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Back seat of a car, depression, and healing - Megan, USA

When I was 17, one night my parents were coming back home super late, so I decided to stay out with friends. I didn’t realize how much time had passed until it was 11pm and I needed to get home as I was all the way across the city. I headed down into the train station until I realized I did not have my pass nor did I have any change to buy a ticket. I also did not have a credit card and thus was not able to get a lyft or uber. My phone was also on 12% and I did not want to get in trouble and call my parents for help.


Instead, I called my friend who I knew had a car. He came to pick me up and take me home. He was a few years older than I was and during the car ride he complained about how he had to go out of his way to help me. I felt bad and offered to pay for gas. He then said that I should owe him something else. I hesitantly agreed as I did feel that I troubled him, and I was also afraid he would just abandon me on the side of the road. He promised that he only wanted oral and so I hesitantly began after he pulled over.


Suddenly he made me stop and forced me to bend over into the back seats. That’s when I started to panic, and my body just shut down. I was scared he’d hurt me and so I froze in that position until it was all over. I was silent for the rest of the ride back.


I immediately went to take a hot shower because I couldn’t feel my body. When I got into the shower the realization hit me that he did not use a condom. I sat in the shower with the water running over me as I cried and tried my best to clean everything out. I laid in bed praying and eventually fell asleep crying.


The next day, I was still on winter break, but my parents went to work. After they left I immediately went to the store to buy Plan B. I took the pill and prayed that everything would be okay.


Five weeks later, I had missed my period. I started to panic and purchased two pregnancy tests. They both were positive. I knew what I had to do, and I knew my parents could never find out. Then, I had a breakdown in school where I thought I was hidden but my history teacher found me and made me go see the counsellor. She helped me make an appointment with a teen clinic to take another test just to make sure. It was still positive. At this point I had been crying myself to sleep every night.


I pulled myself together and made an appointment at Planned Parenthood as soon as possible.


One day before my appointment, my parents found out. My father had gone through my emails and saw the appointment confirmation email. I didn’t tell them what happened. They were disappointed in me enough. They wanted to go with me to the appointment, but I refused. It would seem too real with them there.


The next day I went alone to the clinic. They signed me in, made me take one more test to be sure, gave me an ultrasound and I just waited around a lot. Then it was time for the procedure. I laid down in the chair and started to panic. I had a fear of needles. Reality was suddenly crashing down on me and I had never felt so alone. I held the nurse’s hand while she talked for the longest and most painful 15 min of my life.


Afterwards, I told her I was gonna vomit. I didn’t. I did want to die.


I stayed home recovering for the rest of the weekend. My sister found out a few days later somehow. She was mad about how I didn’t tell her. She called me a murderer. I felt numb. I really wanted to die then. The nurse said it was normal to feel depressed after but that I should talk to a therapist. I didn’t. I couldn’t let anyone see me suffer so I kept everything in. It was only at night that I cried under the cover of darkness. I had nightmares about that night and being in the car. I had nightmares of being alone in the room with the pain and numbness in my body.


It wasn’t until late spring that I began to be less depressed. I kept it from my family and friends. I hide things well. Only my on and off boyfriend of two years knew. He wanted to find and beat-up the person who did it. I didn’t let him. He cared about me and would have me go over to his place often to nap because he knew about my nightmares.


Summer came, and I was less depressed but still not sleeping well. I had flashbacks quite often still. It wasn’t until fall came and I moved to Chicago for college that I got better. I felt that I had a fresh and clean start. I slept better and was a lot happier.


I was proud of myself until one day I had my first panic attack in Chicago. I was walking home from class and I saw a few protesters who were pro-life. I thought I’d be fine if I kept walking quickly, but they held large posters with abortion procedure images on them and suddenly I couldn’t breathe, and I was back in the car at night and in the procedure chair alone. I started to cry, and my hands were shaking, and I rushed back home crawled under the covers. I called my boyfriend and he spent three hours trying to calm me down and console me.


Eventually I pulled myself together. He was the one who suggested that I talked to someone else and share my story to help others and get a sense of closure. After a few days of debating I decided to do just that. It’s been about a year and I still get bad nights sometimes and it is hard to talk about it with others, but I realize that healing takes time and I’m really proud of myself for trying to be happier and move on.


- Megan, USA