At 18, I was kidnapped and raped during my first week of college. Up until that point, I had lived a pretty bubbled-life and, true to my emergency-room mom’s belief system, the best thing I could do was to stand back up and move on. The year was 1984 and it wasn’t until 1989 that I began to suffer from seemingly-unrelated, paralyzing panic attacks and then, 2 years later, my first bout of deep depression. It never dawned on me that I was reacting perfectly appropriately to what I had been through. I assumed there was something deeply wrong with me. Post-traumatic stress wasn’t a term I would come to know until years later and I was silently grateful for the one counselor that allowed me to let myself off my own ugly hook by correlating the rape with my mental illness. True to my conservative upbringing, it wasn’t until I gave birth to my first child in 1991 and spiraled into deep depression, that I fought with anti-depressants. I was desperate to do anything – even if it meant to take a pill that, by the doctor’s own admission, he had no clue what the long-term effects on my brain or my body would be. “Are you more concerned about quality or quantity of life?” he asked, as if this were a valid choice for me to make. I took the pill and many followed, but I also digested as much knowledge as I could I swallow. Knowledge about others like me. Throughout nearly two decades, I was half-pawn/half-guinea pig. And I was always seeking for something better – something that would empower me.
By the time I found WRAP, I had nearly given up hope that there would be something truly for someone like me: a plan that gives me voice in my own wellness. A plan that acknowledges that I am not so broken that I can’t still be the expert of myself and be of highest value in my own wellness recovery.
After all, there really isn’t any other way, is there?