This is my story—of oppression, of getting through, of moving on—my survival story.
Looking back on the events of my life, I realize that the hurt I’ve dealt with was due to extreme neglect as a child. Our parents’ loved their children to the best of their ability; however, my mother suffered from major depression, to the point where she was slowly giving up on life. And, in my father’s case, his own father had left him when he was young.
A Survivor of Neglect
No one had taught my mother and father how to be good parents. As a child, I had very little to no supervision. My mother was very carefree with us. One memory I retain was when I was four years old. I was swimming in a lake, and a neighbor frantically called my mom to let her know I was out there.
My mother’s response was to ask her to just send me home. To this day, my family and I laugh about it, but looking back, it was extremely neglectful on my mother’s part.
As I started school, kids were very mean. I was teased, spat on; I was not picked for teams in gym, and I often sat alone at lunch. Teachers would not say anything to stop it. I felt scared to go to school and terrified to ride the bus. I truly hated elementary and middle school. I hardly had any friends, and the ones I thought were my friends were often two-faced.
In seventh grade, I was at a friend’s house, in her basement, and a girl with rings on physically beat me up, holding me down and punching me repeatedly in the face. There was a boy watching and swinging a knife around, laughing. Then I had to walk two miles home in the dark, alone, after being beat up. When I got home, my mother was lying in bed, asleep, with no idea I hadn’t been home.
Inner Strength In Spite of Her Bullied Past
Looking back, I was severely neglected, and it wasn’t a nurturing, caring living environment. When my mother was not working, she was sleeping. Now and then she did things to take care of us, but most of the time, we ran the streets and fended for ourselves.
Sadly, she passed away from breast cancer when I was thirteen.
Over the years of neglect, I developed many insecurities.
I now realize the trauma I dealt with made it difficult to socialize with other children as well. My sisters and I came from a poor upbringing, and I truly believe that is one of the reasons as to why I was made fun of and rejected growing up.
Many years later, I was diagnosed with ADD/OCD and anxiety. I had these brain-based challenges my entire life but did not realize it at the time.
The Effects of Trauma
OCD/ADD causes individuals to be impulsive, to have less patience around others, and to overthink everything. These tendencies can cause people to react to you in a way you may not deserve, but it’s unfortunately a result of struggling with mental health issues.
These issues were key as to why I heavily grieved over losing my mother, why I chose relationships that kept me feeling “vulnerable,” and why I always felt so alone.
I even allowed my ex-husband to control everything in our marriage. I wanted to feel safe, but this led to various forms of abuse. In 2015, I became a single mother, and even though I was scared of failing and struggled financially, I had to learn how to do everything on my own. Though difficult, I became a strong woman and a mother, and I was finally happy.
These foundations of my identity, as well as my faith, helped me feel secure and that true hope could be fulfilled. To this day, I still struggle with self-esteem issues, anxiety, and some seasonal depression; however, I choose to see other people’s needs instead of focusing on my own negative emotions.
The Courage to Leave an Abusive Marriage
My goal is to use my past hurts to bring them hope. I have a motto for myself: “I’m the glass half full kinda girl.”
Year ago, when I shared my story, others would often say, “I don’t remember you being bullied, when/who bullied you?” Questions like these caused me to question the validity of the pain I felt and made me think I had no right to use the word “abuse/bullied” to describe my pain.
However, as I dealt with all of the denial, anger, blame, sadness, and grief over the years, I realized I indeed had the right to feel everything I did, and no person could take that away from me.
That emotional strength and security has made me want to make a positive out of EVERY negative. Recently, I reached out to the girl that beat me up in the seventh grade and I reminded her of the events that happened. She did not even remember and explained how much hurt she was going through at the time.
She apologized, I told her I forgave her, and now we are friends and talk from time to time. So you see, I chose to use my pain to inspire others and show them that there IS hope, no matter what you go through in life.
Sometime it is as simple as saying hello to random people on the street, calling others by their names, making sure to wear a smile often, and going out of my way to be a friend to ANYONE who needs one. This is especially important to me, since I lost my brother in 2018 to suicide.
I know I suffered a lot of loss and hardships in life, but I know that others have suffered quite a lot more. We all experience different things, and what’s important is not how others think we’ve lived, but instead how we ourselves experience life.
I TRULY believe if I can share—or sing, a passion of mine—my story and save a life or even inspire one person, then it makes it worth going through all of this pain and coming out the other side.
A Passion for Music
Heide has a lovely singing voice! You can check out her single, “Bulletproof,” here!