I never thought it would be me. I never would have imagined that this would happen to me.
I was sitting in the police department with my roommate, shaking. I was filling out a form. It was late at night, probably 10 pm. Late October, right before Halloween. It was that time of year where it was finally starting to get cold out.
I felt weak and strange. The fluorescent lights in the police station were bothering me. Fluorescent lighting always bothered me, I never liked it. But now, it made things even more depressing than they already were.
I felt uncomfortable and awkward. I felt ashamed. My roommate most likely didn't want to be here. I didn't want to be here. I wanted to be at home. My new home. Or was it my old home? It was supposed to have been my home along- where I was supposed to be living all along.
I just wanted to get home, start unpacking everything and get some sleep... Oh wait, I still had homework to do. It was a Thursday night. I think had a test the next day.
I hadn't studied at all, I barely knew what we were learning about. The test was sort of the last thing on my mind. School hadn't been a huge part of my life for the past two months.
He had had almost complete control over my life. He had driven us everywhere in my car. Him driving my car had been a thing since we started dating. One day I said I was tired of driving and that he could drive, and that sort of just stuck from then on.
When we lived together, the keys were always with him. If I tried to get them, he would do everything to get me away from them. He'd run after me, push me into walls. He had put subs in my car that I didn't want. They were all for him.
I had known him since high school. He was known back then to be a rebel of sorts, he always got in trouble at school or with the law.
Then, he had sort of drifted off the face of the earth after high school. Then, he came back but sort of quietly. He lived somewhere else, with his mom and stepdad and worked at a job where his uncle was the owner.
A mutual friend of ours had set us up again, and we hit it off. We had a lot of things in common and we bonded over old times and the things that we had in common.
Quickly, we started dating. The signs started to appear, but I ignored them. The signs included him asking me to tell him that I was hanging out with a guy before I went and did it. He was jealous of me hanging out with the ONE guy friend I had. He was jealous of the relationship I had with my now deceased male best friend. He was dead. In the ground.
He would send multiple text messages in a row. And when I didn't respond because I was busy, he would send even more messages. He would freak out, and think I was ignoring him.
There were times he told me he hated me when I didn't do anything; times he told me we were done when I didn't do anything, and then take it back and say he was sorry.
He was paranoid. He used his mental illness as an excuse for his abusive behavior. He claimed he had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, manic depression paired with an anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and PTSD. I don't know if he had these or not, but, nonetheless, he was a very unstable person.
He was doing all this freaking out stuff even when I had a terribly debilitating UTI. I was shivering in my bed uncontrollably, sweating, had a fever of 104, intense pain all throughout my body especially my back, and was throwing up. This happened four times while we were dating, and I eventually realized that these UTIs were from the stress and abuse he caused me.
He was very dependent on me emotionally and physically. He had to be with me as much as he could.
After the summer, he wanted to be with me where I was going to college, so he found a job there and decided to move with me when I left for school. This should have been another red flag. His job was as a security guard at the library on campus. This should have been yet another red flag.
You would think his paranoia and aggression got better when he was able to be closer to me, but it didn't. It got worse. He saw what my life was like at college. I had a social life. Roommates. Friends. And for some reason, he didn't like that. He wanted me all to himself.
The first time he physically abused me was a week after I moved into my new apartment with my new roommates. I can't even remember what the fight was about, but he got mad at something little and tore my poster of the bedroom wall. He pushed me into a wall and bit down on my shoulder. His excuse was that he hit his knee on the desk and bit down on me in response to the pain by accident.
Soon, he convinced me to move my stuff to his apartment. It would be the dream, we could smoke pot anywhere we wanted, live as a couple. Plus, he needed some help to pay rent.
My car became his car. My car keys were his. My things were his. Sometimes I would be late or miss class because he wouldn't take me, or because he was busy abusing me. Sometimes I didn't want to go to class because of the bruises and marks he left.
He always got mad at something little. Like seeing a guy friend coming up and talking to me. He got mad, tried to chase me, and pushed me to the ground. Two girls from afar on campus saw this and yelled at him to not touch me. They called the cops on him. The cops came to campus. He swore up and down he did it by accident—I believed him, so the cops did too.
He would push me into walls, as I said before. He would use his fingernails to scratch my legs. He would hold my face and neck so hard that it hurt so much. That it would leave bruises. He would scream in my face at the top of his lungs, shaking. One time he took a pillow and stuffed it over my face. He took a piece of paper and balled it up and tried to stuff it down my throat—all because my brother wanted to go out to dinner with me. He would pull my hair and throw me down on furniture.
He would ask me who I was trying to look good for. He would tell me I could lose weight. He would tell me things like this to break me down because he was so insecure himself.
People ask, why didn't you get out sooner? Why didn't you ask for help?
They just don't know, do they?
If I picked my phone up for a second, he would ask what I was doing. He would search through my phone. Sometimes, he would take my phone and throw it somewhere, so I couldn't find it. He was much stronger than I was. His fury was worse if I was caught trying to run away. Every time I tried to call someone, he would answer for me and say it was a mistake and that his girlfriend was kidding around.
But finally, I was able to get out when he got mad about a guy that texted me. I had the chance to get my phone from him and text my roommates and tell them what was happening.
He was to follow me to my apartment with my things and not come on the property. If he did, my roommates would call the police.
He claimed he left something in my apartment and he refused to stay in his car and came on the property. The cops were called, but he was gone by the time they came.
And here I was, three hours later, sitting in the police department with the fluorescent lighting; filling out a form for a restraining order.
"There must be two offenses for a restraining order to be processed."
"1ST OFFENSE: PHYSICAL ABUSE."
My phone buzzed. He was texting me.
"2ND OFFENSE: HARASSMENT POST ABUSE."
I finally had the power in my hands. I had my freedom back. I may be broken, but I can pick the pieces back up. If I can come back from this, I can come back from anything.
Goodbye creepy house with the roaches crawling out from the walls and cupboards. No more secret life my friends and family didn't know about. No more trembling in front of the one who supposedly loved me.
He wasn't going to have control over me or my life. No one was ever going to do this to me again. I was determined.