“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~Rumi
The hardest battle I’ve fought is an ongoing one. It’s an all-consuming shadow of dread that never leaves, only resting long enough for me to catch my breath.
I know what it feels like to be depressed. I know the feeling of pain and hopelessness so well it almost feels like home.
I remember being around eleven years old and thinking, wow, this all seems so meaningless. I had become awakened by my consciousness and overwhelmed by emptiness. I knew then that there was more to life than what I was perceiving. These moments were brief but continuous.
I grew up in an unstable family and took turns living with each and every family member. Everything was temporary and nothing made sense. As I grew older, my depression grew stronger. I did not experience love or security, and I felt like a burden to everyone around me. Each day I was disgusted with myself for still existing.
How It All Began
I was drawn to the sex industry because I was part of the wrong crowd, and by the time I hit my early twenties I had completely lost all will to live. I had no desire to even try to function in society as a “normal person” should. It was a place where I could indulge my self-hatred by abusing drugs, alcohol, and my body.
The pain I carried with me was heavy and overwhelming. I wanted to be around people who I could relate to. People who had also given up on life. Although we had no direction, we had a sense of belonging and a feeling of home, which was something we craved. Our pain had brought us together, and that was all that mattered.
We were bound by our trauma and our secrets. It was a place where it was acceptable to be angry at the world. It was my home, and these were my people.
There is a great myth that women enjoy being sex workers. The pay is incredible, the hours are short, and sometimes it’s just one big party. I can’t speak for others, but from my experience I can tell you it is nothing like Pretty Woman. There is no one coming to save you.
No little girl ever dreamed of growing up to be a sex worker. Most women working as escorts were victims of some form of sexual abuse as a child, including myself.
I know you’re probably wondering why I would do something so extreme and thinking that surely I had other options. My depression was paralyzing, so this seemed like the ideal option for me. I was the ideal candidate. I couldn’t get the help I needed, and keeping a job or getting out of bed was almost impossible.
I believed for so long that I was lazy; I was useless and good for nothing else. Gosh, I could hardly pull off being a decent prostitute!
We don’t do this because we love sex or for that matter even like it; we do this because we feel trapped financially, or we’re desperate to survive our addictions and mental state.
And sometimes we’re so consumed by our desperation that we’re oblivious to the dangers of being raped, attacked, or even murdered—and the worst part is that we don’t even care. We have been brainwashed to believe that no one cares.
How I Changed My Mindset and Found My Purpose
When I felt alone and had no one to call, I began to write and uncover my creative spirit. Writing was no longer just a form of cheap therapy but a way home to myself. It was a safe space that wasn’t invaded. It was a space where I could process the thoughts and emotions that had consumed me.
I wrote about how ashamed, unworthy, and unlovable I felt. I thought no one would love me after the dark life I’d lived. And worse, I thought I deserved to be treated badly after everything I’d done.
I wrote about feeling abandoned, alone, and rejected and desperately wanting to be normal and live a normal life.
I could no longer continue to run from myself or sit back and watch as my life fell apart. I had hit rock bottom, and my suicide attempts had been endless. Something had to change, and that was my mind.
I began reading books and listening to podcasts about who I wanted to be, as well as anything self-help related.
I stopped abusing substances and started to see a little more clearly. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done, especially without any professional help, but I did it.
I learned that I’d made the choices I’d made based on how I viewed myself, so that had to change.
I forced myself into a healthy routine and began meditating and practicing gratitude to start reprogramming my brain.
I also forced myself to cry, which I’d hardly ever done because I’d been so numb.
I removed everything from my life that was doing me harm and didn’t serve the future I was trying to create.
I started taking better care of my body by getting more sleep, eating better, exercising, and even pampering myself.
I learned to be grateful for my experiences and I gave myself permission to heal.
After doing all these things consistently for a while, I started experiencing little bits of joy, and that was what kept me going. I now listen to my body and observe my mind. When negative thoughts pop up, I send them away.
I stopped fighting the world and running from my trauma, took a deep breath, and realized that the world wasn’t out to get me. It was me all along; I was my own worst enemy. I had to accept that I deserved to be alive and embrace being human, in all its beauty and ugliness combined.
I know that it won’t be completely smooth sailing from here, but I know now that, despite everything, I am worthy.
Being in such a dark industry I’ve always had to fight. Fight for my voice to be heard, fight for my safety, fight to survive, and fight to be seen as a human being. I now longer need to fight; I can just be.
I now believe that my suffering was my spiritual teacher, and these experiences happened for a reason—so I could help others somehow, even if just one person.
The real cure to trauma is courage, and the opposite of depression is expression.
So here I am, brave enough to not only own up to my past but tell my story. By doing so I let the light in, the light that I can now share with you.
About Nicole Lauren
An old soul fascinated with researching human behavior, Nicole dedicates her life to helping others heal and find their peace within. She lives in South Africa with her two adorable cats.