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When I was 19, I was sexually abused by a boyfriend. I learned rather quickly in the weeks following the abuse that for me, the initial rape was not the worst part. It’s the months and years that follow in which you are forced to relive your worst nightmare everyday. Whether it be through a wandering mind in class, questions from others, unexpected and random memories, and finally my own rapist walking free because I didn't report it soon enough to have any significant evidence. Things seemed dark, hopeless, and absolutely overwhelming at times. Depression and anxiety became my natural state, and panic attacks would interrupt my already restless sleep. It was hell, and it seemed there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I had no idea who I was anymore, where I was headed, and what I wanted out of life. I had completely lost myself.

But three years and many hard days later, l can absolutely tell you that you can find yourself again. Get help. Talk to someone, reach out to those around you and find your own personal way to heal. Feel what you need to feel, and take care of YOU. Take time to learn who this new person you've become, really is. When you can, look outside yourself and towards others. Let yourself feel the love that regardless of what you or other people tell yourself, you 100% deserve. You deserve a good life. I deserve a good life.

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