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I haven't come from what you would call a conventional family or had a very novel life compared to many people yet I cannot blame my depression on any one event or any one person. It is the events in your life that make you stronger and my depression has certainly made me fight to be stronger even though at times there seems to be no light at the end of a long tunnel. 
I was the first child from my father's second marriage, my father had two previous children, my older half brothers whom I thought the world of at the age of 3. They were in their early teens. I recall playing with them, running through the corridors of the unit block we lived in and playing tag. I also remember hiding in my cupboard at night surrounded by my toys whilst my father yelled and hit my mother. The police were called once apparently because I was screaming so loud the neighbours thought they were hitting me. Beneath the happy photos of my childhood there were dark times and I vividly remember many of those times. 
My mother divorced my father when I was 6 and we moved. My mother was pregnant with my younger brother during the divorce and I helped raise him with her. I would look after him, play with him and sometimes I would discipline him. My mother tried so hard to make our lives fun, we didn't have much food. I remember once we had no food so we has some old pastry in the bottom of the freezer. We baked an apple pie with some tinned apples and the rest of the sugar and ate that pie for a week. I remember us all laughing and eating pie, I thought it was "desert for a week" and thought I was the luckiest girl in the world!
I used to put money in my mother's wallet sometimes without her looking, she would often be sad about money and having to work all the time. My father used to come visit us. I never knew my fathers side of the family, I saw his sister once. I met my grandfather once. He stormed into the house yelling at my mother and screaming at me then left. I still do not know what it was about. He died a few years later. 
My mothers side I knew very well yet she hated her sisters and I hated  my cousins. All in all our family hated everyone else except in our small family group. I used to miss my dad. I remember once I made him a card for father's day when i was 10. I cut out a horse picture I found in the paper and stuck it on some card with glitter. He liked betting on the horses. I gave it to him but he never took it home. I tried two more times but he just left it there. In the end I cut it up in small pieces thinking it wasn't good enough for him and he hated it. 
At the age of 12 my father got a new girlfriend. I instantly disliked her so did my mother. My younger brother (who is 6 years younger then me)  also did not like her. My mother started getting calls from men and I didn't know what to do. I always hoped they would be back together and the family would be happy. It was not meant to be this way. 
At 15 we moved to a new house closer to my grandmother on my mothers side of the family. I did not like the school, the area, I hated being there. I didn't like it at all. It was too different. We were far away from my special place, my home where I was a child. My mother also met someone she said was a friend - a male friend. She met him through work. 
I wanted a boyfriend and I met Simon. He was so nice, caring and fun. I used to sneak out to see him and he would hug me and I knew I was safe. But that all crashed and died and burnt into a smoldering ember of lies and deceit. One night I snuck out as usual to meet him and jumped in his car but his friends were in the car. I said hello and they were drinking. I had never drunk before but Simon said it was fine. So I did. He got me drunk then Simon and his friends raped me. I couldn't move, I could barely scream. All I remember was saying over and over again "I want to go home, I want to go home". They dumped me on the road outside my house and left me there. I felt used, abandoned, dirty, I hated myself for being so trusting. I used to have nightmares about it and for years I still cannot remember all the details only that it happened and I vowed to never be that way again. I blocked out the memory of that night and what happened. 
I cut off my feelings and thoughts. I became deeply depressed and began writing poetry as an outlet. Poetry is a great outlet for feelings and I often still write when I feel lonely or upset. A few weeks later I found out my mothers friend was really her boyfriend when I walked in on them kissing. My whole world was crushed once more, I was replaced by a man. I began a reckless behaviour streak that involved staying out at night by myself, not coming home, losing my temper, screaming at my mother. One day she had enough.  She kicked me out of home and told me to leave. 
I left that night and the first thing I did was scream up at the sky and laugh in a hysterical fit at the irony of it all. I was homeless -  I realised. I was still going to school at that time and continued to go to school throughout my period of being homeless. 
That first night my mothers boyfriend called and asked me to come back. I didn't and I never have gone back to live there. I walked and searched my phone until I found a number for my friend Chris. I stayed there a few nights, I then went to stay at a work mates place. He spiked my drink that night with drugs and sexually abused me. I stayed there for a week not knowing what day it was or how to escape or get out of that house. It was hell. I eventually found my phone in a locked cupboard and using an iron bashed open the door. I called someone I knew from school and they picked me up. I hadn't eaten in 7  or 8 days. My throat was dry from lack of water and food. I ate some food and threw it up. It took a while to recover physically, mentally I blocked it out, I felt ashamed, naive and felt like I could never trust again.  
I never called the police, I was scared and  I couldn't find the house again. That workmate fled the city and I haven't seen or heard from him again. I started to go to school again. I used to get food from the canteen by my friends paying me money to go for them. No one knew I was homeless except a few key friends. I would stay at their house for a sleep over or so their parents would think.  I went to the social services and tried to get  a living away from home allowance in order to get food for myself and other things to live. They said because I was not 21 years of age they could not help me or I needed my mother's permission - that was not going to be an option. I went to charities they were full. Maybe I didn't try to the right ones... I don't know.  I slept under stairs at the station, in parks, I slept under piles of clothes next to clothing bins to keep warm. I used to head to the local youth clubs and use their showers in the morning everyday before school. That I am so thankful for. I was homeless for 4 - 5 months. Its hard to recall every night. It all became a blur of cold, hunger, hiding and above all fear and despair. Would anyone really cared if I just disappeared? Who cares if a homeless person dies. No one. It was darkness loneliness and a deep dark sadness. I made a few friends on the streets. I learnt what to watch for if someone is following you and how to act like you are not homeless so police stop asking questions. I went to the kitchen van for food and stuffed bread in my pockets for the next day for my school lunch. 
I graduated year 10 and turned 16. During that time I started selling drugs at school to other people in my year to make money. I started taking drugs too and sold them to support my addiction. I felt like if I was so out of it that I didn't even realise if anyone was hurting me. I was away from the pain. I needed to get away from it all. 
I started dating and living with a guy I met through selling drugs. I started staying at his house more and more. Eventually I just moved in, I had no where else to go and he was kind, caring and told me he loved me. He was a drug addict but i felt like he protected me from the world. Little did I know that he didn't. He only loved control, and controlling me. 
I stopped taking drugs whilst living with him. Its funny how if you are around someone every day and they take drugs, I just felt like I couldn't anymore. I didn't want to. Maybe I was never addicted, but I found it easy to quit. My boyfriend was extremely jealous and yelled at me every night slowly cutting down my emotional self to the point where I felt like I was lower then dirt. Eventually I didn't cry anymore when he yelled at me. I was dead inside. There was no one inside me, just a hollow shell. Sometimes he would hit me. He would scream at me in public and then spit and hit me when we got home. 
At times I got the courage to yell back and he would break down saying he was sorry, he loved me, he didn't mean it. I stayed with him for 3 1/2 years. During that time when I was 16 I became pregnant. He freaked out, he demanded we abort the baby. Any life is sacrilege to me how could I do that? I refused. He broke my collar bone, my wrist and eventually I gave in. I couldn't protect myself how could I protect my baby? I agreed that next week I would go through with it. That day came, I recall locking myself in the bathroom and not wanting to let him in. I thought I could run away and have the baby myself. He punched the door over and over. He kicked the door open, grabbed me my the hair swearing at me, dragging me to the front of the house. I was scared. So scared I almost pissed myself. He said he would kill me if I didn't do it. At the clinic I was awaiting the operation. I got down on my knees begged for forgiveness, took a deep breath and went in. 
When it was over I felt more depressed then I had at anytime in my life. I could  live with abuse, with rape, with being homeless but i could not live with killing my unborn child. It was too much. I started self harming. I cut myself almost every night. I wouldn't eat for days. I stopped going to school. I  punished myself day after day. If my baby could have no food why should I? If my baby couldn't see the light of day why should I? I put up with the physical abuse, the hitting, the yelling and I told myself I deserved it. His control knew no bounds. Once I let him take over that was it. I couldn't even look outside the car window whilst he was driving. He always accused me of looking at other guys. He told me to stop acting so sad all the time. He told me I was a liar, a cheater, a slut, no good, a bitch. Every word I believed and punished myself with. 
One day his father bought a bird home. A pet. I decided all I wanted in the world was a pet too. I was allowed one which turned eventually into four. Four furry little animals that were mine. My babies. I could protect them, I could make them happy. They slowly made me smile again. I started to take care of something and I was good at it. I became involved in animal welfare and slowly yet surly even began making some money from an online pet business from home. I was still  under my boyfriends control. Yet late at night when my lip was bleeding or if I had a black eye, I would scoop up my pets and cry. I would cry into their fur, I would cry out all my heart ache and the wouldn't judge me. They couldn't hurt me. I loved them and they truly loved me. I had my baby back. 
In some ways I replaced what was missing with my pets. But if I didn't have them I don't know what my life would be like now. I started going to school again. I graduated with 96.7% in my final exams. I was so happy. But I had no money to go to university, I had to pay rent, bills. I went to a course instead and tried to study from home. During my studies I met someone who knew about all the abuse at home. He asked me to leave and come live with him. 
I was terrified, I couldn't do  it. However one day my boyfriend was going away. Long story short I left with my pets, and a few clothes. My boyfriend found me again and dragged me back. The police were called. I denied ever being hit because I was so scared I would be hit again. My pets went to a pet sitters house and stayed there during this time. 
My friend from study group came back to the house and took me away. I remember hearing the doorbell. My boyfriend answered and there were my friends from study. I looked at them and just walked out of that house and out of that life forever. 
My life got a little better. I started working full time and made friends with a girl called Kim. Kim was a drug addict and all too soon I was again involved in drugs. We took them in the morning at work, at lunch and after work everyday. I was living with an old high school friend who knew I was taking drugs and hated it. I started dating a few people and eventually starting playing them all against each other. I found a deep, conceited hatred for men inside me and I enjoyed making them suffer by hurting them. I found I was subconsciously taking revenge on all the men who hurt me in my life and I didn't care if I hurt them because they hurt me first. 
I cut off all my friends, I still to this day at a whim will not care if I never speak to a friend again. To me they are disposable, they are not to be trusted. Only pets can be trusted or people who earn your trust fully. I never trust men who try to use me or have an interest in me sexually. I hate them all. The only man I ever have trusted is now my long time partner, and he earn t that trust through pain, dealing with my self harm, dedication, love and patience. 
I got my pets back home. I had to house them outside, I had never housed them outside they were my family and they were indoor pets. They could not deal with the cold well especially in winter. One of them died. I remember that day, I had come back from a short holiday and found her dead. She had her eyes closed as if in pain. She died from the cold and being outside. I cried, I didn't stop crying for 3 days. I went up to the landlady who said they had to be outside and assaulted her. I punched her in the face and spat on her calling her a heartless coward. I hated her. I hated myself. All the pain of losing my baby came back. All the pain, the memories of abuse came back. I slept outside with my pets for 4 nights in  the cold. I was mad with grief. I couldn't take the pain, it was so much more then I had ever felt  or dealt with before. Cutting didn't help, drugs didn't held, crying didn't help. Nothing took the pain away. Nothing. 
I began to make a plan to commit suicide. The pain was too great. My pets were taken to a pet sitters house who could house them indoors and take care of them and be loved forever without me. Clutching the ashes of my pet I swallowed all the medicine in the medicine cabinet, all the depression medication I had saved for a month. I drank a bottle of vodka and holding my pet I prepared myself to die, I felt at peace, i felt I could just let go. 
I got scared when I couldn't see. I started going blind from the medication I took. I couldn't breathe. I don't remember much after that but I found myself waking up in hospital, feeling sick. So sick. I was told I was found not breathing, and was only saved because my friend saw the empty bottles and pill packets and came to find me. 
I was then put into involuntary psychiatric care. I stayed in a mental facility for 3 months. I remember celebrating my 20th birthday in a mental ward. I made so many friends in there. I actually recall that many of my fondest memories were in that mental ward. There was a lady who cried constantly in the bed next to me. The staff were idiots, they would only sedate people who kept crying. The next day I gave her  my book and told her to write how she felt. She stopped crying after that. We used to be surrounded my guards in the ward and in a way it was like a jail. We woke up at 6am and were pushed out of bed by the nurses. Bed at 8pm every night. The food was horrible, absolutely terrible. I ate better on the streets. But the one thing I do remember were the people. They were so young, some of them, others so elderly. The elderly woman had lost her husband and had tried to kill herself. Her family committed her. Some people were there voluntarily. There was my best friend who was being molested by his father so escaped to the mental hospital. Rus who had tried to kill himself at only 16. And Anton who was a huge guy, loved his music and wanted so badly to go home. He kept saying he was only sad why lock him up? We played monopoly everyday and ping pong. It was the best thing that every happened to me.  I actually started to trust these people. Only one is still my friend and I trust him implicitly. He knows who I am, and I him. he can talk to me and if I am in pain I talk to him. 
They diagnosed me with Bi Polar disorder. After my suicide attempt I was extremely happy, too happy. I would often crash and burn into a bout of sadness which turned  into anger which turned into a manic episode. 
 I was eventually released however I attempted suicide 3 more times. I ran away from homes and always ended up taking a train, bus or hitching a ride to the place where I grew up. I would often sit on the swing in the dark and cry  until someone found me in a crumpled heap sobbing. 
Those were dark times. I eventually met a wonderful man, whom I can say does love me. He has never once yelled or hit and tells me I'm beautiful each and every day. Slowly I learnt to respect him as a person and him me. I trust him. Which to me is a lot to trust any man. I do not know what I did to deserve his love. But I am truly thankful. I still have dark days. I do not self harm anymore, I still have my pets and even though one more has passed on I can say they are living a good life with me. I adore them. Maybe I'm a little crazy but who isn't? I now have a good job and I am healing with my mother, father and younger bother and tyring to salvage a relationship with them. Its hard. But its worth it. 
Living with depression, with memories of abuse and dealing with loss is not easy. But having loving people around you makes the difference. I wrote the below poem in the deepest state of my depression but I recall it sometimes because it helps me realise that even when I am going through a sad time now, I was much worse before and that helps me move forward. 
Trapped inside a cage of tears, 
No way out its full of fears, 
Angrily the sorrow falls, 
Breaking down these blood stained walls...
Glint of freedom in my hand
Let it slip beyond the sands, 
Time stands still
My tears do fall, 
Screaming sorrow down these halls...
Sending love to everyone, never give up.  



Copyright 2003 Beating The Beast. All rights reserved.  
Revised: 01/26/07.

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