My Name is Angela, or Angie. Whichever you prefer. I am a 24 year old single mom living in Austin, Texas, this is my story.
In 2013 I decided I needed a change of pace from the environment I was in, I lived in a medium size town in Missouri and was tired of doing the same old same. My goal was to get as far away from home as I could get. In order to do so I made the decision to enlist in the United States Army. I had just turned 18 at the time and was ready for a new adventure.
Eager as ever I did the oath of enlistment and two weeks after graduation I was sent straight into basic training. Upon completion of basic training and AIT, I received my orders and was stationed in Ft. Leavenworth Kansas.
The battalion I was in was very strict on quarterly SHARP (Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention) courses being completed. Of course, at 18 years old that was the last thing I was worried about. I had only been in my duty station a couple months when my life changed drastically. Here I was now 19, a PV2 and a soon to be mother, life had barely just begun for me. The soldiers I served with had no idea just what had happened and I was embarrassed and ashamed to speak about it. By the time the second assault occurred I had pushed myself away from most friends in general.
I trusted nobody, and even as I laid in the hospital, thinking that I was miscarrying my child, I refused to call anyone. The crazy thing about trauma is it secludes you from everyone. Most people don’t understand it, and honestly don’t want too. In May 2018 I hit an extreme low and decided I wasn’t happy with life anymore. Had I not been surrounded by an amazing support system (at the time) I would not be here today. I decided to figure out my life, fix the depression, and provide for my son.
A friend of mine recommended lifting weights to relieve the anxiety, so that’s what I did. I wasn’t in the gym for the physical change. I did it for the mental solitude. In October 2019 I was diagnosed with extreme PTSD/ MST. That was the affirmation I was waiting for, my therapist helped reiterate the fact that no I’m not crazy. I’m human.
With therapy, I’ve finally come to the realization that I will be okay. I am better than what I thought. I am glad that everything happened the way it did. I am one of God’s children and I am a fighter. Although some days are harder than others, I would not change a thing. I have decided that this happened to me because I was strong enough to withstand it. Even through hard times, I will be okay.
I've told you my story...what's yours?