A Story from Utah

My story begins towards the end of my sophomore year in high school.

(A little bit of background. I grew up in a religious family, where we didn’t talk about our feelings. In my religion, we are taught that chastity should be practiced to all but married couples. I have a family history of anxiety and depression, and I have been diagnosed with those as well.) 

My abuser, a senior, and I were both on the track team. I thought he was so tall, dark, and handsome. I loved the fact that he was a star football player and had a scholarship to play somewhere. I did everything I could that short season to spend time with him at practice since we both did the same events. I didn’t think I had a prayer with his guy. It wasn’t until he wrote his number in my yearbook, that maybe I did. 

The texts started out simple. I was in so much shock that he even was talking to me. When he asked me to hangout and watch a movie for the first time I was on air. That night he kissed me, my first real kiss. I couldn’t eat or sleep for days after that.

However. It went all downhill from there. 

The texts started to get worse. He started asking me to start sexting him. I didn’t want to but he kept insisting that he liked it. I was a naive girl and thought this is what ‘couples’ did. So I did. The hangouts turned into make-out sessions, then to heavy petting. I didn’t like that he touched me and did things to me. I felt so dirty after every one.

He never wanted to just spend time with me, we always had to be doing something I didn’t want. I always said that I didn’t want to do this stuff when we talked but he just would always find a way to make me do it anyway.

He left for school and I waited for him to come back. He only made it one semester. We picked up right where we left off.

I hated how dirty and useless I felt. Was this how relationships are supposed to feel? He was my first in everything and I just went with what he said. I thought I loved him and I did everything I could to keep his interest in me. I realized after our last session, as I laid on his bed with just my panties on, that all he had to do was hold me down and my virginity would be gone forever. He had pushed me to my absolute limit and I was just realizing it.

That’s when I decided to end it all.

I was severely depressed and I attempted suicide for the first time, I would attempt again later that year. If anyone had found out what I had done, I would be looked down upon and whatever reputation I had would be ruined. It obviously failed and I just buried my feelings and moved on.

I was in my senior year when I found out he was dating a girl who used to be on the same basketball team with me. I was so distraught as she told me about how he had treated her like a princess and made a prom just for her. Why didn’t he do that for me? I buried my feelings again and just moved on. When I was in college, he somehow got ahold of me again and was trying to get back with me. I again was overjoyed that he still ‘liked’ me. It wasn’t until I got a text from a different girlfriend of his to back off. I did as I was told. He married the girl and still talked to me, and STILL tried to get with me after he left his wife. I told him I would wait, but overwhelming guilt and sadness came upon me. I then said I wouldn’t wait and I didn’t feel right about it. I stopped talking to him for a while. 

After I married, I started a job at a residential treatment centre for teenagers. I was surrounded by other people’s trauma while trying to suppress my own.

I couldn’t help the kids if I didn’t know how to even help myself.

I fell back into a severe depression and was trying to find a way to end my suffering for real this time. I only stayed alive up to that point for my husband and for any future children that we were struggling to have. I couldn’t take the pain and guilt that I had suffered with for so long anymore. I had to get help. I told my husband everything I was feeling, everything that had happened to me. I made an appointment with my religious leader and asked him to help me get therapy.

That’s when my healing journey began.

I had no way to express how I was feeling and it didn’t help that I thought these feelings were normal.

In my future relationships, I thought that in order to keep a guy around I needed to do things I didn’t want to do.

It wasn’t until I met my husband that I found out that I was completely wrong and guys could actually respect my wishes. I learned from my saviour of a therapist that none of my experiences were normal and my feelings were valid.

I learned that I had been abused. I learned it was good to talk about your feelings and that talking about them helped tremendously.

My therapist helped me get my feelings and experiences in order and helped me to be able to live my life. She recommended getting some form of antidepressants (either natural or medical). I had tried self-medicating with St. John’s Wart and it did nothing for me. I saw my family doctor and got my antidepressants. I deleted his number in my phone for good and I will never speak to him again. 

I still have nightmares about him, but I am able to keep myself in the moment and not go back in time.

My husband has been huge in helping me stay in the moment. I am beyond lucky to find a loving man like him. Having that support system has been so helpful in my healing and I want everyone to have a support system where they feel safe and not judged for their experiences. I hope this makes sense and that my story can hopefully help someone.

~ Anonymous, Utah

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