I don’t want to focus too much on my actual past for this, I want to try to focus more on the present and the future. However, I feel that I may need to give an overview of my past first in order to help people to understand.
When I was little it was just my mum and me, my dad had left before I can remember. We didn’t have much money, my mum didn’t have a job and she was suffering from depression as well as alcoholism. I learnt at a young age how to look after myself, as well as how to shoplift food for us to survive.
My mum felt that she couldn’t look after me properly, so I would be often taken to a man across the road to look after me during the day. This man appeared nice, but he started to exploit me fairly quickly. It started with him refusing to give me food unless I took my clothing off and let him examine me. But it quickly escalated, first to him sexually abusing me, and then to him selling me to his friends – and eventually other people too. Sometimes he would give me a bit of the money he got, I would give this to my mum and she assumed I had stolen it.
When I was 6 my mum married my step-dad and then gave birth to my half-brother. I was brought up being told that my step-dad was my biological dad (something that I discovered was a lie when I was 17). Not long after my brother was born my mum attempted suicide.
My mum and step-dad both had the opinion that emotions were weak, that you should never display them, and I was punished it I did.
When I was 10 my step-dad caught me self-harming (I had started when I was 6) and I got sent to a child psychologist. The psychologist found out about the sexual abuse and tried to take legal action, but nothing came of this. After about 4 months my parents declared me “fixed” and withdrew me from therapy (I recently tracked down this psych and got my notes from back then)
I also got my ears peirced arounf this time, unbeknown to me at the time I have a genetic tendency towards keloid scaring, so within a few months I had golf ball sized painful lumps of scar tissue on each ear lobe. The kids at school decided that t was cancer, and within not very long had me convinced that I was going to die (ye stupid looking back on it, but I was only 10/11). When I was 13 I had an opperation to remove them, but they grew back. Over the years I have had 3 more opperations, 2 courses of steroid injections and finally radiotherapy to get rid of them (at age 18 they were finally gone and have stayed gone), I have several other keloids from both selfharm injuries and abuse injuries, but luckily these are all easily hidden by my clothing. The ones on my ears though really knocked my already lowered confidence, I wasn’t exactly popular at schoool to start with, I was seen as “swot” and was teased and beaten up for such almost dayly. And these keloids just gave the bullies more ammunision I guess.
When I was 16 my parents threw me out. I ended up homeless until a friends of a friend offered me somewhere to stay. Just before Christmas that year I was raped at knife point
He started to be abusive, but I guess in many ways being there seemed better than the alternative. He raped me, and beat me, he would tie me up and whip me (which I still have scars from), he would take my money, refuse to allow me to eat, he pt down “rules” which I had to follow and woul punish me if I broke them.
After a while I was forced back into prostitution aswell as the porn industry; into what was called “rape porn” where basically people would pay the guy who I was living with to be able to rape me while it was filmed, the films would then be sold. I soon found that the best way to cope with this was to drink, if I was drunk then I didn’t fight back too much, and it I didn”t fight back then I wouldn’t be beaten.
I met others who had been forced into this life, and I befriended a male prostitute who had been invovled in the “industry” since he was 7. One day we went to the police together, they refused to even listen him, and then while I was giving a statement told me that it was “my own fault for getting involved” (yes, because at age 3 I ereally had a choice). 2 weeks later my friend commited suicide
I discovered that I was pregnant, I wanted an abortion but the few people I told started on the whole “abortion is murder”, “it’s not your babies fault that you were raped”, etc. and so I felt too guilty to go through with the abortion, but I also needed to save my child and my self from what was going on, and from the world in general as it was just so full of evil and suffering. So I attempted suicide, I lived, but I miscarried my child.
The next few years were much the same, only different thing was that I developed anorexia and I started to drink. And then one day at college I passed out at the top of a flight of stairs, I got taken to hospital where I was diagnosed as anorexic and hospitalised. I was let out as soon as I had reached a “reasonable weight” but the issues hadn’t exactly gone and I continued to restrict and purge after being discharged. I was referred to AA by my doctor, I went for a little bit but then left.
I got pregnant again. This time I wanted to keep the child, I used it as a motivation to start eating and stop drinking, I was carful and did everything that you’re meant to do when pregnant. But I went into labour prematurely and my daughter later died in a neonatal unit.
After this I ran away. I packed a few items and left without telling anyone where I was going. Unfortunately though my eating got worse and my drinking got worse, I started to get obsessed with being “contaminated” and so started to wash with (and even once or twice drink) bleach, I was purging, abusing diet pills, abusing laxatives, cutting and burning. I ended up damaging my heart, my oesophagus, and damaging several nerves meaning that I now have no feeling in several fingers.
It is now 4 years since I ran away. In the last 4 years I have been to university, I have been in and out of therapy, I have somewhere to live, and most importantly I have learnt that not everyone is bad, that not everyone is out to hurt and exploit others. I now have an amazing partner who I love more than anything and who has proven to me that not only are there is good in the world but that I am not damaged good and that I do deserve a life.
I have still missed out stuff from this, if I wrote it all out it would take forever – and I can’t talk about some of it as yet. But this is an overveiw of the main points I think.
I have been diagnosed with DID, PTSD and EDNOS. On some days I can barely function, on other days most people wouldn’t be able to tell that anything was wrong (apart from the fact that I cannot have any form of physical contact without freaking out or having a flashback – this includes handshakes, or even just bumping into someone in the street).
I spent most of my life been told how awful I am, a failure, a burden, ugly, fat, evil, useless, pathetic, etc. as well as having my body and self being abused and hurt by others (by parents, family, a neighbour and his associates, and then by my ex and his friends). This abuse took physical, sexual and emotional forms, I was used as a child prostitute and forced into the porn industry. I started to hate my body, feel that it had betrayed me, that it was its fault that others hurt me…
And now I am going through the healing process, part of which is relearning that my body is MINE and that even with its imperfections I have no need to hate it, I am slowly learning to love it (flaws and all).
Next year I am hoping to return to university. My dream had been to be a surgeon until I was told a few years ago that due to my mental health that would be hard to obtain. And so now I am going to study what was always my favourite subject – physics. What I will do with this afterwards I am not yet sure, but I have always loved physics and so I am going to do what I enjoy. For the first time in my life I feel that I can plan forwards, that I can do what I want to do and what I enjoy, that I do not have to live on a day to day basis simply trying to survive.
I now dedicate all my spare time to spreading awareness of abuse and mental health issues, as well as trying to help and support other victims to become survivors. I hope that one day abuse will no longer exist, and that those with mental health issues are not seen as damaged but seen for what they are – HUMAN.
We all deserve life, and we all deserve to be treated well by others.