After reading all the guidelines I do believe I chose the correct forum. If not a friendly pointer would be appreciated. I have this shadow that will never leave my side. My dad left the family when I was 10. One of my strongest memories before he left was him hiding behind my baby brother when my mom threw a glass mug at his head. It was for the best they split. After they left my mother turned her anger towards me. I remember beatings too numerous to name. Hands started it all. As her rage increased over time so did the manner in which she unleashed it. Fists became belts. Belts became canes. Canes became thicker and stronger and less careful with their aim. I would cower in the corner and cry for her to stop. I would apologize for whatever it was I was guilty of. My body adapted and it became increasingly difficult for any bruises to show. One time she dropped me off in front of juvenille hall. I cried so much she let me return. Several times I ran away, only to hide in the bushes of a neighbor. The house was a disgusting mess. Trash was everywhere. Cat feces was mixed in parts of the carpet. It gets much worse than that but I cannot bring myself to share any more. When I misbehaved I was locked out of the house. I would sneak into the garage and sleep beneath the piles of old clothes and next to the dogs to stay warm. I would sneak into the house late at night to steal food. Sometimes I would sleep on the roof with the overhang of our tree and a sleeping bag to protect me from rain. I turned my anger toward my 2 younger siblings. I hit them when they made me mad. If I was babysitting and my sister did not get her way she would scream. When she would scream I would beg her to stop. If she did not stop immediately (she never did) I would cover her mouth with my hand until she would fall silent. The most crushing moment of my life came as I was standing on the doorstep of a friend. I was ready to knock on his door when I heard him talking to his father and step mother about how he thought I was being abused. They talked for what seemed to be an eternity as I stood frozen in time. I did not budge a muscle but stood still hoping for a miracle. If I ever prayed for God to intervene it was at that moment. Then the parents dismissed my friend's claims and said it was none of their business. It was - and still is - the single most crushing feeling I have ever experienced. I knocked on the door moments after that and saw nothing but nervousness on their faces that I might have overheard them. A blessing and curse from the abuse came an ability to read people. I can pick up on someone's emotions very quickly. That clearly came from my need to determine when a beating was near so I could run and hide. I eventually got to a point where I would often deliver smartass comments until the beating came. It was a small victory to get the last word but it was something to which I could cling. I remember the moment I regret most in life. I was a sophomore in high school and was called into the principal's office. There were 2 persons from CPS. They asked me questions about my mother. My sister had made comments to a teacher in her middle school class. It was my moment to save my preteen sister and 7 year old brother and I failed miserably. I was as smooth a liar as it gets. And the lies flowed forth without even thinking. Then they escorted me to where my mom would sometimes pick me up. I saw her sitting in the car. My brother waved to me. With a crowd full of kids I pretended I didn't notice my family and my brother was some stranger waving to someone else. They offered to give me a ride home but I told them I'd take a bus. The buses were not running that day but it was another lie that dripped out and I was fully confident they would not notice. I got to the car and immediately told my mom. She faked a clean house. She put a sheet up 5 feet into the entryway (where the hallway started). She cleaned up that small area. When CPS came she said she was having the carpets shampooed. They came so close yet never bothered to look inside. Another moment of shame but this time caused by my own cowardice. I never did any college aside from a few community classes. I flunked out of high school and was forced to go to a continuation school. My career has had some furious highs but it's been mostly filled with disappointment and employers telling me if I could just find some consistency I'd be the best damn salesperson they've ever had. I simply do not care about life. I just don't. I cannot get over this hump and I'm not sure what I need to do in order to help me move forward. I often have trouble getting to sleep. When I go to bed I see a menacing black train heading to me as though my head were lying on the tracks. It hits me right before I nod off and I'm filled with such horrible memories. I now avoid going to sleep when I see the train on the horizon. I've built up such an emotional wall I'm now trapped inside. I can put on a front to the world but it grows tiresome. I often lie before even processing what someone says to me. It's a reaction. I've cut off contact from nearly everyone I know. I am now 30 years old. I have been laid off for nearly a year. I recently moved in with my dad (our relationship began several years ago). I've been keeping journals in the room. I was out today and came back to discover the room was 'cleaned' by my step mom. She saw the notes. I've been violated as that was a deeply personal space. She wants to talk as does my dad about suicide. I feel so wounded that they've gone through this and I don't know what to do. I am determined to beat this if it takes me 100 years but I'd much prefer to win sooner rather than later. Please give me any suggestions to help me actually live life. I write a daily very quick upbeat note to myself. I've taken fluoxitine (sp) in the past. I exercise almost daily. I've written out daily routines to go through. That makes me feel like a robot (which is a change from my normally feeling nothing at all). It feels nice to finally get some of this off my chest (and a very big thank you to anyone who took the time to read that) but I'd like to not feel so dead inside. Please help.