Sometimes there is a little voice in my head that tells me, “It really wasn’t so bad.” I start to wonder if I remember it differently than it was or exaggerate on the details. There are so many individuals that have it much worse than I did, right?
The answer is clear. Of course there are those who have it worse than I did. Men and women that have no support system, have children to care for, lack training or a job, or have been beaten so badly that they are now in a hospital. Some carry permanent scars, are fighting for custody of their children, are being stalked by their ex, or are living in fear of their life. I cannot even imagine the pain and suffering they bear.
No matter our lot in life, there will always be others that suffer more. I recall a conversation I had with a man I ride bikes with, Hector Picard. He is a double amputee and is an inspiration to many in our circles. He competes in triathlons, winning medals for children who suffer from various physical ailments, and encourages the world to never stop living.
This particular conversation took place several months after I suffered a collarbone break that put me on the sidelines due to a non-closure. I faced several surgeries, months of therapy, and was feeling quite down over the whole situation. Hector asked me how I was doing and I shared my tale of sorrow, only to catch myself mid-story as I realized who I was talking to.
His response was just like Hector. Although I can’t recall his exact words, he reminded me that we all suffer differently and have our own struggles. Our struggles cannot be compared to the struggles of others, because no matter how big or small, they are very real to the person living through them.
Abuse is the same way. My experience with domestic violence was my struggle. Others suffer in different ways, but we all experience the pain that our situation brings us and must learn to survive and move forward. I have been blessed to grow from my experience, learn to deal with many of the long-term effects, and be in a situation where I can use my past to help others. Perhaps, had it been worse, I would not be where I am. The abuse was bad enough that I understand and can relate to the effects it has on victims, yet not so bad as to create a barrier which precludes me from being about to help others.
Our situations are our own, not to be compared to those of others and not to be downplayed. What is most important is that we find our way, never give up, and be understanding of others circumstances. Find your way to freedom and then use what you have learned to help others less fortunate.