Loretta M. Davis 06/10/2021 Members-Only Submission
Experiencing abuse and neglect during childhood can cause a person to have difficulty growing into an adult. They find comfort in toxic and unstable relationships, acquire maladaptive coping skills, have self-internalized feelings, co-dependency issues, etc. This stems from the need to be nurtured, loved, and supported. How many of you can relate? How many of you never received that? I promise more people relate to this than you can imagine. I know you are supposed to grow and learn how to care for yourself, but how can you do that when you have no idea where to start? Many were neglected as children, raped, mentally and physically abused, and molested. How do you grow emotional intelligence when you were too busy trying to survive? Individuals who endured this did not get to experience a real childhood.
My name is Loretta, and I am 32. I grew up in West Virginia, and my childhood was filled with abuse and neglect. Around 16 I began drinking and smoking Marijuana when I had the chance. My parents were strict, so getting caught was an automatic beating and grounding. Being caught once or twice taught me to hide it better. My parents never did drugs or drank, but they loved gambling. Eventually they pawned so many of our things I resented them. I continued to drink and smoke; I began dabbling in other drugs. I never had habitual interest in anything other than drinking and smoking; other drugs were experimental only. One night after turning 22, a childhood friend asked me to go out with her. We had run into each other days prior, and she wanted to celebrate. She and her boyfriend picked me up, we ended up drinking too much. This night ended with him driving into a tree at 80 mph. My friend in the passenger seat did not make it, and I almost died. I had to mourn her death while learning to walk again. I had to come to terms with the fact that I would never move my right arm again. I learned to be left-handed; I learned to eat, write, bathe, and dress myself all over again. I spent many years processing what had happened to me. Eventually I grew sick of drinking and smoking to ignore my pain. I moved to Asheville, NC 4 years later and slowly began making changes. With a vision to help others heal from their past traumas, a passion grew inside me. I felt others’ emotions heavily and knew that my empathy could create a space for profound self-discovery and healing. I would first help myself, and once I got through school I vowed to help others. I quit drinking, I got my GED, took my driving test, acquired my license, and enrolled into school. I wanted to specialize in early intervention of children and adolescents. I began learning about trauma in a Human Services course and about Developmental Disabilities. These subjects would trigger my past trauma and for a while I found it difficult to study. There were days I became so frustrated I cried; I put off the work and smoked, ate, and slept. Smoking and eating for comfort were all I knew, but I knew it no longer worked for me. Inside the anxiousness stirred and my higher-self longed for a fulfilling solution, so I began therapy. My journey in self-discovery, love, and healing has never ended, but I can say I am in better place. After 2 years of ongoing therapy, I learned healthy coping skills and stopped drinking and smoking. I built a better perception of myself. I was able to accept that I paralyzed my right arm and I no longer cried or felt angry when people asked what happened. I no longer felt embarrassed of my arm, and I grew more love for myself. I have tough days still when people are judgmental, and stare, but I learned more perspective for those who have physical disabilities. Having a disability can cause people to judge and look at you as less than. Experiencing rejection due to my disability has opened my eyes. I have been denied jobs because people assume I am less sufficient, turned down for dates, and treated mean. I learned that people are terrified of things they have never experienced. I do not believe in coincidences though; I know that everything in life happens for a reason. My childhood was rough, and it prepared me to help others who have endured the same.
I am passionate in offering support and preventative measures, so young people can adapt quicker than I did to mental and physical abuse. Without knowing how to adapt you grow into a lost adult. I want the rate of unmanaged mental health to decrease. My dream is to build a non-profit from the ground up and help the underserved populations. Underserved are the many who do not have adequate money to receive services to get ahead. My mom died without managing her Bipolar and her children paid for it. I want to offer a safe space for young people, but also mentoring and assistance for parents. This is a cycle that too many people are familiar with. I am breaking the cycle and I will help others break it too. My passion is to reach out and remind people that there is strength in asking for help. My passion is empowering others who did not get the love and support they deserve. My passion is to build a non-profit called Safe Space.