Tonight's special guest is Mark Morrison-LeMay from Baldwinsville, New York, who was physically and mentally abused by his stepfather. So was his mother. "I don't really remember when the abuse actually started, but it evolved to me being told I was nothing," Mark says, "that I would amount to nothing, that I would end up as my biological father did, making nothing of my life." He was helpless as he regularly witnessed his mother being slapped and demeaned. Mark, a chunky kid and not an athlete, was also bullied at school. "At 16 years of age, I seriously contemplated taking my own life, telling my mother that maybe if I was not around the abuse she was experiencing would stop," he writes. "I developed what ended up being daily panic attacks, and had at least 3 breakdowns that I can remember. The after effects of the abuse were basically a deep mistrust of people, becoming pretty much a loner and erecting many walls to keep any form of hurt away." Three years ago Mark had a heart attack. "That was the turning point, as I was diagnosed with both anxiety and depression." He began counseling. He concludes, "At 52 years old, my life is just beginning to go the way I want it to go." Mark's making a difference and is now telling his story. "I am hoping this will inspire those who are in the midst of fighting the demon of abuse to know they too can crawl out from under that weight and can becoming whole and strong enough to become who they are meant to be." He's now involving himself in what his passions (including photography). "I still have flashbacks to the abuse and still have an occasional panic attack [but] these are few and far between."
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