On Wednesday, October 7, 2020, I had the opportunity to speak on the radio about being a DV abuse survivor. It was for 106LiveRadio and DV Awareness Month — I am so grateful for the opportunity! If my story can make a difference for even just ONE person, I have succeeded! #106liveradio #dvsurvivor

With that being said, those who have never been in abuse have no idea the preparation and mental stamina it takes to speak up as a survivor. For days prior, we have to delve back into that dark place and it’s really a place that we don’t want to take a trip back into. The nightmares and night disturbances come back as we prepare and steel ourselves, which usually disturb our current significant others as they try to sleep (God bless him!). The day of, we talk about our journey and answer questions — and look/sound confident doing it. BUT, we feel blah and annoyed afterwards and for a day or so after that. Then, we hope, life resumes as usual, or as usual as it can. Again, God bless our loved ones for putting up with it! They know we have to get that out…

You might ask, “why do you put yourself through it?” Well, while people who have never experienced this might not understand, it’s very simple: I do not want ANYONE to EVER experience violence or bullying. NO ONE has dominion over another like that. I want to give comfort and inspiration to those currently going through it, give support to other survivors, and educate those who have never experienced it (so they can be more understanding and empathetic to those going through it). It’s bigger than me. Period. Plus, my therapist says the more I talk about it and face it, the smaller the hold it has over me, as I face it and grow from it. Things done in the dark HAVE to be brought to light. I cannot let abuse dampen my spirit. She’s still there, this fighter that I used to be. I have to make myself uncomfortable so I do not become numb and lifeless.

If you support a friend or loved one currently going through abuse, please do not judge them. Listen to them. Help them. They have to break free when they’re ready, when they have finally had enough. I had to be shot at to leave and beaten into a TBI. Just let them know you care and are there for them, but that they MUST get out. If they go back, still support them. This toxic bond is hard to break. I try hard to communicate this to my boyfriend: it is definitely not a desired environment, but it’s one that we are SO familiar with and know what to expect. It is weird that that is “normal” to us, but it was our life for so long and knowing what to expect, even in a violent environment, is a weird “normal.” Safety is good, but a new life can be scary because we DO. NOT. KNOW. WHAT. TO. EXPECT. That in itself can be intimidating and cause so much anxiety — like I said, I know it sounds insane, but that is what we feel as victims/survivors. Just constantly assure us we are safe, love us, and tolerate our moods. Trust me, we are really trying…being trapped inside this prison-like brain is dark and talking about it to others helps me to let light in.

Love and light!