This I Believe

Eli - Newton, Massachusetts
Entered on January 5, 2009

I believe someone can heal their mind through talking with others. Among my friends and family, I am the “Listener”. I have attained this title because of my ability to talk about emotions. My sensitivity is both a weakness and strength. It makes me vulnerable to being “hurt”, but also gives me skills to help others in trouble. My knowledge about dealing with painful emotions is not from reading books, or classroom learning. My own personal experiences have formed my opinions and beliefs. These experiences have shaped my ability to deal with hard emotions, and counsel others dealing with their difficult feelings.

If someone told me they were “depressed” or “anxious”, my advice would be “talk about it”. Taking the avoidant way out, trying to repress feelings, only works for a while. It’s like trying to keep gas in a poorly sealed container. Eventually, the gas will find a way to escape. I learned personally just how strong emotions are, and how they affect our minds and bodies.

When I was young, I had extreme anxiety. I worried about everything. In middle school I began having panic attacks. As a young teenager, I became depressed, and by sixteen, I developed OCD. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) Shortly after, I became clinically depressed, suicidal, and delusional. I was psychotic.

Eventually, I was on over twenty pills a day, five different medications. My medications were a mess and so was my mind. I had seen four different therapists, with little progress.

My last therapist ended up being my savior. I had hit rock bottom; the big breakdown of my sophomore year. I had attempted suicide and was sent to a psychiatric hospital. While in the hospital, I revealed to my therapist, and family that from the age of four to ten years old, my grandfather had sexually abused me. I made a promise to myself to heal from this PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) I left high school for six months, and did intense therapy, seeing my therapist up to three times weekly. I spoke to whomever I could: my acupuncturist, my family, and friends. I began to realize so much about the affects of sexual abuse, especially on a child.

With every person I spoke to and confided in, I felt stronger. I sorted through my mind and diminished the power that my grandfather and my secret had placed upon me. My healing was not a miracle; it was hard work, talking about my emotions.

Today, I feel great. I do not suffer from the symptoms that I once experienced. I carry my experiences with me not as a burden, but instead as a reminder of how far I have come. I have not only been strengthened as a person, but through my ability to feel and talk about it, I can help others for the rest of my life.

When people say therapy, or talking about emotions is stupid or useless, I remember how much it helped me. I tell people “I believe it takes great strength to talk about your feelings, and doing so healed me”.