A Survivor’s Story: Recovery

A Survivor’s Story: Recovery

When I was 16, my life ended. I know that sounds dramatic, but in essence it’s true. The person I was died and I became somebody new. A person I didn’t always like, or recognize, but me nonetheless.

I was a child and in love for the first time. My boyfriend, however did not feel the same way, he wanted to own me, body and mind. He wanted to control me and see how far he could make that control go. One night he and his best friend brutally assaulted me and left me for dead. That was the beginning of the end. What followed was years of self-harm, drugs, alcohol, and sex with random people. Anything to forget who I used to be and stop the pain.

One day, after a particularly rough night, I realized I couldn’t keep this up or I would literally die. I wouldn’t live to become an actual adult. So, I did the only logical thing I could, I joined the military, ran away and never looked back. Totally normal, right?

Flash forward 13 years, I have a career I’m proud of. I have an amazing husband who has put me back together more times than I can count, a man who supports me in anything I do and truly loves me. Together we are raising 2 awesome, self-confident, and way too smart for their own good kids.

In no way is my recovery easy, nor is it complete. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, Depression and Anxiety. I take medication every day in order to function, I go to therapy and spend entirely too much time crying on her couch about the child that died that day. I wake up sobbing at 3 a.m. next to my poor husband who holds me and comforts me when all he really wants to do is sleep. I go behind that same insanely patient husband and re-check all the locks. I still have days where I sit in the car for 45 minutes, working up the courage to go grocery shopping. I’ve found that headphones and music work great to keep me calm in the store.  I still have trouble completely accepting that what happened is in no way my fault (it drives my therapist crazy). More days than not, it’s a struggle just to get out of bed and some days I still lose that struggle. Thankfully on those days, my family understands and leaves me alone to curl up in bed, with my dog and watch Doctor Who all day.

Every day is a step forward on a long, rough, tiring road and I’ve wanted to quit many times, even now. I will never be “normal” again, I will never be that 16 year old, in love for the first time. However, with the help of a lot of understanding, patient people who love me, I’m pretty ok with the person I am today.


Story submitted by Kimber Lewis Bergstrom. Kimber is a writer and part of RAINN Speakers Bureau. Her poem “WHY” was featured in our October 2016 Languages of Abuse production.

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