The ‘Survivor’ Label


"Survivor"

“Survivor”

I first encountered the term ‘survivor’ when I saw my first counsellor when I was twenty-one.

I hated it.

I didn’t feel like a survivor.

I felt depressed, suicidal, confused, hopeless, useless, disgusting and ashamed.  Survivors don’t feel those things, do they?

In the decades since that first encounter, I have come to accept that I did ‘survive’, but I still don’t like the label.

Labels confine people.  Labels promote stigma, prejudice, and judgement.   Labels pressure us to conform to the associated social norms.  Labels do not respect and value individuality and the uniqueness of experience.  Labels can lead to external control.

I am a person.  My experience of life is my own – just as your experience is yours.  Don’t place a label on me and judge me by it, and I will afford you the same respect.

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