How a Mother Saved Herself and Her Children From The Doorstep of Despair

"For a long time I hesitated sharing my story…because I was embarrassed to have a story. I was embarrassed to be called a “victim”. It wasn’t until someone called me a survivor, that my mentality and perspective changed. I chose to share my story so that others can have hope. I felt alone, and it took accepting that I wasn’t, for me to think about sharing my story. I found that there are resources, helping hands, and caring hearts out there. I got hired at a local contractor in July of 2021. This job felt like the opportunity I had prayed for. Upon getting hired, I was living in a hotel with my 3 kids aged under 6. I had no vehicle and no stable income. My immediate family was also already dealing with a lot. My mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and her health declined quickly. My relationship with my parents was very strained due to substance abuse on my part. I didn’t feel I could speak to anyone about what I was going through, so I bottled it all inside. I endured 8 years of mental and physical abuse by the father of my children. In just the prior year I had suffered over 6 miscarriages alone. This all took a toll on my physical and mental health. I struggle- and continue to struggle- with PTSD, anxiety, and MDD. This brought on uncontrollable vomiting and other side effects. I wasn’t living at this time, I was surviving.

The first person to understand something was wrong and see beyond my wounds was my supervisor. She hired me and gave me the opportunity to prove myself. She was the first person to ask me if I was okay. Not only would she ask, she helped me mean it! She helped me face the root of my issues…my children’s father. When I tried to work, my ex would control how I would get to work. He would follow me there on days he didn’t take me. He would constantly call my job and harass me. He made holding down a job more difficult than it already was for a struggling single mom. I had lost plenty of jobs because of him. I was clinging onto this job hoping he wouldn’t ruin this opportunity.

My supervisor gave me the push and confidence I needed to not only file a restraining order against him, but to stick with it as well. She heard me when I told her I want to be a strong hardworking mom and an asset to a company I love. She helped me understand and admit that I needed help. The kids and I went into a domestic violence shelter and I started to fight for our future.

I started to receive treatment for my mental health. Since I had abused drugs most of my teen years, I had no idea how to cope with any feelings. I had no idea how to process all the pain my mind and body had endured. All I knew was I had to make a change to save my life. I started with treatment and speaking to a therapist. Then I hit a bump in the road. I lost my grandfather, aunt, and cousin in the same year. I had to learn to grieve and stay sober, while also healing from the wounds of physical abuse. It felt like a test at a point in my life when I didn’t know if I was strong enough to hold on. Well I was.

“Your deepest pain empowers you to grow into your highest self”

While dealing with my mental health I still had to be a mom. I had a baby in daycare and two girls in elementary school. It took a lot of walking, riding the bus, Lyft/Uber, and carpool to get to the places we needed to be. The journey was harder than I had ever imagined.

I felt embarrassed most days showing up to work and thinking I was going to be judged by my supervisor and coworkers. Everyone saw past the broken person I’d become. They all believed in me and helped me to believe in myself as well. Every time I felt like quitting I realized I had a group of strong empowering women holding me up. Each and every one of my coworkers has been my “village”.

I started to walk with more confidence. I found resources out there for single moms. I was able to heal my relationship with my parents as well. In order to make things right with my parents I had to open up to them and let them in on years of hidden abuse from my ex, to my own substance abuse. I had to become vulnerable. Being honest and opening up to my family and myself were part of my biggest fears. Accepting my fears and understanding what I needed to do helped me grow. My parents began to understand me, my struggles, and I continued to heal.

With the support of my “village” I was able to purchase my first car in 2022. My kids and I finally had our own mode of transportation. I continued on with treatment and prioritized work and being the best mom I can be. My journey has been a roller coaster! PTSD, anxiety, and MDD are very hard to live with. I am in a constant battle with myself daily. However, I am constantly reminded of the amount of strength it takes from me to push through my panic attacks, depression, sometimes even making it through the day. I try to remain focused on the plan and the goals I have set for myself and my kids. I am holding onto our future and I am going to get us there. Reassuring myself of that has slowly gotten easier to do.

Recently, I was able to provide a home for my kids in 2023. Our own place, finally, and a place where it is just us. My little family had a place to be in peace, comfortable, and happy! Now as I sit in our new home the pain, the struggle, and all of the tears were worth it. I can now actually say I am living, not just surviving. I am grateful for my village and the support I have found in my family at my current employer. Even though my journey is far from over, I can now walk with more confidence and inner peace.
- Anonymous
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