When I was 19-years old I came out to my family, and let’s just say they didn’t exactly embrace my news with open arms.

Six months later I found myself living in Portland Oregon, where I met my soulmate after months of trying to figure out who I was—and what I wanted for the next chapter of my life.

About a year into our seemingly perfect relationship I started to notice things that made me feel uncomfortable. Out of control possessiveness, not wanting me to have any friends or life outside of our relationship, and eventually wanting control over the little income I had at the time.

At first I honestly didn’t mind these things, because after a lifetime of hiding my identity from myself and others, I was finally in a position to be true to myself. Things took a bad turn when my newfound freedom started to slip away though, and worse, I found myself pressured to do things I just didn’t feel comfortable with. Things that made me feel scared and vulnerable.

One night, after a huge fight that got completely out of control, I decided to pick up the phone and speak to someone, and that someone was Bradley Angle.

That phone call opened the flood gates for me in so many ways. It forced me to face how much I had gone through over the past few years. How much I was dealing with in what was clearly an unhealthy and abusive relationship. And how much work I needed to do before I could move to a place where I could truly love and accept myself.

With Bradley Angle’s support I was able to escape a situation that often left me scared for my life. I also found an LGBTQ community that I could really relate to, who helped me heal in ways I didn’t even realize I needed.

I thought coming out was one of the hardest things I’d ever have to go through, but I was wrong. Experiencing domestic violence—having my heart, soul, and trust broken—was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through, and if it wasn’t for Bradley Angle I don’t know where I’d be today.