This Wounded Bird Can Still Fly
This story begins when I was a freshman in high school. But typing out my life’s story from then until now would take a little while. So, to compromise, I’ll fast forward two years later – Junior year of high school.
Throughout this time in my life I was dabbling in a relationship that I had been in since about April of 2014, so close to the end of the school year. It was wonderful, he was perfect. Made me laugh until I couldn’t breathe, brought me breakfast and flowers, walked me to class, went on wonderful dates together. What more could a girl want in a high school relationship? It was perfect.
But I guess that’s how a lot of abusive relationships start out, huh?
It wasn’t long until I found out that this boy was a viper. Through the coming months I would face a downward spiral of suicide threats, constant arguing, isolation, extreme jealousy, sexual harassment, brainwashing, emotional abuse, guilt trips, gas-lighting, insults and much more. Being as young and naive as I was, I wasn’t aware that this was…abuse. I mean how could it be? He didn’t hit me. This boy fed off my sympathy, love and patience for him (given that his circumstances at home weren’t the best, and his mental state wasn’t the best either). I was stuck in a constant loop of, honeymoon phase, argument, abuse, apology, honeymoon phase. You might be asking why I didn’t just leave. Well, that’s what I had said before in response to women I had heard of who had been beaten by their husbands. “Mom, why can’t they just leave?”
Little did I know, that most times, you can’t. Not without extreme difficulty.
Every time I was on the brink of leaving meant that there would be a suicide threat later that evening. He downed a bottle of pills. It would mean that I would face horrid brain washing – making me believe that I had no one else, I was alone without him, that maybe HE should leave instead. Things like, “you obviously never cared about me,” “maybe I should just kill myself to make it easier for you,” “I hate you, you’ve obviously been lying to me this whole time,” and much, oh so much, more. The next morning I would see him with glazed eyes, dilated pupils, slow heartbeat, cold skin, purple lips and a cut open stomach (self-harm). How can you walk away without feeling like if he died, it would have been my fault?
You can’t. He’s making you look at him. Making you see what would happen, or worse, if you left.
Slowly I began to feel myself fade away from the inside. A certain kind of emptiness, sadness and isolation haunted me. I was smoke. I couldn’t feel anything anymore. There was a heaviness in my chest. I felt like I was breathing underwater, food became dirt, and sleep had eluded me every night. What was this? I wasn’t sure. I told myself I was tired. “What’s wrong?” Mom would ask. “Nothing,” I would say. “I’m just tired.”
This constant cycle didn’t officially end until February 2015. I was finally able to rid him from my life. I won’t get into the gory details – that would take way too long. I was diagnosed with MDD [Major Depressive Disorder] in the summer of that year. I guess my whole point of this is to say that I’m okay. And that I understand. I know what it feels like to be a ghost. I know what it feels like to be truly alone, with nowhere to go but the middle of a highway intersection. I know when that knife starts looking awfully friendly, and when the numbers on the scale drop by the week. I know what it means to be broken – a bird with broken wings and crushed ribs.
But I also know what it means to survive, to be strong, to heal.
One thing I’ve learned is that, you never really know how strong you are until being strong is all you have left. I know how cliché it sounds – but it’s true. The truest thing about hitting rock bottom, is that once you get there, all you have left to go is up. Did I say it was easy? Heck no. Nothing is ever that simple. But it’s possible. If you are willing to push, to let people help you, if healing is what you want, you can get there. You can learn to fly again – and there will always be people to help you. I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for my parents. I get that not everyone has that, but there is a quote that I once read that I think will help you: “Parents teach their children how to be warriors, to give them the confidence to get on the horse to ride into battle when it’s necessary to do so. If you didn’t get that from your parents, you have to teach yourself.” You are all strong. Even when you stand on your own. In fact, in my opinion, you are the strongest, and I believe in your abilities to handle your demons with grace.
I pray that I can give hope those who take the time to read this mammoth of a story. To shed a little light on the darkness that haunts them. Whether you come from the same situation, or whether you are struggling with depression, suicide, anxiety etc., I want you to know that you are loved – and that you deserve everything that is good in the world. I am in college now, first year, second semester – and life has completely changed. I am still learning how to love, how to shut off the voices in my head, how to trust, calm my anxiety and manage my emotions. I still have the scars from my past and they won’t go away. All I can do now is learn from them. All there is to do now, is fly forward.
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