I want to make it to my 32nd birthday. Chances are, I’ll still be alive by then. Once I pass the goal, there will be no big celebration. I’ll have to set another, and then another. Make it to the weekend. Make it to Sunday. Make it to tomorrow. Make it through the next hour. Make it through the next five minutes. And breathe. One small breath can make all of the difference to me. There are times when we all forget to breathe.
It’s in our nature to worry. So I must be human. That’s my rationale. But lately it seems like I’m worried about everything. I’m concerned about a Sunday, when my only goal was to shower and I wasn’t even able to accomplish that. On the weekends I eat about once a day because I’m so down on myself that I cannot make it out of bed, and I toss and I turn all day under those bed sheets, and have nightmares. Really, it’s an unpleasant way of living life. “Then why don’t you just get up?” someone might ask. Well, it’s not that simple. I have demons from the past that I’m afraid of, and mostly, as I’ve discovered, I haven’t given myself permission to live yet. I’ve been on the dying path for so many years, it’s hard to think differently. I have a very long road to recovery if I am to change my way of thinking.
Money is of great concern to me. I recently moved. I am much happier now that I’m out of the humbling and depressing and horribly oppressive living situation that I subjected myself to for almost a year. But I haven’t found a roommate yet and I cannot afford to live here. It’s a wonder how I was accepted into renting this place, and to sign the lease, if my income doesn’t cover what the monthly cost of this condo is. I don’t know what they were thinking, although I feel grateful because this last month has been a month of healing and emotional freedom from the external pressures of living under someone who watched my every move. Now I can sit out in the living room and know that I’m not being observed at any given minute. (Yes, she also had video cameras set up in the house to monitor activity from online). Living with your landlady is not something I wish upon anyone. Three people sharing one bathroom was not ideal either. Still, I am sure it could have been worse.
To tell you the truth, I would have much rather been living in a group recovery home, where we’re monitored, medications are dispensed, daily activities are planned, food is cooked and therapy is available. I don’t know why I couldn’t manage to get myself into that kind of a situation, as it would have been very healthy for me. I would have learned social skills and would have had a safe place to practice them. But I’ve been at my job for over six months now, the longest I’ve had a job in about five years, and the first job in five years actually. I have good enough coping skills to be able to blend into the work culture. I do have social skills. I do socially acceptable and normal behaviours. I have to tell myself that I’m okay. Because I don’t feel okay and I don’t feel normal and I keep wanting to blurt out to my co-workers: I am suicidal! Can’t you see? Don’t you know what it’s like to be going through this pain? Unfortunately, I fantasize about the bad kind of attention. There is good attention, that comes with accolades of having done a good job at work, and there is the bad kind of attention that comes with stigmas and lasting bad impressions. I don’t want negative attention focused on me.
I was in the hospital a couple weeks ago. Just for one night. A “friend” was feeding me alcohol, he bartends at a local bar, and I was drunk on my third drink when I called the suicide hotline, told them where I was, and told them I was about to jump off a bridge. I’m not sure if I was actually going to do it, but I felt like doing it. Feeling like doing something doesn’t mean you have to do it, and I am learning that. Like cutting. I often feel like harming myself but I know I shouldn’t do it. So, before I knew it, in a few minutes three police men had arrived to take me away in handcuffs. They kept saying, “you’re not in trouble” as long as I cooperated. Well, at first I cooperated, but as soon as I tried to take off in the opposite direction once we got to the ER, things got rough. I was restrained, and restrained I was, ankles and wrists to a hospital bed, all night. I was on a 5150, which stipulates that I stay hospitalized for 72 hours. They let me go home in the morning. I took a taxi to my car and drove home, changed, and went to work. I only missed half a day of work, when I was supposed to miss three. I’m not sure why they let me go home, and they probably shouldn’t have, but there I was, free of restraints and free to go. All I learned from this experience is a reminder that when I drink alcohol it brings me right back to when my ex used to get me drunk on purpose in order to have sex with me, which made me feel disgusting, used, and worthless. Drinking equals suicide. When I drink I want to kill myself. It’s happened on numerous occasions. I associate the feeling of being drunk with wanting to kill myself now. That’s sometimes why I drink, because I want to feel more suicidal, and I want to engage in risk-taking behaviour, knowing it is bad for me, in order to punish myself, because I don’t deserve to feel good. It all comes down to this: I am not worth anything. Anything. I am not worth anything. Every time a man had sex with me, it told me that I was there to be used, and made me completely powerless and worthless. I used to be strangled and I would tell whoever it was to strangle me harder because secretly I hoped in the process that it would kill me. But it never did.
Sexual abuse and trauma is a bitch. It can pop up at any time, and without warning. Anything can be associated with it. The texture of a fabric, the tune of a song, the stare of a strange man. I don’t tell myself it’s not my fault. I forget to do that. I blame myself still, and think that I am disgusting and that no one could ever like me again. Even though at work people are openly kind and courteous to me and seem to value me as a human being. I don’t feel worth anything. I’ve been thinking about suicide a lot lately. It’s just on my mind. Ever since I really wanted to jump off of that bridge. I still do, I just know I won’t do it because I made a promise to my therapist, the only person who has truly cared enough to be able to make a difference and to keep me alive all of these years.
I’ve been celibate for four years now and I love every day of it. I even have the luxury of taking it for granted. I can choose what to do with my life now, and that includes the choice of not having sex. Not having that intimate act forced upon me in a public, humiliating and vile manner. I think my ex should be in jail. But the statute of limitations has passed for him to be able to be accused of statutory rape, which he committed. The statute has not passed for marital rape, but that’s also a bitch and it’s hard to prove. He said, she said. My word against his. I have no idea how these things work. I could have ended up in jail for prostitution, and that might have been better than the sexual and mental and emotional and physical abuse that I was suffering. I’ll never know, and probably better that way.
I have thought about going public with my story. I want the world to know what happened to me. I want justice but I’ll never get that. Living life well is to be my justice, from this point forward. But if someone else has been through even remotely what I’ve been through, I want them to know my story so I can show them that life does get better after abuse. If I went public, even if it were to be anonymous, the story could get twisted by the newscaster in a way that I don’t like and the damage would be irreversible. As it is, I know I’m not ready, because any time I think about it I think about suicide, and any time I talk about it I know for sure that I want to kill myself. If it went public I would probably be dead within the year. So, not a good idea. But every once in a while I come up with these ideas, that need to be bounced off of a friend, thought about, contemplated, and then let go of. The hard part is letting go.