Once upon a time, I wanted to not be here anymore. I was struggling with the longterm effects of childhood emotional and sexual abuse. Thinking about death felt like an escape.
I’d get so lost in all the painful and difficult things happening in my life in the present, along with the things in my past that made present problems all the more painful and difficult.
One night, I curled up in a corner, feeling self-destructive and ashamed—a dangerous and familiar combination. At that point, I knew what I should do and tried contacting my counselor. But it was kind of late, so I couldn’t get a hold of her. I sat there crying helplessly, wondering what I should do next.
Finally, I texted a friend, “I don’t want to live anymore. What should I do? I can’t contact my counselor.”
Almost immediately, he texted back, “But I want you to live.”
He went on to list the reasons why he wanted me to live, how I was gentle, kind, and always nice to him. He said he wished I could see the person he saw when he looked at me, the person he knew me to be.
He stayed with me on the phone for a few minutes, and soon enough, the moment passed: I was okay.
His reply was simple, yet it was so powerful. Up until then, no one had told me outright that they wanted me to live or given personal, heartfelt reasons as to why.
His opening up like that helped me see how I touched his life in a good way and that the kindness and gentleness he saw and experienced had to have come from a good place within me.
That good place, I’ve learned, is my worth. My friend would often say to me, “You are the constant. You’re still you.”
My abusers may have stolen my innocence. But friends, as my friend did that night, have shown me there’s a good that can never be taken from me. Love is my true identity, no matter what. That’s true for all of us, even if we deny it, forget it ourselves, or lose it in everything behind and around us.
I, like everyone, still get overwhelmed sometimes and pulled this way and that. In those chaotic moments, I anchor myself with what I learned from that painful chapter and those precious moments when others revealed to me my own worth.
Editor’s Note: For 24/7 support for you or a loved one, please contact Crisis Text Line