So why do I call it Why Not Wednesday?
Because a Detourist turns a “Why Me” into a “Why Not?”
And why not? Any detour in life can lead to unexpected discoveries. On that note…take it away, Jade!
My name is Jade Miller and I’m a Detourist.
When I was a teenager, I had certain ideas about how my life would go. I thought I’d grow up, go to college, get married, have a family, and be a typical American housewife with 2.5 kids, a dog, and a cat. Things didn’t exactly go as planned. In fact, they went awry very quickly.
As a teenager, I was vaguely aware of the fact that I couldn’t remember most of my childhood…I just wasn’t aware of why, nor did I suspect that it might not be normal to have blocked out most of one’s memories. I spent most of my teen years being carted from one therapist to the next, struggling with depression, suicide, self-harm, and an eating disorder – but no one could figure out why. Even I, myself, couldn’t articulate the source of my distress. It hovered on the edge of my consciousness, just out of reach.
I left college with no degree (and no husband) after two years. I couldn’t focus on my classes; the urge to self-destruct – and the fear that I was truly going crazy – became too strong. As a young adult on my own in the workforce, my mental and physical health completely collapsed. That year was the year I began to suffer from flashbacks…and the year I finally began remembering my childhood. At first I wanted to deny being a survivor of ritual abuse. It didn’t seem real to me. But as the memories surfaced more quickly and more often, the truth became unavoidable. The truth of what I had survived blew my self-image out of the water. The illusion I’d been under – that I’d been a typical kid in a typical family with a typical upbringing – was irrevocably shattered. It took me several years to even begin accepting the reality of being not just a survivor, but a survivor of one of the worst forms of abuse someone can endure. This came with labels I’d never heard of and didn’t want – PTSD, dissociative identity disorder, attachment disorder, borderline personality disorder.
I spent the next ten years of my life processing all of this new information. I met with several therapists but ended up choosing to work with a local healing ministry instead, since my faith has always been very important to me. Much of my healing came from self-education and trying out methods to see what worked for me and what didn’t. I’d struggled with various mental illnesses for years, but those symptoms finally had a source that could be dealt with. In a way, it was a relief to finally have the missing piece of the puzzle…and to know that I wasn’t just going crazy for no reason. There were reasons, and once the picture was complete, it all made sense.
It’s taken years of hard work, processing memories and putting the pieces of my life back together, but I have overcome unbelievable odds in order to become a whole person again. Sometimes the biggest obstacle to overcome is one’s own disbelief of reality. Denial is a powerful force to reckon with – as well as the grief that comes when one realizes that their life, and even their self, is not what they envisioned. However…once you can embrace your journey for what it really is, rather than what you hoped it would be, there are treasures to be found even in the midst of the pain. By embracing the truth of my past, I’ve been able to fully discover who I am and what I’m made of. I am strong enough to face the truth, and I’ve learned that the truth won’t kill me. I survived the abuse, and I will survive the recovery. I’ve also discovered what I feel is my life purpose – to connect with other abuse survivors and encourage them in their healing process. Sometimes this is through writing, and sometimes it’s in person, but either way, I’ve met some amazing people I would have never had the occasion to know otherwise. I’ve always been a writer. I originally started blogging as a way to express aspects of survivorship that my friends didn’t understand (but wanted to), and the blog grew from there and became a connection point between me and others who have walked similar paths. I’m grateful that I get to reach out to those people and walk with them for awhile. I’m grateful that I now know who I am, and what I want to spend my life doing. I don’t think I would have discovered any of these things otherwise.
That is why I #LoveMyDetour.
Jade Miller is a ritual abuse survivor, blogger, and author who writes about trauma, dissociation, ritual abuse, and attachment. She hopes to raise awareness and help educate the public about the reality of ritual abuse and the need for more specialized training for mental health professionals on topics surrounding trauma and dissociation.
All Detourists (which would would be YOU) have stories to tell. It’s scary to trust that twisted path and follow it, even if you’re not sure where it leads. Following that trail will lead you to the ultimate gift: The gift of realizing how incredible you really are.
That’s why I’m performing my one-woman show, Gutless and Grateful at the Pacific Rim Conference on Diversity and Disability this week – because the story of my life is FULL of twists and turns!
So join the movement and share your story!
I #LoveMyDetour. Now tell me why you love yours.