Because from nine years old on I’ve been living with a panic disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, complex PTSD, been the victim of mental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of more than one man, and handled all of it on my own. Because once I worked through all of the emotional trauma, once I discovered that taking one pill a day is all I needed to manage my panic attacks, I thrived; I’m still thriving. Despite it all. Despite all of the times people tried to bring me down, tried to lock me in, took everything they could from me, I broke free.
And I’ve been walking. I’ve walked through ice-cold streams, forded knee-high waters, ascended and descended dozens and dozens of mountains, on my own, with nobody to count on but me. When others were sitting in their warm homes, playing their lives out on a TV screen, I was filtering water from mountain streams, I was finding my own way.
I keep walking. I keep pressing on, even now. Even when things start to fall apart again, when things have become so messy lately. I push forward, because I’ve learned that the only way out is through. Even though there’s mud and water, you can’t go backwards when forward is the way out. I’ve learned that through the mud and rain, snow and winds, you will find the other side.
When you run out of water with over a dozen miles to the next source, when you’re thirsty and sore, tired, crying, climbing mountains you didn’t think you could climb, bruised and battered, when you just want to rest for a minute, you can’t and you won’t and there is more in you there is more strength in those legs than you ever realized. Save yourself. You learn to save yourself. When there’s no other option and nobody to turn to, no hand to hold and no shoulder to cry on, you save yourself.
I don’t need saving. I saved me a long time ago. I persevered through it all, dug myself out of ditch upon ditch, and in the end I’m stronger for it. And you can get stronger too. I have faith that if you will only take a risk, the biggest risk you ever took, and step outside on your own, you’ll save yourself. You’ll see what strength resides inside of you. What strength lays dormant in those stiff joints you’ve allowed to atrophy. And through all of the pain and suffering you’ll come out the other side realizing we don’t need saving.