Lauren s Story
“I've always felt as if I were two different people: who people told me I was and who I thought I was. Eventually, I realized that I couldn't tell the two of them apart anymore. I can name only a few people who know me as I really am. Well, here I am to finally let others know.
The abusive father came first. He told me constantly that I was a greedy, selfish brat who didn't know how to listen. I wanted to listen, but it felt wrong. I lived in an attic when I went to visit him, and watched him mistreat my sisters. I can't begin to tell you how scary it is to live with a parent that you know could snap at any given moment. I saw him snap once, and it only took that one time for me to never forget his true face. My father and I had gotten into a petty, 30-second argument that ended with him throwing me to the ground and smothering my face with his whole hand. I began to choke, hearing him scream 'I’m not letting you up until you apologize!'
No one believed me, none except for who watched it happen. I was a thirteen-year-old girl, and his word against mine was stronger. Since that day, I would shake uncontrollably when it was time to take the 15-minute car ride to his house. One of the most painful truths in my life is having a parent who I know would never love me.
After I got out from my dad’s grasp, I found my high-school sophomore self in a relationship with someone who might as well have been my father. It was wonderful at first; I’d never felt so beautiful to someone before. It didn’t take long before he had me wrapped around his finger. I fell in love bit by bit, and I soon realized how willing I was to give everything I was to him. I began to wonder why I should be alive if he wasn’t there to carve out my path, and that was just how he wanted it.
I suddenly felt as though my heart, my mind, and my body were no longer mine anymore, but his. The clouds rolled in all at once. I threatened leaving every week during the end of our two years together and his two times cheating. He responded by either cutting himself or threatening suicide. I always caved in, and if he self-harmed, so would I.
Soon, whether he cut or not, I would harm myself about twice a week, if not more. My ex called me every name in the book, and one day, it was enough. He had cheated on me for a third time, telling me that it was my fault for smothering him and being so possessive. I told him that I never wanted to talk to him again, and that was that, for a little while.
Rumors circulated soon after that he broke up with me stating I was controlling and manipulative. He even told people about his taking advantage of me, which I can’t retell more about than that to this day without having a panic attack. I walked the halls with my head down, paranoid. What did people know, and what were they saying about me?
For the next few years, I finally gave my heart fully and without question to the best friend I’d known at some level since the second grade: his name was Bipolar 1. With everything that had been going on in my life, it was almost impossible to know which needed more attention: my mental illness or my surroundings.
When my hatred of myself carried over into periods that should have been happy, it was clear I needed help. I’ve taken so many different types of medications that I’ve lost count. Sometimes they would help, then suddenly stop. The cycle would start all over again. I went in and out of different types of treatment, from therapy to day centers to the hospital.
But, today, I have never felt better. My medication is where it needs to be, and I am surrounded by some of the most wonderful people I’ve had the blessing of getting to know. For those out there struggling, this is my message to you: You are stronger than your pain. Why else would you still be here? You are the hero of your own life. Know that I cry with you. I hurt with you. And if you ever feel that no one loves you, know that I love you. I love you with all my heart."