This I Believe

Eileen - Auburn, Indiana
Entered on September 6, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: integrity
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I believe in the power of sharing your story…I believe learning that you are not alone in your pain and experience sets you free from a lifetime of shame. I believe when we learn that our experiences our part of the human experience we learn that within us all we have the power to heal and are in fact okay.

On my 10th birthday my house caught fire. In the year following my parents decided to divorce, my mother began to drink-heavily, my brother’s mental illness escalated to psychotic and violent. I grew silent. I spent my adolescent years terrified that others would find out the truth of what was going on inside my home. I was ashamed. I survived by keeping people away. I missed out on friendships, conversations, normal adolescent experiences and simple normal social development.

I believe I could have thrived had I learned to speak the truth…and I have. I am currently a middle school counselor. I speak the truth about mental illness, poverty, alcoholism, abuse, bullying….Each day brave students take the risk I was unwilling to take and come into my office and share their stories and with that begin the process of freeing themselves from shame

I watch bullies and victims sit on couches together crying as they share their own stories of pain and hurt and I watch those same children learn how similar we all are underneath it all.

The truth will set you free…and it has. This I believe.