Three days ago, I made a very important decision. One that I’d been seriously contemplating for weeks now. I made the very significant decision to end my counselling. I no longer felt that I needed it. My counsellor agreed. We both knew that I was ready. The smile on my face right now reminds me that I am more than ready to move onto the next chapter of my life.
It’s been a really really hard 11 months. I don’t know how I survived. I don’t know how I kept in my pain for over two decades. I don’t know how I managed to stay so strong for so long. I don’t know how I put myself last for so long but still managed to wake up smiling and determined to do something meaningful with my life.
My sad crying days aren’t over. They’ll never be truly over. I might still cry when my abuse is triggered. I might still cry when people talk about the close relationship they have with their siblings. I might feel pain when people reflect on the bliss that was their childhood and all the positive memories that they remember.
I may still have my dark periods, dark times, crisis points as I grow older and reach different stages of my life.
But you know what? I am choosing to think about now.
I have a loving husband who knows everything about me but doesn’t pity me. He looks at me like he is the most lucky guy in the world because he’s married to such a strong and loving person.
I have our three children. Our girls who run to me when they see me crying in the kitchen. Who hold me when some days are just too hard.
And I have my friends. My friends who saw beauty in me way before I saw it in myself.
And my in-laws who have never let me doubt that I’m a part of their family.
Three days ago, I walked away from counselling with a big smile on my face. I walked away knowing that I was ready. Equipped with all the right strategies. Much more confident in who I am. Managing my anxiety so much better now. In a better position to handle new situations, new experiences, new people – without falling apart any more.
One of the last things my counsellor said to me was: “You’re going to go very far. You’re very inspiring!”
This same woman looked me in the eyes in January this year and said: “You’re going to be OK. You are an extraordinary person. Look at everything you have achieved, despite the secret you kept inside for so long. You should be very proud of yourself.”
I will never be truly healed from being sexually abused as a child. I will never NOT feel sad a day here or there. I will never be able to live as if it never happened.
BUT I have worked through a massive amount of my trauma in a short 11 months. I have made gains that has shocked my counsellor every step of the way. I have learned to live with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) and with the anxiety attacks that come with it.
And most importantly, I am finally living life as me.
I am finally doing what’s right by me, making the right choices for me, putting myself first like I deserved to 20 years ago.
And it feels so good.
Feeling good again
I know that I promised to blog more often but I haven’t been. The good news is, though, the reason hasn’t been due to crying. It hasn’t been due to sadness.
It’s been due to how hard I’ve been studying. It’s been due to me finding my strength again.
Now that I’m no longer sitting at my computer crying, my motivation is now well and truly back. I’m ready for my life to move forward.
Never give up
In my study area is a positive message to remind me that I have such a bright future ahead. That my future career as a Youth Worker will touch many people’s lives.
This positive message came from a teacher – she’d marked one of my assignments last year:
“Whenever I feel like giving up… I need to remember these words: “You have demonstrated an excellent understanding of issues involved in working effectively with young people Thuy and insightful reasoning as to why various responses are appropriate in a youth work context. I believe that you will be an asset to any youth work team that you find work with in the future. Keep up the great work.”
In just one year, I have a disclosed a 20 year old secret. I have made the brave step to start counselling and I really put my heart and soul into it – confronting all the painful memories that I kept hidden for so long. I have been disowned. I have been threatened with legal action, once by my abuser. I have had my trauma and pain swept aside like it didn’t matter.
But I have shared my pain publicly to help others. I have made big, positive decisions that have the potential to change the course of the rest of my life.
I have inspired so many people around me to never give up hope. To never allow anyone or anything to change how you feel about yourself. To do the things that you’re scared of. To love, to laugh, to live as themselves.
This blog post was an impromptu one – I planned to study but I decided to write instead. I’m really glad that I did 🙂
I’m no longer the terrified 11 year old who wanted to call the Kids Helpline. I’m no longer the 11 year old being forced into silence.
I’m the 28 year old who’s experienced so much pain, but has decided, “You can’t always choose your circumstances, but you can choose the rest of your life.”
Please always remember – YOU get to choose the rest of your life too <3
Thuy Le (formerly known as Thuy Yau) is a freelance writer and Youth Work graduate living in Perth, Australia. She loves to share her own personal experiences about overcoming adversity, as she believes that human beings are more capable than they realise. She writes to make a positive difference in the world and to inspire others to learn from themselves and their own experiences. Her writing has been discussed on radio, won writing contests, appeared on The Huffington Post UK and major Australian sites such as news.com.au, SMH, Kidspot and Essential Kids. She is currently writing her first book.