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Victim or Survivor


By Rene PetersPublished about a month ago • 3 min read
Top Story - April 2024
Official Victim or Survivor lyric video

TW: Mention of self harm and suicide attempts

I'll preface this article with I have never listened to any other songs by Citizen Soldier. I had never heard of them until I found out from an Icon for Hire stream where they told fans about an "upcoming collab," being with Citizen Soldier. As soon as I saw that it was on Spotify, I listened to it over and over... And over because of the lyrics.

I'll start with the chorus and why I love it, mainly how I can relate to it.

"When it rains, you can drown or you can be baptized.

When you hit rock bottom, you can cry or climb.

Crutch or a crown, only you decide, victim or survivor.

Be born by the battle or just wave a white flag.

Deciding not to die, that might be all you have.

You can make that choice or you can be your past, victim or survivor."

For starters, I have struggled with my mental health for a long time, about 11 years at this point. I started to hurt myself to cope with depression when I was 12. At the time, I knew something was wrong with my mental health but I didn't want to tell anyone. I was scared of how people would react, how I'd be treated if I was honest. Eventually, I told a teacher and she told the counselor, so my parents ended up finding out because of mandated reporting. Rather than getting me a therapist, they grounded me. That just further isolated me from my friends at the time since I couldn't talk to them outside of school. 

Then, about a year later, I was diagnosed with epilepsy, only 4 months after my grandma's pancreatic cancer diagnosis. That was impossible to hide from the outside world. I would cry, nearly daily, asking what I did to deserve everything. At that point in life, everything was stacked against me. I was going to lose my grandma, I lost "friends" (that was a blessing in disguise, I just didn't know until years later), I was dealing with puberty and hormones, and I was fighting depression alone. Then, there was the side effect of wanting to kill myself from a medicine that stopped me from having seizures.

Another year later, I finally started seeing a therapist and I always felt like a victim of life. My life was crumbling around me.

Fast forward to becoming an graduating from high school and becoming an adult. I was finally taking my health seriously and learning to take care of myself. I realized maybe I was thrown all these curve balls because I am stronger than many people my age.

Fast forward five more years (to now) and I have made immense progress in my mental health issues. I am just over a year free from self harm when I used to only make it to about a month, at the most. I have survived numerous suicide attempts that happened from mental illness being untreated, or me not being honest because of fear of hospitalizion.

* * *

I know the reason I relate to the lyrics is different from many other people who have commented on the video. However, everyone has struggles but no one's struggles are the same. I feel like everyone can relate to the lyrics in on way or another, as heartbreaking as that is. Like every Icon for Hire song that I've heard (every released song), the message is incredible. Ariel Bloomer (Icon for Hire singer) has a book that talks about her struggles and her recovery. She is an inspirational person to so many people.

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About the Creator

Rene Peters

I write what I know, usually in the form of poetry. I tend to lean towards mental health, epilepsy, and loss/grieving.

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Comments (19)

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  • Lynn Jordanabout 13 hours ago

    Congrats on TS! Those lyrics definitely hit home, and I'm glad you've fought through❣ I haven't heard of either band (I tend toward heavier stuff), but I'll check out Icon For Hire; I like her voice.

  • Greg Seebregtsabout a month ago

    Wow! That's a bit on the rough side, you were grounded for talking about a mental health problem you were having? I mean, at least your parents are a bit more supportive now, but what was the reason they gave for the grounding? Can you remember? I've never attempted self-harm personally, although I have considered it a few times; I won't say I know how you feel because I don't, but I hope you're doing better now. When times get tough, it can help to remember Rocky Balboa's monologue: "It's not how hard you hit, it's how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."

  • Jeremy Whiteabout a month ago

    Congrats on top story. I will have to check out the song and her book. I have had one attempt and it took me a long time to stop cutting. Thank you for your story.

  • Anna about a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • ROCK about a month ago

    Hi Renee, Did I understand that you were "grounded" for telling a school counselor you were depressed? I know neither of my parents knew hot to cope with my problems (or their own). I am sorry they reacted to you in this manner. Do you have support now? You can message me via FB anytime. I am in Sweden so I may not answer right away due to time differences. Are you in Canada or the USA? Love, ROCK

  • Dana Crandellabout a month ago

    Congratulationson your recent 1-year anniversary and your Top Story recognition! Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Oneg In The Arcticabout a month ago

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, it’s not easy. I can see why those lyrics are so relatable! I’m glad you are still here.

  • M.B Hesperia about a month ago

    This story deserve to be on top. Congratulations Depression is a serious topic and it should be and it can be addressed in many ways. Very nice read.

  • Hannah Mooreabout a month ago

    A year! Good work!

  • I am glad you are coping and self harm is difficult to deal with because when you are a lone , and feel alone, there is no one to stop you. Great piece

  • The Bearded Chieftainabout a month ago

    It is always brave to admit to self harm attempts. Remember, you are not alone and keep moving forward. Your writing is engaging and obviously from the heart.

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Carol Townendabout a month ago

    I can relate to you and the lyrics. I battled bullying and many other traumatic events as a child and an adult for years. I never thought I'd make it, but I did, and like you, I am a 'survivor.' You have chosen to work through your depression, and you have selected to change your life. It won't be easy, but you can do it. You are already a 'survivor,' and you will get through the rest of your healing no matter how long it takes. I love this song, and I think you're AWESOME!

  • Shirley Belkabout a month ago

    So glad this made Top Story because it SHOULD have!!!! I love those lyrics, too. I've had a lifelong struggle with depression, too. And deciding to be a survivor was my choice, too!

  • The Writer about a month ago


  • Mariann Carrollabout a month ago

    It took a lot to tell your story. I am glad you did. I hope it empower others. Congratulations of Top Story !!!! 🎉🎉🎉

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    As you know, I'm not a fan of positive lyrics and I'd rather be a victim than a survivor because being a survivor takes too much effort, lol BUT I loved the music of this song. It's playing in my head right now in a loop. I also love Ariel's voice! I'm sorry for parents grounded you when the school reported your mental health to them. That was really messed up. Sending you lots of love and hugs ❤️

  • Sid Aaron Hirjiabout a month ago

    definitely nice how you explained how you relate to the song. Keep strong

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Loved your song review!!!💕❤️❤️ May you continue to celebrate your life & health improvements!!!

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