Breakthrough Journey from Trauma to Personal Triumph

Kaya Ravina

Volunteer

Whenever someone thanks me for listening and helping them explore all the available options, whenever they laugh before we end the conversation after having cried at the start due to feelings of helplessness, I am reminded that even if I may be struggling myself at times, I can still help others in my own unique way.

When I was in second year high school, I suffered from a long bout of depression brought by the sexual abuse which started at five years old and continued until I was in high school. From being a student leader and poised to become the batch valedictorian, I started neglecting my studies. I skipped classes and exerted minimum effort if I was pressed to attend some at all.  

Through the years that followed, I sought relationships which further undermined my (almost) non- existent self- esteem. I unconsciously chose people who took advantage of me. I thought that being compliant would make me lovable, that people would stay. I did everything I thought would make them stay but failed miserably. Each time someone left, which was another confirmation of my worthlessness, I was devastated.

A conversation with my daughter that I would always remember was the time she complained that her nose was not as nice as her cousins’. Growing up, I did not like my nose either. My legs, my hair, my height, were not satisfactory as well. Perhaps I failed to realize my uniqueness because each time someone would point out something likable about me, my mother would immediately counter it in the spirit of modesty. A lady neighbor would say, “You have beautiful legs.” My mother would reply, “But it’s not nicely shaped”. Someone else would pipe in, “Your hair has a nice bounce to it.” She would retort, “I’ve told her (referring to me) to have it cut because it’s already summertime.” Those seemingly innocent remarks from my mother made a deep impression on my young mind. Hence, I was mostly an unhappy child. Since that conversation with my daughter, I have resolved to myself that she would grow up accepting and loving herself fully. She would believe that she could be anything she wanted to be. I do my best to express my love for her and admiration for her unique gifts and talents each day. I celebrate with her whenever she praises herself after having finished her tasks suitably. 

Photo by Sorouch Karimi

A conversation with my daughter that I would always remember was the time she complained that her nose was not as nice as her cousins’. Growing up, I did not like my nose either. My legs, my hair, my height, were not satisfactory as well. Perhaps I failed to realize my uniqueness because each time someone would point out something likable about me, my mother would immediately counter it in the spirit of modesty. A lady neighbor would say, “You have beautiful legs.” My mother would reply, “But it’s not nicely shaped”. Someone else would pipe in, “Your hair has a nice bounce to it.” She would retort, “I’ve told her (referring to me) to have it cut because it’s already summertime.” Those seemingly innocent remarks from my mother made a deep impression on my young mind. Hence, I was mostly an unhappy child. Since that conversation with my daughter, I have resolved to myself that she would grow up accepting and loving herself fully. She would believe that she could be anything she wanted to be. I do my best to express my love for her and admiration for her unique gifts and talents each day. I celebrate with her whenever she praises herself after having finished her tasks suitably. 
 
Things seemed to have finally turned out for the better until ten years later, my old friend depression visited again when a personal catastrophe happened. I wish I could say that I knew better that I had better coping skills. But no, I spent several months inside my room, overwhelmed by the searing pain in my heart. Yet again, the fact that I am responsible for my daughter and the entire household pulled me out of my hiding. I was browsing the Internet for the contact numbers of a helpline in the Philippines. Instead of calling their responder for some advice, I found myself inquiring about their volunteer training program. Perhaps what I needed then was distraction. It was a meaningful distraction.
 
The tools and techniques we learned during the classroom training and practicum are of immense help in delivering the best service to our clients amidst the COVID- 19 pandemic. Additionally, I draw from my own wealth of experience and guide them to think of exceptions and small steps towards their desired future state. Whenever someone thanks me for listening and helping them explore all the available options, whenever they laugh before we end the conversation after having cried at the start due to feelings of helplessness, I am reminded that even if I may be struggling myself at times, I can still help others in my own unique way. It might be surprising to some, but I feel helped every time I am able to help someone in need. I am inspired by our clients’ determination to improve their financial situation, relationship, or work condition despite these trying times. 

I still have a long way to go before I can finally declare I am fully healed but I have already travelled far from where I used to be. The journey from sexual trauma to depression to personal triumph is an uphill climb fraught with detours, roadblocks, and others but I charge forward. You can, too.

Feature Photo by Tirachard Kuntanom

#InTouchStoriesofHope aims to bring you mental and emotional relief during the COVID-19 pandemic through the inspiring stories and perspectives of In Touch community of counselors, volunteers, partners, and clients.

Share:

Categories

Archives

New US Regional Psychiatrist Visits In Touch

Keeping In Touch: (from left) In Touch Head of Psychological Services Unit Dr. Julian Montano, Mental Health Services Lead Myrtle Almando, US Embassy Medical Unit rep Mimi Thein, US EMU Regional Medical Officer Psychiatrist Andrea Ross, In Touch Executive Director Mike Calleja, In Touch Foreign Liaison Program relationship managers Marielle Mikkelsen and Daisy Pope-Brien.

Breakthrough Journey from Trauma to Personal Triumph

Whenever someone thanks me for listening and helping them explore all the available options, whenever they laugh before we end the conversation after having cried at the start due to feelings of helplessness, I am reminded that even if I may be struggling myself at times, I can still help others in my own unique way.

Read More »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE & ANONYMOUS 24/7 CRISIS LINE

For any immediate or in-the-moment emotional support, call our 24/7 CRISIS LINE. Our professionally trained responders are on standby to assist you.

+632 8893 7603
+63 919 056 0709

+63 917 800 1123
+63 922 893 8944