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I Won’t Let My Abusive Past Ruin My Future


Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

Everyone has a story, don’t they? But what if your story is the reason you can’t get out of bed in the morning? What then?

I’m 47 years old and, when I was 13, I was sexually abused by a neighbor. I was also physically abused by an alcoholic mother pretty much throughout my whole life. I lived at home until I ran away and lived rough for a while. I’m telling you this not because I want your sympathy; I’m telling you because I’m explaining why I haven’t washed in three days or moved from my bed.

You see, I have struggled with depression on and off through pretty much my whole life. I self-harm and have tried to die by suicide on several occasions. Those were the times I tried to escape my past. Today is a day when, once again, depression is messing with my mind, making me relive things I’d rather not relive. My bones ache from just lying here doing nothing and I’m transported back to a time I have spent years trying to forget.

But one thing I have learned is to accept these days, to not beat myself up when depression makes an unwelcome revisit because I know undoubtedly it will. For me, depression will always be lurking in the shadows, never too far away.

I have learned to forgive myself for failing now and then because at the end of the day, what happened to me was not my fault and it’s taken a long time for me to acknowledge that. On days like today, I now know the way I feel is only temporary. I don’t have to feel like this forever. I know, with the right help, I can get out of this bed.

So, I’ll ring the psych team tomorrow and once again start the road to recovery. The key is not to get comfortable with depression; don’t curl up and make a home with it.

I know I’m not alone — that there are others out there just like me, for whom depression becomes a way of life. The path to recovery is slow and not always painless, as in my case, but I do it because the choice is to let my past break me or for me to try to move forward, one tiny step at a time. Recovery can be finally getting out of bed, feeling the warmth in peoples smiles or finally accepting what happened wasn’t your fault. If, like me, you have experienced an abusive past, then know you’re not alone. It is OK to feel down sometimes because after all, look at all the battles you have fought. Most importantly, remember things do get better with help. Don’t let the past ruin your future.

Getty Images photo via alexeys.