Back in September of 2017, former porn star Rex Cameron spoke to us about his journey in the adult industry. Now, written fully by Rex, he shares with Instinct about trying to cope with the rollercoaster of a year 2017 was and his second visit to rehab.
Not in my wildest dreams, more like my worst nightmares, did I expect 2017 to take the toll it did on my mental health. I had four months of sobriety under my belt and I was putting my all into healing from past traumas. I was ready, and nothing was going to stop me. 2017 was going to be my year. I soldiered through President Trump’s inauguration and was so proud of myself for not letting his presidency shake me. Unfortunately, my personal life and the state of the world had conspired to blindside me. By years end, I found my rock bottom instead of the promise of stability I had put my faith into.
It is a heavy burden to admit that you struggle with mental health issues and addiction. Those closest to you and society in general tend to view you as defective. You experience every negative emotion and that reverberates to your core. Being open and allowing your private life to be public can bring you to your knees. I wanted to be a resource for others and take a cue from public figures like Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez by not allowing shame to prevent me from being that resource. I did not realize that in doing so I would have mental health and addiction stigmas stand in the way of my recovery. After time, it drags you down and unless you have a water tight support system and loved ones on board it can seriously jeopardize your program. Initially, I thought I was Superman and could handle the pressures and stigmas on my own. I discovered over the course of the year that I simply was not a superhero.
I had come far enough to ‘get’ that a key aspect in my recovery was addressing past traumas in order to heal. I also understood that we are affected by every hurt or abuse we have survived in life. When I found myself overwhelmed by those residual feelings I would ‘use’ tin order to numb them away. I dedicated myself to therapy, support groups, and my own personal growth because I finally had the opportunity to overcome. I was intelligent enough to see what needed to be done, but I was naive as to how easy it would actually be. Dredging up the past especially when numerous traumas unravel, as if living through them again, leaves you intensely defenseless and alienated.
The world was not kind to vulnerable communities in 2017. It is almost unbelievable that world events can impact recovery, but I am a testament to its influence on one's mental health. I am deeply empathetic to those who have a world of injustice working against them. My empathy comes from having the traumatic experiences that I have had in life. It's a very paternal type of care that develops from trauma; you instinctively want to protect. The past year there was no shortage of people to be empathetic towards. Many people found themselves being affected by the plight of individuals in need near daily just as I had.
Two tragedies that overwhelmingly impacted my psyche were Hurricane Maria devastating Puerto Rico and the Las Vegas shooting. There were countless other events that rattled me, but these two events left me feeling lost in the world. I was outraged that the United States government left the people of Puerto Rico to essentially fend for themselves as little assistance was given to the island. It was like living in the Twilight Zone witnessing this injustice against our own American citizens. It has been a shameful moment etched into American history. A long road to recovery is in store for Puerto Rico and each day since the hurricane hit has been a constant sickness in my stomach. I feel for those who were left behind by the Trump administration and I was not prepared to become so intensely distressed.
The Las Vegas shooting deeply weighed on my mind. The horrific act of cruelty and pain that the victims went through is a hurt that I hopefully will never have to experience firsthand. No trauma that I have been through could even begin to match. From the outside looking in my heart was breaking for individuals that I had never even met, but it hurt as if they were my own family. I had been beside myself wading through the emotional turmoil brought about when the victims became political pawns. Groups like the NRA and even the GOP behaved as if gun control was the enemy. Those who had their lives taken from them or were left with physical and emotional scars were pushed aside in favor of an agenda. These events were triggering me daily and contributed to several relapses on my end. I just wanted to numb their pain and mine away. I was moving further away from recovery all the while dealing with my own mental health issues. I would go so far as to say I was merely one of many who were damaged in this way. Currently it is too difficult and tender to even add the Parkland school shooting to this list. I have never wanted to numb myself by using so badly. Take into consideration that these were only two of the countless tragedies or political injustices to have rocked the world in 2017. It is quite possible that 2017 was the most traumatic year in recorded history.
By the beginning of 2018, I found myself completely off course from where I had intended to be. I realized I needed to make a drastic and immediate course correct in hopes of helping myself so I can help others in the future. With that said, I decided I must focus on overcoming triggers and the urge to numb myself through drug use. My return to rehab treatment is upcoming and a more concise after care program is being put in place for me to get to recovery. I know how to better identify triggers that I am experiencing or may in the future. I look at it as a chance to change mental health and addiction stigmas by being proactive now. I can better cope and find the strength within myself that is needed. Down the road maybe I can be that superhero that I once thought I was. There certainly is a great deal of injustice in the world.