Around the first grade, I began to notice that my family was poor and that my mom was very unhappy in her marriage to a violent drunk. She began to disappear for days at a time, leaving me to take care of my siblings and get beat by my dad for not giving him another drink. Summer after first grade, my aunt took us in. It was the first time in about a year that I was able to hang out with my cousins again without worrying about my next meal. One night that summer my uncle took advantage of me and threatened to kill me if I told anyone and so I kept quiet. By the end of summer our dad took us back to our house, but didn’t stick around and our grandma had to take us in.
She had always been mean to my dad because of his drinking problem and she transferred that anger at us. She fed us whenever she felt like it and needed no reason to beat us everyday. But the worst thing she ever did was let the police take us away.
My sister and I were placed into an orphanage different than our brother. He was the closest family member to me and the only person who knew that I had been raped. He was born with cerebral palsy and because he never received treatment he wasn’t able to speak. I experienced my first suicidal thought at the receiving center after a month of no visits from family and no prospect of being reunited with our brother. I was 8 years old and I wanted to die more than anything in the world.
The depression continued to eat at me throughout the 3 and a half years I spent at the orphanage. I went from denial to anger to just numb. I did well in school, but was terrible at interpersonal relationships. Getting into fights, lying, and stealing, I trudged on.
My sister and I were adopted when I was in sixth grade by an American couple. They intended to adopt my brother with us, but the court didn’t allow him to leave the country because of his illness. The last time I saw him was in fifth grade. His condition was getting worse and I hated myself for leaving him, but I also wanted our younger sister to have a better childhood than we did. Upon moving to America and discovering the amazing resources here, I vowed to bring my brother and give him the help he never received from our family.
My depression got the worst of me when I was in 9th grade as I started to abuse alcohol. In 10th grade, I ran away from home and attempted a many suicides all under the nose of my parents. When they finally realized how long I had been feeling like this, they hospitalized me. After graduating high school, I went off to college, all with the hope that the degree would get me a good job and enough money to bring my brother here.
Four months ago, I received news that my brother committed suicide. To this day I am in denial about it and have no idea how I’m supposed to continue living. But, I am. I’m alive after everything and not a single day goes by that I don’t think about what it would be like if I wasn’t around.
Every day is a battle and sometimes it’s tempting to give up and put down your armor. But tomorrow is a new day and even if you feel beat today, there’s hope that tomorrow you’ll win.