MH Month 2018 - Karen - Feature Image (2)

Meet Karen, a client in our Long Beach Intensive Services program. She’s the first of four clients that we are honored to feature during May Mental Health Month. This is her inspiring letter of overcoming obstacles and discovering the superhero within.

Since 2011 and several times prior to that I was abused. Emotionally, mentally, verbally, but mostly physically. I couldn’t control my heart. I thought I was in love. I was broken down and told how I wasn’t good enough. I was told nobody would want me. That I was crazy and it was always my fault. I was blamed for the abuse. I was told I brought it upon myself. I wasn’t strong enough to leave. I was weak and manipulated to think they could change. I believed the sorry’s every time. I thought I wasn’t going to make it on my own as a single mom.

So I covered up bruises and black eyes. I had many sleepless nights from the pain and agony my body endured. I was depressed and had suicidal thoughts. Ending my life would mean I wouldn’t have to go through this anymore. It was my way out. The easy way. I was dumb to think that would make a difference. They wouldn’t care if I died. They didn’t care when they hit me. How could I allow this? I can’t keep screaming silently. No one can hear my cry for help.

I prayed for signs. I didn’t realize how blind I was until I saw my daughter look down at her mommy crying on the floor in the restroom. He stood over me and just held her. He allowed my daughter to witness the assault. I allowed it.

That’s the moment I realized I had to be brave and put an end to this. I didn’t want her to be like me. She’s my second chance. I want her to have a voice. To know her worth and not let anyone make her feel any less. I want my boys to learn how to treat a lady. Gentlemen is what they’ll be.

2015 was the last time anyone put their hands on me. 2016 was the last time anyone called me names, put me down, or threatened me. It took me 10 years to break that cycle. I’m 28. I can’t tell you how much of a difference I’m experiencing. I am happy. Correction! Beyond happy. Love found me. Love that I didn’t think existed. I feel safe. I’m comfortable. I don’t have to pray for a fight-less night. His love warms my body and feeds my soul. This man is my hero. I thank God every day. A year full of love and happiness. I’m free. I’m relieved. I WON!

The Guidance Center made an irrevocable impact on who I am. Thank you for all your time, compassion, and love you pour into this profession. I want you to know that I would not be the person I am today without the strong messages I learned from our sessions.

Forever grateful,

Karen DeAquino