Don’t Hit Your Girlfriend: 

There is never an excuse for abuse. No matter the form. Whether it be one punch, one threat, or one verbal “joke”: abuse is abuse. Domestic violence is real. Relationship abuse is real. Family and sibling abuse is real. If someone is telling you that they are being abused, don’t compare it to your circumstances and don’t ignore them. 
As a survivor of abuse and bullying, I know the long term affects that abuse has on the mind and the body.

If you hit and yell at your child to a point that they are scared of you, you may be an abuser. 

If you belittle your spouse and tell them they are worthless, you may be an abuser.

If you hit your sister and terrify her to the point that she is crying and calling for help, you may be an abuser.

Many abusers were once or are abused themselves. Many abusers do not even know that they are abusing their victims. 

If you have been abused I stand with you. End abuse by learning they different types of abusers and noticing the signs of those abused. 

I was abused for years before I learned to ask for help. Asking for help and seeking aid is important. You have the power to free yourself from abuse. You have the power to call for help. 

In the event that you are currently being abused please reach out for help from someone you trust, a church leader, counselor, a friend. If you are being abused and it is affecting your physical and mental wellbeing or any of those around you seek help now. Call a counselor or call the national domestic violence hotline: tel:1-800-799-7233 or the national child abuse hotline:  1-800-422- 4453. If there is a life threatening risk or you fear your safety or another’s call 911 immediately. 

There is a way out and it starts with you. 

There are many types of abuse:

  1. Economic Abuse
  2. Sexual Abuse
  3. Physical Abuse
  4. Verbal Abuse
  5. Emotional Abuse
  6. Academic Abuse
  7. Psychological Abuse

You can be abused by anyone you know and you may not even realize it.

I was abused by my own father and brother. I experienced emotional, physical, verbal, and psychological abuse. I went from idolizing my brother to living in fear that he would kill me. There were times when I could have been killed. I was hit with remotes, knives, rocks, fists, etc. I was yelled at, told I was fat since age 10, told I was “a b**** just like my mother at 11, told I was provoking my brother at 12, told it was my fault at 13, told I would not be “picked on” if I wasn’t a girl at 14, told “I wish I never married your mom” every time I saw my dad till I was 15. At 16, my dad told me he wished he never had us kids, his life would be better without us. At 16 I had had enough. I told my father that I would no longer stand for his emotional, verbal and psychological abuse. I was done. I yell at him for the first time ever. I think it scared him that I was standing up to him. I was no longer a small child with no voice. He told me to never come back. So I didn’t. 

I have never talked to my brother about his abuse toward me. I know he was abused by my dad too, until he was big enough to scare my dad. He never received punishment for hurting me, he never apologized. But I forgive him now.

Raise our voice and make a noise! I had to fight my battle with the help of my sister I was able to free myself from this abuse. I want to empower others to do the same.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

#Standupandyell #fightforwhatsright #endabuse 

You can do it. 

-Breanna Joy Norton 

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A New Beginning

A New Beginning

I’ve been told my whole life that I need to go to college. Yet, when I started applying, I was told by my parents that I would not receive help from them with tuition. In order to attend college, I would have to get scholarships and take out loans in my own name. So I worked hard to get here, to Columbia College. If someone asked me a month ago, “How was your first semester of college?” I would say, “It sucked!” Then I would go one to say, “Well overall it sucked, but not because it was college.” I knew going to college with a mental illness would be hard for me. I knew it would suck at times. But I also knew somewhere inside me that I could make it through. Yet I actually did not make it through… that’s why I am writing this paper.

College itself if not hard for me. Balancing my mental health with college, that is like climbing a mountain only to slip halfway down when you are three feet from the top. I LOVE learning. I love college. But sometimes because of my anxiety and depression, I can’t seem to love it. I was in the hospital twice last year for overdoses. The first time was minor and after that I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorder (AD). As a child I suffered from physical and mental abuse that caused me to have eating disorders and to have MDD and AD. I also suffered from separation anxiety and depression, but was not diagnosed then. I was bullied through out elementary, middle, and some of high school for my weight. Which just made me turn to eating even more. My senior year of high school I stopped going to classes, I started sleeping, I started eating more. I struggled to graduate high school, but with my awesome teachers, I was able to pull my grades up to not only graduate, but to go to the college that I dreamed of attending. The summer after graduation was a good one, filled with ups and downs, but happy times. Then college started.

Now I would answer that question differently, I would say that I learned more about myself in my first semester of college than I did in all of my years of high school. As a first year student I was required to take LA 100, the reason I am writing this paper. I loved the class! Yet somedays it was hard to show up. Somedays it was hard to get out of bed. this was true with all of my classes. I miss so many… With my depression, I feel sad a lot for unknown reasons and I often do not feel joy in things that I normally love, like playing games with my nieces. With my anxiety, I feel like I want everything to be perfect, on-time, and organized. With these mixed, my mind plays games with me. There would be days that I would lie in bed and I could not physically move my body, but I had a test to get to. There would be days I would be throwing up because I had so much anxiety that my stomach could not take it, but I had a meeting and homework and a quiz that day. I missed many classes. I was living in a dorm alone, which I thought was good for me. But I was eating myself alive. I am a perfectionist, but not with other people. I try my best to do everything right and when things go wrong, when I fail, when I can’t do something right, when I mess up, I start to hate myself.

I hated myself so much that I tried to kill myself. December 1, 2016, a Thursday night, I went into the ER and I almost died. I still remember the pain of them shoving a tube up my nose and then the feeling of it when they took it out. I remember the smell and I can’t stand the smell of latex and hospitals now. I had gotten stuck in such a dark deep hole, that I could not climb out and no one could save me. And I am glad it happened. It was the worst experience I have ever had. I spent 12 days in a psych ward at the hospital. The first day I woke up and I felt like a new person. I did not understand why I was there, how I got there. I could not believe that I tried to take my own life. I cried when I remembered my nieces and nephews that I could have left behind. I had not truly wanted to die, but in that moment I unknowingly made the decision that my life was not worth living because I had hated myself so much. I thought I was useless. I thought that I was unloveable. I thought that I was supposed to be dead already. I should have died before. But I was meant to live.

So, I missed the end of my first semester of college. I had to drop one class and take incomplete’s in the other’s. The reason for this essay is to make up for assignments missed. I am glad, because I needed to write this. My first semester of college was a learning experience. Even though I went through so much pain during my first semester of college, I can really only remember the happy times. I remember reading Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress and learning about the Chinese culture and how reading can open ones mind to the wonders beyond this earth. I learned that I do well with most other people, that I can be funny or pretend to be, that I can make people smile. I have learned because of what happened, that I am a loving selfless person and that I do matter. I know that my life is worth living because I have the gift of making people happy and the gift go giving, giving my time, energy and gifts! I learned that it is important to make positive friends and the college is a very free place where you can be yourself. I have learned to balance myself and to rely on God and others more. I know now that I do not do well on my own. I need to lean on others and allow for other’s to help me at times. I learned that I really do love college.

This semester has gone so much better. I found a balance and realized how much of a work load I can handle. I have made new positive friends. I have been trying to ask for help more. I have counselors, church members, friends, and family to lean on. I have found joy again and I intend to keep it. After all, my middle name is Joy.

I am weak but He makes me strong. 

PSA: This is not for attention but for awareness. This is a very real thing. 
I have depression. I have anxiety. I was diagnosed this March with Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety Disorder. But, it does not define who I am. I can be happy sometimes and still be depressed. I can live a normal life (my normal, not yours) and still live with depression. 

On February 2, 2016 I decided to take a small handful of painkillers. Why? Because I was angry, I was so sad inside I became angry. I felt ignored and uncared for. I wanted to see if my parents cared, but they reacted in anger too. Mad that I would think of doing this. I did not do it to kill myself or even hurt myself. I knew that the amount I took would not hurt me much, I immediately wished I had taken more because my mom and stepdad did not react in a caring and concerned way. They told me to spit it out, to eat an egg an throw it up. I talked to several people, nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, that night and told them all the same thing. I wanted to see if my parents cared. They do care but not in the way that I needed. Not in a tender compassionate way, just a “we don’t want you to die” way. 
Well that night ended and I completely regretted it. I had to take anti-acids and had stomach pain. I would never do anything like that again because I now know that I have many reasons to stay healthy and alive. But it’s different when you are depressed, you are a completely different person when you are in that moment. I had a panic attack that night before I took those pain killers, and God spoke to me to not take anymore. 
“You have more to live for Breanna.”
And I do, but I am still dealing with depression and anxiety. 

I have experienced much loss and death in my life and with my fragile caring heart it is easy for me to break. I am alive because of God and I will now live for God. 

I am working on getting healthy, physically and mentally.

But I cannot do it without positive encouragement. I may seem ok on the outside, I may seem happy, but I am good at putting a face on. I am good at covering up stuff, I have had to do that for years. 
I love my mom dearly.

She has been a strong and great influence, but every parent has flaws. I still love her and know that she is the perfect mother for me.

I love my stepdad. 

I know he is not perfect.

I know my stepdad does not understand my depression at all, but I cannot deal with hurtful things from the people that I love. 

Love is a choice. I am choosing to love my parents despite our issues. But I do not like how I have been treated. 
This is why I am thankful for college and my support system. I have a counselor there and a great XC/Track team, so far, and I will soon gain a great roommate and classmates. 
I have have vitamin D deficiency that is a cause of depression and it is common in my genes. 
So I am writing this to tell you that if you have known me or seen me in the past year, then you may have seen me struggling, in school or life, and it was because of this. But I am open about it because I do not want to hide it, I want people to understand me. I do not think it should be something that people keep hidden from friends and family because many people have it and it can get worse if there is no one there to support you. This is my choice. Not everyone can share this like I can, because everyones journey is different. I am determined to fight it and to not let others ignorance hurt me. 
You can treat me like you normally would but if you see me down, you can ask what’s up. 
Now I know that many people don’t know what depression and anxiety feel like. Before I was diagnosed and started on medications it felt like this. 
My depression felt like:

I am worthless, and so sad I want to die. What is the purpose of living anymore? I felt as if I was not in control and there was evil inside me telling me that I had no purpose. I felt as if I did not want to talk to anyone. I did not feel love or happiness. Even with my nieces and they mean the world to me. I felt degraded and overwhelmed. I was failing school and before I was a top student. I hated school and had loved it before. I could not control my feelings and I just wanted to stay in bed all day. I slept a lot and when I ate, I ate horribly. 
I still experience some of these thoughts, but I am getting better slowly but surely. 
I still and struggling with anxiety the most, I have been on anti-depressants longer.
My anxiety feels like:

I am shriveling up and I am not in control. Like I cannot do anything right. As if every little problem affects me. I have uncontrollable thoughts of bad things happening to me or of people judging me. I feel emotionally overwhelmed and squished into a ball.  

I have panic attacks. It feels like you are dying and you want to die. I have a sensory overload and I feel like I am being crushed. My chest tightens up and I cry uncontrollably. Sometimes I laugh. I get a migraine. I get dizzy. I feel faint. I feel pain. Emotionally and physically. 

I have not had a panic attack in a while and I do not want to ever have another.

It is horrific
But today I am ok. Today was a good day, until I saw that unneeded inconsiderate comment. But now I am ok again, because I have the hope that people will better understand. Just writing this has helped me ease my anxiety. Thank you to those who read this. Feel free to share and ask considerate questions. If you are dealing with depression and/or anxiety, don’t ever hesitate to message me. And don’t forget that you are loved by God. 
He has lead me through this hard journey and is pulling me to dry land. Hand in hand God will get me through it. He has made me strong and given me the power to be a happier Bre. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Thank you to those who have ever supported me and said kind things to me, I may not have said anything in return, but they all mean so much. I love you all and I love my family, all of you.!

part of my story

Since July 5, 2015, I have been attending East Lake Community Church by myself. However, I realized after a while that I was not alone when I sat in this new church. God was with me and is with me every Sunday that I am there. This may be hard for some of my friends to hear because for the last 8 years I have been attending Columbia First SDA church. I love Columbia First and all of the people there and I will continue to visit as much as possible, but for now I need everyone to hear my story. 
July 3, 2015 was the first day I ever set foot at East Lake Community Church. I was there to remember the life of my middle school friend Ashley who had Leukemia and passed away on June 30. I didn’t know Ashley well, but I wish I had. Since her passing I have been inspired by her. I have grown so much closer to God in the past 8 months than I had in a while, and I owe a lot of it to her and God’s power. I believe 100% that God brought me to East Lake. I have not told really anyone yet because I felt that I would be judged or pushed away, but I realized recently that I must give others a chance before I judge them. 
I started attending the SDA church when I was 10 and I believe that God brought me there for a reason too. I have meet so many wonderful people there that I hope to continue to be friends with. I grew stronger to God there but after some time I began to feel like a black sheep and that I was not growing any closer to God. It is not because anyone at the church, but my personal self and all of the changes in the church and in my life. My Journey has just begun. 
Since I have been attending East Lake, I realized I have so much more room to grow in faith than I knew. At East Lake I have meet so many new people and I have learned so many new things, about myself and God. 
I have been attending the Current youth group since July as well. I now do the lighting for Current and I recently started bring my friend and his girlfriend who I feel will benefit from some time with God and other youth. 
I cannot explain it to everyone, how I feel or what I believe. But I do believe that My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died on the Cross for my sins and I will do everything that I can to be the best, however flawed, Christian that I am. 
I love Columbia First SDA church and all of its members, but I also have come to love East Lake and its community. 
For now I believe that God brought me to East Lake. I know some will not agree with my decision, but I know that my parents are happy as long as I know my beliefs and I am worshiping the right God.
Each person goes through trial and tribulations. I have gone through more than I thought could ever happen. Things have not gone my way and hard decisions have been made.
For those who have read this, I thank you for your time and thoughtfulness. I know I have changed a lot in the past year and many do not know how I have been below explains my thoughts. 
About the Breanna that is here today: 
In the past year I have lost 6 people that I knew. I went through Christmas once again without my family in Texas. I missed my nephews 7th birthday and this was the 7th one that I had missed. I have not seen my baby nephew since he was a few weeks old and he will be a year old before I see him again. I have recently bee dealing with anxiety and depression like thoughts. I have been seeing a counselor and I will be going to a psychiatrist soon. I have been withdrawn more so recently for reasons that I do not understand. I have missed too many days of school and I am constantly making up school work. I got a job for a month then had to quit because of stress and school. I benefited some from the job but realized it was at the wrong time. I have high cholesterol, low iron, low Vitamin D, and I am pre-diabetic. I have gained weight recently and I don’t know what to do. Somedays I am happy and all smiles and somedays I just want to hide from the world or run aways to a far away land. But through all of this and many other things, I have gotten closer to God. Oddly enough. He is helping me get through it and he has given me the strength to reach out for help. For now it is a day to day struggle. I am reaching the end of high school and the beginning of college. I am writing a new chapter in my life. I am finding God again. And I am so thankful for those who has been there through all of this. And those that I have not told, it is because I was scared to hurt you or I did not know how to explain it. 
I thank God for guiding my fingers as I type this, words straight from my heart. Thank you. 
-Bre  

Separation Part 1

I don’t know how others do it. I normally don’t talk about this, but I need to now. Christmas coming around and my oldest nephews 7th birthday coming up only makes it harder. When I was 10 I moved to South Carolina. I left my dad, my brothers, and sister. My sister married and had a son, Noah. I saw him for the first time when he was a few weeks old. I have visited Texas to see him around 11 times in the past 7 years. Now, this past year, my sister had another son, Jonathan. I visited Texas when he was a few weeks old and spent a week there. He is 6 months old now and I will not see him again till possibly April or May. It’s been hard, being away from them, being away from my bug sister is hard enough. And my dad and big brothers. I am not sure how I do it, but I have been the past 8 years, and its been rough. I know I will get through it, but I think I grew up too fast because of it. 

Why I have always been single. 

I am an 18 year old high school senior and I have never had a boyfriend. Everytime I tell someone this, they ask me “why?”

 I have finally come up with my full answer. 

Firstly: I am not the most attractive girl out there and I have only had a few guys ask me out. I don’t exactly have guys lined up to date me, but I don’t know that I would date even if I did. I think (honestly) that guys are a little scared of a girl like me, I talk too much, I love children, and I plan on keeping pure till marriage. Some kids think I am ridiculous. 

This brings me to my second point:

I am not ready to give myself to someone at this age and I have so many goals that I want to reach. I want to be able to support myself before I marry, if I ever do. My faith leads me to believe that a body is scacred and only to be shared with the person that you love and will spend your whole life with. This may not be reasonable in this day and age, but I will not settle for less because I do not have to. Plus I know that relationships take lotsssss of work. 

So, yes I wear a purity ring and yes I will wait, but that is my choice. 

My third point is that:

How in the world can I (really) date someone and learn about who they are if I haven’t figured myself out first? Ok, so most teenagers do not have their emotions put together and we will not fully develop untill around 25. I have so much going on right now that I could bot deal with any more drama. Trying to find a job is hard enough. I need to learn how to balance, school, family, church, and extra curricular  activities before I add a guy to that. I need to organize my life before I can think of organizing around some one else’s. I need to figure out how my emotions work, what I believe in, and what I want to be first. You should be able to take care of yourself before you try to take care of others too. 

Also I don’t have a job so, how can I pay for a BF? All those gifts add up and I need to pay for gas money. 

Sure, I may like a guy, and I do now, but I am not going to stress myself over it. 

And yes, if a guy asked me out that I liked, that I had similar interests, and that I know is a good guy, I would consider saying yes. But they will not be my center of attention. I put God first, then Family and School. If I believe that God puts a guy in my life that he intends for me, then I will know. Also the key to finding the right guy is figuring out who the wrong type of guy is, and I think I have that figured out based on watching others’ relationships. 

So, yea I don’t know where I will end up, but I am not planning on having a boyfriend because, if it is meant to be, it will be. And like I said before, it would be nice to figure myself out first! I mean, no teenage girl has all their emotions together. However, if that guys asks me out and he is sincere, then we shall see.

For now I will wait. After all, “True Love Waits”. 

So if I ever stray away from God, he will wait for me. That is why you want a man to wait, then you will know that he is a man after God. 
All of this is my view, in no way am I trying to sway someone else’s opinion (or tell them to not date and that it makes no sense, because it does for some). You all feel free to date who you want, as long as you don’t judge me for my choice. For me, I will find a guy that lives everyday for God. A giy that will treat me and my family with kindness and will love God first. 

Thanks for reading my first blog! 

Sincerely,

Bre