Just Another Evening

My mind and senses are rife with excitement for writing about my evening right now. And at the same time, I feel as if I could drift off to sleep early without a care in the world, other than needing to take out Samuel for his nightly potty break, thus interrupting my would-be slumber. However, it’s an hour before the normal time when I start getting ready for bed, so I’ll stay up and type! Type away!


There’s nothing special about my evening, other than that it is not punctuated by suicidality or any other extreme emotions. Thus, in a sense, the evening is actually extraordinary, and every evening like this should be just as amazing. My Mum bought me a book, “Alone Time,” by Stephanie Rosenbloom. It’s a book about four little weeklong vacations the author took in different cities around the world within a year’s time. I’ve finished the introduction and am deep into the first chapter. There’s something about having a physical copy of a book in your hand. Rather than the hype of the smell of the book, the feel, the texture, I’m thinking it’s clunky and annoying, at first, to have to hold a physical book in one’s hands. First of all it requires two hands, rather than one, unless you have extremely dexterous fingers and are adept at holding a book’s pages open with one hand. Second, it doesn’t elicit that stare-like quality you get from having blue light flashing before your eyeballs… Yes, that’s more of a negative quality of digital reading. But I’ve gotten so used to reading Kindle books on the app on my phone that holding a real book just seems clunky. Nevertheless, reading this book in the flesh, so-to-speak, has grown on me. It’s just a different experience than the digital one. Also, with the Kindle app on the phone, one can change the font size to any size desired, which means I don’t have to squint whilst reading.


I digress. Where was I? My evening. Yesterday the evening temperature outside was 99 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s about 38 degrees Celsius. Far too hot for taking a leisurely stroll for exercise. Tonight the temperature was slightly more tolerable but I am very lucky that my apartment seems to stay at a decent temperature no matter what. I have air conditioning units in the windows of both my living room and bedroom, but when turned on they are very loud and not so pleasant. I also have a space heater for the colder months, as the wall elements that are supposed to heat a room really just don’t work. I fed my dog, picked up his poop off the hardwood floor and searched around for possible wet spots where he could have peed. These days, with an old dog, this is a daily routine. Sometimes I get tired of this routine of picking up after him!


Some chilled rosé started off the evening and I barely had any: not even a buzz. Then cereal for dinner with vanilla yogurt and nibbles on carrots to make up for the lack of vegetables in that bland diet. All in all, not a bad start to the evening. I exchanged voice recordings with my friend in Nova Scotia, saying whatever I pleased and could think of off the cuff, including expletives, because we never hold anything back between us and any topic is fair game, even “I’m on the toilet whilst recording this message.”

It’s a good use of time for me. I get to have social interaction without it feeling too glaring or obligatory or awkward thanks to the miracle of modern technology. We exchange messages on an app called Signal which encrypts messages, unlike WhatsApp, which does not encrypt messages. It’s interesting: I don’t own a television and I don’t miss it. If I want to watch a movie I have the option of watching it inconveniently on my computer or conveniently on the screen of my phone. I’ve enjoyed several movies from my phone screen and it works just fine for me. I mean, just because I don’t own a TV doesn’t mean I never watch anything. I do. I like the occasional surreptitious form of pre-recorded entertainment.

My dryer is loud in the background because of the numerous zippers on clothing items that are banging against the walls of the inside of the dryer, saying “let me out!” “I will,” I reply, “when it’s time and you’re dry.” The only thing I have to hang-dry is my bra because it’s too delicate for the likes of an electric drying machine… unless I didn’t want that clothing item to last me a long time, then I could make it suffer the forced heated air. I always look at my piano, well, my family’s piano, that is, and think to myself, “I could be playing you.” Yet the desire just doesn’t compute into action.

It’s almost completely dark outside now. It’s smack in the middle of the eight o’clock hour. Do you know that in Germany 8:30 is actually “half nine”? This makes complete sense. It’s a half hour before nine, so we attribute the following hour, not the current hour. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you but there are a lot of things that are sensible about the German language. The one thing I can never quite get right is “the: Der/Die/Das” There are three genders: masculine, feminine, and neutral. This makes me think that Germans pioneered the LGBTQ movement long before anyone else thought of it. Yes please, call me “They/Them” instead of “She/Her.” Neutralize my gender, thank you very much!

Well, enough of my musings. I am done for now. Suffice to say that the newest addition to my household, my kalimba, is sitting as quietly as my piano, patiently waiting for me to desire to play it. It’s a wonderful little instrument and very versatile. I could be lighting candles, burning incense, wafting lavender oil water via my electric diffuser, but that all sounds like too much work. I’d rather just listen to my dog snore and nod off to sleep myself without the hassle of having to remember to blow out a candle or press the “off” button of my diffuser. I got the diffuser for free on my Buy Nothing Facebook group. It’s a nice thing to have. Now I shall hit “send” and the “off” button of my computer. Goodnight!

A Discussion About Mental Illness

I suffer from mental illness. Also known as mental injuries. Those injuries are depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It makes me different from other people. It sets me apart in that life seems just more difficult than it would otherwise without those illnesses. Every person is unique. We all have “mental health” but not everyone has a mental illness. It’s different. It’s unique. It’s not exactly desirable.
What do I think of this? I’m sure a lot of people have mental health “issues” but staying in bed for 48 hours straight on the weekend feels somewhat debilitating. That is just one way my illness manifests itself. I have a lot of respect for people who work in the mental health field, such as my therapist and my psychiatrist. It takes a lot of compassion to work with people who have mental injuries that are chronic.
Then there are the crying spells. I do have times where I just need to cry to release the sadness. It’s a release of negative energy which has built up over time. But then again, I’m not the only person who can cry after watching a sad movie, right? I recently watched the movie “I am Sam” and cried twice throughout the movie. There were some very sad parts, and the sadness spills into my personal life and my emotions that I have just about daily living.


Sometimes living is hard. Sometimes I would rather be dead. But I know there are a lot of people who know me who would rather see me live my life, preferably a productive (meaning, happy) life, and I try to live up to those expectations. It takes a lot of patience, which I don’t always have. When life is going well I dream a lot of things about my future, such as buying a condo one day or going back to school.
Living takes a lot of grit. No one ever said life would be easy, and it really isn’t! It’s hard. We get tired, overworked, exhausted emotionally and physically, and then we have to recover. But living with a mental illness takes just a little bit more effort than it would for the average person to get through each and every day.


Being suicidal takes an enormous amont of effort and energy. With suicidality comes a lot of anxiety, anxious feelings that are intrusive and interfere with whatever else is going on at the moment. When I am suicidal I can’t work, I just sit at my desk making plans for ending my life and finding comfort in the fact that my life could end soon, that the emotional pain would soon go away. Suicide is not selfish, it’s an act of desperation to end emotional pain. If you ever come across a suicidal person, just listen and be there. No special words are needed, except your presence and for them to feel like they are not alone. Luckily I haven’t been suicidal for a number of months now. I am just living my life day to day doing the best that I can.

Current State of Affairs

Re-invigorated by the overwhelming positive response from my last blog, I shall attempt to humour you with some fanciful details of my current life as it stands, which is not so unlike my blog from last week. I had a mostly soporific weekend punctuated by a lovely dinner with friends. (Yes I do have some friends here in this not-so-new area of the world… it will soon be almost a year since I moved here). I have a new four-legged trailer, literally, attached at my hip (okay, figuratively); this creature wants to make sure I’m not out of his sight at all. I’m surprised, as I would deem him to be slightly neglected due to my depressive sleeping activities, but he seems to want to beg to differ. It’s as if he’s just begging to be petted. And so, the petting shall commence shortly.


In the meantime, I realized that whilst one of the hundred or so residents of my complex is using the gym, I might best make use of my time by doing some much-needed laundry. I seem pretty level-headed as of late. That means that my emotional state-of-being is even-keeled and I even feel invigorated today, which is surprising, it being a Monday. I’m impressed with myself. In fact, I’m doing so well that I’m seeing my therapist in two weeks rather than weekly.


“You’re only going to harm yourself, and then pass out,” the employee of the county mental health ward said to me, as I had barricaded myself from intruders into the room, only to wrap a towel around my neck in defiance of the insidious beasts that ran the ward. Did this have to do with my post-traumatic stress disorder? Probably. It’s a memory that popped up from January in the aftermath of my suicide attempt. Evidently I am still processing this memory. Healing from PTSD is not linear. No one can claim it to be so. Trauma memories pop up time and time again as intrusively as salty anchovies on a pizza… Can you tell I’m about to eat a pizza? 

I don’t know why that memory popped up but I’m not opposed to it either. It brings no significant feelings of remorse, more of disdain for the staff at county mental health. 

Before dinner on Saturday we stopped by FLAX art and design, a fabulous art supply warehouse where I dared to purchase a whatchamacallit… one of those things that you mix paint on to then apply haphazardly, in my case, to a canvas. I also spent $95 on stickers, gorgeous fake tattoos, a fancy set of colouring pens, and a mindfulness colouring book, among other things, which are intended to be gifts to a certain someone down the road (for her birthday). Hint: she’ll be 9 years old in a few months, must be a pretty special someone! I’m just delighted that I even have a gift for her this year. I’m pretty adept at getting birthday cards for special people but not so practised at buying gifts.

A little whiny creature is reminding me that dinner is sitting on the counter and has yet to be eaten. It’s cooling down from the oven. I am also reminded of how fortunate I am to have my very own apartment… that I don’t have to share it with anyone else. My dog can whine and I can talk out loud on the speaker phone without having to apologize to anyone.

The pizza was delicious and the scraps went to a certain someone who was begging for them. What would we do without our furry or feathered beings? I am reminded that I have to do better by him in the form of more frequent baths and medications to be dispensed daily instead of merely when I remember. He is truly a pleasure to come home to, lest the turds I find because he couldn’t wait to go outside.

All in all, things are well. Isn’t that great to hear? I couldn’t have imagined this being the case five months ago. Thanks for being a part of my journey and I look forward to checking in with you again soon. Peace.

A Piece of Writing

What makes music so beautiful? What makes it so perfect? What makes it so special? Why is it that I am crying at the mere thought of creating such beauty when I know I don’t have the skill, but to listen. What is it about music which produces tears?


Watching the Soloist this evening, on my phone, since I don’t own a television, brought some humanity to my otherwise mundane days. I’ve felt lately that I have no purpose in life. Yes, I am my dog’s mom. I am a good friend to a few people. I am a sister and a daughter and a patient to a very special therapist. But there are days I wish that my life would just end.


I don’t have the skill when it comes to creating great melodies but I do have words and with my words I sing until I feel better, until I have created a picture of something that I could imagine swallowing whole, like swallowing a pill to make things seem better if only for a few moments.


Somewhere in life there has to be a purpose for me still being here. My mother has counted the number of times I’ve tried to take my life. Maybe it helps her. I’ve lost count and I dream of the end of my pain all the time. I just want my pain to end. When I looked up the year The Soloist was released, in 2009, it brought me back to my painful years of being abused. The feeling never quite leaves you, when you’ve experienced that much pain in your life. The feeling of being raped, of having every aspect of your life controlled and not having a say, it never quite leaves you. I want to keep practising saying “no” because my “no” was disregarded so many times. It just wasn’t a thing.


I feel like I have a wet beard because my tears have traveled down the length of my face and have stopped at the hairs of my chinny chin chin. And just like that, with the swipe of a long-armed sleeve, they are gone. My piano has been vacant for over two months, not being played, no sounds being produced. All I can do is sleep on the weekends. I don’t make a sound. I don’t disturb anyone but myself and the waves I make with followers on my Twitter account. It’s as if I don’t exist and I really don’t care to exist.


Pain makes tears seem easy. Some people who have experienced pain cannot bring themselves to cry, and they’ve envied my tears. It’s true! Tears are a way of releasing emotions that have built up, festering, for some time. They come and they go, just as emotions do. The pain comes, and then the pain goes, and somehow, I get to live in the present with the past in the past, once again, where it belongs.

My Life: a Story

As my fingers grace the soft, delicate keys of my keyboard, my eyes become fixated on the black lettering appearing on my screen and I go into a sort of trance. I have been writing for years, and the assuaging cadence of the words never fail to lull me into this deep place of comfort. I feel comforted at being able to put my thoughts and feelings into words, even if it’s just a long drawn-out description of how much I enjoy the sensation of writing. For it is writing that keeps me alive. Every time I connect with my therapist via email, whether short and cryptic or long and sensuously, unnecessarily wordy… it all seems necessary to me at the time. I need to connect with him. I need to connect with you. I need to connect with my reader.

The tears have dried up and my breathing has become regulated again. The snotty sniffling of the after-cry shock has subsided and I’m back to my “normal” self. But then again, what is normal, where I often feel depressed and all I want to do is to sleep? I can’t bear to pick up a figurative pen and let the words flow out of me. There are times whence I am stunted and just dead-to-the-world and I can’t write. Luckily today is not one of those days.

I got triggered. You see, I used to model. I used to model for photographers and I was skinny and very unhappy. The modeling brought me a sense of something that I could control, in the midst of a time when I was being abused and my life was very much not in my own control. I was miserable and trying to not let anyone know that fact. Now, it has been over a decade that I’ve been in recovery. I’m no longer skinny nor do I want to be. And I read an article about a model whose risqué images had been published by a photographer in a book without her consent for his profit and gain. Why “his”? Well, it had to be a man. I don’t think a female photographer would have done such a thing. Prove me wrong please!

When I think of my modeling days, I think of the sexual abuse I endured at the time. Being sold for sex and raped by countless men. I was drugged with alcohol and was told to comply. Well, it’s not like I was given a choice. Being raped was my normal. Being sold, and my body used as a commodity, that was what was normal for me. I had become accustomed slowly by my abuser to that sort of life. During the thick of it, I simply didn’t know any different. I didn’t have any friends I could talk to about my feelings.

My abuser was staunchly against me seeing a therapist but that was one thing he couldn’t keep me from. You see, I knew something was wrong with my life, but I didn’t know what that was. I wanted to be the “perfect wife” for my abuser, and I thought a perfect wife did everything her so-called husband told her to do. She was obedient. When I did what I was told to do I received what I thought was endless praise. What I now know to be a mockery of my very being.

For the first couple years of therapy, I didn’t talk about the sexual abuse that was happening in my relationship and outside of it. Everything was intertwined. I don’t even know anymore. But I talked about other things, until finally, here and there, I began mentioning that there were things that I didn’t like, or things that seemed off. Up until then, I hadn’t had a voice. I was not allowed to have an opinion. I didn’t know who I was. I had no sense of self. But slowly, over time, week after week for an hour at a time, I began to have a voice for the first time in my life during those therapy sessions.

Looking at the self-aware person I am now, I don’t know who that bold, sexy, seemingly sex-addicted abused young woman was. Admittedly I did look somewhat sexy in those modeling photos. But I also looked emaciated, with hollow, empty eyes peering forth at a relentless truth that was staring me in the face, only I didn’t see it at the time. I had to get out. I had to get out of the relationship because it was killing me. Either I was going to die or I was going to kill myself.

I thank my lucky starts that the inevitable happened: after years of being sexually abused I became so severely depressed that I couldn’t hold a job. With our two incomes my abuser had planned on buying a second home to house his girlfriend (while he was still technically married to me). He couldn’t do that when I announced one day that I had quit my well-paid corporate career job. Of course he was pissed! It took him two more years to divorce me. Or should I say, it took two more years of me going to sometimes twice weekly therapy before I could leave him. Either way you slice it, the apple is cut, and we separated.

Years of recovery ensued. He was a narcissist. Nothing he had done was wrong and he quickly moved on with his life and got remarried, even had a kid. I feel sorry for that kid and worry about the potential of her being abused. But that is not my responsibility. My therapist tells me it is the parents’ responsibility to keep their child safe. So unfortunate is this world where children get abused, even sexually, by the ones who are indebted with their safety.

The type of life I have now is unimaginable. Ten years ago I could never have imagined the sort of life I have now. I have room to breathe. I have an income. I pay my bills. I am in charge of my life. No one else tells me what to do. I no longer starve myself. I no longer cut on my arms with knives and scissors to punish myself and to make myself bleed. I no longer wish to kill myself. I’m not in and out of psych wards. I live in a suburb in a one bedroom apartment by myself. It’s just me and my dog, Samuel. He is my ESA – Emotional Support Animal. In fact, if I didn’t have a note from my psychiatric doctor stating such, I wouldn’t be allowed to live here with Samuel. He keeps me alive. He keeps me going. He gives me a reason to get up each day and go to work.

Working 40 hours a week isn’t easy for a formerly and somewhat still currently depressed person. There are often mornings I wake up and I don’t want to be awake. I’d much rather sleep the day away and not be conscious, because when you are conscious, you think, and thoughts can go awry if you think of the unpleasant, and in my case, traumatic, past. To top it off, I’ve had Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I don’t know if that diagnosis would currently apply, but certainly my unstable behaviour of the past was indicative of a traumatised person.

And this all brings us back to the act of writing. If I couldn’t write, I don’t know what I would do. I need, in a visceral way, to connect to other people. I’m writing as if I’m writing to one specific reader, and I hope this touches each individual person who has taken the time to read the words I have written. Thank you.

Trying to Figure Out My Worth After Sexual Abuse

What am I worth? Am I worth a $90k a year job when I’ve been working very underpaid jobs for the last six years? Before that, I couldn’t even hold a job. I was so broken. Broken down from a relationship that exploited me. Some say I was sexually abused. I say I was sex trafficked. I was only worth what someone would pay to have sex with me in a hotel room or at home in our living room with my malnourished, anorexic body.

My tears are still dripping as I type this. I’m too dumbfounded by the realization that I’ve undervalued myself for so many years to wipe the tears away. Wet, shining, they caress my cheek as they find their ultimate resting place. What am I good at? In my opinion, not very much. I don’t have much to speak for myself. Yes, I can write a mean poem and then recite it wholeheartedly. It takes everything out of me to perform my poetry. I need an entire day of rest before and after if I’m the headliner for the open mic show.

I’m on my sixth interview with a company. It’s scheduled for Monday, in just a few days, with the founder of the company. I guess they want to make sure that I am the right person for the job. If I get the offer, the numbers in the approximation of $90,000 will be stamped in black and white. Of course, in that area of the country, the living costs are very high. Rent would be around $40,000 a year, so that brings the number down a bit, and with taxes taken out, well, I would still be able to save a bit of money. I want to go visit my aunt in Australia one day. That will cost a bit of money.

When I think about my malnourished self of around the age of 24, that was in 2008. It’s when I started seeing my therapist, who hasn’t left my side in over a decade. I call myself malnourished because my abuser, who was also my husband and pimp and sex trafficker (the pimping out started only when we had gotten engaged)… let me side track for a minute. I remember an attorney over the phone exclaiming stupidly to me: “You married your pimp?” I’ll never forget those words. To an outsider who doesn’t know my story, it may seem like that. But no, I married my high school sweetheart. Only, he wasn’t so sweet. I didn’t know what narcissistic personality disorder was back then. I didn’t know that people who are sexually abused as children either become abusers themselves, or they heal from it. He was the first of those two options. We dated and the screwed up sex stuff didn’t start until he “owned” me by putting a ring on my finger.

In 2012 when I was 28 I left that relationship. I had been seeing my therapist for four years. I couldn’t take it any longer, the abuse, that is. Don’t get me wrong. There was a part of me that didn’t want to leave him. I was trauma bonded to this abuser and thought that I loved him. I grieved that loss of relationship for many years. It was a long time before the anger came. I still feel angry now and then. The anger rears its ugly head in the form of suicidal ideation. When I’m furious, I think about ending my life. At times, this is really intense.

Back to the beginning of where I started out. I’m about to get or not get a really good job offer that no one in their right mind would refuse. But it would mean leaving a city that has been my home for so long, and leaving my friends behind, even though I don’t see them often anyway. Taking this job would mean delaying my dream of going back to school to become a psychotherapist. But am I ready to help others when I am still healing myself? A therapist who helps suicidal people not kill themselves and yet experiences suicidal ideation on her own terms?

I really don’t know what to do. What am I worth? Does my $22/hour job define my worth? I’ve wanted to take a $15/hour job as a mental health worker, but that would mean I would be using a minimum of $10,000 a year of the nest egg I got from my divorce, because yes, everyone, the narcissistic man who sex trafficked me was a promising young CEO of a technology company. That’s the only reason I can afford to work such low paid jobs in the first place is the “savings” that I have which aren’t savings but divorce severance from the profit of a company sale, a company which I, in a way, helped to build, because I was married to the man who was a founder. Enough technicalities. I’m being completely open and honest here, and I have no idea who is going to read this, or what you, reader, are going to think. Of me. Of my story. Of my latest conundrum.

Really my focus should be on healing. I should keep my underpaid job that has good health insurance, whilst using some of that nest egg every month to make ends meet, and heal, heal, heal. I need to heal and figure out what defines my value. God defines my worth. Not a job. Not the status of my mental health. Not my depressed thoughts and feelings which tell me lies. Not my trauma. Not my history. God defines my worth and I define my worth. That last one is tricky, because whilst God may value my existence and my soul, I do not. Whilst at the moment of creation, God knew that he was creating the makings of a masterpiece, here I am years later still wishing I were dead because the trauma in my mind won’t leave me alone.

Images and memories pop up constantly, uninvited and intrusively pushing their way in to my present moment, making the nine years in which I have been safe from my abuser seem like the blink of an eye, and I am being raped, in my mind, in the present, by men whose faces all blur into one unpleasant, gruff essence of “man” and “abuser” and “rapist.” What I need to find out, before I start graduate school, again, is what I am worth. The truth is that I am worth my weight in gold. Gold is the word that God gave to me when Ruth and I were praying together.

A Letter About a Conundrum

Dear Friend,


This letter is going to be long. I’m expecting it to be equivalent to a three page document. I don’t know yet. Open forum, flow-of-consciousness type writing where I express my thoughts freely with the bonus of having you as my ultimate audience. So I think I need to thank you in advance. Thank you for taking interest in me as a person, that you would be willing to let me bounce my ideas and ponderings off of you. I hope to gain some clarity through this soliloquy, but my guess is that it will only confirm what I do know: that I don’t know what to do with my life over the next 30 years.


My therapist is well-versed in my hypotheticals, as well as my life history. He is patient and listens to me do a round robin over and over again out loud, in my mind. Somehow, I’ll just start telling my story. My biggest concern right now, is finances, and not being able to make ends meet, using my savings to cover my approximate $500 a month shortfall due to my low income. But it isn’t that low… it could be lower. Money wasn’t always an issue for me. When I was married and in the abusive relationship, we made enough money with both of our incomes for my abuser to do expensive hobbies like flying jets and sailing, going on expensive vacations to Cape Cod and New England. It was always what he wanted, I never had a say. Then we separated and alimony ended shortly thereafter and I was forced to go back into the world of employment. I’ve only just now come to the realization that ever since I left my abusive relationship I’ve allowed myself to work low-paid and underpaid jobs. Probably because I haven’t valued myself as a person, as a human being. I’ve always just scraped by financially in the last six years.


There, I’ve written up two lovely paragraphs and managed to say very little or absolutely nothing. So I shall continue. I’ve been interviewing for jobs lately. It has been very stressful, working full-time and doing between one to three interviews a day for the last two weeks. A recruiter from the Bay Area found my resume and contacted me. She has been facilitating me getting some interviews with companies near San Francisco. My family, specifically, my brother, lives in the Bay Area, so I do have an interest in moving if the right job at the right salary were to come my way. The only thing is, my brother won’t live in San Jose forever, just maybe for the next five years. It is likely that he will leave for a different state eventually. So if I moved, if I got a job offer and were to accept it, I would have around five years of paying roughly $40,000 a year in rent whilst living within a two hour drive of my brother, and maybe seeing him once a month as opposed to my current trajectory of seeing him once a year, maybe twice if I am lucky.


The other reason for wanting to move to the Bay Area is because I want to, yes, I’ll say it: rescue my Mum. She is financially tied to her emotionally abusive spouse of the last 20 years and although it would be very difficult living with her, as our personalities couldn’t be further apart, I want to give her an option of leaving her relationship and moving in with me. I’ve been interviewing for a job that could offer a $90,000 salary, so although $40k of that $90k would go to rent, it would still be enough to live off of, after taxes have been taken out. I would be able to afford to pay rent for a two bedroom place without my Mum having to contribute to the rent, where she could live and finally retire, if she so chooses. She currently works a very humbling job delivering food for a living on apps like Uber Eats and the likes. She earns less than minimum wage and pays almost $1,000 a month just for her health insurance. She and her abusive husband have savings, but it won’t last forever. She has talked about separating from that relationship for many years, but has not left. The likelihood that she would actually leave him and choose to move in with me? Slim. So one of the main reasons for me looking at moving to the Bay Area is because my Mum is from there, wants to live there and not in the rainy city where she currently is living, and the likelihood that she would actually move in with me, my whole reason for moving, is close to none. Yet I remain hopeful.


These are the things that have been on my mind lately. And then you texted me, ever so timely, right before my sixth interview with a company coming up on Monday, which will be the deciding interview that will determine whether I get this $90k offer up in the Bay Area. And the thing is, if I move, I plan to stay there for a while. Like at least the next 10 years, if not longer. I don’t want to keep moving around, so it would be permanent for a while. The job would be hard and challenging, not easy. It’s a client service associate position servicing extremely high net worth clients in managing their wealth and their financial investments. It’s a job I’ve done before, which is why this company is looking at possibly hiring me. But then I wouldn’t apply for the program at the University to get my LPCC. Hence your timely text message.


You see, if I stay here, I will likely apply to the Community Based Block Program, for which you’ve already expressed interest, ever so gallantly, in writing one of my three recommendation letters needed for the application. I realize they accept applications only every two years, of which this year is one of those application years. If I were to be accepted into the program I would start in the Fall of 2022, which opens a whole other can of worms in terms of financial concerns and worries. And the other question is, what do I do in the year between now and Fall of 2022? Do I work an underpaid job, or worse, even a severely underpaid job, continue to use my savings, until I can take out some student loans to help pay for tuition and living expenses? Or do I try my best to get a decently paid job for the next year, so I don’t have to worry about money, and stay in here? Because if I take the job in the Bay Area, “if” being the key word since I haven’t gotten a job offer yet, then it would take me away from this city and the CBB program. At least temporarily, because the funny thing is, and there’s really nothing “funny” to it, merely “odd”, is that I feel if I move away from here I’m going to end up coming back here anyway, eventually. This has been my home for so many years and I’m really tied to this city. I do have friends here but what keeps me here, primarily, I suppose is the familiarity and… my therapist.


My therapist has been my rock and my world for the past twelve or more years. I also don’t want to move away from him. But eventually, maybe in a few years, he will be moving regardless. He will keep his private practice but move away from here because this city is really just too expensive for the average person with an average income to live in. So, whether I move or stay in this city, eventually, sooner than later, my sessions with my therapist will no longer be in person, and over Zoom instead. I dread not seeing him in person anymore, but I think I would be able to get used to video sessions, which we’ve actually done in the past. I won’t even mention Covid, but throughout the pandemic I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to still see him in person. So, my therapist is another consideration, though my contact with him, whatever decision I make, whether I move or stay, will not end. Thankfully.
I have a good job right now. It just doesn’t pay much. Not quite enough. One thing I’m grateful for is the good health insurance coverage. It allows me to see my psychiatrist and to be able to take my inexorably expensive antidepressant medication at a reasonable cost. I’m also not challenged often enough at my job, but it is a good job. The only thing is, I would rather be making more money in exchange for a little bit more job stress, so I wouldn’t have to worry about using my savings each month. Because eventually my savings will run out and this is not a sustainable trajectory.


The other thing is, I so desperately want to work in the field of mental health now, but unless I have a master’s degree the pay is deplorable. I currently earn $22/hour, have a housemate helping with the rent, and don’t make ends meet. Imagine if I were to work as a Mental Health Worker at $15/hour, I would be using at least $10k a year of my savings just to pay rent and other relevant, non-extravagant expenses, for I do not live an extravagant lifestyle and am pretty frugal. But that’s what my heart wants to do. My heart and my linear, logical left brain side do not speak the same language, nor do they communicate very often. I want to work a shitty paid job, use up a significant amount of my nest egg, just so I can get experience in the mental health field. Because if I had my master’s degree already, I would be able to earn enough in that field to not use up too much of my savings. So, these are some other thoughts and considerations. Do I take a shitty job for a year before I “start” my master’s degree, saying I get into the program, and use up my savings by a significant amount? I keep saying “savings” but these are not savings. This is money I got from my divorce. There’s no way I’ve had nearly enough income to be able to save any money in the last six years.


Do I keep going? Do I keep boring you with my inundating thoughts? Because I’m not done. Can you see why I wanted to write you an essay before having a two-hour conversation over all of this? I’ve wanted to go into the field of counseling for at least, let’s say since 2016, possibly even before, though I can’t imagine that I could have imagined the possibility of becoming a therapist sooner than 2016, given the course of my healing journey from that abusive situation I was in during my 20s. In 2017 I did a stint of a semester at Azusa Pacific University. I was the only other student in the cohort working full-time whilst going to school and frankly, my mental health couldn’t handle it, so I took a break from school and eventually withdrew from the program. I didn’t get to know a lot of other students during that time, but one student was married and able to afford tuition by using her husband’s GI bill I believe. So with a spouse paying living expenses, rent, etc., she could afford to go to school. Another student had money and a spouse in China paying her tuition and expenses. Another student was also from money, and commuted from his parent’s home in Encinitas. Yes, living at home with your parents as a grown adult isn’t pretty, but it beats paying rent. I qualified for one loan which covered tuition at the time, but did not qualify for another loan to cover any of my living expenses. Hence, I still had to work full-time. My plan had been to work part-time and go to school with more focus on studying but I didn’t know that I didn’t qualify for the loan until I had applied for the loan just before the semester began. The reason I didn’t qualify for the loan? I filed for bankruptcy in 2015 because of hospital bills from my illness.


I could make school work. I could work part-time, take out loans, I could make it work. But if I get that job offer in the Bay Area, do I just say “no” to it? Do I say “no” to the possibility of rescuing my Mom? She took care of me for 18 years and I want to be able to take care of her one day. And what will the recruiter think of me, if I say no to a job offer she worked so hard on getting for me? Ultimately, I’m the selling point. I’ve been the one doing the interviews, and it’s me who is the value added to the company if they decide they want to hire me. But all of this is premature, because I may not even get a job offer.


I’ve exhausted my typing ability. I could write more but the rest doesn’t make sense unless we talk in person. I’m actually looking for advice here. From you. My therapist, he won’t give me advice. He’s in the business of helping me figure things out on my own. A very good friend, my aunt Ruth in Australia who has a lot of wisdom, and my mom, all three of them do not think that going back to school for counseling is a good idea at this time in my life. But it’s over a year away, potentially. I can do a lot of healing groundwork in that year. Know too, that I’ve had many suicide attempts in the past, including my last one in 2019, and one attempt at the end of 2018. The material that we study in psychology is triggering. Yet, there is a part of me that still wants to do it, still says, I can help people. I can be like my therapist and give back by helping people, by giving them counseling, in a way that someone without my past history could not do. But there are also many ways of “giving back” and helping people. I don’t have to become a therapist, even though that’s what I’ve wanted for so many years.


Thanks for listening. End soliloquy. To be continued at another point in time.

Yet Another Suicide Plan Averted

It’s half past ten o’clock in the evening on a Saturday night. I was, frankly, supposed to be dead by now. I’m not sure what triggered me. Whether it was staying in bed all day for days on end and being angry with myself for that, or the violent television programs that I’ve unfortunately been watching. Whether it was triggered by a flashback of my traumatic past (I think I would remember a flashback) or by my incessant self-hatred, which also stems from being abused. All I can say is that my therapist is in the business of saving lives and helping people live their best life possible. I am grateful for him.

Twenty-four hours ago I sent a message to my brother saying goodbye. He promptly phoned me and we talked for a while. I felt better after we had talked, and less suicidal. My plan had been to go through with my suicide plan after seeing my therapist one last time for our regular scheduled session. But as usual, with a good night’s sleep, and with having spoken with my brother, I was much less determined to kill myself. And by the time my therapy session was over, I had decided to not go through with it.

Am I glad to be here still? Yes. Plus, death is violent, no matter how you try and sugarcoat it for yourself. Me causing my own death would have been a violent act. Plenty of people, including my dog, would have been left with confusion and heartache. It was very impactful at the end of our session when my therapist, who has known me for twelve years, said that he would have been sad if I had killed myself.

But I was so determined to do it. I was sure that this was the answer and solution to solve my pain. Not healing. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to be healed because that would take away the option of suicide as a way out. If I were healed, fully and completely, then I wouldn’t want to kill myself anymore. I’ve been suicidal for almost a decade, off and on. What would I be without the option to die by suicide? I would have to live out the rest of my life and, well, that scares the shit out of me.

I’m glad to be here still. I’m glad I get another chance at life. I get to have the option of having a family one day. I get to have the chance at holding my brother’s baby in my arms and becoming an aunt one day. I don’t have to end things now. I am “free, pure, and blessed,” as one of my former mentors used to say. Any positive self talk I can get, I will take it, as it’s far and few in between. I am here to stay.

So I’m here. “Free, pure, and blessed,” as a former mentor of mine used to say. I have my life ahead of me. For this damaged yet vibrant woman in her mid-to-late thirties, there will be a tomorrow. I have another chance at life. I have the opportunity to continue healing. I have the chance to grow. I might have a family some day. I might get to experience the joy of becoming an aunt and holding my brother’s baby in my arms. Just maybe, the darkest days won’t hold be captive any longer and I can break through the muddy muck of awful thoughts to find a morcel of hope which will carry me through until tomorrow, and then the next day and the next, one day at a time.

More On My Inpatient Experience

I am about to have my hearing with a court official. A lady who is a patient advocate came and spoke with me. She is going to speak on my behalf. I’m a little bit scared because the prospect of speaking with a court official is daunting. I’m so glad that I live in America. I think that the health system, especially for mental health, is better here than it is in the U.K., for example. Even the ability to have a court hearing is amazing.

An older, retired couple is coming to visit me at noon today. The doctor said that the levels of my liver went up today, which I guess is not good. My poo has been black, which is the charcoal they made me drink right after the overdose. I can’t believe that it’s five days later and the charcoal is still in my system. It was so disgusting to drink. Let me say one thing though: I think I’m glad to be alive right now. Had I died, my mother and my brother would have been devastated. You can’t recover from something like that, when someone close to you dies of suicide. I don’t know and cannot know what it’s like because it hasn’t happened to me, but I can imagine. I can imagine.

Now I’m just waiting. I don’t know if I will feel like typing this up later for my blog. My new roommate, Olga, is making her bed and straightening her things. There are some construction workers directly outside of the window so we have the curtains closed and the light on, instead of using the daylight. Honestly, right now, I am just waiting for my hearing and I am curious to know what the result will be, whether I’ll get to leave or not.

I am on a 14-day hold and I have 11 days left. That does not mean that I have to stay all 11 days if the doctor deems it safe for me to go home. I did not win my court hearing. The court official ruled that I am still a danger to myself and that I need to stay in the hospital. There is something called a writ of Habeas Corpus and it’s a hearing in the actual courthouse. To me it’s not worth it and I know I just have to work with my doctor and his treatment plan. My former doctor here, his wife died, and that is why he is not here. He must be at least 75 years old now.

My friends should be coming any time now. I put on a fresh shirt for them because I had sweated being out in the sun on the patio earlier today. My shirt stunk! I should probably get my hair trimmed at some point. It has been a year and a half since I last got my hair cut and there are a plethora of split ends.

It’s about late afternoon. I’ve definitely had urges to hurt myself. Definitely. I need to see my Samuel again, my little dog. I have to make it out so I can see him. My poor little dog without his human Mommy. Poor thing. I bet he misses me too.

When we were doing beading to make bracelets, I snuck some pieces of the plastic elastic band into my pocket and then once I was in my room I tried putting it around my neck. But it didn’t do anything so I threw all but one piece away. The bedroom doors have windows in them and the bathroom doors in the bedrooms have no locks. It’s better than in the ICU where the bathrooms had only curtains for doors. Damn it. I want to hurt myself so badly. But I am fighting the urge by writing. Writing is my anchor and my life vest; it keeps me afloat.

I got angry earlier and I was having anxiety. They told us at the wrap up group that we get 30 minute sessions on computers but the computer itself has a timer for 60 minutes. Rhonda, our floor staff, the lady with the red hair, told us to speak up if we want computer time. So I asked both women who were using the computers when I could return for my turn and they both said, ¨I don´t know.¨ I got angry on the inside. After telling a nurse about what had happened, I went back to my room and writing saved me yet again.

I took the velvet art I had made today and turned it into a postcard. I addressed it to my Mum and her husband and left it at the nurse’s station to be mailed out. Then, after I had gotten some decaf coffee from the kitchen, which was still open because the patients were finishing up dinner, my roommate started talking to me. Her name is Ana and she came to America when she was six years old from Russia. She is 27 and got married at the same age as me, at 22. Several people have told me that I look a lot younger than 35, so I guess I have that to my advantage. I need to get out of here so that I can see my dog and pour out my love onto him. I need to get out, I need to get out and I need to live and to stay alive.

 

My Experience of Being Inpatient

The inspiration to write doesn’t always come. Sometimes I just have to make the decision to write, sit down, grab a pen, and see what comes. Then, once I get going, writing becomes easier to continue. It seems less daunting.

I haven’t written any poetry since I’ve been here. Just a few pages in my flimsy hospital-issued journal. The first few days that I was hospitalized I just didn’t get up out of bed. Not at all. My body was completely exhausted after what I had put it through. The overdose of over-the-counter medication really messed up the functioning of my liver, but apparently the liver is one of the organs that, if treated well, can regenerate itself.

My doctor is going to d/c (discontinue) my one-to-one patient status. This means that I don’t have to have someone following me wherever I go, including to the bathroom and the shower, and having someone watch me while I sleep.

It’s snack time right now and one of the benefits of having a one-to-one is that I am allowed to go to places where other patients cannot go. I already had my snacks half an hour ago and right now we are sitting out on the back patio where the calming water fountain is and no one else is out here.

My inpatient doctor just added a new medication on top of the three I already take. He said he doesn’t want me to kill myself in response to me saying I don’t want to add a new medication. I can’t really argue with that.

I graduated from the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) to ITP (Intensive Treatment Program). It’s a step up in the world. Plus, not having a one-to-one any longer is a huge accomplishment and it’s one step closer to getting out of the hospital altogether. I have certain responsibilities at my job and in taking care of my precious Samuel, my adorable puppy who is no longer a puppy because he is eight years old now.

I am thinking about writing a poem. It’s nice to be thinking about that rather than thinking about ways to hurt myself.

We had our afternoon community meeting. I was able to get a shirt from the donations pile and I really like it. It has flowers on it and they are teal blue. The floor staff are talking about when they are going to be taking their lunch breaks and about a nonspecific incident that happened on Friday and who was the first responder.

I need to be off of my one-to-one so that I can shave my chin hairs. Most women, I´ve discovered, have the unfortunate pleasure of having to deal with chin hairs. Some pluck, some wax, some shave, and some do laser hair removal treatments which is what I have been doing.

A bird flew down to the ground near the entryway to the patio and pulled out a Fig Newton from under a chair. He was very bold. When he got done he flew away.