If I had not made the decision to Stay I would’ve missed all of this.

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I grew up having a very unhealthy childhood, my parents were young teenagers when they had me. So my life consisted of abuse and split parents, I lived with my grandparents a lot. Growing up I was always attracted to women but I grew up in the “Bible Belt” so I was very “confused”. School was rough, but I was always outgoing and people always say they remember me being so happy. But really at home there was tears, yelling and lots of anger.

I married into an abusive unhealthy relationship, I had 2 beautiful children. I tried so hard to not be that statistic, I didn’t want to be a young mom because my parents were young, I didn’t want to marry an abusive person because all I saw was abuse. But I was so focused on not being a statistic that I fell right into it. And what I learned the hard way was the abuse didn’t stop because of kids. Then the postpartum depression set in from having my son. I was at the end of my rope my family had turned their backs on me because I decided to leave my unhealthy marriage and come out. I was locked up in a hospital based on lies my ex husband said. I really thought I had hit rock bottom, I dismissed my divorce and I went back, he promised the abuse would stop and he would change…… but he didn’t. I had a moment with my grandmother crying in my kitchen, I don’t remember much but I do remember she asked if I needed to go to the hospital. I remember just crying asking for her to just hold me.

From there we decided it was time to fight. I started to prepare to leave again, this time I had family on my side. Then, my worst fear came true. My ex husband tried to kill me on my Christmas Eve. I felt like I was in a movie, locked in my own house, he took all forms of communication from me, I waited till he fell asleep and used my daughters tablet to send emails to my family asking to call 911, finally after about 12 hours of hell and trying to survive they showed up and he was arrested and I survived. So here I am Christmas morning alone with 2 kids after surviving a nightmare. I kept pushing because I had 2 little people watching me and holding me saying “It will be ok mommy”, and I knew I needed to get through this for them. So, I was doing life on my own, as a single mom all while feeling like I was completely insane in my head, flashbacks, court dates, nightmares you name it I had it. I got to a point in my life where I did not feel like I was suicidal, I just didn’t care if I lived or died. I was so overwhelmed, “was my ex right?”, “am I crazy?”, “I don’t deserve to live”, “my kids don’t need me”. I would not wear my seat belt in the car. I would get angry if I woke up the next morning, even though I did not try to kill myself. I just did not care anymore.

That went on for a few weeks till I finally went in to a co-worker of mine and I told her how I felt and she instantly said “can I call the Suicide Hotline for you” and I said “please…, I can’t do it”. She called and got me into counseling. I realized very quickly I was very suicidal, I just did not see it. I thought for so long I am not suicidal I just give up. I started going to counseling every week. It was income based which was great because I was a single mom not getting any support I could actually afford the help I needed. My ex-husband always told me counseling was too expensive and I didn’t need it, he was just too scared and knew if I started counseling I would figure out how abusive he really was. But let me tell you….I kicked ass! I went every week. I learned how to work through those feelings. I learned how to not be afraid of my ex-husband. I learned how to stand up and walk on my own. And I did. I got a place by myself, I got a good job, I provided for my kids, I survived…on my own. Something my ex husband said to me the last night I was with him when he got arrested was ” I will never survive without him, I will be nothing without him, no one will ever love me like he did and I will never see my kids again.” Well joke’s on him and everyone else that took his side.

Now 4 years later, still in counseling, now it is for the PTSD due to the abuse I went through, but I have a BETTER job, I just bought my first home brand new, built in 2019, I have my kids, my daughter does competitive cheer, and I found someone that loves me. And what I learned is he was right. I didn’t find someone that loved me like he did. I found someone better. I found someone that loves me for me. And slowly I am becoming happier and happier. Everyday I make the decision to Stay, some days are still soooo very much harder than others but I still Stay. I have to. I want to tell my story, help others, show my kids how strong their mom is. At night I sit on the couch with my girlfriend in our home and I look around and I think “if I had not made the decision to Stay I would’ve missed all this”. Being here to watch my 5 year old daughter cheer, where I used to cheer and my 4 year old son play t-ball is so rewarding. At one point in my life I almost let that selfish cruel thing take away an amazing future for me. I am so happy I made the decision to Stay;. I now smile with so much confidence. I dress and look how I want to. I no longer have so much hate and darkness in my life. It finally feels good to smile a true happy smile.

Story submitted by Chelsey.

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