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2018, Brooklyn Gittens, HWRA, Riverton HS, Awardee

Apr 24, 2018

Being a victim doesn’t mean that you are worth any less than before what happened to you. I myself am living proof of this. When I was a young age, I went through a traumatic experience. One that no “normal” child has or should go through. I was abused and kidnapped by my neighbor. The three years that this happened to me lead me to become depressed, suicidal, anxious, and to eventually develop an eating disorder.
At first I didn’t think that any of these disorders were connected to my abuse, but through therapy I released the deep roots that connected all of these problems. My depression started it all by not being able to express myself properly I thought of an tried to commit suicide. Thankfully I told my parents of my attempts and they took me to a facility that taught me how to identify my feelings and how to deal with them. Though this didn’t last long when I was a junior in high school, I became depressed again and developed an eating disorder. My parents took me out of high school and put me in a treatment center for eating disorders. At first I hesitated to realize that I even had a problem with food, but through therapy I was able to see that my eating disorder started because I wasn’t willing to talk about and deal with the emotional trauma of being abused.
Once I accepted that the trauma was a part of my reality, I told myself that you can’t run from your past. It always catches up with you no matter how far you run. I was tired of running from my problems, nothing good ever came from running from them in the past. Even though it scared me to face my memories of abuse I knew I had to, to be able to live my life and further my education and relationships with others. With the help of a understanding therapist, I was able to find coping skills to use when memories of my past came up in unexpected situations. I learned that I was the type of person that need to speak up about how I was feeling all the time and with everyone. Being a victim of abuse doesn’t mean that I was helpless and stuck in my situation. In fact, it was quite the opposite, I just needed to ask for support from those that have always been there for me in my time of struggle.
Knowing that I wasn’t alone in the world was the most helpful thing I learned through all of these experiences. You are never alone in your struggles. Victims of abuse think that they are the only ones that have been taken advantage of but that is far from the truth. You are never alone and you are not broken because of what happened to you. You are not weak or less of a person because of your past. You decide what you become not your abuse or trauma or mental illnesses or anyone else that tells you any different. You are strong and you will succeed, you need only the sources to do so.

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