The Door in the Labyrinth: Forgive Yourself

Those who have experienced foster care have experienced traumatic events which may affect us short-term, long-term or permanently. Sometimes we believe that somehow we ourselves are responsible for such events.

Sometimes we just do not know what to think, and the process of grief overcomes us, resulting in anxiety, depression and the development of new habits which may cause more harm than good. It just seems as if our world is flipped upside down.

I, for one, have felt this way.

It seemed as though everything was falling down on me. Two years before entering the foster care system, I experienced my grandmother passing away. The next year my other grandmother passed away. The year after that, my mother passed away, which resulted in me entering the system. I was twelve years old.

I felt torn …

The closest individuals in my life, the ones who took care of me, just disappeared, no longer on the face of the earth. I missed the affection my parents would give me. My skin would grow cold, shivering in fear, not knowing how to move or what direction to move in.

I felt as if my mind was in a labyrinth, walking through many doors attempting to find the exit back to reality.

During this time, I felt I was the cause of their passing. I remember telling myself I could have saved them from dying and that if I had not gone to school, I would have been able to always watch them so they could avoid being sick. I was broken.

Months turned into years, resulting in more traumatic experiences, including a total of nine additional family members passing away. It felt as if every death cracked my heart a bit more, causing more depression and anxiety about whether my personal goals would ever be reached.

My mind kept going deeper inside the labyrinth, and I didn’t know if I would ever be able to get out. I was scared of people attempting to help me because I felt they would not understand me. I also felt as if I had no support system. My biological family was extremely limited in communicating with me. I felt alone.

I attempted committing suicide at the age of 14. During this time, I was trying to find any reason that could save me from killing myself. I continued thinking of my family and just wishing to have them back.

At one point I thought about why my parents were taken away. I believed there was no reason as to why one day they were right in front of me, and the next day they were completely gone from my life.

But I worked on myself.

There was a moment when my mind attempted to push itself from the darkness into the light. My mind fought back to stop thinking of all the negativity and journey instead onto the road of positivity. It was extremely difficult to find myself.

I received assistance from a therapist, who helped guide me toward a more positive life. However, I knew in order to come back to reality, I needed a sense of closure. I had support from friends, foster family and therapists, but most importantly the spiritual entities of my family. I was able to close out the negativity from my life, and turn that negativity into a positive outcome To escape the guilt I felt around the deaths in my family, I asked for forgiveness within myself.

I finally found the door within the labyrinth that would allow me to come back into reality with the sense of myself.

I think sometimes we are quick to blame ourselves if something does happen to turn our lives upside down, especially when we have personally experienced traumatic events such as a hardship related to parents or some type of abuse. Our soul that fights for us disappears and is nowhere to be found.

Be strong!

It is very difficult to remain positive during any difficult time. However, you have the energy within to not give up and continue your path in this life through any given situation. You must be able to ask for forgiveness within yourself in order to provide the closure that will start a new, positive chapter in your life.

There will always be obstacles within your life, but as long as your morale is strong, there is nothing in this world that you can’t overcome.

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John Devine
About John Devine 5 Articles
John Devine is currently pursuing his MSW from California State University, San Bernardino, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in 2015. A founding member of the Leadership Corps of National Foster Youth Institute, Devine has worked with FosterClub, Foster Youth in Action, Children’s Fund, EOP Renaissance Scholars for CSU San Bernardino, and Foster Leaders Movement. In 2015, he was named by Foster Club one of the Top 100 Outstanding Young Leaders.