Pressure to Be Okay

“The enormity of the abduction experience is not something that’s easy to appreciate,” Kirkpatrick says. “People think of it as a person being pulled into a controlled environment, but what’s harder is that it’s as if their whole world has been taken away from them.”

“Everything that happened on the outside,” he says, “is turned inside out.”

Haviv calls it identity rupture.

That loss of identity and heavy pressure to “be OK” has pushed more than a quarter of those involved in the Take Root support program to report that they have at some point attempted suicide.

Take Root’s research also suggests that formerly abducted children are at high risk for drug addiction, depression and other medical problems.

(Sourceemphasis added)


To be normal.

To move on.

To fit in.

To feel a certain way.

To forget.

To remember.

To understand.

To love.

To hate.

To leave.

To stay.

All that pressure.

It felt like everyone had an idea of how I should be handling it or not handling it. How well-adjusted I should be, or how devastated I should be. How I should feel about my dad or about my mom or about myself. I felt watched and judged. Of course, I was a teenager, and I think all teenagers feel watched and judged — mainly because they are. So because of this, I pretended.

My whole life I pretended to be okay, keeping others away from my heart. I let very few in, and I’m still that way. It’s hard to trust. It’s hard to be real. It’s hard to show that I’m not okay when I’m not.

And sometimes I’m not. You know, because everyone has times of not being okay.

And sometimes I still feel watched and judged. Sometimes I still feel all that pressure. Eighteen years after being found, twenty-six years after being taken. These experiences have deeply affected how I view myself and how I relate to others. I have to fight to trust. I have to fight to be vulnerable. My default is to smile and to say I’m doing just great.

Oh because sometimes the truth takes so long to tell.

But that is exactly why God gave me my story. To tell it. And that is why I write.

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