what I was told ten years ago that I was good for.
At 20, I am currently enrolled in school, trying to find something that is my passion, while still struggling with everything. It has gotten better over the years. I haven't cut myself in a year, I am in a healthy relationship with someone who understands and supports me, but I still get odd looks when I tell someone I have PTSD. There are days I cannot get out of bed due to my depression; days I can't breathe thanks to anxiety. These silent killers are truly that: silent. In a matter of moments, I can go from fine to crying, simply due to a smell or an accidental touch.
Having been dealing with this for over half my life has impacted me and my family in ways I could never imagine. Trust is hard. Respect is even harder. I am firm in my beliefs, and I have learned to become a strong woman. But I miss the childhood I never got to have. And I yearn for the innocence that was stolen from me.