I am a victim of many types of abuse including physical, emotional, domestic, cyber and revenge porn. It all started when I was a young girl, my mother would attack me on a daily basis, and she would hit me constantly until I would bleed, stopped me from going to school after giving me a black eye and would make me wear sunglasses if we needed to go to the shop.

I was always her last priority, I have memories of before I even started school and she would be on her computer, on dating websites all the time, until she met someone who lived in the states. She sold all my toys at about 4/5 years old and told me I was too old to play with toys - she did this so she could afford our plane tickets to America. So when I was 5 years old I met my step dad. Little did I know I was meeting my second abuser. So the abuse continued for many years, as well as attacking me they would attack each other, my step dad was an alcoholic.

They would constantly fight, I was so young that they would manipulate me into thinking I was a bad person, and so I thought I deserved all of this, and never told anyone. My mum decided to move back to England with me, my younger brother and sister with £200 to her name when I was 8 years old, we were homeless and broke, I was sleeping on a lilo for a month at a friend of my mums, the emotional and physical abuse was still ongoing, she would only do it when no one was around, obviously, except my younger brother and sister who witnessed a lot of this.

My step dad cheated on my mum and she went a little crazy after this, countless men would come to our house, a different one every week. Following all of this I was quite a damaged child, very shy and reserved in school, scared of rejection from everyone. I stuck out like a sore thumb a lot of the time, I was bullied for the way I was. People would say 'why do you never talk' truth is I was incredibly awkward as I was never shown how to interact with others. People thought I was 'rude' for the way I was, I've felt misunderstood my entire life.

This story is getting a bit long now but basically my dad took me in after I had the courage to ring him for help, he is great, he's given me a second chance at life. Getting into secondary school and college, towards the end of school I started getting attention from boys, something I had never experienced before. I remember thinking 'wow, someone actually likes me!'

As soon as I got a dose of this it was hard to stop, I never had love as a child and so I was subconsciously seeking this love from boys, I was too naive to realize most only want one thing, and ended up getting my heart broken a lot. My first proper love broke my heart, and I wasn't the same after this. This is when the suicidal thoughts started, followed by a few attempts (it wasn't pretty.) looking back I think I was always a little depressed, but I didn't know how to tell someone, I didn't think it was valid at the time of my abuse.

I managed to move on and found someone pretty similar to me, who had been through a lot himself. There was a strong bond between us, however two people with mental health problems don't mix well, and I decided we weren't good for each other because of this. We were both doing lots of drugs, illegal things like driving on ketamine, and overall were complete messes. I broke it off between us in April 2017 and by May, he was uploading explicit pictures I had sent him, from my own twitter account. He also tweeted a lot of false statements which made me look like an awful person. Luckily the pictures were only up for a matter of minutes, but the amount of messages I received show how many people actually saw them. I was so embarrassed, I felt completely insecure, I didn't want to go out, I isolated myself, and I wanted to die.

He also spread a lot of rumors about me saying I cheated on him, which was in no way true. A lot of things people didn't know about him was that he was very good at lying, to the point of specific detail. This is also a reason why I broke up with him, you can't be with someone you can't trust at the end of the day. Following this, on my birthday, 9th June 2017, he committed suicide by hanging. I was devastated, distraught, confused and felt extremely guilty. I knew he was mentally ill but I never expected that, I received a lot of messages blaming me for his death. It was a very difficult time, the fact it was on my birthday also, really hurts.

After that, drugs were a daily ritual for me, I began someone completely different, I went to university in September 2017 without giving myself time to heal from everything that had happened, obviously this was a mistake and I became a little bit mental. Something good that came out of it though, I had a huge epiphany. I woke up and realized what had happened, and what I was doing with myself. I realized that the only thing drugs are good for is ruining your life, and I simply didn't want to be the way I was anymore. I began doing a lot of research into my symptoms, ways to beat depression etc.

I came back from uni with a completely different mindset, I was thinking I want to get better and I'm going to get better. I was bound to have a depressive phase after what I had experienced, but now is the time to improve myself and accept everything. I'm now receiving CBT and after that some therapy for my past trauma and tragedy. I’ve been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and I've been really good at taking my prescribed meds every day, I'm searching for a job, and I've realized that everything is a process, especially healing from such a horrific thing.

I’ve accepted that everything I've been through has shaped me to the person I am today, and honestly, I could have been so much worse. It's phenomenal how far I've come since last year. I'm slowly starting to love myself and not rely on anyone to show me I'm worthy. Life is short, rare and beautiful. I'm 19 years old and I have my whole life ahead of me.

To anyone who has experienced abuse or tragedy, life gets so much better when you start to think positively, and you are an important person. And to young girls/boys - stop comparing yourself to people on social media. Looks fade, character lasts forever. Stop feeling unworthy just because you don't look like the Kardashian! They are fake, you are real.

K. Gates

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