hOMETOWN blues (TW)

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.

 

V.

The month of gratitude

Another apology for a lack of posts. October was so hard on me, and truth be told, positivity is hard to maintain. I’ve been more social than perhaps ever before, which is good, but I’ve also been mega stressed. I have many complaints, but this entry is not going to be a place for those complaints. Instead, I’m going to write about what I’m most grateful for. I feel everything has at least a duality to it. The human experience, when truly lived, is neither singularly joyful or melancholy. It is complex. It is both. It is all. It is neither.

Chronic suicidality makes gratitude hard for me, because every good thing, event, place and/or person is often enough proof to me that I should stay and bear the pain. I don’t resent these, but it makes gratitude itself more complicated. I love, and I am grateful, and I have always loved and always been grateful, but allowing that gratitude to be a positive motivator is something new to me.

My blessings:

  1. “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” – Walter Winchell ; This is one of my favorite quotes, particularly because of the subtle implications. I don’t believe friendships always last forever, real and true or not. I used to have friendships with people who abused this sentiment but never wholly grasping what it meant–at least to me. To me, “walks in” means “supports;” alternatively, “walks out” means “disowns,” “neglects,” or “betrays.”Real friends are hard to come by, but for me any friend in general is particularly hard to come by. Despite this blog, or tied into this blog I guess, I am in reality a very sad person who is easily triggered. This is something I am working on, both via the blog and life.  Books. Classes. Therapy. You know, many methods and mediums. I am difficult for people to handle, because I am intense. That is something that will not change no matter how hard I try. Intensity is tied with me, and so it is tied with my sadness.

    I have had two (2) friends I have experienced this sentiment with. I am luckier than most in this. Maybe luckier than anyone. Although our friendship is more or less over, my first best friend is one of the most important people in my life. I say “is” because I still and will always love her. She showed me what friendship really is; what platonic love really is. She ran to my house through a blizzard in her pajamas to ensure my safety for the night. She ran to my rescue every time I needed her at such a crucial age.  I was 14ish when we got close like this, and I lost this bond as early as 15, due to life-changing circumstances on both our parts. We still talk occasionally, but we were absolute best friends for a singular year. It feels like a lifetime. She defended and protected me. She listened. She reasoned with me. She was my rock, my guardian angel, and my best friend.

    The second friend is my mother, who will always be my mother first and friend second, but she and I are friends nevertheless. She has grown. We both have. Significantly. Our interpersonal relationship has improved, and she nurtures me and loves me.

    My heart bursts with gratitude for both.

  2. I can eat well and often enough. I have a roof over my head, a pretty safe environment, a loving mother, nice clothes, supplies for creative expression, healthcare, and to sum it up: Enough to live well at this moment.
    I have great battles every day, but I’m grateful I do not sleep on a dirty floor or in the streets. Despite financial troubles, I am richer than many and have a lot of support.
  3. “…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?” – Vincent van Gogh ; I suppose there’s a dark and serious irony here, since the Impressionist painter committed suicide. But he had a beautiful soul from what I know of him and beautiful ideas. And truthfully, in these moments, there are few things more important than these. I am grateful for human expression and creativity.

  4. My “gray matter” in many matters. I have strong education however informal, I have great creativity, some awesome skill sets, a knack for art, an immense love for the world, and am able to see beauty in small things. I suffer from mental illnesses that are heavy and complicated and painful. I suffer from chronic suicidality and other severe symptoms that impact my day-to-day living. But yesterday I bought a bag of apples and found one still with a leaf on it. The sun is shining beautifully, and I am not overheated, despite my hyperthyroidism. I am happy. If just in this moment, I am happy. I am hopeful. I have a break from my suicidality. I can breathe. I know what I need to do. I know how to plan to achieve those goals. I am grateful for my flawed, beautiful, and capable mind.
  5. “When you know in your bones that your body is a sacred gift, you move in the world with an effortless grace. Gratitude and humility rise up spontaneously.” – Debbie Ford
    The body I’m in is not limber or ever comfortable. I have days during which I am bedridden and crying out in pain. But it is a vessel to carry me, and I can still–on most days–paint with it, dance with it, and hug with it. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to create, dance, and express affection.

I choose gratitude today.