My story begins somewhere in the early 1990’s. My mother and father met each other through unknown circumstances, and started dating, living a perfectly happy relationship. On May 21st, 1994, my mother gave birth to her first child – a girl named Melina. My older sister. And on July 1st, 1996, I followed. This is where the real story begins.
Somewhere in 1997, my mother left my father for another man, a man named Michael. The story is conflicting. My father says she left him because she was unfaithful with Michael; my mother says she left because my father developed a drinking problem. I never knew who to believe, and to this day, both sides of the story rings of truth, so maybe they were both right. My mother left my father and took my older sister and I with her.
At the start of 1998, my mother and Michael purchased a farm. It was once a chicken farm but had since been repurposed as a family home with stables. And then, on November 21st, 1998, my little sister Emily was born. And the year after that, in 1999, my mother and Michael got married. I was 3, so I do not remember any of this.
My earliest memory is from the following year, the year 2000. On my 4th birthday, I got a black Labrador puppy as a birthday present from my grandfather on my mother’s side, Fleming. She was named Isabella, but I called her Bella. And on December 27th, 2000, my little brother Devin was born.
My next memory took place in 2002. I was 6 years old at the time, and even though I was so young, I still realized that something had changed. I remember my mother being involved in a car accident. It was dark out when we were taken to the scene by my stepfather. My mother’s car was crumpled in a ditch with a semi-trailer in the opposite ditch. I later on learned that the driver of the semi had turned on his high-beams and fallen asleep behind the wheel, veering into the opposite lane, narrowly missing my mother but sending her car flying into the ditch. And it was just after that that everything at home changed. I remember the first threat from my stepfather, Michael. I remember the first time I was pushed and shoved around. I remember becoming a household slave, taking on a responsibility no six-year-old should ever have to carry. And the threats and punishment would escalate over the following years.
In 2004, at the age of 8, I was caught in a routine that I desperately wanted to break free from. I still remember it clear as day, having to get up before the sun rose to throw wood in the furnace to make sure there was hot water for when my mother and stepfather woke up and took a shower. I remember having to put out the clothes for my siblings to get dressed in and preparing their breakfast. I remember having to help my older sister with her homework and facing the pinches and shoves when I got the answer wrong. I remember having to go to school, becoming an entirely different person because I had been threatened not to tell my teachers or classmates what went on at home. And once I got home, the routine continued. I remember having to do my own homework along with my siblings. I remember having to do the laundry on my own, and the violence that ensued if I didn’t use the right settings on the machine or the right kind of laundry detergent. I remember having to hang it up on the laundry lines, and the ensuing violence if I did it wrong, often over something as trivial as not color-coding the clamps. I remember having to cook dinner for a family of six, clearing away after dinner, washing the dishes and cleaning before falling into bed, exhausted, late in the evening. And the following morning, the routine would start over again.
The same year, 2004, my mother and stepfather purchased 6 horses and ponies that soon became my only solace in a life I despised. Life inside the house was exhausting chores and turmoil and escalating violence, and the only place I found peace was in the stable, with one of them especially; a black Shetland pony named Bandit. He became my best friend, and he taught me how to ride. With him, whether on the ground or on his back, I was free. utterly and completely.
In the summer of 2005, I spent a week with my grandmother, Inge-brith and her boyfriend. I don’t remember much of what passed during this time, other than the delicious dessert she would cook up for me and enjoying a week without threats and violence. And when I returned home, disaster had struck. I remember walking in the door, calling for Bella like I always did upon returning home from vacation or school, only she did not come flying out to greet me like she usually would. Instead I saw my mother’s face, for once filled with compassion and pity. Bella had been struck by a hit-and-run driver just outside our house, managing to fight her way into the house before dying in my mother’s arms. They had buried her in the backyard, and so, the stone overlooking her grave and the collar they had attached to the makeshift cross became my new favourite place. I felt like one of my two solaces in my life was gone. The loss of her nearly broke me apart, having suffered so much and then losing one of the only good memories I had.
A couple of weeks after that, one of our horses died. A colt, not even 3 years old. He tried jumping out of the stall, being pulled back by the rope attached to his halter, landing wrong and breaking his neck. I found him lying like this on the ground, his neck stretched down his side with his head twisted. He was foaming blood at the mouth, wheezing for breath. And even though I ran for the knife in the feed room, and cut loose the rope, it was too late. The damage was done, and he died before the vet arrived.
It was during this year that my older sister and I finally saw our father again. Our mother would put us on a bus and sending us to spend every other weekend with him. And oh, how I loved it there. There were no threats, no violence, no endless stream of chores I had to do all on my own. I was under strict orders not to tell him anything of what I had to do at home, so I didn’t tell him. I was terrified of what would happen if my mother and stepfather found out I did. So, I came to love the weekends with my father, the perfect father and parent in my life. I remember early Saturday and Sunday mornings, sitting together under a blanket on the couch, eating breakfast and watching cartoons. I remember playing board games and card games to no end. I remember him buying me the new clothes I so desperately needed, and him taking me out to experience new things, such as a trip to the swimming pool, and getting a haircut at a salon.
Life continued as such into 2005 and through the following months. In the beginning of June that year, barely a month before my 10th birthday, I was home alone with my stepfather while my mother and siblings were in town. I was doing my chores, flitting from room to room in order to escape my stepfather who loomed over me, terrified about the beating I thought was coming because he was dissatisfied with how well I did my chores. But as it turned out, that was not the reason for his looming over me. Right in the middle of the living room, he forced me on the floor, tore apart my clothes and raped me. I remember the agony, and the way his hands were so rough on my skin. I remember his breath stinking of alcohol, and the way he hissed and grunted in effort. And I remember my own screams and pleading that were to no avail. And once he was done, I remember the blood and semen on the inside of my thighs, the agony I felt when I stumbled from the room, and the way he laughed as I fell to my knees twice on my way to the door. I did not know what to do with myself. I felt violated, and knew that whatever he just did to me, it was wrong. It was something to hide, to feel ashamed of. And remembering the words he said meanwhile, that maybe I did deserve it.
That maybe I did want it. So, I wiped myself clean, stuffed toilet paper in my underwear to staunch the bleeding and tried not to limp or whimper in pain as I left my room to continue my chores, because if I didn’t do them, I would get beaten again. And 2 weeks later, in late June, I found a relief for my inner pain. By causing myself pain on the outside. I discovered, what I then considered, the wonder of cutting and burning yourself. The pain I could handle, because I was used to it. And it was the relief, hurting myself on the outside to silence the thing on the inside, that made me keep doing it. I never did it where my family would see, though. And still, the hell that was my life continued to drop like a stone. I did not celebrate a birthday – we never did celebrate it. My parents, and my siblings, would be celebrated with early mornings, presents, birthday cakes, freshly baked bread and buns and chocolate milk, but never mine. Just like I was never allowed to leave my room on Christmas, Easter, or New Years. Instead I would be given 3 meagre meals per day and be let out to use the bathroom two times per day. Because, God forbid, I would ruin the happy holidays by my presence. So, my only solace was my self-harming, and my collection of books I’d taken from the bookshelf in the living room when no one was looking. Reading equalled escape, entering a whole new world where I would forget about my own.
In October 2005, 3 of our horses were put down. I never figured out why. Bandit was among the 3 that remained alive. And a month after that, I finally broke under the pressure, after one particular episode of bullying at school tearing me down. And I think my stepfather must have known. Because I found my cat with her neck broken on my bed that night. A silent warning to keep my mouth shut about what was going on, but instead it had to opposite effect of what my stepfather intended for it to have. I never told anyone, oh no, but by that time, I was a shell of the girl I should have been, and my teachers started to notice. They started a formal investigation into how life at home was, asking me and my siblings all sorts of questions. I remember the nice lady and all the questions she asked, and I remember lying to her, telling her everything was perfect. Soon after, the investigation ended with nobody being any wiser about how my life really was.
And in December, another one of our horses died. I remember being woken up, yelled at to get dressed and get outside to keep the horse on her feet by walking around with her. I remember the Christmas stockings on the wall, and the Christmas calendars. No tree yet, though, so it was early on in the month. And even as I walked around for hours that night with her, she eventually gave up, collapsing and dying in the snow.
And on Christmas Day that year, I tried to take my own life for the first time. I was 10 years old. My mother’s solution to the problem I presented when she found me with my wrists slit was to staunch the bleeding and tie me to a chair, so I could not tear off the bandages and continue bleeding. She did not seem surprised. She didn’t cry or ask me why. If anything, she seemed disappointed and angry, but not with herself or her husband, but at me. Silently asking me “How dare you do this, you ungrateful child.”
And a week after this, the day before New Year’s Eve, an early morning when I went to feed Bandit, I found him lying on the floor. He was alive; but he refused to get up. I remember trying to pull him on his feet and shaking a bucket of feed near his face. And when he still would not get up, I realized that he was trying to tell me he was giving up, that his time had come. He had been left alone as all our other horses died or sold, leaving him behind. So, I sat down on in the middle of the stall, in the middle of the muck, took his head in my lap, and sang to him while running my hand over his head. And he died in my arms. And suddenly, I was left behind, alone, just like he was.
New Year’s Eve came and went, and 2006 began. By this time, I had stopped hoping for a better year. And in January, one chapter of life ended, and another began. I was at home with my little brother, Devin, and my stepfather. I remember him drinking and getting angrier by the minute. In an effort to protect my little brother from seeing his father like that, I took him to my room and called my mother. And as my mother came home with my other two siblings, my mother and stepfather had a huge fight. They didn’t just yell at each other, they fought. They shoved each other into the furniture, throwing around their wedding rings. She had been cheating on him with a man she’d known since elementary school. And as our mother screamed at us to gather our things, put on our jackets, and wait in the kitchen, my older sister got the order to call the police. After doing so, she stepped into the living room with me right behind her and shouted over the yelling that she’d called them and that they were on their way. In a fit of rage, my stepfather went for my older sister, and in her defence, my mother grabbed him by the throat and took him down to the floor, straddling his chest, yelling at us to RUN. So, we ran. Four children, aged 12 to 6, running out of our home on a cold and snowy January night. Our mother caught up with us soon after, and together we ran down the street, heading for a safe haven with a friend of my mother, with my stepfather chasing us in his car. Several times underway we hid behind snowbanks, and in the garages and behind houses of strangers along the road, never being discovered by them or my stepfather. And then we reached the safe haven, only to have him show up 15 minutes later, finally having realized where we went. But instead of letting him in, my mother’s friend and her husband told my stepfather that we had not shown up, but that if we would, they would call him immediately. He left in a hurry, his tires kicking up snow as he drove away from the house. The day after, my older sister and I were sent to our fathers’ house while my mother and my two youngest siblings, stepsister, and stepbrother, went to a city four hours away with our mother, over to her new boyfriend, the man she was cheating on my stepfather with.
And my life changed, for a time. Out of reach of my mother, in a safe environment with my father, I started trying to cope with the drastic changes that had happened in my life while still keeping all the abuse a secret. My father did not understand how I was so traumatized while my sister was perfectly sane, so perfectly normal. And even though my life was better, that there was no abuse, no threats, nothing of what my life had been like up until that point, I still tried to kill myself for the second and third time in a month. Perhaps it was because I finally realized what I had been missing out on, or perhaps because I was just tired of living. Looking back on it now, I can admit it was a good bit of both.
Not long after that, my mother moved back to the same city we’d all left a few months earlier, although a different house, bringing all four of her children with her. And I had hope, that for the first time, life with her would be different now that she was no longer living with my stepfather. I was wrong. The abuse continued, just by her hand instead of both of theirs. And while her boyfriend never laid a hand on me while he was there, he didn’t hold back on the yelling and the anger. And so, life went on in the same way it always did, daily beatings and daily threats. And over the next 3 years, until 2009, I tried to kill myself the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh time in my life, failing every time either by being interrupted, treated, or simply failing depending on the method I used, and still, I was cutting, now more than ever. I started cutting where people could see, a silent cry for help, that instead of getting people to help me, caused my teachers to stick me at the back of class, only intensifying the bullying I suffered every day at school.
And in May 2010, my mother told us the news. She was pregnant with her fifth child. And on December 12th, 2010, a little boy was born. Silas. Life continued, only now I also had the added responsibility of taking care of a new-born babe, something that terrified me beyond words because he was so fragile; and I had no idea what I was doing. And on it went, and the year passed just like all the ones before it did, with daily beatings either because I didn’t do a chore good enough, or fast enough, or simply because my mother was frustrated over something. I was reduced to nothing more than a slave and a punching bag.
In January 2011, I finally snapped, something that had been coming on for a long time. I remember having just come home from school, stepping into the kitchen before being told to empty the dishwasher. It wasn’t a hard chore at all, but it was the memories behind the command, and the general feeling of anger I carried around with me at all times. I told her no, for the first time in years. And as she flew into a fit, yelling at me to do what I was told, I snapped even further. I did not care anymore, entering the stage of lethal calm, the stage past the breaking point. I told her no once again, and as she went to punch me, the roles reversed. I punched her one time, square in the face, and she fell to the floor. This was the first time I lifted a finger towards her or anyone else in my entire life, and I hate to admit it, but it felt good, turning the tables at last. I left her sitting there on the floor, crying, and screaming. I packed my bag with the essentials, left the house and got on the next bus out of there. Went to my father’s house, begged him to take me in, and told him everything I had endured all those years. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Or, almost everything. I never told him about the rape, and to this day, I still haven’t. Not because I don’t think he doesn’t deserve to know, but because it won’t change anything other than how he looks at me.
He was appalled and enraged by what I told him. And his heart was breaking. I could see it in his stare, and the way he cried and hugged me to his chest. And for the first time in years, I accepted physical contact. He spent most of the following week on the phone with my mother, usually yelling and screaming into the phone, threatening her with lawsuits and criminal charges the rest of the time. And eventually, they came to an agreement – I would move in with him, effective immediately. And so, I did. And then I cut all contact with my mother. Cut her right out of my life like a surgeon would cut out a tumour.
My life changed, but not as much as I wanted it to. I would receive threats via text messages and messages on social media from my mother and her boyfriend along with messages insulting me and my father. My older sister did not understand the hate between all of us because she, like my other siblings, never noticed how I was treated because they were never around when I was abused.
And I was traumatized. I might have been in a safer environment, a better one, but in my mind, I could hardly differentiate. The smallest thing would set me off into a fit of fury, or a fit of tears. My father did not know what to do with me, and eventually came to the conclusion that I had to see a doctor. There I was diagnosed with a Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Anxiety, Social Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder I. And this resulted in going through several psychiatrists and a lot of different medication before they found the combination that could help me: a psychiatrist named Lone, and a bunch of pills.
In March 2011, I started a new school closer to my dad than the old one I’d left behind when I moved. I started in the middle of 8th grade and managed to feel okay at school for 2 weeks before the bullying began. By this time, I was very different from my peers. I would sit quietly in class, always with earbuds and music in my ears, and my nose stuck in a book in both class and recess. Having had enough of bullying and the misery of life by that point, I started ditching classes, then skipping school entirely. And a few weeks after that, I finally figured out what my mom always meant when she said my dad was a no-good alcoholic drug-addict. His substance abuse kicked off, and I paid the price for it, becoming a punching bag when the combination of heroin, and whatever other drugs he took, and alcohol made him violent. But I was no longer going to sit idly by and take it – partly because he was much stronger than my mother and stepfather ever were, and partly because I had grown stronger while growing weaker at the same time. So, when he came looking for a fight, I gave him one. I would frequently have to knock him out in order to stop him from assaulting me. And thus, came my eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh suicide attempts. By this time, I could not decide if I was just bad at taking my own life, or if there was someone looking over me, refusing to let me die. And if the latter was the case, I wanted to kill them. I just wanted peace from the hell that was my life. And I especially wanted peace from having to watch my father drink himself into a stupor every single day, waking up drunk, passing out in a pool of his own piss, and having to stop him from licking up the vomit he’d just expulsed, because according to him, he couldn’t let the alcohol in it go to waste.
In August 2011, I started 9th grade at the same school, and the bullying continued as usual. I skipped classes, and frequently entire days of school, doing my homework assignments at home before turning them in on time just to go straight back home. Because of my homework receiving good grades, the school board overlooked my absence.
In September 2011, a bit of light entered my life. I met a colleague of my dad, a kind man named Palle, his wife Ditte and their two children, Kasper and Lea, two adorable kids aged 6 and 4. They had no idea what was going on in my father’s home, and I never told them because I didn’t want their pity. Kasper and Lea fell in love with me; started calling me “big sister Cammy.” They introduced me to a horse they owned, a beautiful mouse-grey mixed gelding named Elvis, and a black Shetland pony named Lukas who looked eerily like Bandit. They let me ride Elvis and take care of him, adding some joy back into my life in shape of the peace I had always found when in the company of horses.
And in early December 2011, I had prepared for my twelfth suicide attempt. I got a bottle of water, and a glass of strong sleeping pills. I even wrote a little letter, folded it, and placed it on my desk, not that it seemed to matter, because who would even care enough to read it? I had no one that I could turn to. No family, no friends to turn to, and in my desperation for someone to care, anyone, I went online to a public Danish chatroom I’d frequently watched but rarely participated in when spending some free time playing a game on the site. And there, a user named Zombiesen24 took the minute to send me a private message, asking “Are you all right?”
It changed my life. In my desperation, I told him everything about the hell that was my life, figuring that either he’d care, and I’d finally have someone who did, or he wouldn’t, and I wouldn’t be missed anyway. But he cared. We spent 4 hours chatting privately to each other that night, exchanged phone numbers before logging off, and texted until 5 in the morning. His name was Torben, and he saved my life.
Through the following months, him and I would e-mail, chat on social media, text via phone, talk via phone calls and voice calls on Skype. He became my online buddy, my only friend, and the person who made me stop and think that, “hey, maybe life is worth it.”
In June 2012, my 9th grade exams came up, and I skipped them all. I saw no reason to take them when I was unable to continue on another line of education the year after anyway.
And in July 2012, after knowing Torben for little over a year, he confessed his love for me. And thus, began our long-distance relationship. He would text me randomly during the day, things such as “Hi beautiful, how are you?” and “Remember I love you.” He was a light shining in an otherwise dark world. And his light and love kept the shadows at bay.
In August 2012, I started 10th grade, a grade meant for students who were not yet ready to move on, but who were also too far along to take another 9th grade. And, like I expected, the bullying started again, only this time it was mixed with sexual assaults of mild degrees. I was still the quiet girl who would rather read at all times than talk to her fellow classmates; which made me a target for bullying. And I had also matured into a beautiful young woman, which tempted the guys into fondling me in the hallways, something that, with my past, did not go over well. And when I’d lash out, I became known as the girl with the short fuse.. An endless circle.
So in January 2013, I dropped out of 10th grade and started working as a part-time stable hand at the same riding school where I rode Elvis. It was the best decision I ever made. I started working from 9 to 12, a short 3 hours, but voluntarily took more and more hours until I worked a full day from 6 to 2, or 4 to 10. And even that was not enough. I loved it. I loved the hard-physical work that took my mind off everything. I loved the smell of the horses and the leather tack. I loved exercising them whether from the ground or their backs. I loved brushing them, and I loved teaching younger people to ride. So it doubled as an escape, a way to get away from home and a job I loved. I would eventually meet at 5:30 in the morning, open up everything, work until 10pm at night when I would lock down everything, go home, eat, shower, fall asleep and then repeat. It became a sort of heaven for me. I knew nothing better. And even with how life was still with my father, I no longer paid it special mind. my job was my therapy.
In December 2013, I picked up a free horse, a bay Swedish Warmblood gelding called Alsace Cobra, or as his nickname was, Sassy. His owner had connections to a drug dealing ring and was going to prison. I was the best person suitable for taking Sassy in, so she sold him to me for the sum of 1 dollar, so a contract could be written.
In March 2013, I quit my job. A new part time stable hand had arrived and messed up the previously pleasant atmosphere. She would insult the paying customers, abuse the horses when she thought no one was watching, insult me and she even attacked me with a pitchfork, narrowly missing puncturing my back with it. My boss, however, overlooked it all. Either because the stable hand was sent there by the government as a part of a rehabilitation program, or because her parents supported the place financially. The last straw was after I got injured exercising a horse as part of my work; my boss threatened me to come into work the day after, despite me having be examined by doctors saying I shouldn’t be working for at least 3 more weeks. Never one for threats, I told her right then and there that I quit. I’d had enough.
Shortly after that, physical issues with my hips became more obvious, something I’d noticed over the previous couple of years but never paid much attention to because it wasn’t bad enough to care about. But now that I was without the regular exercise I had while working, I started being pained by my hips. A visit to the doctor’s office and resulting X-ray and MRI resulted in a diagnosis of slight Scoliosis with further tests coming at a later date to determine the cause for the issues with my hips.
And shortly after that, I started at a new school called Meritten. It was a school for people from the ages of 16 and up to 25 who could, for whatever reason, not go to a normal school. It wasn’t a school for mentally challenged or physically handicapped people, but a mix in-between. Everyone there suffered from something that had made them victims at other schools, just like me. And there, I even managed to make a few friends, and because we all had something to deal with, there was no bullying. But life at home became gradually worse; and now I no longer had work to distract me with or use as therapy, and while I had Sassy and loved him, it was not quite the same. Cue my thirteenth suicide attempt. Lucky number 13. Or so I wished. For the first time, I actually regretted doing it right after I’d taken the overdose of medication. I tried to decide whether or not to call Torben to tell him what I’d done, but he called me instead, at 2am where he, 2 hours previously, had said he was going to bed. And his first words were “This odd feeling woke me up. What did you do?” Really made me believe in the divine. He said he’d felt restless, woken up with a feeling of urgency, and called me. He persuaded me to call an ambulance, and get treated for the OD, resulting in a 2 days hospitalization. And then he made me promise him not to kill myself ever again, or to cut myself ever again; and I promised him. And to this day, I haven’t broken this promise.
In January 2014, I had to sell Sassy. I was moving north, to move in with Torben and his family, and could not bring Sassy with me. It broke my heart, but I had no other choice. And so, I said farewell to my best friend.
In March 2014, I moved in with Torben’s family and tried to adjust to family life, something that was very difficult because I never had it before. And a couple of weeks later, the issue with my hips was finally determined. I had Hip Dysplasia with a 7º difference between the left and right side, something that doesn’t sound like much, but still resulted in me walking unevenly, one leg being slightly longer than the other, worsened by my mild degree of Scoliosis. And thus, I started physical therapy which didn’t help. I then resorted to starting riding at a local riding school in the hopes of it being a pain reliever like riding used to be.
And I was right.
Torben’s mother and father also took me to a psychiatrist, starting a new bout of examinations and finding medication, while not understanding at all, despite them telling my psychiatrist they did. I got medication to take every night, which I did, along with another type of medication, a smaller dose, that was considered “emergency pills” for when I hit rock bottom and needed a pick me up. Problem was just that whenever I needed these, my mother in law refused to let me take them, saying I should just go for a walk instead and then I’d be OK again. She was incapable of understanding that a walk wouldn’t be a miracle cure.
Then I began studying via the internet, taking online courses so I could finally take my 9th grade exams when summer came around. It was also around this time that I began speaking with my older sister again for the first time in a couple of years; she did not believe me those years ago, when I told her how my mother was, but by now, she’d experienced a tiny bit of the same and had come to see the truth.
Then, on Christmas Eve, my first Christmas not locked up in my room, I was pretty shut in and quiet. Torben understood it; but his parents did not. And when Torben’s older brother and his fiancée had left, his mother verbally assaulted me, telling me to stop acting like such a freak and get a grip because what I was doing was completely abnormal. On and on she went for several minutes before I broke down, not understanding what I did wrong and not understanding why she could not understand that a walk and some meds didn’t magically make my mental diagnoses go away. Torben stood up and screamed at her to get out of her room, that it had to stop, that he couldn’t see why she had to pick on me like that all the time. And to our surprise, she actually left the room. That was the beginning of an awkward relationship between his mother and me, even directly hateful from her side.
In May 2016, I started talking to my dad again. He’d cut down on his drinking and stated at a rehabilitation centre to get his drug addiction under control. And I was proud of him for manning up to do it.
I graduated from the online course education with fantastic grades, the best of everyone.
Not long after, my periods started disappearing while I would experience extreme pains when I would normally have bled. Went to the doctors, was examined but they found nothing, but prescribed me strong painkillers to take if the pains became too much.
In the end of June 2016, I got my own apartment, the apartment that I live in now. I celebrated my 21st birthday in an apartment I could call my own, with my own rules, no one deciding what type of knives I was allowed to use out of fear for me cutting myself, or how and when I should take my medication out of fear I might overdose. It was heaven.
A few months later, I woke up early one morning in extreme pains. Torben called an ambulance, I was taken in and examined, and there they finally gave me a diagnosis: Endometriosis.
And not long after that, I started cutting down on my psychiatric medication, no longer needing it to remain happy, or at worst, feeling “ok”.
And a few months after that, I was hospitalized once again with extreme pains coming from my uterus. After thorough examinations, the doctors discovered a tumour in my uterus that along with my Endometriosis have been the cause for my periods being absent for over a year, the frequent pains that at times become extreme.
In December 2016, I responded to my mothers’ attempt to breach the gap between us for the first time since I cut off all contact with her, again, after trying to give her a chance just to have it backfire on me the last two years. She told me she was getting married to the man she’d left my stepfather for all those years ago. I was genuinely happy for her, but also wary.
Then along came 2017, and I was still dealing with pains from my uterus along with extreme bleedings appearing randomly, having dropped out of school because I was unable to keep up with my studies while suffering from pains.
And then in April, I bought Luna, my beautiful Berger Blanc Suisse puppy who has been my pride and joy since I first laid eyes on her. Torben’s’ school meant he was gone for most of the day, and I never did do well with being lonely. I’d either sleep too much, or spend too much time thinking about things, worrying, and stressing. So in the middle of March I decided to look online and stumbled upon a registered breeder about an hour from here. The pictures of parents and the litter were… beautiful. I fell in love at first glance; I’d always loved big dogs, and this particular breed specifically. So Torben and I went to visit the breeders and see the puppies. Upon arrival, there was 4 puppies out of the litter of 11 left. Three of puppies were tumbling around, playing, while the fourth, the smallest, was sitting quietly, and as I kneeled, she came over, sniffed my hand, and planted herself on my feet. Just sat her little butt down right there on my boots. I like to think she chose me that day, in that instant. And on April 8th, 2017, I brought her home.
On June 24th, 2017, my mother got married to Søren, her boyfriend, and I was a bridesmaid. It was a peculiar situation, being asked to be so especially after the rocky relationship my mother and I had my entire life, but it was worth it. She seems to have changed for real this time around. She seems happier, and I’m happy for her., and for the chance that I may finally get to have a relationship with her, as good as it can get, considering the past.
I broke up with Torben in early in December 2017, after being with him for 5 years. Three months earlier, he started getting distant. He wouldn’t come to see me or spend time with me. He’d lie about being too busy with homework to talk to me, and he’d stream his gameplay after having blocked my main account in an attempt to hide it from me. He’d lie about his headache bothering him too much to come and spend the night, so I could enjoy his presence and company, even if it was just to go straight to bed and sleep. I would constantly get harassing messages from his mother, and one of them proved to be the last straw and the push I needed to get out of that relationship. She told me I could go hang myself from a tree and she wouldn’t give a damn. And when I told Torben so, all he had to reply was “Huh.” That’s when I realized that he no longer cared, and that I deserved better. During those three months, I spoke much and often with a close friend named Ronny that I’d known for 6 years, and whom I even had a crush on before I ultimately ended up picking Torben instead.
Ronny confirmed that I deserved better. He supported me, even came with suggestion as to how I could try saving my relationship before it fell completely apart. On the day I broke up with Torben, Ronny came to see me and support me. He was gentle and respectful of the exhausting couple of months I’d had. He talked to me when I needed to let out my emotions, he hugged me when I cried, and he made me happy. And in the start of 2018, we decided to give our relationship a shot. A little early, some might think, and I did think so too, for a while. But then I came to realize that with every lie Torben told me, every time he refused to see me, we just drifted further apart – and I’d actually gotten over him during those three months. And on the day, I made it final, I cried once. And I haven’t cried over him since.
At the end of January, I moved to the other end of the country, renting a room with Ronny’s father, a good man who’s been a friend of my family for many years. I’m saving up to get my own place again. I like my independence; I crave it. There’s many bonuses to moving here. I’m closer to Ronny, closer to my entire family, closer to school. There’s dog parks for Luna to enjoy, riding schools for me to enjoy, and any store I could ever need is close by.
So now, present day, I still suffer from pains on a daily basis from both hip and uterus, but manage them because now they’re worth it, outweighed by the good stuff that has happened and is going on. I’ve started a 3-year University line of education with multiple subjects at the start of February, with online classes so I won’t have to drop out due to physical issues. I’m closer to my mother and father than ever before. I spoke to my little brother for the first time in 8 years at the end of last year; so long, that I had forgotten his voice. I have been without my psychiatric medication for about two years. I still keep it with me, though, for those really bad days. I haven’t tried to take my own life since the start of 2014, and have been clean from cutting and other kinds of self-harm for just as long. The urge to self-harm is still there, at times, but when I find myself staring longingly at the knife block or try to figure out how many pills it’d take to kill me, I shift my eyes to Luna, and to Ronny, and then the urge disappears. And I know now, that no matter what, I’m strong enough to get through it, and anything else life throws at me. And I know for sure, that no matter what, I’ll be okay. Because I wouldn’t allow it to be any other way.
“And if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror. Look a little closer. Stare a little longer. Because there’s something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit. You build a cast around your broken heart and signed it yourself, you signed it yourself “They were wrong!” Cause maybe you didn’t belong to a group or a clique. Maybe they decided to pick you last for basketball or everything. Maybe you used to bring bruises and broken teeth to show-and-tell but never told, because how can you hold your ground if everyone around you wants to bury you beneath it? You have to believe that they were wrong! They have to be wrong. Why else would we still be here? We grew up learning to cheer on the underdogs because we see ourselves in them. We stem from a root planted in the belief that we are not what we were called. We are not abandoned cars stalled out and sitting empty on some highway. And if in some way we are, don’t worry. We only ought to get out and walk to get gas. We are graduating members from the class of “We made it!” Now the faded echoes of voices crying out names will never hurt me. Of course, they did. But our lives will only ever always continue to be a balancing act that has less to do with pain and more to do with beauty.” ~ Shane Koyczan