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Cerys A. Thomas
Jan 13, 2018
My story is kind of traumatic. I am autistic, and unfortunately, I had quite an abusive father who loved to mess up my mind by acting nice one minute, and hating on me the next. That, coupled with my autism, just messed up my mind even more than it was already messed up. Reading books had never really crossed my mind before, since to me (back then), reading is sitting in a chair for hours and staring at pages of paper, looking at the words printed on them. That didn't appeal to me. What appealed to me was getting out of my house, far away from my father, and acting like I didn't want to end my life just so I could escape all the bullying I had to endure in my own home. But it wasn't just in my own home that I was being bullied and abused. I was also being bullied and abused by people I didn't even know - and they didn't even know me - in high school. During this time, I'd always wondered what it is I did wrong. Why were people bullying me? What did I do? Back then, I kept thinking, "Is it that I exist that people hate me?" To this day, I still don't know why people in school - again, people I didn't even know - would bully me, but bully me they did, and their words just kept bringing me down until I felt like I was trapped under the weight of it all, and believe me when I say that that weight felt like a thousand bricks just lying on top of me, and I had no strength to pull myself out, and no one around to give me a helping hand. I was massively depressed and in a very dark place when I picked up the book, and the only reason why I picked up the book that day in the first place was because I was grounded. At that time in my life - when everything changed for me - my mother had finally had enough of also being abused by my father, and she'd *finally* kicked him out, but I did something to anger her, and as punishment, she grounded me and took away the WiFi. Then my sister decided to add salt to the wound by taking away all cable leads that worked all the TV's we had in our house. This terrified me and angered me, because whilst I was stuck in my house alone, with no WiFi or TV to distract me, I realised then that I had just my mind to keep me company, and that was a very dangerous thing for me. I was actually scared to be left alone with nothing to do but think, and just when I was about to have a panic attack when I realised that the voices in my head were getting louder and louder the more quieter the house seemed, that's when I saw the book. Both my mother and sister were reading it since it was a book everyone was talking about back then because it was all the rage, and so I decided to just give it a go; want to know what book it was? Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James Now don't judge me on my choice of reading. I had no idea what this story was about, nor did I know what to expect from it, but it was something to do that would hopefully keep me occupied, and so I started reading Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey's story. I think it was maybe a few hours later, when I was halfway through their story, that I realised everything was quiet. I was reading this book, I was hooked to it, and my mind was quiet. Actually... Quiet. I couldn't hear my own father's voice in my head anymore, shouting abuse at me; I couldn't hear my own self-doubts; I couldn't hear the girls' at school calling me a whale and every and any other mean name in the book; I couldn't hear anything. All that was on my mind was Ana and Christian's story... And I cried when I realised that. My whole life I've been looking for noise to drown out my own thoughts; sometimes I don't think people realised just how much I wanted that noise to stop back then. Sure, I sought out and fought to have noise around me to drown out the voices in my head, but that always ever gave me a headache. Quietness is what I really wanted, and reading books gave me the quietness I've always craved. I still think about this story - MY story - a lot. Once upon a time, I was ready to end my life, because I was in a very bad place - a very dark place - and I saw no light at the end of the very dark tunnel that I was stuck in. Heck, back then, because I couldn't see the light, I'm pretty sure I was facing the wrong way and just kept on walking to the back of the tunnel, drowning in that darkness because it was all I ever knew. But now? Sure, I still am in that tunnel, but I can see the light I've always been looking for. Reading books quiet the voices in my head telling me to turn around and go back and just get lost in that darkness again. Getting lost in books is what has those voices slowly going away, because for a while, I'm not living my life - I'm living someone else's, and whilst doing that, I'm going on one hell of an adventure where I'm either finding love in the most epic of ways, saving the world with the magical powers I wield, or solving a mystery that no one but me can solve... Reading books literally saved my life, and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Cerys A. Thomas

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