The Unspoken Trauma

I was struck by a devastating reality the other day as I prepared my taxes for this past year: I owe the government money!

Often when we think of the aftermath of sexual assault, we think of the physical and psychological devastation witnesses and victims face. Perhaps what is less known, or less talked about, is the trauma of financial ruin.

2014 will go down as one of the worst years of my life. A chapter, I certainly do not wish to relive. Following my assault the previous August, January 2014 was filled with a greater darkness than I have ever known. I hit the depths of my depression that month. Just getting out of bed seemed an insurmountable task. The measure of my success became taking a shower because it meant I didn’t stay in bed the whole day. As my soul churned, I struggled to reestablish some footing in a world I thought I knew. I lived in the body of a person who no longer existed. The nothingness was consuming. Every day, I hoped only to make it to the end of that day because anything beyond that seemed impossible. I didn’t think I would survive it. I entertained suicidal thoughts and begged to die. I pleaded each night, that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning. I lost the ability to function and sleep evaded me. I watched the business that took me a year to build, slip away from me, as I was incapable of locating an ounce of motivation. As this business was my livelihood, my savings rapidly seeped from my bank account. Left with nothing, I was forced to turn to my family for money to pay rent and monthly bills.

Slowly but surely, I managed to pick up some babysitting jobs. For nearly six months, ten hours a week was all I had to offer. Every so often, my energy would increase and I would be able to accomplish a little bit more than before. The little money that came in was vital to my survival. Preparing my taxes made me all too aware of my incapacity for life the previous year and the debt of gratitude I owe to those who kept me afloat. My taxable income didn’t even reach $10,000! Finding out, in the wake of financial destruction, that I would need to resurrect more money I didn’t have, was yet another devastating blow.

I would love to say that I’m out of the woods now, but as with all aspects of the healing journey, it’s a process. Everyday, I make headway. As my sense of safety and security return, I can literally feel myself emerging from survival mode and beginning to dream again. There can be nothing better, no greater sign of healing, than the return of our ability to dream of a future we desire. And I know, that as I dream, my life will continue to awaken to all that God has awaiting me. It is this reality that gives me the faith that my finances, just like my heart, mind, body and soul, will heal. I will regain my footing. I will begin again, successfully.

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