Sarah, age 23.
"My story is always the hardest one to start. I had to work through more stresses than a lot of young teenagers do, but from reading other peoples stories I learned that things could have been much worse. At eleven years old my older brother was murdered, and it was something we didn’t expect at all. He was 22 and doing a lot of partying, and someone who had done drugs came into his house and freaked out. The night that it happened my parents got a call to come identify him, and left without telling any of us. Somehow I knew, and told my sister that is was him. Four months later my Dad got extremely sick. He has emphysema and COPD, with are like having asthma and constant bronchitis together, he describes it as feeling like you’re breathing through a coffee mixer. One night he just couldn’t breathe well at all and was having constant asthma attacks, and my mom finally convinced him to let her call the ambulance. When they finally got him to the hospital, his heart had stopped once. It stopped again while he was in surgery. They found that he had a large mass in his left lung and removed it, and later we found out it wasn’t cancerous thankfully.
I had to fight myself not to withdraw completely after this. I began cutting myself in order to deal with the stress. It was a release, and a way for me to control the way I hurt. I literally hid my issues inside myself for years. Then something happened that is still hard to speak about, and I really haven’t. When I was 14 I was date raped, and that is how I lost my virginity. It made me feel disgusting, and all the pressure inside of me couldn’t be held in anymore. At that point the people around me started to see that I was falling apart. Anywhere on my body that could be covered with clothes was cut, I started pulling my hair out to deal with being in school. I would function in school but not remember hours of it, and truthfully now I don’t remember most of that time. I ended up in the hospital from trying to kill myself.
I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and severe depression, I started on medication but after months on it I found it to be no help. After being in the hospital I dropped out of high school and started homeschooling. I tried to go back the next year, but ended up with health problems and having to have two surgeries, and dropped out again. At 16 I decided I didn’t want to end up living with my parents forever, so I did something about it. I went and got my GED. I spent time on myself. I did anything I wanted to, and kept myself happy. Anytime I did feel depressed again I fought the urge to cut myself. After awhile I came to realize that no matter how much I tried I couldn’t control everything that was going on around me, and I could only control myself. I had a lot of anger, and I realized holding it in was promoting to my problems, so I didn’t hold it in. Anytime someone pissed me off I let them know, I would think it was probably hard to live with me but it’s what I needed.
I’m 23 now, and I’m going to graduate from college next year. I have a 2 year old daughter, Delilah, and she’s amazing. Every day is no longer a struggle, but I wouldn’t say I’m completely rid of it. I still battle anti-social tendencies and depression. The hormonal roller coaster during pregnancy really affected me and I toyed with the idea of cutting. But, now that I’m stronger I saw that it was an issue and told my doctor and he put me in counseling. What I believe is that everything I have dealt with in my life has made me stronger. I believe that I will be a much better mother to my daughter because of the pain I went through."