When asked to write for this blog, I immediately wanted to help and empower others to become survivors of abuse and to do so positively. However, to pretend that I remain positive all the time would not be a true reflection of who I am or what it means to be a survivor. Today for the first time in a while, I am struggling more than ever. I woke up feeling more energetic than usual and decided to go for a run. I got home feeling proud for pushing myself to start my day in the best way possible. I then turned on the news and heard the atrocities going on in the world right now. More terror attacks, innocent people dying, including the young who had so much promise ahead of them. Following this, I went out into a public space; something I used to find difficult and as my mood had deteriorated, I noticed negativity around me, be it people complaining about minor things or the odd person making a negative comment about someone else.
The thing is, when you begin to feel low, you tend to notice all the awful things going on around you and it can feel like you are sinking into quick sand with nothing to hold on to. The world can be an extremely scary place and media coverage can change the way you feel instantly. I then started to think about the saying “No news is good news!” I have both heard and used this phrase often throughout my life, when I have had interviews for jobs and I am eagerly awaiting the outcome, or when I have been supporting friends battling cancer and desperately waiting for the results of their latest MRI scan for example. However, it also applies to the media.
When there are good things going on in the world, it isn’t really viewed as ‘news’. Everyone likes to hear the rare heart-warming story reported, like in the case of the brave homeless man who came to the aid of the Manchester terror attack victims. It reminds us that there is still some good in the world. However, it doesn’t report on the small gestures of kindness that surround each and every one of us on a daily basis. This may be someone holding a door open, smiling at a stranger in the street or helping to carry a neighbour’s shopping. Why doesn’t the media report this? It’s simply because it is not big news as these small acts of kindness are everywhere around us and happen all the time.
As a survivor of long-term sexual abuse and rape myself, I often get weighed down by the bad stuff and it is easy for me to see the world in nothing but darkness. I have to take from this that just like the innocent hurt on the news, I wasn’t to blame for what happened to me. Sometimes unfortunately terrible things happen to good people and there is no reason or there are no words to explain it.
To pull myself back out of the ‘quick sand’ today, I had to take a long hard look at the environment around me and really block out the few negative things going on to notice the positive, because the truth is that the majority of people are good, honest people who can be trusted.
If you take anything from this today, know that it is OK to have bad days. Life can feel challenging at the best of times and what you are going through on top of that can test you to the limit. Know that you can get through the tough times and keep on fighting. You’ve survived this far through everything and tomorrow is another day.