From Abuse and Depression to Health
I went to live with my aunt, and my sisters went to live with other relatives. At age 13, my life became more complicated. I was diagnosed with major depression and was placed in a facility for 45 days. After that I went to live with another relative. By this time I was an angry 14-year-old. My dad was dating a woman who didn’t like me and didn’t want to deal with me. There was drinking, drugs and I was not coming home at night, sleeping instead on friends’ porches.
One night while I was walking home late, three guys in a car pulled up beside me and I got in. They gave me cocaine, and they raped me. It was bad. After that, I went home and my father ended up beating me so severely that I went to school and told a school counselor what had happened, and that I wanted to kill myself. I was placed in a psychiatric unit again. In the hospital, I flourished. I started taking the techniques they were teaching me and using them. By this time, my dad had given up all rights to me except for medical authorization for treatment.
Since I was better but it was obvious I shouldn’t—or couldn’t—return home, I was given the option of going to a group home. I moved into Crittenton in Jackson. I went from a failing student to the top of my senior class. I was there from age 14 to 17. There I learned to be a whole and healthy person.
While at Crittenton, my grandmother often visited. It was during one of those visits she unveiled that my dad was adopted from Crittenton. That was a great surprise.
I got my life together. I started competitive bodybuilding and I have won awards for my work. I’m two weeks away from being a certified personal trainer and have actively supported a friend open a gym in Michigan, including teaching a number of fitness classes. Working in the fitness industry is an opportunity for me to support other women feel healthy about themselves.