Not all scars are visible.
In today's age, we are trained to look for the physical signs of abuse: bruises, black eyes, marks, and bumps.
While this is important, we sometimes fail to see the other signs and other ways abuse can manifest.
Mental and emotional abuse are very real things, and we're starting to see the validity and the effects of them.
From a personal standpoint, I'd like to share my experience in the hopes that it can help someone else, whether it be so they don't feel alone or they realize that that's happening to them and they need to change things.
The biggest thing that I've experienced in coping with these kinds of abuse after I've left it horrible anxiety. I'm constantly afraid I'm doing something wrong or disappointing someone. It's as if I'm in a fixed state of paranoia and self-doubt. Whether it be about school, work, or friendships, my brain simply doesn't stop thinking about what could go wrong, or what would happen if (insert worst-case scenario here).
Insomnia is another struggle that I have come to grapple with. My brain just refuses to shut down when I get into bed, and random, nagging thoughts swirl around incessantly. I have to force myself to settle on one thing, otherwise, I'd be up all night. That, and I'm constantly tired of being stressed out, so this is a never-ending vicious cycle at a time.
I'm hesitant around new people because I'm afraid I'll disappoint them or be used. I'm always on my guard, which I have mixed feelings about. It can be a good thing at times, but it also makes it hard to open up to people and be completely honest with them.
You wouldn't know this about me just by looking at me. The scars I have are "invisible", ones that aren't easy to pick up on. While I've gone through a healing process, seen a counselor, and have had the freedom to grow, the scars still remain to this day.
So this a friendly reminder:
Check on your friends, make sure that they're okay. Everyone is struggling with something, but that doesn't mean that we have to struggle by ourselves. We can find people who uplift us, who make us better people and hang around them in an effort to soak in that positive energy. If you've found the right person, you'll know right away.
Trust me, been there, done that. They may be far and in between, but you'll know.
Be accountable, help your friends if they need it, even if all they need to do is rant and they feel bad about it afterward. Making yourself available can make a huge difference in the lives of those around you, and you'll all be better for it.
I strive to do that for my friends, and I can tell you for a fact that it has never once made me upset or left me worse off.
Check on your friends and be a listening ear, sometimes we can't see the burden others carry.