Jeanne's Story

Lyon, France

Editor's Note: The following story could be potentially triggering for those who have experienced sexual assault or have suicidal ideations. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741.

"I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Disorder, or PTSD, when I was 18-years-old.

 

On the first day of January, three years before, I woke up in a room I hadn’t seen before. I stood up and walked home in a lot of pain. I couldn't really remember what had happened.

 

The next three years were filled with shame, anxiety, fear, and sadness. I lost interest in everything. I was ashamed because I didn’t understand what was happening to me. But, my body wanted to be heard. I lost a lot of weight and had many seizures.

 

My doctor tested me through ultrasounds, neurological exams, and blood samples. But, nothing was found

 

He directed me to a psychiatrist and, through my appointments, my memory started to come back slowly. I was drugged and suffered sexual violence on that night. Processing the truth was delicate and painful.

 

I often thought and believed that suicide would be a decent way to cope with the pain. But, the toughest part was not having support from the police or judicial system because I couldn’t prove my assault.

 

I was surrounded by my loving family and a few friends, but when struggling with mental illness, you also have to face other people's opinion about it. I was often told to 'Get over it', 'Pull yourself together', 'It’s all in your head', and even 'Depression is fashionable. You want attention'.

 

But, you certainly don’t have to blame yourself. Depression is real. It is just the chemicals in your brain. You don’t have any control over it and it is not a 'choice'. My seek for justice is still going on, but differently. By sharing my story, spreading self-love, not being ashamed of being a victim, and speaking openly about my mental health, it has helped me break the stigma.

 

I’m a survivor. And, this is the strongest part of my personality. I wouldn’t be a survivor without my trauma. I wouldn’t be the powerful woman that I am today without my mental illness. Depression has been my strength  So, please never lose hope- because one day, you will become your own superhero. By telling your story, you will help others. And, this is the best reward in life."

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