It has been 10 weeks since we split up. We started going out just before I started uni and we went out for 9 months. We were very happy at the beginning but it all went down hill on Valentine’s Day. This was the day I told the first person (one of my lecturers) about my wrist. My boyfriend was staying over at my college, mainly as it was Valentine’s Day, but also because I had my cheer-leading competition the next day which he was coming to watch. Just before we went to sleep, I decided to tell him about my wrist as I thought it was unfair that a lecturer knew and he didn’t. He had asked about the plaster quite a few times and I had been passing it off as an accident while coking.
When I told him, he was really supportive. I felt guilty for burdening him with it as he is younger than me, I am his first girlfriend and it’s a lot to take on board. However, I assured him it was a one-time-thing, which it was at the time.
He came to watch the competition as did my mum and his mum, and our college came 3rd. This was a massive improvements as apparently, we had been disqualified in the last 2 annual comps. We should have come 2nd but we had points deducted before we even stepped onto the mat as our uniform didn’t cover our shoulders.
A few days later, he came over to stay as he had to get up early to row. We started arguing over something pathetic and it resulted in him punching me. He is 6ft5, a rugby-player/rower, whereas I am 5ft3 size6/8. (Although I realise that size and build do not necessarily matter as small women and men are just as capable of hurting others). It really hurt – I was sobbing. I know I should have kicked him out and left him then and there – but I didn’t. We just went to sleep and said nothing more about it. I thought it was just an accident and a one-time thing.
I covered the black eye up with make-up and luckily no-one noticed it, apart from one lecturer but I just passed it off as an accident when I was play-fighting with a friend.
A few days later, he stayed over again as he had early rowing practice. I had a really bad headache, as I often do, so got into bed around 11pm, which is very early for me. I was just drifting off but before I knew it, he was on top of me kissing me. I told him that I had a pounding migraine and a 9am lecture the next day but he didn’t acknowledge what I said and just continued. I started to question whether I had actually just spoken or just imagined it, so I repeated myself but nothing. I couldn’t get him off. I had a single bed at college and I was pinned up against the wall. I just couldn’t get him off. I was crying and trying to push and kick but he was just too heavy and strong. We were both virgins when we started going out and we were both very considerate of each other, spending a lot of time discussing if, how and when we wanted to take things further. This is why I couldn’t believe what he was doing. Afterwards, he just laid next to me and went to sleep. I was pinned between him and the wall. It had finished but I still couldn’t move. I just cried myself to sleep.
The next day, I went over the “I’M SORRY” scar on my wrist with my knife as I felt it was my fault and I had something to feel sorry about. I also starting cutting myself on other parts of my body as I felt as though my body was worthless and didn’t deserve respect.
To try to stop it happening again, I would try and wait for him to fall asleep before I climbed into bed, started wearing more clothes but it never worked. To keep this short, between January and June it happened a few more times and he kicked and punched me on a regular basis. It got harder and harder to cover up all the bruises, not to mention the cuts I was creating. He knew about the increased cutting but didn’t care.
I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone about what he was doing as I felt like a hypocrite. How could I tell someone that my boyfriend was regularly beating me up and forcing sex on me when I was simultaneously injuring myself by cutting? I thought, well I obviously think I deserve to be hurt as I am cutting myself, so how can I have an opinion about my boyfriend hurting me? This viscous circle, my self-hate, low confidence and detachment from reality are what kept me in the relationship for much longer that I should have been.
What is wrong with me?
I detached myself from reality – just switched off my brain. I just floated from day to day, just doing what was essential to stay alive and stopped thinking all together. One night, I was ready for bed a lot early than normal, around midnight, and instead of climbing into bed, I put my skirt and shoes back on, grabbed my purse and just ran out of my flat. My college is on the edge of Durham and I ran down the road, all the way into town. I just walked around. It was either a Sunday or in the Easter holiday, or both and the town was eerily quiet. I had walked over a couple of the bridges and decided to walk over every one. I then walked towards the viaduct – a part of Durham I am not familiar with. I got lost but didn’t care. I just kept walking. I spent some time trying to stroke a hedgehog and later, a cat. I finally found my way out of the viaduct and started walking back to college. I got some chips and started walking back. My feet were in a lot of pain as my ballet ups were rubbing so I took them off and carried them. When I got back to college, I spent some time trying to stroke some rabbits but they were too fast.
The next morning, I was not sure whether it was a dream, but when I got out of bed and tried to walk, I realised I did actually go out as my whole body ached and my feet were dirty. I did that a few more times, but often just walked all the way up to the top of the Mound (our colleges central hill) and would just sit then in just a nightshirt, looking at how beautiful Durham is at night. It would be freezing up there but I never seemed to notice. I just stopped thinking – just pretended that I was not me.
After breaking up
When I first broke up with him, I spontaneously ran all the way into town from my college, without a coat or my phone and just my purse. I went into the bar/club where I used to work at, bought one drink after another. Each time a different, random drink. I was just stood by myself surrounded by people dancing and drinking with people. I hadn’t gone out at all during Epiphany Term because of all the trouble and upset from my flatmates etc and I just didn’t feel like I deserved to have fun. I remember making out with someone random – which I would never normally consider doing -and I don’t remember anything after the 7th or 8th drink. I do however, remember waking up with some random socks and boxer-shorts on my bedroom floor. I didn’t care as I didn’t care what happened to my body as I still thought it was worthless and free for anyone to do what they wanted with. Although, I did get myself checked out a few days later and everything luckily came back clear.
A few weeks after we split up, I had to move out of college and back home. I was hoping to concentrate on getting out of my depression and on my revision – but I wasn’t able to. My mum was very depressed herself, and was constantly asking me to make dinner, do the washing, washing-up tidying etc, despite the fact I had a lot of revision I needed to do and she was just playing games or watching TV. If I said that I couldn’t or I would in a minute, she would get very aggressive. That’s why, on the first possible day I could move into my new house (1st August) I did.
The other day, my friend invited me to watch her dance and I started to say “I just need to ask…” then I realised I didn’t need to ask for his permission – I was free to do what I wanted – in reason. I was so happy when I realised that.
However, my ex’s school is on the same road as the house I am renting and my friends are not moving in until next month. A few days after moving in, I was going round the house checking all the doors and windows were locked and I found the patio doors in the kitchen were unlocked. I locked them and went up to my room to work. When I came down for something to eat, my ex was at the bottom of the stairs. I screamed at him to leave but he just smirked. I was crying and screaming at him. I couldn’t run to my bedroom and lock the door quick enough and he picked me up and threw my onto the bed. After a lot of fighting, I managed to get him downstairs and out the house. I could not sleep that night. I was in a massive 8 bedroom house by myself in a very quiet area.
What IS wrong with me? – Why am I self-destructing?
In these last few months since we broke up, I have been trying to get my head around what to make of it all. I have been trying to reconnect with the real world. The problem is, I am nowhere near normal, my exams start tomorrow and I know I have no chance of passing any of them. This means having to resit them next May so I won’t get any Student Finance and I will have to get a job/some jobs in the next few weeks as I need to earn over £170 a week just to keep on top of my rent, bills and food – not to mention my mum’s endless bills and debts – all while trying to revise for the resits.
Why can’t life be simple for once? I just want a bit of peace and happiness.
Hopefully this year will be a massive improvement on last year – especially as I am going to be living with 7 awesome people – but it is going to take time.
I shouldn’t be selfish – there are people much worse off than me all over the world. You just have to watch the news to realise that my problems are actually nothing compared to theirs.