Hello friends :) This is a callout to anyone who relates to my situation, and anyone who has been through mental abuse (in a relationship or otherwise) I'm Melissa and I've dreamed of studying Animation since I was 5 years old. This is my story, it's a little long but if you don't mind listening for a while, it would mean the world for you to hear me out.
When I was a child you would always find me with my head buried in sketchbooks and my eyes glued to the TV. Disney was my first love, and I knew the words to the Lion King off by heart. Not only this but I could SEE the process that artists used to draw the characters. I could SENSE the flow of their hands as they drew & I deeply appreciated the art of Animation from very early on. I became very serious about "making The Lion King 10" because I assumed thats where they would be up to by the time I was old enough to get into Animation.
My love of drawing, character design & story-telling persisted. Through primary school, I would create hand-drawn storybooks and the teachers would put them into the school library for kids to read (it was some kangaroo-inspired character, I'm not sure now!). And throughout high school you would find me pretending to pay attention to the class, while drawing Japanese anime characters whole-heartedly into my notebook. My friends would get me to scribble drawings on their skin in sharpies during sleep-overs and my whole world was about being creative and I was happy with myself.
But at 17, I had to fall in love with a boy. Not just any boy, but a boy who was going through severe personal issues at the time whose mental state was far from great. And I wanted to save him. I wanted to make his world brighter and prove to him that life was worth living. And thats when my whole world became about him.
At first he was the sweetest thing. Indeed all throughout our ten years together, he was the sweetest thing. He had squishy cheeks, curly hair & gorgeous green eyes and I adored him. We'd spend way too much time together and stay up till the craziest hours of the morning binging House & laughing our hearts out to Scrubs and some other shows. He dreamed of being a doctor so it was fun to watch Medical dramas & dream alongside him, watching his eyes light up.
But he had a dark side. A dark, depressive side that I constantly tried to pick up. I knew he had had depression from well before I met him and my little 17-18 year old self took it upon her shoulders to shield this 17-18 year old boy from the WHOLE WORLD.
I worked 5 days a week, came home, went back out to the shops to get dinner, cooked & hand-served him dinner, fed the cat, served him dessert, watched TV with him and had MAYBE an hour to myself. Within this, there was severe mental abuse going on. In a nutshell, his anger terrified me. He wouldn't hurt me, but he would slam doors, throw objects HARD, break things, stomp so loudly he could wake the dead and scream at me from the top of his lungs. He had an agenda against the world, he expected the world to change for him and when it didn't, I was his sole "support". Also, he was studying to be a doctor so his needs came first.
Beyond this, are daily events for which I can only describe as being taken advantage of. I would serve him dinner to his hands 8 times out of ten. I would then serve him dessert every single night without fail. (He would have me scooping ice cream out of 2-3 tubs every night (even in winter), even as I cried it was too cold and my fingers were getting burned, the ice cream was too hard and the scoop simply wouldn't move through it. You would think ice cream was a happy thing but for me, it became an object of control and suffering. Often my hand would slip off the metal handle and I would cut my finger on the sharp tub. And often the ice cream scoop would break on me while I was trying to scoop it. I tried adjusting the freezer setting but to no avail. And if he couldn't have it one night, he would make a huge fuss and guilt me for it. A few times, I left some ice cream out on the kitchen counter. After maybe the 3rd time, he screamed at me about it. We were not so poor off that losing $5 worth of ice cream was worth our relationship but he needed his nightly "fix" so I had to go back to the store to get ice cream.
This is just an example of how he would use me.
While balancing his world on my shoulders, my world fell apart. I couldn't keep up with bills, I couldn't look after my beloved cat, I couldn't think about my career, our home was a horders dream-come-true and I was surrounded in the filth worth three-four people every night & day. I would walk past the litter tray that hadn't been done in weeks and feel nauseous at how guilty I felt about it. I began to hate myself when I looked in the mirror. But I had no head space, my own mental state was in tatters. I was the only one holding us up (both emotionally & physically), he never cooked, if he cleaned it was a novelty, if I got him to start changing he would always revert back to his own selfishness. When things went wrong & we had 5+ hour arguments that went in circles, he would blame me for taking away his time at the end. I couldn't escape him for long enough to see that it was wrong and not worth the battle.
When I finally left him, he told me he had been using over-the-counter drugs to "get a buzz" and cope with the stress of our relationship. Which to me, was worse than cheating on me. As I was literally building universes in the home and workplace to make his world beautiful, he was in the back room getting his pathetic little "legal-loophole" fix. (Which he made clear to me was a conscious choice he made to escape our problems early on)
I came away from that relationship severely damaged and mentally exhausted. I lost myself almost entirely and developed a severe guilt complex which even now eats away at me every couple of days in the form of a panic attack (over absolutely nothing at all).
But, I also came away stronger than ever. I am at the core, a very strong person. (This is thanks to my incredible mother & my father for various reasons) I was capable of learning more in that relationship than I ever thought possible. I pushed myself so hard in the workplace that I developed critical business management/marketing skills to use for life. I am thankful of the challenges I had to overcome. And I learned to never ever give myself away to a leech like him again. He held onto me for a long time, using the fact that I was dedicated to making us work, to keep me by his side but when I broke free, I began to find my true self again.
Now, it has already been a year since I've been free of his shackles. Right up until a few months ago, he has continued trying to contact me and use me but its useless because A) For me its entirely in the past and B) I'm already in Japan finally FINALLY chasing my dream to become an animator.
I have been studying Japanese since high school & there is already a university willing to take me in so Japan has been amazing to me so far. I love it just as much as I always knew I would.
My problem is that now, at 28, I have more & more health problems arising. I didn't look after myself at all for the better part of ten years and I am struggling to keep up with my body attacking itself. I frequently experience thryoid problems, earache, SEVERE mouth ulcers & a swollen/bitten tongue, insomnia, bowel issues and of course, recurring mental issues such as guilt-driven panic attacks/paranoia. There are days where I can't talk, can't eat, can't swallow, can't think straight for hours. I am otherwise very stable and certainly compared to my ex, perfectly capable of getting back on top of my health. I am quite certain the cause of many of these health issues is that I didn't get my wisdom teeth out like I was supposed to many years ago and now its more complicated to fix than it should be, and spiralling out of control.
Nonetheless, with my body attacking itself frequently there are days where I don't know how to function and I begin to feel like I'm falling behind again. I really, really want to use my life to the fullest & not waste it but there are also days I lose courage, feel a little hopeless and I need a little extra support.
Thank you for reading my personal story. If you can, please help me get on my feet. Please help me save some money to support myself better here and better deal with my medical issues. If you were inspired by my story, I would be so greatly appreciative of your support. Even if you can't donate anything I'd even love to hear from some of you, please talk to me and tell me if you've been through anything similar or if you have any advice. I just want to reach out today and one day, hopefully you will see my name in the credits of an anime you love, or even better the director!
Thank you everyone,