I endured years of child sexual abuse from age 3 to around age 10, but over the course of my healing journey, I have met a number of people who have brought me strength when I have needed it the most. I met my now wife who has been by my side and supported me through all of it.

There have been times when I felt like life wasn’t worth living. Whenever I experienced flashbacks and triggers, my hands would shake, my head would spin, and I’d feel overwhelmed by fear, sadness, anger, etc. Sometimes I’d feel like I was reliving past trauma and I’d ask myself “why can’t I just be normal?” But is there really such a thing as normal?

At times I still struggle a great deal. Sometimes, it feels like no matter how much work I do and no matter how hard I try, my depression and symptoms of PTSD seem to consume me. I have gone through therapy and have done outpatient programs about once a year. These programs have taught me skills to work through symptoms such as anxiety, uncontrollable crying, sleeplessness, night terrors, dissociation, etc. With the support of my therapist, I have worked through some really painful memories. By talking about the past, I was able to find and rebuild myself little by little. I was able to eventually go back to school and finally achieve my dream of becoming a pediatric nurse.

Today I continue to rebuild. I currently live with my wife and my emotional support dog, Luna, and we are expecting a baby girl this December. I want the world to know that a history of child sexual abuse does not define a person. There is much more to me than that. At the same time, I want people to know that everyone has a story, and we don’t know what anyone else is going through. We need to treat each other with respect and kindness. What you may see on the outside doesn’t necessarily match what may be going on with someone on the inside.