Friday, April 3, 2015


I was seven when life started getting the best of me. Sounds foolish because I was so young, but it is relevant. I was always viewed as the 'black sheep' in my family. I was shy, kept to myself, wore black all the time and shut everyone out of my life. I was in third grade when I seemed to have attracted the undesired attention of my neighbor and his older brother.

One day while I was presumably home alone taking a nap after school, Alex and his older brother decided to hold me against my will and take my innocence. Subsequently, I was brutally raped for six years by them both. Shortly after my thirteenth birthday their family moved to Northern California. I should have been happy but it put me into even more of a depression, one I did not understand. I kept this a secret for as long as I could, but I was starting to display all the signs of depression. I had trouble with intimacy, whether it be hugging family and being in their presence or being in a relationship. Happiness also seemed to repulse me. Even daylight seemed to make sick.

My family noticed the change in my attitude but did not care to ask what my troubles were. Instead, they began picking on me, calling me 'loser' and 'low life' turning my friends and other family against me, saying my ugly personality was 'contagious' and 'don't let my fake smile fool you'. I could not believe this is what my life was supposed to be. I did not understand what I did to deserve to first of all be raped, and then be mentally abused by my family. But the worst was still yet to come.

My mom was diagnosed with stage four terminal breast cancer, which everyone managed to blame on me. They first accused me of stressing her out and making her symptoms worse, and then accused me of turning my back on her in her time of need.

One night, after I had come home from school and cooked dinner for the family, I sat my family down for dinner and as usual, went into my room while they ate because I was not allowed to eat with them. Mid way through dinner, I heard a plate break on the floor and my Step-dad yelling about a piece of my hair which he found in the food. He came into my room screaming and spitting in my face saying I was disgusting. I panicked and pushed him against the wall as hard as I could. My mom came in between us and I thought that she was coming to defend me. Instead, she hit me in the face until my nose and lip began to bleed.

I went to school the next day and my economy teacher noticed the busted lip and pulled me aside after class to tell me that he was concerned and that he had contacted Child Protective Services (CPS) who would be coming around for a home visit. I went home and told my mom and to no surprise I was beaten profusely for attracting the attention of my teacher and CPS. I was told to lie or move out, so I purchased a lot of makeup to cover the bruises until the visit was done and we were 'in the clear'. I did not tell them I was being abused or mistreated, I was terrified they would take me away and split up my brother and I.

Soon, I started to turn to marijuana to fix my problems. I figured life would not get worse for me so I might as well do something to numb the pain. With the attraction to weed I also turned to the wrong crowd. I began sneaking out with drug dealers, gang members and it was not long before I did what was required to be apart of their day to day lives. I was selling weed, cocaine and my prescription medication and to no surprise I tried a terrible combination of weed and acid to take the edge off my anxiety.

One night, I came home after work to find my mom, Step-dad and brother all in the living room watching television. My Step-dad cracked a joke about the bags under my eyes, claiming I looked like crap. I told him I had a long day and I had not been sleeping much. He told me to stop talking and being such a hypochondriac. I told him that I had been having very serious mental issues and the lack of sleep mixed with a crummy home life was not exactly helping. My mothers next words changed me forever. While explaining my symptoms and concerns to my Step-dad she said, "Why don't you go take your crazy pills, take all the damn bottles dump them in your mouth and shut up, I dare you. Cause all you'll ever be is a coked out, knocked up, white trash going-no-where whore."

When I heard this, I went into my room grabbed my prescription Trazadone, Xanax, Abilify and Lithium and poured them all into a cup. I went into the bathroom and took all the 618 pills after cutting my wrist and the top of my forearm. I briefly remembered my mother dragging me into the car and rushing me to the Emergency Room. She had one of the pill bottles that contained fifteen pills but how she did not see the others I do not know. She told the nurse I was over dosing on my prescription sleep aid and they took me into custody under section 5150 of the penal code, which authorizes a qualified officer or clinician to involuntarily confine a person suspected to have a mental disorder that makes him or her a danger to themselves, a danger to others, and/or gravely disabled. I was handcuffed to my bed with a sheriff present outside my door. Believing I only took fifteen pills, they pumped my stomach only to find my entire intestines and stomach filled with pills. If they had known this earlier, they would not have given me a morphine drip to ease the pain of my multiple lacerations. Still to this day, my doctor says it is a miracle I am alive.

Nonetheless, being seventeen at the time, I was not allowed to make decisions on my own, so my mother decided to admit me into a mental institution. I was put into an institution for two months, until I was deemed sane and non-lethal towards myself and others.

Despite that event, I graduated from High School with a 3.8 Grade Point Average, much to everyone's surprise. I had also lived to my eighteenth birthday and was now going off to College.

After my freshman year of College I decided to take a year or two off to truly find myself. I moved to Florida and started my life over. I was still skeptical about God and every religion seemed very hypocritical and fake. Every church goer I knew would go to church on Sunday but drink, smoke, gamble, cheat, lie, steal, and do even much worse during the rest of the week. I did not want to go to church also because I felt God did not want anything to do with me. By now, I had attempted suicide, which is a major sin, I was a liar and I wished harm on those who did harm to me. I was sure He would not accept a sinner like me into His kingdom so I continued living an atheist lifestyle.

I was living with my ex-boyfriend at the time, who was using me for money and forcing me to be almost a slave to him, his brother and his father. Just as I thought I was going into a relapse of horrible life events, my current boyfriend Chad came into my life and showed me the truth behind God and the amazing miracles He was willing to do for me. He began praying for me every night over the phone and I started noticing all the bad people in my life leaving and good people coming instead. My health also got better and my depression began to subside. He told me to try praying on my own before meals and before bed to thank God for all the good I had in my life and not just ask to be helped with the bad. I did not always believe in God or the power of prayer. Many times I hoped and prayed for a miracle to happen during the hardships in my life but nothing happened. Nevertheless, I heeded his instructions and since then, I have had one amazing opportunity after another. God has also changed us both individually and as a couple.

I am now twenty years old and about to celebrate my twenty first birthday. I am happier than I have ever been in a long time. I should not be alive but our Father knew their was so much more to me. I may not have a house, car, job or perfect health but I am alive and so very thankful. I now look back at the past not with anger or regret but understanding. I would not be the person I am today had those events not happened. I would like to share my testimony with everyone who is going through hardships and help them understand that this is not God punishing you; and the suffering you are going through is only temporary. Give your life over to Christ and he will guide you through each and every day.

Tiffany Marie Simmons
United States of America

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