Updated: May 28, 2020
I recently started dipping my toes into the ”how” of Traumatized Motherfuckers.
As in, “how” I finally managed my anxiety, got out of my head, and got a hold on myself to make changes. (Don’t worry, I have a lot more 'splaining to do)
But the other big question that probably needs to be answered centrally is “WHY?”
Why am I spending my time and money on this startup trauma community? Why did this idea ever come about? Why do I think this matters?
Welp, friends and motherfuckers, I might as well keep working my way through the FAQ’s.
My End of Days
In the winter of 2015 I bought myself a thick journal off amazon. It was nothing fancy, just a gray, 3 subject college-ruled notebook with pocket dividers; a heavy, formidable journal for my thoughts. A blank canvas to start something new.
What was I writing about? Well… The first entry goes as follows.
My name is Jessica Beandoin, I'm almost 25 years old, I live in Urbana Illinois, I'm a laboratory supervisor for the University. I have everything I could want. Great friends, some loving family, and education, a study job with endless freedom, many aspects of good health, above-average looks, excess income... But I'm never happy. I tell myself and others that I am; really I feel, at best, empty. I don't have a sense of fulfillment from life, and I don't know of anything which would change that. When it comes down to it, I just don't want to live the way other people - and all animals - do. I don't expect to. I want to die young, and I've never felt differently. My biggest fear is missing my chance to say everything I need to before it happens. So I think I should get started.
I want to say that I've been incredibly fortunate. I've been able to do more than most will in a lifetime - I've been to hundreds of concerts, I've been across seas to South Africa face-to-face with the most beautiful animals, I seen special events and attractions without financial planning. I've lived well and eaten while. I've known great people. I owe them all, more than they know. I often think about telling them everything they mean to me, but the enormity of the idea is overwhelming. It's only going to get harder with time, which is limited already. So without much of a plan or particular order I would like to say what hasn't been said to everyone who has impacted my mind or shaped my life. Even the smallest moments can linger long after the association has dissipated, and everyone deserves to know what they've left behind. At least, I would like to. If nothing else, I can leave this.
If it isn’t clear, this was a suicide note. A small introduction to the letters that followed. The letters which were addressed to the most important people in my life - telling them all the ways I was blessed to have known them. All the ways they had kept me going for this long. All the reasons they shouldn’t feel bad for the next chapter in my life.
I intended to fill the journal with every friend, family member, and close associate who had supported me through the shitshow of my life up until that point.
Once I had covered all the obvious folks, I planned to branch out into more distant peers - people from work, past friends, and even old bullies who taught me a thing or two about life. The idea was to express my gratitude, leave no stone unturned, and thereby release myself from the guilt and obligation that had prevented me from pulling the trigger the past 10 years.
A history of "are we dead yet?"
To be clear, suicidal thoughts were nothing new for me. I was diagnosed with depression first around age 11. My adolescence was spent finding comfort and romanticizing dark, morbid lyrics ala Matt Skiba.
I navigated high school in the midwest punk/pop punk scene, screaming my lungs out with thousands of other dirty kids about drinking my liver down the drain, dying fast and living alone. I started smoking at 16, hoping to speed up the process.
Recklessness was a way of life. I spent many car rides to my retail job fantasizing about how easy it would be to just miss a turn and nail a tree. How peaceful and calm it would feel, leaving my loud and chaotic life behind.
Dramatic? Yeah. But it was really how my brain worked from ages 10 to… well, now, basically.
Back to my journal. At 25, I got through three tear-filled letters. One to my current-roommate and ex-friend at the time - SP. One to my big brother, who had been my best friend and life mentor through the shittiest of fucked up family times - EB. And one to my best friend on the planet and closest confidant - JT. I had many more outlined in my head.
After the first round, I apparently decided I had another year or two in me, and abandoned the journal in a storage container tucked in the closet. It was a dirty secret that only I knew about.
I thought about it from time to time over the next few years. I’d like to say that I felt embarrassed and burned the thing, but the truth is, I never really gave up on the idea… just postponed it and kept quiet.
For the next 3-4 years, everything changed in my life, but nothing really changed in my head.
A nu start.
Two years down the line, I met someone, left my lucrative lab supervisor job, and moved to Atlanta. I thought a new location and career would reduce my stress, but thanks to my toxic relationship things went the opposite direction. It was hell on earth.
I spent my free time / me time trying to learn to manage my anxiety… only to have someone come home and incite a riot in my brain all over again. When I was left alone to work on myself, I found freedom and clarity. When my partner came into the picture, it was muddied with his continual need for attention, inability to manage his own time/money, and disinterest/disbelief in mental health.
I listened to podcasts, fulfilled my creative side, saw a trauma specialist, and generally tried to get a foothold on my mental illness… but it felt impossible when my trauma provokateur was never more than a room away.
One day last year, after my ex had been rummaging through my personal belongings so he could rub a breakup note from 7 years ago in my face, I took a look at my old journals. That’s when I re-found my gray journal from age 25.
The first ten pages or so were filled with my plans for forfeit… the rest of the journal was completely blank. Untouched. I was on the market for a new journal, after years of neglecting the activity, so I brought the old notebook to my nightstand.
December 16, 2018. After years of ignoring my love for journaling, I started writing again. And shit changed.
Now, I can’t say that journalling led immediately to life change. It didn’t. There is no magic bullet - I’ll keep saying it. I was not suddenly anxiety-less and confident, especially with all hell breaking loose around me every day. Writing was only one part of a thousand piece puzzle for managing my mental health.
However, I can say proudly and cathartically today that my mental health recovery journey is explicitly chronicled in this journal. From suicidal planning at 25, to near desperation existing through an abusive relationship at 28, to fucking grasping the reality of recovery at 29 and dreaming up my new life.
Every stage of the fight is detailed here - sometimes incredibly painfully. The content spans good days and awful days, but all of the pages are critically important. It’s a roadmap of the thought and lifestyle changes that finally put my mental health battles into place and revolutionized my life.
It’s where I learned about managing my anxiety, depression, codependence, and self-hate. It’s where I started to give myself permission to think about living for me, instead of everyone else. It’s where I first conceptualized and began writing for a trauma support community.
This is all a long introduction to say, I started Traumatized Motherfuckers so no one would have to feel the way the person in the first half of my journal did.
I had too many years of feeling so low, lonely, and hopeless that I was always just looking for a way out. I spent so much time in fear and indecision, knowing that I wasn’t good enough for the rest of the world. I gave up on hope after being disappointed so many times. I gave up on trying after experiencing failure.
I sold my soul for a paycheck after living my adolescence in poverty. I forfeited myself to maintaining unhealthy relationships after being rejected by the people who were worth spending days with. I resorted to killing time instead of utilizing it. I gave up on planning a life for myself and waited for death.
I started waiting around for someone or something to give me purpose. I projected victim energy. I attracted a white knight. I fell in love with a monster. I got trapped in a relationship I wasn’t ready for. I let myself give up all control and independence in my new life. I fell into fear and co-dependence. I allowed myself to be part of a mutually abusive and toxic household. I convinced myself I couldn’t leave. I didn’t consider myself worthy or capable of truly being loved.
I didn’t consider myself worthy or capable of achieving more in life. After choosing more for myself at 25, I almost put myself in the grave again throughout ages 27 and 28, because I still didn’t believe the world was better off with me making it to 29.
What’s clear in hindsight is, I didn’t need to take 29 years to stop hating myself and living in fear. I just needed the wisdom and support to learn what was going on in my head, to accept that I deserved more, and to believe that I was capable of more.
These days, my life is still less than ideal. But it’s sure different.
I got out of my shitty ass relationship abruptly; leaving one morning with a bag of clothing and a bag of sentimental items, knowing it was unsafe to ever go back.
My ex took the house, my money, my car title, and my dog; I’ve been living in a spare room with my two bags of stuff for over 3 months. He tried to have me arrested the one time I went to get anything else out of his houseful of my belongings.
Life is still frustrating and uncertain; heartbreaking, when I think of my dog thinking of me. I have less today than I did as a starving college student.
And my mental health has still never been better.
It just goes to show, I never needed a good salary. I never needed stuff. I never needed another human to validate my value. I never needed to be saved or assigned a purpose.
I needed to find the tools to manage my anxiety. I needed to find ways to examine and dispel my shitty core beliefs. I needed to get away from people who leveraged my trauma against me. I needed to give myself permission to live. I needed support where it mattered.
If I had those factors, it wouldn’t have taken me 2.5 years to leave. I probably wouldn’t have been in the relationship at all. I might not have ever bought that gray journal in 2014.
So. Why did I start Traumatized Motherfuckers?
1) Because I can. Because I want to. Because I deserve to work on things that fill me with joy and purpose.
2) Because keeping our shit hidden in secret journals stashed in closets isn’t helping anyone else, or ourselves.
3) Because I want to enable the support that so many people need to get out of scary situations and start living for themselves.
If I had someone on my side, let alone an entire community of like-minded motherfuckers, I don’t know if I would have been writing suicide notes for so long. I wouldn’t have been waiting for someone “superior” to come give me purpose.
I could have started (actually) living my life earlier. I have no idea what I could have accomplished or where I would be already.
And that’s what I want for everyone.
Relate? Sorry... but we're here for ya!
You can read more on my experience with overcoming domestic abuse here:
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