I am eating oats, the old-fashioned kind that you have to cook on the stovetop for 30 minutes, not the kind you cook for 5 minutes or just put hot water in. I have coffee off to the side sweetened with maple syrup. My friend taught me to do that. Not the sugary syrup coloured to look like maple syrup but actual maple syrup. I like real food and real ingredients when possible. Fresh produce, not canned. All of this is slightly comforting because I’ve had not comforting thoughts in my mind lately. So external comfort is welcome. Plus I’m living. I’m actually living in this moment. I’m doing what living people do, that is, eating food and drinking a beverage and just, being awake.
In the last week, I haven’t wanted to be awake. I haven’t been awake much. A majority of the past one week I’ve spent sleeping in bed and feeling very, very depressed. Today, after walking my dog at 7 am, I decided to be like most “normal” people and not go back to sleep. I decided to live for a bit, instead of hiding out in my bunker, aka my bed. When I’m in bed, alone or with my dog, nothing bad can happen to me. Except for the memories. The trauma memories are horrific and terrifying. I hate it when they appear. When I sleep too much I tend to have strange, bad dreams, but I would much rather take those over reality. My reality. My reality is peppered with memories of sexual abuse from over a decade ago. I really just can’t stand it anymore. I cannot live with myself when those memories resurface, and somehow get triggered.
In January this year, I just remember screaming. I was driving home from the office of a new therapist I had been seeing for five months, to try out a different type of therapy than what I was used to, and it was night time. I started driving home, twenty minutes is what it took, and I just started screaming at the top of my lungs in terror because of the faulty therapy session which had pushed me to the brink. I don’t remember how I got home safely and I didn’t even think to pull over and stop driving for my safety because in those moments I was back in 2008 in my mind and being sexually abused. It was happening in my mind but not in reality, and I was terrified. Back then I was not cognizant of the abuse that was happening to me, and I just let it happen. It seemed like I didn’t have a choice. I disassociated while it was happening so that in my mind I was detached and somewhere else. But having a flashback over a decade later sent me spinning into oblivion. And that is, I was having a mental emergency.
Earlier this year when this flashback was induced and I experienced more terror than I had in a long time, I became immediately and acutely suicidal. I checked myself into a crisis house instead of going straight to the hospital. I’m not sure what is worse, a crisis house or a hospital, but I know that a crisis house is less acute. I had never been to one before. I still owe them money and haven’t settled the bill from now half a year ago. I’m sure it’s been sent to collections… the story of my life.
Now a week later, the fog of my recent depressive episode has finally somewhat lifted. You have to know, it’s really difficult, living with depression and feeling majorly depressed. It feels like you’re weighed down by a ton of bricks that you’re not carrying, but that essentially own you and you can’t get rid of. And even though you may have a regular heartbeat and a normal breathing pattern, at the same time it feels like you can’t breathe. You sleep all the time because you’re afraid of what may come into your mind if you’re awake. Nightmares are preferable to the reality that’s in your waking mind because when awake you are filled with the terror of memories of past abuse that feel like those events just happened and that a decade hasn’t actually gone by, that they happened yesterday. You’re filled completely and overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and shame and horror and absolute disgust with yourself that you could have let those things happen to you. So in this depression, you don’t want to be dead. You just don’t want to be alive. So when I say that I am “doing things that living people do” right now, like drinking coffee and eating oatmeal, well, that’s a monumental step towards my healing.
Thank you for listening. I don’t ever want someone to try to solve my problems for me. All I ever want is an empathetic ear to listen to what I have to say, someone to hold space for me while I go through this long and ancient process of healing, someone like my therapist who has never left me, never once emotionally abandoned me in the 12 years we have worked together. For this, I am grateful.