It melts my heart to read some of the stories from the different people who have overcome domestic violence. I would like to share some of my thoughts and also what I personally have been through.First of all, abuse can happen to anybody. I read stories of people who were raised in an unhealthy environment and it happened to them later in life. I can see why that happens, but I want it to be known that it can happen to anybody. In my case, I grew up in a healthy environment. There was never any abuse. In extended families, yes. Not in my own.

In the beginning of my adult years I dealt with depression. One reason was what I personally was going through in my life and my immediate family. I didn’t exactly know how to deal with it in a positive way, so I chose to self-medicate with alcohol. I wanted to feel numb. That never really does end well.When I was at my lowest, I felt like I had no hope. Everything around me was depressing, everyone was depressing, which is why I felt the way I did.

I met this guy when I was vulnerable. I felt like he was trying to help me put the pieces back together. At least that’s what I thought. I was so low that I had seen no signs. It just felt good to have somebody there. Not be alone. As time went on, I started to see things. Let’s just say my mind started clearing up. He started going through his own depression and he started to take it out on me. I felt broken. I felt lost. I had no self-esteem. No confidence.

As his depression worsened, he started to hit me. He choked me, many different times. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. Nobody ever hit me in my life. Especially, not a man. I just remember feeling like everything was taken from me. My womanhood. My respect. My dignity. Everything. I felt like I was nothing. I can’t really get out the feelings in words, all I can say is it was the worst feeling I ever felt in my life. Worse than any depression I dealt with.

Time went on, I felt sorry for him. I knew he would never change. I knew things would get worse. I left him and he hit me for the last time, he knocked the reality out of me. I blacked out. I was unconscious. I knew he could have killed me. I reflected. I told myself there is possibly nothing worse that can happen. I’m at my lowest and I need to help myself. If I don’t I will die.

I didn’t ever blame myself, it wasn’t my fault. I felt like my heart was too big, I was being too nice. Too understanding. I feel like that’s what happens to a lot of women. We love dearly with our hearts, and, that is what is used against us. The situation has made me colder towards men. I realize that you cannot be in a relationship or love another person if you don’t love yourself; if you aren’t whole. That’s what I am working on. Me. My future. My life. My dreams.

I still believe in love, but I just seen a very ugly side to it. Having a man can be a plus, but it isn’t a minus. When I share what I have been through with people, they tell me I am so strong. But, “strong” is just a word. The experiences that people go through, you can’t even put into words. The pain I went through made me open my eyes. It made me see what women go through. It made me realize why it’s hard for people to leave abusive relationships. It’s always easier when you’re on the outside looking in, solving other people’s problems. It’s a whole different story when it’s you, on the inside.

When you’re abused, you become a prisoner of your own mind, under someone’s control. It’s hard to break away from it, but it’s possible. If you stay, it makes you weaker. The longer you stay in it, the harder it is to leave. If you leave, it makes you stronger. I want to help other people who have struggled with abuse. I feel like people who overcome it can help. You have to have empathy and compassion. You have to watch what you can say. If you relate, it makes it easier. The person dealing with abuse already is at their lowest, you want to help them up, not kick them while they're down.

Life is what we make of it. We decide if we want to stay in an abusive relationship or leave. Sometimes it’s easier to stay, and harder to leave. But it’s worth it to leave. Life can be beautiful, that’s what I see now. <3