Light the Way

Light the Way

Potential Trigger Warning.

Mental illness runs on both sides of my family. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and addiction. My mother tried to commit suicide when she was 16, my older sister tried committing suicide 5 times starting at 17; learning she has bipolar disorder. My grandpa was an alcoholic, my dad is a recovering alcoholic, and my aunt is a recovering heroine/meth addict. We all have our demons, and as much as I’d love to talk about how my sister had the biggest effect on me, I’m not going to. This is about me and my story, not hers.

I have severe anxiety and with severe anxiety comes depression. I’ve had anxiety since I was a kid and as I got older, it got worse. My mind is constantly belittling me. I’m always telling myself that I am too much. I’m too emotional, too weird, too needy, too sad, too anxious, just too much. I tell myself that I don’t deserve to be loved by anyone, that I’m incapable of being loved. That one is the loudest because I know everyone deserves to be loved, but my mind still screams at me that I don’t. I tell myself that I’m useless and that I’ll amount to nothing. I tell myself that I don’t deserve to exist, that I serve no purpose to be on this planet. I tell myself that I deserved to have been married to someone who completely stripped me of who I was, someone who told me who I could and couldn’t hang out with, someone who made me send snapchats of who I was with and where I was at, someone who told me what I could and couldn’t wear. Someone who added to all my thoughts of being too much. I deserved to have been married to someone who would call me a bitch, would tell me he never loved me, that I was dramatic and crazy and so was my family. I deserved to have been married to someone who would pretend I didn’t exist for days while living under the same roof.

Imagine your mind telling you all these things while being married to someone who spoke them all out loud. It was like my thoughts were constantly being validated. I fell into a deep depression. My thoughts went from “I wish I didn’t exist” to “I would be better off dead.” I told him I had made an appointment to see my doctor about getting on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication and I was told “You just want something to be wrong with you.” Like my feelings and emotions weren’t real, that I was looking for attention. I was told that speaking to a therapist would brainwash me and that it was a waste of time and money. My ex-husband would make comments about how sometimes he would get thoughts of killing random people in a room which is terrifying to hear from someone you’re already walking on eggshells around.

While I already had thoughts of leaving him and had a plan, something happened on New Year’s Day that made it harder and a lot scarier to leave. My husband raped a woman. He told me he didn’t remember it happening, she showed me messages proving he remembered. I got to hear the details from her, the pain in her voice, her saying that “he was drunk, I’m sure he still loves you.” As if that’s an okay reason to do that, as if that’s an excuse to hide behind. She put her feelings aside to tell me that I’ll be okay when she’s the one who needed to be held. After that, I was terrified to leave. If he could do that to a close friend’s girlfriend, what could he do to me. Would he kill me if I left since he thought about killing random people? Would he kill himself? Why should I care if he killed himself? I confided in my best friend after I was told about it because, holy shit, I couldn’t breathe. I needed someone to hold me and breathe with me. I sat on that information and held it in for months afterwards. I was showered with gifts and false promises. I secluded myself, I would never go anywhere, never do anything, I found it hard to eat, I found it hard to sleep. I thought that the easiest way to leave was to kill myself. That was the safest way for me to leave. My best friend told me I needed to talk to my mom because she saw me withering away, but the funny thing was is that I thought my mom would judge me for staying with him for so long after finding out what happened because I told her he cheated on me originally because she could tell something was wrong. That she would blame me, that it was all my fault that happened, but it was just my mind telling me that.

I called my mom at 10:14pm bawling, happy she answered so late, asking if I could come over and I couldn’t even say the words that I needed to say. I sat on that information for 4 months just telling her that he cheated on me and still couldn’t say that he raped someone. That he cheated on me by raping someone. It came out as sexually molested then sexually assaulted until it took me multiple tries to say it. After I told her, she told me that it’s okay to not always be the strong one and that holding in something like that will eat you from the inside out and she wasn’t wrong. I didn’t realize I needed my mom to tell me everything would be okay and that my family will be there for me in anyway they can be.

Everything moved so quickly afterwards. I moved in with my best friend while my ex husband was at work. I stayed with her for a month while the house I found was getting ready. It took me months of breakdowns to learn to love myself and find myself again. I still struggle with it and I know I always will. The divorce is finalized and as much as I wish that I’ll forget everything and it’ll be like my memory was wiped clean, I know that isn’t going to happen. I still lay my head on my pillow at night and visualize the details that woman gave me. I know that those thoughts will haunt me for a very long time, but I must keep moving forward. I must continue to grow and heal every day, no matter how hard that particular day may be. I know that when I was in such a dark place that I wanted a little glimmer of hope, an act of kindness, for someone to put a wedge in the door I was so desperately trying to slam shut. I want people to know that someone will always be there for them regardless of what they tell themselves or what someone else does.

We all deserve to be treated kindly, we all deserve to know what compassion feels like, and we all deserve to know that no matter what battle we are fighting, we’re not alone in it. I love being the crack of light making its way into someone’s darkness and being there for someone when they need it. Everyone needs to experience kindness in their life, and I want to be just that.

– –

Story submitted by Sasha G.