Tomorrow marks an important day in my life — the day I finally picked up the telephone and called someone for help.

I have never been one to ask for help, all the way back to elementary school. I would study and research all I could on my own, never wanting to let my parents or teachers know I needed help with anything. Even where I’m employed today, I try to get everything done that is asked of me, before I even contemplate telling someone I could use their help.

It’s just always been this way — I’ve always wanted people to see that I can do anything I put my mind to, without having to rely on anyone else. This was particularly true with my personal life as well.

A few years ago, I found myself the only working parent at home. I needed to keep up with the bills and mortgage payments, along with supporting a partner who contributed nothing. There were times I did not have grocery money and had to make do with what was hidden in the pantry or freezer. At one point, I was in tears because I couldn’t provide everything my children needed so I asked family members for help. It was very difficult for me to do this, but the people who helped me out were so full of kindness I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself. And when it concerns my boys, I would do anything for them.

Which brings me to my anniversary tomorrow. In the past few years, I have been a victim of verbal and emotional abuse. I could always handle it, never fighting back, but also never letting anyone know the truth. I didn’t want to involve others, when I knew there was nothing to be done. You can only ask someone to stop treating you badly, or stop calling you names, or ask them to leave so many times…and nothing happens…before you lose faith in any hopes of change. But once that abuse gets physical or involves my boys…

I called for help, one year ago Saturday. It was just something that had to be done. There was no more ignoring what was happening inside my house and I needed someone to help me try and make a change for the better.

And one year later, our lives are incredibly better. So many small changes in our lives have certainly helped us to move on. Our house is full of laughter and conversations that we haven’t had in a long time. We enjoy spending time together. We’ve also been slowly making improvements to our home, to help erase some of those not-so-great memories from the past. We are really trying to be happy.

This anniversary is hard for me. On one hand, I remember being weak and needing someone to help me – proving that I couldn’t always handle things on my own. On the other hand, I look at all the changes that have happened in the past year and am very proud of where I am and who I’ve become, since finally standing up for myself, and my children.

I always thought anniversaries were a time for celebrating, but I’m not entirely sure that’s the case anymore. I do know that life is better now than it was a year ago…maybe I should just be celebrating that?