From the Ground Up

This past week I’ve been waking up multiple times throughout the night with nightmares. It’s been a long time since I have had these specific nightmares, in which I relive my worst relationship, only so much worse. I was really confused as to why I was having these dreams again, until it hit me the other night. This time last year, I finally ended the most abusive relationship I have ever been in. Now, when most people hear abusive, they think physical, but that’s not what this was at all. This relationship was abusive in the verbal, mental, and emotional aspects of the term. But just because it wasn’t physically abusive, doesn’t mean that it didn’t take a physical toll on me.

I was exhausted, I had no motivation to do anything, and I wasn’t eating. Honestly, I wasn’t really living and I had become severely depressed. The next month was the worst of my life, watching myself grow skinnier and seeing the dark circles under my eyes, something I’ve never had. I knew I had to go to therapy, so I made an appointment at the school’s phycologist office. I went to therapy for the entire semester, but if I am being completely truthful, it didn’t help me at all. I lied to my therapist weekly about how I was doing so she wouldn’t know that I was spiraling.

I turned into someone I wasn’t. I was mean and short with everyone. I didn’t have my bright, happy attitude that so many people associate with me. Everything was getting worse in these months mainly because my ex simply wouldn’t leave me alone. He continued to say things to me that would tear me down and make me hate myself. And because I had become so dependent on him, I believed everything he said to me. For our entire relationship, he made me believe that he knew what was best for me and that everything he said was right. So when I finally got up the courage to somewhat leave him, he made sure he still had a hold on me.

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I absolutely hated this. I’ve always been a strong and independent person, but when it came to him, he made sure that I was miserable, small, and insignificant at all times. At this point, everything in my mind was mixed and I had no idea what to do. I pushed away the people who only wanted the best for me and started spending time with people who surrounded themselves with drama. And when they found out about my situation, they found it amusing and only served to make things worse. But, I liked this attention, because even though it was negative attention, it meant that someone was listening to what I was going through.

It took months for me to finally start to feel like myself again, and I wasn’t able to do it on my own. It took major help from my mom, my friends, and someone very special to me. When it came to my mom, we used to talk for hours on end about what it was I was going through and by doing that, I was able to help myself come to some conclusions that later helped me to my happiness. And with my friends, it was getting rid of the toxic people that I had chosen to surround myself with and to spend all of my time with my best friends, who I owe the absolute world to. Without them, I would not be in the place that I am today and I am eternally grateful for the love and support they gave me.

And then the last person to help me, is the person that is very special to me, my boyfriend. I met him through Tinder at a very low point in my life, when I had sworn off dating and I was just looking for attention. We had a VERY slow start to our relationship, mainly because he lives in England (it’s a very long story on how we matched). But, we started talking every day, which then led to Skyping every once and a while, and then to Skyping as often as we possibly could. And in January, he flew all the way from England to California to meet and spend the week with me.

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Even though my boyfriend lives 5,000 miles away from me, I am experiencing the healthiest relationship I have ever had. For one, we don’t fight. Sure, we have disagreements, and emotional and sometimes heated discussions about our disagreements, but we haven’t fought. Together, we’ve been building a solid foundation of communication and trust through atypical methods, since we are so far from one another. We listen to each other and support each other. He doesn’t try to control me, and he understands that I have a life outside of our relationship. He doesn’t push me when I’m having a bad day because he knows I will always come to him when I’m ready. And he shows me love that I have never known in a relationship. I know he cares for me deeply, and being with him has taught me that relationships are positive and worth-while.

If anyone understands what it is like to hit absolute rock bottom and feel like there is nothing left in the world for them, it’s me. This doesn’t happen to everyone, but when it does, it sucks. And when you hit this point, you are going to act in a way that isn’t like yourself. You may even feel disappointed and regret in the way you are acting, even if you can’t help it.

But I promise, it does get better. It may not come in the form of a new love interest, or a family member, or friends, although those all help a lot. It can and will come from inside you as well. I had to completely redefine who I was and at first, I didn’t like it. But I have come to love myself and the person I have become. I know all of this can be extremely tough to go through, but I would never go back and change anything. I learned so many life lessons from this experience that I am always going to carry with me and for that I will always be grateful for what I went through, even if it was difficult as it happened.

Just remember: There is always light at the end of the tunnel. And there is always a positive side or outcome to any situation. You will make it and you will be happy.

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