I was 12 when my parents relocated from the western slopes of the Rockies in Colorado to the lower South Puget Sound in Washington State. That was just before the start of my 7th grade year. Without going into too many details, I was immediately targeted by bullies and suffered years of physical and sexual violence, drug and alcohol dependence, self-harm, and multiple suicide attempts. Unlike many children in the world, my Mom recognized the signs and immediately had me in for treatment, but it’s only been very recently that I realized that, even with my Mom being the amazing woman she is, I still felt alienated from everyone and everything.
Due to the nature of my trauma history, I never learned how to set boundaries with others, or to know what “self-care” was. Even while all of this was going on, I maintained schooling to high degrees, even participating in a program in Washington where juniors in High School can go instead to a community college to earn their Associates of Arts, as well as their HS Diploma. Soon after graduation, I always worked, and later even got my Bachelor’s Degree on nights and weekends. All while self-medicating with copious amounts of substances.
Throughout all this time, I also was dealing with a chronic physical illness. I was constantly in pain, on way too high levels of pain medication, and was heading for Big Trouble. I had multiple surgeries during this time, and none ever helped.
In 2009, I quit drinking, and that is really when the change got rolling. I could no longer function in my psyche without alcohol, and slowly but surely my entire life started falling apart around me.
In 2010, I started remembering things that I could no longer ignore, but I didn’t know how to deal with any of it. I had become so dissociative as a way to cope with my trauma. By this time, it was no longer a coping mechanism at all, but something by which I was slowly strangling. On a whim, I broke up with my longtime boyfriend in June and packed my car to move across country to Virginia on July 1st. I figured, then, that a new start would propel me forward and past all the ick.
Naturally it did not.
I arrived at my aunt’s house in Northern Virginia, at the top of a community on the banks of the river itself about a week later. I very quickly landed an incredible position at a small consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Here I carved out a controlled and hard existence, wrought with more surgeries, copious pain medication, and just enough therapy to keep me limping along. I was failing at life because I could not be present as a whole person across the board.
Four days before my 27th birthday, I attempted suicide in a dissociative state, and ended up calling my Mom. She kept me on the line and had her sister come and take me to the hospital, where I was admitted to the first of many hospitals stays I would endure. There I learned I had complex PTSD and a general dissociative disorder as a result. This marked the beginning of a very long journey, one that many people never really thought I would ever make it out of.
In 2014, I discovered this show called Supernatural, when my niece was over watching it at my parents’ house. The episode she was watching was Hollywood Babylon, where Dean shows us just how versatile of a badass he really is. I thought it was the stupidest show I’d ever seen. Then, a few months later a friend got me hooked from the beginning, when Supernatural had just finished Season 9 in live time, and I ended up binging this for moooooonths. While watching this show, I was able to subconsciously work through some of the last full-stop issues I had been struggling with, and in early 2015, I was well enough to return to a career I once loved, working as a civil litigation paralegal. This job was rough, and the people I had to work with were even rougher, but I forced my way through it and learned just how strong I really was. I fought back during this year at the firm I worked in, learning to set boundaries and understand what an absolute BADASS I really am.
At the beginning of 2016, Jensen and Misha and Random Acts launched the You Are Not Alone Campaign, and I learned about IMAlive, and immediately turned in an application to Random Acts. You see, I’d always felt akin to Crisis Intervention but was never in the time or place to be able to participate to any degree of health. Then, in February, my Mom told me about the 2016 Supernatural Convention in Seattle. I basically immediately got tickets to take myself and my niece. And it was then my life completely changed. It was at this Convention I became connected to the world again, to the people around me. The Convention was really the beginning of my new life, a life where I was the priority. Where *I* mattered—where my happiness and health was more important than anyone else’s. This happened because the cast of this incredible show recognized they had something in their hands, and they did something so truly incredible with it. They have literally created the space for an intense and incredible community to thrive. And, as if that wasn’t enough for them, they then made it possible for an arena to exist that would facilitate Supernatural Fans both GIVING back to and RECEIVING help from fellow SPN-Family members.
After the Convention, my life went back to “normal,” but I had completely changed, and I was no longer satisfied AT ALL. Within a few short months, I quit the job that had me way too stressed and unhappy. As soon as I did, a world of opportunity opened up for me—opportunity that was completely different than anything else I had ever done—and shortly thereafter, I was accepted into the IMAlive Application through Random Acts, and I had opened a sole proprietorship so I could leverage my talents and skills as an executive assistant and administrative project consultant working from home, where I can keep my stress levels down, yet do and/or experience everything I possibly want and need.
The battles we fight make us who we are, but we are not the battles we fight. We are not made up of labels. We are human and we are deserving of love. We are deserving of healing. And we ARE worth it!