Discovering YOU Magazine October 2018 Issue - Page 43

THE SPIRIT IN YOU

A few months ago, I broke the rule that I had made for myself. I was pursued by not a boy but a gentleman who I truly believed had my best interest in mind. Within a couple of days of meeting each other, we began talking which led to a relationship. From the very beginning of our relationship, I was very open about my dark past of childhood abuse to the sexual abuse that I encountered just over a year ago. I explained to him why I could not do certain activities in order to protect my mental health, and that I could go into a state of dissociation with the smallest triggers. We would go walking or had coffee for our first couple of dates because eating in front of others is still a huge step for me to personally take.

Once I become more comfortable with him, we had our first dinner date.

Between the strict diet that I have to keep as a model, and both of us having food allergies, we mutually decided to stay in and he cooked a lovely vegan meal. Shortly after we ate, I had my first panic attack in front of him. I tried to hide it because I was embarrassed but he assured me that everything was going to be okay. I sat on the couch and I pushed him away when he tried to give me a hug (not a very proud Leah moment here). He took that with grace and I said, “Thank you for respecting my boundaries” and his response completely changed how I see myself and was a huge reminder about inner value when said, “I respect you not only because I love you, but because you are a human being and that in itself means that you deserve respect.” I began sobbing not because I was

"....his response completely changed how I see myself and was a huge reminder about inner value when said, “I respect you not only because I love you, but because you are a human being and that in itself means that

you deserve respect.”