Fighting For Love After Surviving Abuse

I’m paralyzed by fear. I see his face in people on the streets. It’s been over for months, but the nightmares and panic attacks are getting worse. I’m engulfed by the trauma. I got off the carousel and I’m watching it turn. Life is going by but I’m in a coma. I need to wake up. My strength and soul is begging, screaming at me to get up. I can’t though. I’m incapacitated. I’m paralyzed. I’m a shell of a person. I’m scared of life now. I see the potential of pain in everyone. I’m shell shocked.

Nights of him beating me replays in my mind. My mind is constantly stuck like I’m gonna be hit at any second. I’m frozen in time while the earth keeps spinning

I am so beaten down from his words and actions. I feel like I have lost my control. It feels like he owns my mind now. The only control I have left is my breathing. I am going to keep breathing, but dark nights filled with flashbacks of the horror replay in my mind like a movie real.

A short 4 months ago if I was struggling like this, my life would look completely different. I would have been drowning myself in vodka, looking for happiness and relief at the bottom of empty bottles. I’m coping sober now. My only vice left is cigarettes and coffee. Coffee to get me out of bed every couple of days. Cigarettes to calm my nerves when confronted with similarities of him; when confronted with the flashbacks.

Thanks to him, I carry this trauma around. Another suitcase to add to a collection of emotional damage. I wasn’t worthy of being treated like a human.

I’m terrified of everything. I’m terrified of this world now. I see darkness everywhere. I’m terrified of the people trying to get close to me including the very people who support me in the darkest of nights. I’m petrified of the potential of something real. I don’t feel like I deserve anything better than I got in the past. I’m barricaded in my mind; a mind that’s telling me I deserved an abusive heroin addict. I do know better, but I’m incapacitated by the fear and distortions.

I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I saw a life with someone besides my abusive ex. But this someone is just not just a new person in my life. It was Sam. I could have a life with Sam. A happy life where it wouldn’t be the same as the past with wife-beating heroin addict. Someone who has proven themselves over and over again. Someone I have years of history with. I let that go by doing what I’ve taught myself to do— self-sabotage. I look in the mirror and I see someone too broken down to be what he needs; what he deserves. Sam tried so hard to stay by my side while I found my feet and strength again.

I see an irreparable, destroyed girl; he sees a beautiful, strong woman in a rough patch with the ability to start over again. I refused to see it. That couldn’t possibly be me. So I did what I do best— push away happiness and an amazing person. That’s all about to change now.

Sam saw me at my lowest. I was starting over again with my life in shambles. Did he shy away? No. It was me. I shied away. All because I’m letting my trauma control my mind. No more shall I do that. I wish Sam could live in my head for a day to shed some light of what this crippling fear, PTSD, anxiety, and depression is like. One last desperate attempt that if he did live in my head for a day, he could understand me better.

I can tear down these walls. I want to walk through the dark woods filled with flashbacks and fear till I reach the clearing revealing a peaceful meadow lit up by the moonlight with Sam there waiting for me. After almost losing my own life due to a suicide attempt, I’m coming to see that life is too short. If there is a chance of love, you fight for it; especially after the person has proven themselves.

I’m afraid though. I’m scared of losing him.

I have been holding back the tears begging to stream down my face. But pride and fear stops me in my tracks as the tears swell up. If I shed one tear, it’ll show I let a guy get to close to me which my heart was determined not to do. I don’t want that though. Not anymore. A lifetime of regret from one year of abuse fills my heart. Now my heart is just sinking, but fighting to stay above water. Let’s just rewind and erase those words I said to unconsciously to kick you out of my life all those times.

I see the carousel keeps turning and I’m just watching. I need to wake up. I need to get back on the carousel of life.

I have been leaving Sam and me in a wreckage. Can this ship weather the storm? I’m fighting hard to keep the ship afloat. I’m fighting to keep from sinking to the bottom of the deep ocean, never to see light again. I take responsibility. I did this to myself; to us. I have created turmoil. I have a lot of regrets but I don’t want any more regrets with Sam.

He said if love is there, then everything would be fine. I’m choosing to believe that. After my abuse, I can have a healthy relationship. I want that with Sam.

This is my chance. There’s no other choice. Turn, turn, turn the carousel goes and it’s my time for me to get back on. I need to continue with life.

Note: Names have been changed.

Alexandra Philip has B.S. in psychology and advocate for mental health

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