Monday, June 20, 2016

Finding Your Voice

Holy Hiatus Batman! First let me apologize for my absence, assuming anyone follows this closely enough to notice lol :). Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and things suddenly get put on the back burner. But I think things have calmed down and I should be back to my regular schedule of Monday posts. So with that said, thank you for your patience and let’s move on to today’s post.

So I did a thing. . .

I offered to be a guest on a friend’s podcast and to share my story of self-harm. And THEN my friend agreed. *gulp* So this week I spent about an hour discussing my story of self-harm from the beginning and through the journey out the other side with my friend, Duff the Psych (I’ve mentioned him once or twice before). He was absolutely wonderful and made the experience as comfortable and safe as possible and he really is a good guy. However when the interview was finished I had a moment of “What the hell did I do”.

Luckily the interview was about 12 hours before the release of the episode so I didn’t have too terribly long to stress, fret, and question my decision, because once it was out there, there was no taking it back. Even though this was a story I wanted to share this is an inherent risk in putting yourself out there and exposing the tenderest parts of yourself. But the response was positive, and I even asked a few close friends to listen, and their response was super supportive and positive as well.

We are now a few days away from the initial release of the podcast and I've survived the waves of panic and nothing catastrophic as happened as a result, so ya know, that's good. And in fact there have been some REALLY positive results of me taking this step. One, I managed to NOT sound like an idiot in the interview, always a positive start and something to be proud of. Two, it has helped me integrate that piece of my life into my life story in a more salient way than it has been before. And three, and what I want to focus mostly on, is that I found my voice.

Most of my life I have struggled to find my voice, there have been times particularly when it came to my self harm, in which I literally could not speak about it. I would open my mouth to say something and no sound would come out. The fear of judgment by others for what I had been dealing with and struggling with was SO great that I LITERALLY could not speak about it. It's a very strange feeling when your brain wants to say something and your mouth just refuses.

We all have a story, we all have events (good or bad) that have shaped us and made us into who we are. And we should all be allowed to tell that story and have that story honored and valued by others.  At many points in my life I have felt with in myself, and been made to feel by others that my story didn't matter. Events weren't traumatic enough, or weren't good enough to warrant getting to tell the story. And that if I did I was being dramatic about the negative things or I was bragging too much about the positive things. So at some point I stopped telling my story, and eventually lost my voice all together.

But here is the reality for you and for me. ALL of our stories matter. Our trials and struggles shouldn’t be compared to other people’s to determine if they are worthy of being heard. Each of us is worthy of being heard simply because we are humans. Our stories deserve to be told and honored by those we chose to share them with.

It has taken me more years than I would have liked to find my voice. But I have found it now and I will share my story, not only for my sake but in hopes of helping others as well. I hope that if finding and keeping your voice is a struggle for you, that you continue to grow strength in that. I hope that you have people in your life that will honor and respect your story. You are worth that and so much more!!! You have a right to share your story!!! If you don't have those people in your life I STRONGLY encourage you to find some, whether that is making an effort to meet new people and build new relationships, or finding a therapist to help you through that journey (my therapist has been INVALUABLE on this journey), or maybe that means you just need to ask people in your life. Sometimes we (that includes me) keep people at such a distance that we don't realize we have support at our finger tips if we would just ask.

Taking any one of those steps is challenging, and at times can rise to the level of terrifying. I know I just shared my story with anyone who wants to click on a podcast link.  But I PROMISE you it's worth it, YOU are worth it. I have received nothing but positive support from friend, family and strangers alike. And more importantly I for one of the first times in my life I feel like I am walking around WITHOUT secrets, I don't have to worry about hiding anymore, everyone knows, and even though everyone knows. . .I'm okay, I'm still me, and I'm still worthy of love. And so are you, NO MATTER WHAT.

I have included a link to the podcast below, check it out if like. Please know that it is a very candid interview in which I do talk about when I was actively self-harming. If you chose to listen please make sure to take care of yourself if this is something have or currently struggle with.
Finally, you should just check out Duff's podcast in general, you can find it one his website or on itunes. He alternates between doing an interview style episode like this one and answering questions he receives from people via twitter (@DuffThePsych) and email etc.

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