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I want you to imagine everything that means a lot to you. What do you cherish the most? Now that you have thought about it, I want you to think about all of those things, (family, daughters, sons, photos, your wedding ring, etc.) and imagine they all just disappeared. Right now, in this moment, they are just gone. And, from what you have gathered from the people around you, those belongings that you cherish… are never coming back.
This has been my life since I was 13 years old. My parents, photos, dolls, clothes, baby book, birth certificate, are all just gone. Everything I knew when I was a 13 year old girl and 8th grade student were just gone. I could sit here and feel sorry for myself, but it really doesn’t help the situation. For years I struggled with trust issues, anxiety and had no idea who I was anymore. I felt judged everywhere I went, even with family who may have blamed me for what happened when I was a child. I knew I had done nothing wrong, but telling that to my family was like telling this to a wall except these walls had too many opinions.
Fast forward years from then, I am now in Recovery from my childhood trauma and an abusive relationship that I had in my late teens and early twenties, from a relationship that reminded me so much of my childhood. You would think I would never let someone put a finger on me after all of the battles I had early on, but I fell into a pattern of what felt familiar and normal. I believe I had to go through these obstacles in order to understand what happened to me as a child. A lot of people thought I just had a mental illness, or that I just lied for attention, some even believed that none of it really happened. None of that bothers me anymore though. To be honest, I lied because I couldn’t handle the truth. I couldn’t believe that this stuff happened, and that I really had to deal with it while those people who hurt me went on living their lives. How was that fair?
I have been beaten, sexually assaulted, neglected, used, in foster care for years, in an abusive relationship, stolen from, almost killed, and homeless. But, the one thing I had not encountered from the age of 9 until 22, was happiness. I could not remember the last time I smiled and it wasn’t fake.
I couldn’t even remember the last time I had bought something for myself and for no one else. There were occasions in which I didn’t pay my own bills but paid other people’s expenses even if I was starving and had no place to go. People say you don’t just wake up one day and want to get better, but I beg to differ. In June of 2014 I was thrown down the stairs of a 3rd floor apartment. I got up, shrugged it off and decided “It’s time.” My recovery started that day.
Recovery is such a beautiful thing. People can recover from drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, etc. But I feel as though my recovery is something special. Recovery for me isn’t just starting new, it’s also finding the strength to get through what has happened in my life. I have found a way to make my recovery unique and beautiful. The journey I am on is nothing short of incredible. There are bad memories and pain in everyone’s life, but in the end it’s about how you get through it and what you do to come out on top that really matters.
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