To whom it may concern:

I am afraid.
All the time.
My heart beats frantically in my chest…pounding…thrashing against my inside organs like it’s trying to escape. The air is thick and it’s hard to breathe. Each breath is like breathing in a cloud of jet fuel. Burning. Suffocating.
I want to sleep. I’m so tired. But reliving my past every night is torture. So I dose myself up with caffeine to get through the day…devoid of any real kind of ability to function. The dishes go undone. The laundry piles up.
And my heart continues to pound.
You’re afraid of the touch of others. That it will place you back into that moment when you are weak and vulnerable. Back into that moment where you were violated and abused. You want to have the comfort of those around you, but you find yourself pushing them away no matter how bad you truly need them.
And your heart just keeps pounding.
And pounding.
And pounding.
And pounding.
You just want it to stop…but you’ve drank so much caffeine to stay awake that it now is contributing to the pain that has now consumed your chest.
You’re in a never ending cycle of trying not to think about what has sent you into a panic, but at the same time consumed by it.
It just keeps pounding.
There’s no escape.
No relief.
No medications help. No amount of coping skills or therapies can stop your heart from pounding when you’re in the throws of panic. It just keeps pounding.
And pounding.
And pounding.
This is my truth. This is my life. This is what it is like living with severe anxiety and PTSD. And as bad as it is now…I know it will pass.
Eventually the pain will ease and I will be able to breathe again only to wait for the next attack. And it will happen. Little slices of death to let you know that you aren’t quite living, but you aren’t quite dead.

And this truth is what I leave you with. I have no proof of my abuse past scar tissue, years of therapy, and countless medications. There are no witnesses other than my abusers and those who choose to protect them. I waited over twenty years to tell my truth, and so many of those I trusted with it have so easily discounted others…leaving me wondering if they ever believed my truth at all.

I am neither a Republican or a Democrat, but I am a survivor. I will continue to live my truth and continue surviving however I can in a world of #MeTooand #HimToo. I will continue to watch the world crumble before me as people argue at what point a woman has the right to speak her truth. I will continue to watch the countless debates on who is less safe in this world…men or women. I will continue to hope for a shred of compassion to the countless women and men who may have been violated by family members, strangers, or by people of power. We will never be the same as people, or as a nation.

But above all else…as my heart continues its pounding…I am thankful for every beat no matter how painful. Why? Because I am HERE. I was given the gift of being able to live my truth. To not become a statistic of suicide or drug abuse. That I am strong enough to live through the daily episodes that plague me without wanting to end it all.


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