When I was 17, I was sexually assaulted. I was walking down a back street and I saw a friend of mine with his friends. I stopped to talk with them and things escalated. He pushed me against the wall, held my arms down, and tried to kiss me. I couldn’t physically speak or move. His friends just stood there laughing and encouraging him. He eventually let me go and he just laughed at me and walked away. He left me there, terrified, embarrassed, and assaulted.
The next day, I told my parents to set up a meeting with the police where I told them what happened. They told me that I could either charge him or let him off with a warning. I told the police to let him off with a warning. I instantly regretted that choice when I found out he had done this to others.
I was anxious about seeing him in school and about walking home from school alone. I was worried that people would say “Why did you call the police?”, “It isn’t a big deal!”, “Why would you lie about being sexually assaulted”. Some people even said that I accused him of sexual assault because I cheated on my boyfriend and wanted to cover it up. I was anxious, terrified, embarrassed, and ashamed.
Because of this, my relationship with my boyfriend started to deteriorate. He thought that I didn’t tell the police everything so they wouldn’t charge the person who assaulted me. He started ignoring me both in person and over text. It was like I didn’t exist and like we weren’t even in a relationship. I started feeling really down about myself. I felt like I wasn’t good enough for him. I thought maybe he was embarrassed about being with me.
He eventually broke up with me but didn’t tell me why. Later I heard him saying that I was too ‘needy.’ To be told that I was needy just made me feel depressed.
This made me feel like I couldn’t open up to anybody. I became severely depressed and I started self-harming and having suicidal thoughts. I felt like I was all alone in this. I didn’t see the point anymore. I had trouble sleeping, I was mentally and physically drained, and I wasn’t eating properly.
I reached out to a family member about what had been happening and how I was feeling. They encouraged me to make an appointment with my doctor and they supported me throughout my appointment. I was diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety and was signed up for counseling. This helped me open up about my struggles and it was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t feel as alone.
Six years later, I do still struggle with my mental health but now I am in a much better place! I am in a happy relationship and I have the most amazing friends and family. I also have a full-time job that I love and I started a blog around Mental Health.
Remember, you are not alone. If you are struggling with your mental health, open up to someone you can trust because the moment you start talking, the easier it gets. Better days are coming!