Fifteen years of therapy, eleven hospitalizations, in and out of partial programs, so many different services and different therapies (DBT, CBT, talk, etc.) Hell, I’ve even undergone ECT, (electroconvulsive therapy), and have had MRI, CT scans, EEGs, test after test, been on medication after medication, dose after dose, and I am sitting here on my couch, full of weeping lethargy but sleeplessness; a restless, nauseated anxiety and hunger for cessation and quiet. I feel so sad and so broken. Beyond tired, beyond depressed, beyond reparation. I know myself well. Years of [self-]interrogation, years of being poked and prodded by doctors, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counselors, and my own reflection have given me near crystalline photographs of my subconscious. I am betting I know myself more than most people know themselves. I am betting I understand myself more than most people understand themselves. And I am sure as hell that at this point, if I can be saved, only I can do it; and that, that is torture.
I know I’ve written about my PTSD before, but this is something I want to continue elaborating on because it haunts me in more than just the way of sexual trauma. I have let it ruin so many of my interpersonal relationships and have gone charging, barreling through red flags because of it. I have compromised myself more than a thousand times; belittled myself, pleading on my knees to the wrong people for things I didn’t even want. I am still so caught up in a cycle of self-abuse that it is hard for me to understand what to value, what to drop, and how to manage either/or.
I am deeply sad tonight. I have made a trip to the hospital this year already and have already relentlessly put myself in bad situations. Being assertive is difficult. Being honest and being clear are difficult, too. I am often, in many cases, neither/nor, but I am working on developing ways to cut through the bullshit and be honest and clear with myself and other people.
I still hurt a lot. My memories still hurt a lot. The wash of hopelessness once I cross that stateline, that pain of reliving every object, word, and trauma that had hit me and shocked me in that town.
My suicide does not look like razorblades or cocktails of pills. It does not look like a noose. It looks like a town in western Pennsylvania, made of bland, collapsing houses and trailer parks on grassy hills. At times, I feel like my suicide was sown there; handcrafted by the children and adults of that town, who tried to rob me of my dignity, strength, and love.
I met a few good people there. But while I was there, they could not unstitch the fabric that was sewn for me. Even after, they could not retrieve all of the seeds that were sown. Besides the sexual assault, other things festered in me. Ugly, gross, sad, miserable things. I felt hatred and loathing towards myself and the world. I did not have a normal childhood. The friends I made and in early childhood were sick people, and the things that happened in my childhood were sick things. I did not have a normal adolescence. I had no dates, was invited to no parties, didn’t get a job, didn’t go to prom, didn’t graduate from high school. I was, however, abused. I was raped. I starved myself. I self-harmed. I purged my meals. I attempted suicide. I was hospitalized. Out of those few good people I had met, every one of them had their own hell to go through, too. I felt really alone, even in the company of my own little “group.” There was one particular person who went to great lengths to help me, and she did, but I still felt so alone.
I feel bad, because I cannot make it there for weddings. I cannot make it there for funerals. I am not okay with that town. I am not okay with what the people there did to me and what I did there to myself. Every corner, avenue, and structure teems with horrors I’ve memorized and relive on nights like these. Every slam to my psyche. Every rock to my legs, every plush animal thrown over the fence, every threat, every rumor, every lie, every jeer and jibe and rejection and bruise.
I have not come far enough to really handle a recovery blog. Let’s just be real. I thought I was, but I’m really not. I tell all of you that this blog is part of my recovery; that I’m still recovering; that I’m still not where I want to be. All of that is true. It remains true. This blog is a work in progress. It is the story of my journey. Part of my PTSD is realizing how much power I have to relinquish to people and events to feel this horrible way, and to do horrible things to myself. That in itself is too much for me tonight.
Sleep well. Let’s make tomorrow a better day.
First, let me state:
I have never liked the term “bullying” when it comes to a student’s peers. It diminishes the effect of their abuse and harassment. There are definitely an infinite amount of “grades” (as in severities) when it comes to “bullying,” but many of these “grades” are enough to damage a person. I understand we are all responsible for our own actions, but even in CBT the general consensus is that you can control your thoughts and invariably take charge with your feelings, but feelings themselves are natural and often do what they want.
I’ve actually had this draft open for two weeks now. My manifestation of PTSD is hard for me to “defend,” because most people don’t understand why the manifestation occurs the way it does. With Schizoaffective Disorder, I feel like no one understands anything about a schizo spectrum disorder unless they have it themselves are “aware” enough to recognize it, so it’s harder to describe. The PTSD has, by far, been the worst illness in my life, but the Schizoaffective seems to want its turn now. From paranoia to disconnect to delusion to hallucination, I know I’m really sick, and it’s something I have to fight every single day. It gets so tiring. The coupling of PTSD and Schizoaffective is particularly hard for me because I am hypersensitive and prone to anxiety and chaos. Is that me, though? Or the illnesses? Sometimes I don’t think we will ever be able to tell.
My personal manifestations of Schizoaffective Disorder:
Things have been a little flavorful lately in the sense that life has been tasting a little like hell. It’s during these times that my posts here are especially important to me, and I’ve found rereading some of them has helped me get through things but still not very well. It’s amazing how when the depressions grabs you, you start sinking and are so easily swallowed up, like the Swamp of Sadness in The Neverending Story by Michael Ende.
I remember the first time I read that book. I was twelve, and I stayed up all night to finish it. Beautifully imagined, it’s one of the most creative books I’ve ever read. But just like it’s important to read novels from other countries and cultures to expand your mind, it is also important to nourish yourself with positivity and intuitive beauty.
Let me begin simply by saying you are no longer welcome here.
Your abusers’ language and actions are motivated by a voracious hunger for control, lack of conscience and/or lack of empathy, and deep insecurity. Thus, with me having recognized this, your abusers’ behavior will no longer find my empathy, fear, or obedience. I am not yours to do with what you want. I am not yours to damage.
I am simply not yours.
The people whom you’ve saddled me with have all had problems; it’s true. No one would try to destroy someone else out of a healthful self-love. You’ve sent me ruins of trauma. You’ve sent me shells of people. You’ve sent me killers, rapists, pedophiles, torturers, and bone-breakers. You’ve sent them my way and promised me to them as a way out. But you must understand, traumas, you don’t have that right, and you don’t have my permission.
Let’s get some things straight.
The way I have reacted to you has not been free from guilt or scandal. I have hurt people myself. I have acted impulsively and have even tried to exact revenge–a laughable concept, by the way, since revenge still puts me under your control even though I am tied to it by my own responsibility. I’ve walked down that path and have jumped that bridge. You cannot kill me through me.
That being said, I have attempted suicide in your wake–many times. I have been hospitalized in wards and hospitals both medical and psychiatric in your wake. Many times. I have slit my wrists, overdosed, tried to drown, tried so suffocate, tried to choke myself to death because of how I’ve felt with you.
And consider this:
I am still alive.
There is a girl whose birthday is in a few days. She just found me on facebook, although I’ve only had a facebook under my real name for… less than a month? You remember her, traumas; I know you do. She groomed me well as a kid and early teen: isolating me, hounding me, controlling me, manipulating me, breaking me day in and day out for years. She may have been abused. I do not know. At this point, I do not care. She has had a hard life, I know, and at this point, I do not care. I cannot care. I must be indifferent, traumas, because you will understand this:
Nobody owns me.
I care about the people who could become like her, sure. If I had different neurochemistry and a different situation, I could easily be like her. We all could. But I don’t pity her, and I certainly do not owe her empathy. I do not wish her ill. I no longer wish for her to understand what she has done. She will never understand it, just like I’ve learned I will never understand her. But I don’t cater to or cower beneath these caustic crowds anymore. I don’t feed the snakes, as I’ve learned a lioness needs no pride but her own.
I have a birthday coming up soon, too.
My twenty-fourth is the first birthday I am excited for. One of hopefully many more.
So, goodbye, traumas.
You’ve granted me wisdom and understanding I sometimes wish I never had but am better for. I am still learning; I am always learning. You come back; I come back harder.
You aren’t going to win.
I don’t like getting up early right now. Right now, I don’t even like getting up at all. Reopening wounds in therapy last Wednesday was tough. Being in a triggering situation last Thursday was tougher. PTSD is a hypersensitive gun right now, and I’ve had two psychotic episodes in the past two(?) weeks. I don’t know. Everything is running together.
It’s times like these that the positivity is so hard to hold onto or even remember, and of course, it’s times like these when I need it most. I get the “c’est la vie” track stuck in my head, and the suicidality starts back up, and before I know it, I’m lost in a zoo where all predators are loose and hungry and I don’t have a directory to find my way to safety.
But I’ll get through it.
I must remember that.
So many suicide attempts and so many days like this and so many hospitalizations, and I’m still alive. I don’t believe in “plans” or that “everything happens for a reason.” I’m honestly just really hard to kill, it seems.
But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m still alive.
My self-purpose is that I’m here to make the world better: To inspire and encourage and love and express and strengthen and enlighten all those around me, as well as myself. That’s what I want to do. I want to live my faith in people. I feel so separate from the world, so cut-off. I feel angry and bitter and cynical, but I know the hurt and the damage are at the root of all of that. Because I’ve also seen human beings capable of beautiful, strong, and compassionate things. There are figures in history who prove me right. There are people every day who prove me right. I think at the core, people are born selfish because that’s how people survive, but I don’t think that means people are condemned to selfishness. Like colorism, misogyny, and other prejudices, selfishness is something we must commit to undoing. Ultimately, you still must have great significance to yourself and be addressing your own needs and fighting for yourself. But there is a difference between selfishness and survival. Sometimes it’s a gray shaded area, but I believe there is a strong distinction most of the time.
I don’t have unrealistic expectations. I know I cannot save the world; I know nobody can. And I know that even if it were possible, one would have to save themselves first. People en masse are easily manipulated, and mobs appeal to a hubris beyond comprehension. We can’t control anything or anyone outside ourselves, truly.
And why would you want to? Really? I wouldn’t mind the pain so much if there were less of it. I think pain is vital to growth and development. After all, why would someone invent a better way of doing things if they were completely content with the way they were doing things in the first place? but the pain is massive. It’s hard. Stifling. Suffocating, almost. Just breathing in a world like this feels impossible sometimes. Everything hurts.
But there are good things. Always, always, always. There are beautiful things. There are beautiful people. Beautiful stories, good stories. Inspiration. The world is a sick place, but the diversity and creativity and beauty–often tucked away in details–are important to note.
I remembered just now why I used to like early mornings:
Even in this summer heat, dawn is important to watch.