By: Abrianna Morales
Originally written for and published by All This Publications, Abrianna Morales, founder of SAYSN, talks about the reality of recovery: In a society where mental illness and trauma tends to be romanticized, we must examine the "ugly" side of recovery from trauma, mental illness, and sexual assault. Though your strength is beautiful, your pain, your healing, and your trauma doesn't have to be.
I am a survivor of sexual assault, and though my strength is beautiful, what happened to me was not.
We live in a society that romanticizes and rationalizes what it doesn’t understand: trauma becomes a plot device, for character development; pain is repackaged as entertainment for others; and we are left with an understanding that trauma is graceful, that mental illness is tender, and that the only right way to heal is to be broken, and to be beautiful, all at once.
And while we are beautiful, our pain does not have to be.
My ruin was not romantic.
The tears streaming down my face are not pretty. The nightmares are not cinematically contrived; they are the reincarnation of my trauma that I cannot escape. The flashbacks are not sweet recollections; they are dark and monstrous memories that I wish to forget.
My sobbing is not graceful, it is unpleasant. My PTSD is not a cute, little “quirk”. My trauma is not tragically beautiful, it is only tragically tragic.
For every day that I am strong, I have twice as many days where getting out of bed is an accomplishment, where I feel as if I cannot go on, and where I feel that the world is insurmountable. We tend to forget that recovery is not an easy path to be on. We have this warped idea that one day, we will wake up and be healed. Unfortunately, that is not the case—and we must remember that recovery is a path with many detours and obstacles that sometimes hold us back. It is an uphill battle, and though we may come out stronger, it does not mean we are without scars.
When you are faced with pain, trauma, and suffering, you do not have to be pretty. You do not have to be attractive. You only have to overcome. One step at a time. Your setbacks are not failures, your relapses are not disappointments: they are only signs of progress—to go back, you must have come forward, to begin with.
When you recover, it is okay to have bad days. Even when you feel sad, even when you feel broken beyond repair: You are okay, you will be okay, and you will overcome, even if you don’t feel beautiful while doing it.
All articles featured on this website are written by and for survivors, sometimes with the aide of mental health or legal professionals--each survivor or professional that is consulted will be identified within the individual article, unless they request otherwise.