Prove Them Wrong

Dedication: This is dedicated to all of the people who never gave up on me and were always there to remind me that I am loved and the world is better with me in it.

I want to start by putting up a trigger warning, my story talks about subjects that might be hard or triggering for some.

My name is Em and my battle with mental illness started at a young age. Growing up when my parents didn’t want me around they would lock me in a room or send me to their friend’s home where their son sexually abused me for many years. It wasn’t until I was able to move out of state that this abuse stopped, but sadly, the abuse from my parents kept on. I lost my sister at 5 years old and by the time I was 6 I was already plotting my death and feeling that the world would be better off without me, and I was only 7 when I hurt myself for the first time.

By the age of 16, I had attempted suicide several times and had been sexually assaulted by someone I thought was my best friend. On top of this, I spent most of my time outside or hidden to avoid the things going on in my own home. I spent so many nights planning my death and believing that if I was gone it would be better.

I eventually changed jobs and some of the people there quickly became my family, one of them, in particular, became like a mother to me. She invited me to her church and I started attending regularly, but I was still struggling. From the ages of 16-18, I had been in and out of hospital for self-harm and suicide attempts. I remember there being nights that I fought so hard to get away because I was tired of hospital. It wasn’t until an attempt that made me very ill and put me in the hospital that I realized I needed to do something different. My best friend at the time said to me “I want you to know, even if you hate me I will never give up on you. I truly think one day you can change lives with your story.” I cried. I didn’t understand. I had been broken from such a young age how could anyone think I could change lives?

After getting out of hospital I decided to start going back to church and eventually I got involved in youth ministry. I also was able to find an amazing therapist who has helped me learn what it means to fight, and to live a life that proves my parents wrong; that what had been said and done to me would no longer control me and I would prove their labels wrong. I also found that Genesis 50:20 became such a large part of my fight; it says “you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

I have been able to help students and show people that there is hope. Because hope is real.

I am now in college studying social work and leadership and I am involved in groups in my town and on my campus to help people and let them know they are not alone; that hope is real and they can get better.

Photo credit: Image provided by the storyteller.

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My name is Em, I am a survivor of mental illness and I want to use my story to help others and remind them that hope is real and they can get better. Know that you are loved, and the world is better with you here. You can do this, you are so much stronger than you know. with love, Em