Here I am once again, wrapped up in this captivating solitude. Words keep trying to take away my darkest thoughts. I sit in complete silence for a while, looking back on all those times when I thought death was the only way out.
I remember looking in the mirror and not recognizing the woman that looked back at me. She rarely smiled and she used to have bags under her eyes every day. Sometimes, it seemed as if there was no life left inside of her.
I can’t remember exactly when it all started. I just remember that I woke up one day and it suddenly hit me: I was completely alone. Slowly and without even noticing, I had distanced myself from every single person I knew, including my family. All I had was him and the uncontrollable panic attacks I had whenever he got near me.
He used to tell me that it was my fault if he got mad, if he yelled at me, if he hurt me. All I can recall is how everything was always my fault. “If you had behaved like I told you to, you wouldn’t have gained those bruises on your back”, that’s kind of how his mind worked.
It’s been too long since we last contacted each other, but the memories still hit me when I least expect them to. I can be drinking tea, singing or talking to a friend and suddenly an image comes to my mind. And even as I try to avoid it, I watch everything in slow motion.
I watch him pressing his hands around my neck and as I begin to feel a heaviness in my chest, I watch how I do nothing about it. I see myself on the floor in the corner of the room, shaking and crying like a baby while he’s screaming on top of me and once again, I watch how I do nothing about it.
When it’s really bad, I watch him smashing his head against mine or threatening me to death… Those are the moments when I realize I could have done something about it.
I just didn’t think I was strong enough.
It’s almost impossible not to break down when these memories come, but I’ve learned to keep it all in a little longer than I did before. I look forward to the day when they don’t affect me at all when they catch me off guard.
It amazes me how someone can change who you are, forever. It’s like they touch something inside of you that makes you become a whole different person. You have to know that when you let another soul into yours, there’s no going back.
Personally, I lost who I was while I was desperately trying to save him.
I chose him before me because I thought his demons were somehow bigger and scarier than mine. Little did I know the worst of them all was going to take over me.
For two years I thought I was never going to be able to get out of where I was. Fortunately, I was wrong. Then, after the relationship ended, for another year I found myself not knowing if I was going to be able to make it out alive or not.
It took me three years of unbearable pain. Three years of hiding, of making excuses for my behavior, of feeling useless, of being stepped on and humiliated. Three years of not knowing who I was, of not knowing if I was ever going to be able to feel happy again.
It took me three years of wanting to die to realize how much I truly want to live. And I don’t want to live out of what happened to me, I don’t want to live under his shadow anymore. Instead, I want to live because of what happened to me.
Because with time I’ve come to realize it’s true when they say the toughest battles teach you the greatest lessons. I learned so much from this, and I don’t think I could’ve appreciated myself the way I do now if this hadn’t happened to me.
I don’t mean to sound cliché, but I really know my worth now. I am content with the decision I made when I quit that vicious cycle and I hope with all of my heart that if anyone reading this is going through something similar, they find it in their hearts to forgive themselves because that’s the most important part of the healing process and also the hardest one.
If you know what it feels like to cry yourself to sleep every night because you feel like you will never be enough, I really hope you choose to grab all the strength I know you have inside and quit.
At the end, it’s all about choosing to save yourself first. Because you’re the only one that can do it, and you deserve it. You deserve to be your own hero.