It was this time 10 years ago that I broke free from one of the most painful parts of my life - DV. 

16 year old me.

16 year old me.

It has not been an easy road, however, it has been a long one. I can still remember every single moment of torment and pain that went on but I the struggle that I went through has only given me the strength that I have today.

No one ever thinks that they will go through that type of experience, however, it is more common that we all realise. It is so easy to hide and in that moment in time, we let fear and love prevail over our own safety. It becomes inescapable and breaking free sometimes seems so impossible and to be honest, I can't remember what gave me the courage to do what I did to stop mine, but fuck, I am glad I grew some balls that day.

If I could go back to my teenage self and give myself one piece of advice, I would tell myself to listen to my parents. They knew something was wrong, I just hid how wrong it was. I ran away from them, I went against them and I hid my pain from them because I was too young to know what type of shit I was in. They never gave up trying to help me, and honestly, that's probably what saved my life.

To think that it has been a whole decade is crazy. To think that one person's actions led me to severe depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, addiction and hate the person that I was to the point where I was a shadow of my former self for many years after is unfathomable and I could let it make me angry - but if I did, then he still wins.

Today I have 2 beautiful kids who changed the person that I became after going through a traumatic time in my life. I will do everything in my power to protect them from what I went through, and I am so grateful that I got a second (well I am probably up to my 17th chance by now) to really do something with my life. 

Here's to LIFE!

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MotherhoodLauren Patterson