Emma Bryant: How I changed my life in one year
* Article written by guest blogger Emma Bryant*
When I was 21, I left my job as an insurance sales manager to pursue a career in modelling, which had began to "take off". For the first two years I really enjoyed it and even won an award for "Best Newcomer"! I experienced a fair amount of jealousy and bitterness from others, partially because I became successful and "known" very quickly, and also because I was not considered to be attractive by many people in the industry. (Pale skin, big ol' nose). I made lots of friends however, and gained a lot of respect from the "right" people.
Late 2013 I met a male model a lot older than me, and within a few months, we were practically inseparable. Things were great for a while, but he soon became very emotionally and verbally aggressive. He began criticising and losing his temper over ridiculous things, such as me drinking water on the London Underground, or not having a spray tan. The physical abuse wasn't as strong, but he once kicked me in the crotch as "self defense" after I tried to hug him. (Yes, seriously- self defense from a cuddle!) He also forced me down the stairs and smashed a door into my face because I spoke to him during an England match of the 2014 World Cup. I lost several teeth that day, but because he had broken me down so much, I didn't leave him.
Things got increasingly worse, and he would issue me with "fines" for standing up for myself. A "fine" could be anything from him making me give him money, to not seeing me for a set amount of time. He was also an alcoholic and heavy cocaine user- I rarely joined him in taking drugs, but I began turning to alcohol to try and cope with the intense hurt and confusion I was feeling. At Christmas 2014, when he was "punishing" me, by leaving me alone for the festive season to go on a drink/drug binge up north somewhere with his friends. (This was in exchange for me reaching out to my own friends and family about the abuse) I drank alone for days, and self harmed myself into being rushed to A&E. Once there, I was attached to a drip and discovered my body was deficient in most vitamins, and was informed that if I had continued self destructing and not phoned an ambulance when I did, I could well have come close to death.
When I was eventually sent home, I had to rest for several days. During this time I made a plan to change my life. I was very unhappy in both my relationship and career, so with a lot of support from my friends, I finally managed to leave my abusive older partner for good, and have now been a full two years "No Contact" with him. He bombarded me with weird messages about chicken strips and pizza in the middle of the night for a while (a 47 year old man, oh yes indeedy) but gave up after a few weeks. I also decided I wanted to ease my way out of the modelling industry, and pursue a career in acting and comedy, as this is always what I had wanted to do for work! With my ex partner finally out of the picture, I sought help to give up the heavy drinking and took a keen interest in healthy living. I soon managed to leave my house without having panic attacks every few minutes, and I felt myself growing stronger every day. I put all my effort into recovering from these ordeals, and the process was incredibly difficult, however I managed to begin a "new life" pretty fast, due to all the positive changes I was making.
Within a year I had moved out of my house in Kent and made a brand new start in West Sussex. I met a new, NORMAL partner not long after and now work full time in acting and comedy- I have featured in Game Of Thrones and also star as the lead female in the first British virtual reality feature film- "The London Detective"! I am also now Britain's only professional female hidden camera "prankster" and have recently ventured into stand up, which I absolutely love! I am no longer taking anxiety and depression tablets, I eat healthily and use the gym regularly, and have fully recovered from my alcohol addiction, as I can now have a FEW drinks socially with friends and go to bed at a reasonable time. I no longer self harm and could never have imagined my life could be this amazing.... If I could turn my life around (and a lot of people predicted I wouldn't live to see 2016) then anyone can do it!!
By Emma Bryant