Stop the Violence, pt. 3: Outlook

Meredith Harris

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For the next couple of months, I was jumpy, angry and emotionally hurt.

The pain slowly ebbed away, and I was left with memories. The memories come back at inopportune times.

Whenever I see something on TV where someone is choked or asphyxiated, my hand automatically moves to my throat as a protective instinct.

I worry about everything now. I am a walking bundle of nerves, and there’s no reason for me to try to hide it because everyone who meets me notices it.

I worry about normal things, like, “Did I forget to turn my stove off?” And I worry about weird things too – “Did that one little comment offend that person so much that they are forever pissed at me?”

Learning self-respect is very important for survivors. It is something they grow up without and are taught they don’t deserve.

It is a slow process that I still have trouble with.

When my friend Brandi, another survivor, and I have “girls’ nights,” we offer each other support and share our feelings. We cry every time, either from pain or sheer joy.

One thing that Brandi taught me at one of our “girls’ nights” is her mantra. Every survivor’s mantra is different and holds different meanings.

Pick things you think about yourself that you know are not true – example: “I’m ugly” – and say the opposite to yourself until you believe it. Say it every day before bed and every morning when you wake up.

Say it until you believe it.

An example of a mantra is, “I am pretty. I am nice. I am worthwhile. I deserve love and happiness.”

Trusting is very difficult for a survivor and learning to trust can be hard. Take time and get to know people before you trust them completely, but also give them a chance to earn your trust.

Find a support system. Gather your friends who you trust around you.

If you don’t have friends, make some. Share your story with your friends and let them support you.

True friends love you and want to support you.

If you do not have close friends on campus and you need someone to talk to, you can go to the counseling center, or I would be happy to help you. My email address is miharris@eagles.usi.edu.

It can and will get better. Things can only go up from here!

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