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WelcomeBack 06-03-13 08:04 AM

I've been set free
I'm merely posting this in the hope that a few of you might glance through it and gain a little bit of hope in your own lives.

I'm 23 and I grew up in a broken home. I've been physically and sexually abused by several family members at different stages in my life. My parents had wanted me to be a girl and so the fact that I wasn't has made them disappointed. In some ways I was still raised as a girl and this coupled with my abuse has lead to gender confusion.

I was a troubled youth. I abused myself and was angry and violent. I sucked at making friends. My lack of self-worth, shyness, poor clothing and being overweight all contributed to making other kids mock me. My first best friend betrayed my secrets and got other kids to laugh at me even more. I shut everyone out, for my father was too busy drinking and my mother was too busy setting high standards and being disappointed.

I was introduced to alcohol, sex and low-key drugs long before the legal age. I had lost the capacity to mix with anyone other than crappy, messed up people like myself. Older people who could get me the alcohol I needed to get rid of the shyness so I could fit in.

Somehow, I scraped through highshool and was put into university doing a degree I didn't want to. My parents had dismissed my dreams and made me take up management. When the money ran out I had to turn to doing it via self-study, which is difficult to do in a crappy home environment.

Over the years I've done odd-jobs to get money to fuel my habits. I've had sexual experiences with men and women and most are hazy, half-remembered encounters while being under the influence. A few years ago I toyed with the idea of getting a sex change, so great was my confusion. It's been around these years that I began trying to kill myself. I've tried more than 10 times in various manners. I've ended up with over 70 permanent scars on my body, from failed attempts, from self-abuse and from poor decisions made while under the influence.

When I was 19 my second best friend committed suicide. I will never get over it. The aftermath began to spark a change in me though, and not long afterwards I realised I will never kill myself and leave others to deal with that pain.

A friend of mine in highschool who was part of a group of nerds stuck with me through all of this. He did not take part in the drinking and all of that however. Through him I began to be exposed to a group of people who played games together for fun and who had honest enjoyment without using illegal drugs or sleeping around. However, I never really appreciated them until recently.

Things have mostly begun to change since last year, when I was diagnosed with serious health problems. I became convinced that after all this time I was going to die. I went off the edge. It was only when, on new year's I woke up in a person's back garden who I didn't know, with scrapes and bruises all over me and a terrible hangover that I realised I had to change. It had gone far enough.

I quit smoking. It lead to a few days of withdrawal. I'll never not miss it, or miss the high from a few other things I've tried over the years. I then swore to myself I'd quit drinking. Drinking has been how I've defined myself. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to give up. I spent two months dealing with the fallout, crying and shuddering on my bed, going to the toilet 10 times a day, throwing up, having a constant taste in my mouth that only one thing could take away. But I did not give in and have been alcohol free for almost 6 months.

I've started casting aside many of the terrible friends I have, who've been pulling me down and making me do crappy things. I do not need them. I need decent people in my life. I'm not an amazing person but I've learned to accept that I deserve a chance. My current third best friend (the nerdy one I met in highschool) has been integral in helping me realise that.

My life is hard. Almost every day is a struggle. But this semester I'm trying to graduate. I'm going to get a permanent job and I'm going to get my dad out of our lives. I exercise and I'm losing weight, trying to stay healthy. I still have a measure of depression in my life that makes me doubt myself and think other people are only out to hurt me. I'm working on it though. I'm learning to accept that people can enjoy my company and love me for who I am, not what the alcohol used to make me. I've also learned to accept that despite how I've been brought up, I'm a man. A man who doesn't need to be angry and violent.

If things go as I hope, I'll be getting the chance to do a lot of things I never was able to growing up. I want to take self-defense classes. I want to learn how to dance properly. I want to go hiking. I want to go camping. I want to do more charity work because there's so many people out there who have it worse than me who also deserve a chance.

If I can end this off with a final thought, it's that life is what you make of it. There's always two choices to make:
1) Live in the past and be haunted, while you stay under the blanket of depression and let each day pass by
2) Realise that your life has value, can change and can offer you a lot of enjoyable experiences
I hope you choose the second one. Take care people.

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