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Bree - Overcoming Lifelong Trauma

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Bree is 27 years old and currently experiencing homelessness in Texas. They identify as queer, polyamorous, and on the fence between pansexual and bisexual. Bree grew up with one brother and three sisters. They shared that they had a very hard childhood due to their parents splitting up at a young age. Bree stated that they saw both of their parents go through very hard mental health phases at the time, which brought about tension in their lives.

Starting at the age of 4, Bree was molested by their older brother. This progressed over time until they told their mom about it and they were split up. They shared: "I feel like that really changed my life. That was the beginning of my lifelong trauma and I'm still trying to heal from it now." Their mom then remarried a man in the military who turned out to be incredibly abusive. Along with being physically and verbally abusive to Bree and their family, he also sexually assaulted Bree's older sister. Bree stated: "He was just a really really horrible man - I couldn't stand him. But, he is happily in prison now because of all of the bad things he did to me and my family." Luckily, Bree and their family were able to get away in 2007, when Bree was 12.

They moved to another city in Texas and began to experience severe bullying in school. In fact, Bree shared that they were "outed" to their whole school as lesbian at the time, which caused them to go through the "worst mental health phase" of their life. Prior to this, Bree dated their first girlfriend from 7th-8th grade, however, she left Bree after she was outed. This caused the end of their 8th-grade school year to be very traumatic. During this time, Bree also struggled with Bell's palsy, where half of their face was paralyzed. Fortunately, this condition only lasted from 7th-8th grade.

Bree then started high school, where their ex-girlfriend bullied them in their freshman year. For example, she would pour drinks into their lunch so that Bree could not eat. She then started dating Bree's older sister, which posed great conflict in their relationship, and they eventually stopped talking to their older sister entirely.

Bree's relationship with their mother has been rocky for as long as they could remember. Their mother was completely opposed to their sexuality, which brought about even more tension in their relationship. Bree shared: "It was a very stressful household after my mom went through all of that trauma. I noticed that she started to change, build up walls, and have out-lashes. I did experience a lot of physical and verbal abuse from her growing up. My mom would cater to my younger sister and my older sister more, and just forget about me. I honestly felt like I had to learn about life on my own, without the guidance of my parents. I feel like I have been in fight mode ever since my stepfather['s abuse]."

Bree then met the first love of their life in their sophomore year of high school (2012), and they dated for 6.5 years. Two days after their high school graduation, Bree's mother kicked them out of the house because she "didn't want any gay in her house" and this family took her in. Bree shared: "They saved me from homelessness many times through many mental breakdowns and now, they are truly someone I trust and can call my best friend."

After high school, Bree attended college for a short while until they dropped out due to their financial situation.

Bree shared that everything seemed to be relatively okay until 2018 when they were 23. In 2018, Bree's close friend began assaulting them and they were diagnosed with stage 1 or 2 arthritis in their back.

The last assault from this close friend happened in 2020 when Bree was 25. Soon after, Bree had another traumatic experience with their brother. They wanted to throw him a birthday party, so they invited a few close friends and family members over. Everyone had a great time until their brother's girlfriend got drunk. First, she made a request for her to sleep with Bree's friend while Bree's brother slept with Bree. Bree, of course, turned this request down, but noted it as a very large red flag. They shared that it seemed as if their brother and his girlfriend were planning this to happen the entire time. After Bree declined, a fight broke out. The girlfriend began yelling deeply disrespectful things about their family, causing Bree, their sister, and their brother to have a breakdown.

After they left, Bree received a call from her brother saying, "Hey, you better get this girl, she's about to kill herself. She keeps running into traffic, and I swear if anything happens to her, you won't have a brother anymore." Very alarmed, Bree and their sister drove to the hotel their brother was staying at. Upon arriving, they saw their brother dragging his girlfriend by the hair and beating her in the hotel lobby. Immediately after he saw them drive up, he shoved his girlfriend in their car and they left. He eventually came back to Bree's house to apologize and pick up his girlfriend, however, this was an extremely traumatic experience that made Bree realize that their brother is still an angry man who is okay with abusing women.

2 months later, Bree lost a friend due to drowning and they began seeking therapy and psychiatric care. While they were receiving medical help, they were diagnosed with hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, chronic nasal congestion, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, anemia, BPD/CPTSD, bipolar disorder, PTSD, stage 3 Degenerative Disc Disorder, an underactive thyroid, a vitamin D deficiency, and an autoimmune disease called Sjogren's syndrome. *these diagnoses were given from 2015-2022.

In 2020, Bree also began experiencing great difficulties at work. They were on furlough in 2020, which started their experience with homelessness. They had one month of their lease left when the pandemic hit, which they had to handle themselves because their roommate moved out. Fortunately, an organization helped pay off the rent, which allowed them to move into a new, more affordable apartment building. They then began using stimulus checks for their rent, however, even after paying everything off, Bree kept getting behind and at this point, it had been 10 months. Texas Rent Relief helped them with most of the months, but it turned out that the office at the apartment complex was "pocketing" the money from Bree's assistance, so their balance was not going down. Texas Rent Relief then requested the funds back because they were shown to be used for things other than their intended purpose. Bree struggled with regular eviction notices and was on the brink of living on the streets whilst also being months behind on their car payments.

In 2021, Bree was let go from their job and they began working at a grocery store. They began experiencing severe body aches and discrimination for their disabilities/needs. For example, Bree had recently lost their grandmother and the grocery store did not want to give them any time off to grieve, which they felt was unacceptable. Later, their manager tried to get them to quit and "take some rest," but they continued to work because they needed to pay off their house and car payments. Another incident occurred where Bree had severe pain in their stomach and communicated that they had to go to the emergency room. Instead of letting them go, their manager said, "My wife deals with things like that all the time. Just take some medicine and you'll be okay." Bree left anyway, and the doctors found a lump in their neck as well as a fibroid cyst in their uterus. This caused them to be unable to lift anything over 10 pounds, and their job said that they would not accommodate that, so Bree was forced to leave in January 2022.

Bree is now living with their previous partner's family and wants to open their own art business! They and their "previous partner/current best friend" took a break for about 2 years to heal from their break up, and then began talking again in 2020. Bree stated: "We ended up working through so many things that were left unresolved from our first relationship. I truly hold this person close to my heart. I can genuinely see that they care about my well-being. I am super excited to grow a future with them and hopefully become business partners soon since we create so much artwork together." Additionally, Bree continues to crowdfund on social media to help pay for medical care and their debt from house payments, which they have been doing since 2019. Bree shared: "I am very grateful for community aid because I would not be here without that." As of right now, Bree is not in contact with their mother. On Christmas of 2022, their mother told them that they "can no longer call her mom" and that Bree "shouldn't come around anymore." They stated: "I’ve tried to work on my relationship with my mom, but it just never works out the way I hope. I do hope one day we can reconnect and heal from our previous trauma, but I’ve done all I can do so far."

To support Bree, feel free to check out their Instagram or Tiktok accounts.

Click here to reach Bree's Linktree, which features their GoFundMe, various Amazon wishlists, and more!

Donate to Project WHY today so that we can continue to interview these amazing people! Project WHY is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation registered with the State of California & the United States government. 100% of your tax-deductible donation goes to supporting individuals experiencing homelessness! :)

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1 comentário

Ed Zappia
Ed Zappia
19 de out. de 2023

It is amazing the ProjectWHY brings a platform for these tragic stories, and hopefully provides them some help and relief. It really is amazing work Arielle/ProjectWHY.

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