I am a survivor of abuse, and only recently have I begun to actively uncover how the abuse shaped my life. Like many survivors, I sought activities that provided a sense of relief, and a mental separation from my reality. The trauma victim is drawn to control, because control was irrevocably seized from them. Throughout my life I have sought to maintain a personal status quo. I have lived in the same twenty square mile area for my entire life, and have rarely ventured out. I have ignored the 3000 miles on continuous country I live in, and the 27,000 miles of circuitous globe that it rests on.
This could not persist. That is no way to live a life.
There are things that I have wanted to do, but have always given myself reasons not to. One of these is to drive the length of the West Coast, from Seattle to San Diego. There is a romanticism to the road. I’ve always loved Kerouac, and wanted to take my own journey. This 2000 mile drive, would be my first real step at moving past the barriers I have built up around myself.
Mental health issues are tremendously stigmatized, and this stigma often prevents survivors from disclosing what happened. I hadn't told anyone out of my immediate family for years, and I only recently began seeking counseling. A large part of that had to do with feelings of shame, and a fear that I would be looked at in a different light, that society would view me as inherently broken. I have to believe that I am not alone. I do not claim to speak for every victim of trauma and abuse. To do so would be presumptuous. My hope however, is that in telling my story, and sharing my journey to move past my past, I can encourage another survivor to tell their own tale, and perhaps, begin to heal.
Completed as a masters thesis.