Today I saw one of those ‘inspirational quote’ photos pass through my Facebook feed. I don’t remember exactly what it said, but it was something along the lines of ‘I don’t regret anything in my past, because it made me who I am today’. And I want to say, I disagree.
If I had not been abused as an adolescent, if I had grown up in a safe home, then I would not have the problems that I have today. I would not have flashbacks to my abuse when doing this as simple and necessary as washing dishes or doing the laundry.
If I had not been raped, then I would not have the problems that I have with intimacy. I would not have panic attacks in my half-asleep state when I’m close to my partner. He would not spend his time soothing me and telling me I’m safe, because I would have no reason to feel unsafe.
I am neither proud of nor happy with the person that I have become from a life that did me few favours. I may be a survivor, but I’m wounded. And I regret the things that have happened to me to wound me, because without them I would be much better able to cope with the world around me. I don’t know if mental illness would have affected me or not – there’s more to mental illness than just life experience – but there are specific parts of my mind that would not have been damaged.
I regret that the actions of others have affected my life so badly, and if I could have my time over again, I would have chosen a less painful path. Who I am today is ok, but I could have been so different, in a positive way.