“I feel like if I don’t use my voice, I’d be missing out in life.”
This is something that I never thought I’d say. Growing up, I never used my voice. My “voice” was everyone speaking for me. First, it was my brother speaking for me to our parents, then it was my mom speaking for me to teachers. I was a very shy child and didn’t speak much to other children either. I was usually called stuck up or snobby, because I would just observe and not speak. As time went on and I went off to college, my voice started to speak through my body. For five years I struggled with an eating disorder. When I was diagnosed with my eating disorder at 20, I was also diagnosed with anxiety and social anxiety. Every time I would get more anxious, instead of using my voice, I would just use my body to express the uncomfortableness I felt.
Through treatment I began to find my voice. It started coming out privately in individual sessions with my therapist. Then, a little bit with professors and other students in the class. Soon I was student teaching, and standing in front 20 kids each day. Eventually I would be able to speak up for what I wanted out of my treatment. This rings most true when I voluntarily put myself back into treatment after relapsing almost a year ago. I knew I needed the help and wanted it. After this last round of treatment, I feel like I have finally found my voice. As I grow in recovery, I am not only gaining self-confidence, but confidence in using my voice to advocate for myself.
Journaling has helped me to find my voice. While journaling the other night, I wrote this:
“I used to be so scared to use my voice. I thought that what I had to say didn’t matter and no one cared what I had to say. But now, I feel like if I don’t use my voice, I’d be missing out in life. Every time I use my voice I gain a little more confidence in myself. I get the sense of I can do this. This is possible. My voice is there for a reason. It’s there to stick up for me, to advocate for me, and to express wants, needs and feelings. It’s really something special that we all have. Although it is still growing, it is there and not going anywhere. I know that overtime it will grow stronger and stronger. Maybe one day I won’t be afraid to use it at all.”
To all those struggling to find your voice, I want to let you know it’s there and waiting to come out. I have found that the more you use it, the easier it is to find. I found mine, can you find yours?