It’s been a while since my last post. I have been thinking a lot, but having a hard time expressing myself in words. I need to first start by saying how lucky my family is to have such great people in our lives, who support and love us. This never changing love has been shown through small acts of kindness almost everyday. Text messages from friends often flood my phone to see if I am OK, how I feel, or just to say hi. A friend actually driving to the ER after my accident because “she had to see for herself that I was ok” And finally the financial support we have received from friends, family, co-workers and complete strangers. I am getting the best possible care, and each and everyone of you helped to make this happen.
I think back to November and December and I think “what was I thinking”. I was at the lowest point in my life. I did not want to see my kids or family. I could handle friends, but that was it. I tried taking my life twice, but I am still here. I was content while in the hospital. It took a lot of the stressors in my life and put them on the back burner. I was medicated to the point that I had no idea about conversations that I had two minutes before. Friends visited, but I could not tell you with 100% accuracy which ones did and didn’t.
I look back at Christmas. It was really surreal. My parents did my shopping, wrapping and decorating. I did nothing to prepare for it, yet it happened anyway, just like every other year. I spend most of the two week holiday in bed, happy to be alone. I left the responsibility of my children to my parents and to my husband. I saw them for an hour or so each day, but for the most part, I was not in their life. I remember my final night at my parents, before heading back to my house. I yelled to my daughter, and invited her to sleep with me. While I write this now, a big tear rolls down my cheeks. The best word that I can come up with to describe how I imagine my daughter felt in that moment was elation. She was so happy just to snuggle with me, and go to sleep. That is where I was at. My children, although I knew I loved them, meant very little to me at the time. The next day I packed my stuff, and left for home with my son, my daughter would be taken to our house after the new year by my parents.
My son is an easy child. Goes to bed early, sleeps to a decent time. Does not fuss, and can entertain himself. On New Years Eve we put him to bed early, and enjoyed a glass of wine. My husband and I talked that night for the first time in a long time. We stayed upstairs, where there is no TV. I went to bed that night feeling happy, yet I was sad. I was sad because I knew the happiness would not stay. I played Russian Roulette that night, taking more insulin, and a cocktail of drugs. I went to bed without saying a word to my husband. I would either wake up or I wouldn’t. We’d find out in the morning. I obviously woke up.
I was admitted to the hospital again in early January, this time in their “short stay program”. Basically what this means is that you have a room with four walls, and a bed. If you behave you can have a bedside table and a chair, maybe even a book for entertainment. Basically they isolated you from. This admission turned into 6 days of silence for me. Six days of thinking, yet not thinking. Six days to relax and not worry about the outside world. I left on the 6th day feeling rejuvenated. I had energy for the first time. I was going to bed at 10, and getting up on my own around 7 or 8. I was not napping. I felt relatively good. Like my soul had been somehow restored.
It wasn’t though. Life went back to what it had always been, and then I found Homewood, which is where I am blogging from now. I feel at peace. I cry…sometimes, I laugh…sometimes, and I am ever happy…sometimes. Everyone is my program is in the same boat. If you put us all in grocery store somewhere, no one would know of our struggles. We could not be picked out from the rest of the population. Even at night, as we watch TV, we seem like quite a normal bunch a people. But normal has a different definition for someone suffering from PTSD. What we are all doing, is living like we are somehow all OK. We don’t sit there together and hash out our day. Day time is therapy time. The evening is reserved to make us feel somewhat normal again.
I have never been with a group of 20 people or so, who are so respectful of one another. I have never experienced to this extent people nodding their heads in agreement when I speak, and vice versa. We all have a different past that haunts us, but it’s the consequences of that past that has now brought us together. We lift each other up, and when they can’t be lifted we just sit there with them. We are comfortable feeling like shit with one another so much, that we don’t always isolate ourselves by fleeing to our room. We have permission here to feel any feeling we want, whether it’s perceived as good or bad.
I am even able to talk about my abuse here, something that the local psychiatrists frowned upon. In the notes that I requested from the hospital each therapist took the time to write, that the issue of my abuse came up frequently. That I am not able to let it go. To them I say “You are right, I can’t just let it go. It does define who I am today whether you or I like it or not. It’s OK to talk about it, and it’s OK to be upset about it, or feel numb about it, or confused about it. It’s not a weakness, it’s my reality.” Here, at Homewood, we learn to handle our feelings, or emotions, and everything else that goes with having PTSD. We are not here to change or erase or forget about our past. We are here to embrace it, and to get to a point where it does not control us. To a point that we can think about our trauma in a healthy way, and make sense of why we may feel the way we do. We will leave here with skills to combat the symptoms of PTSD. We will not be “cured” but we will have the tools.
After my car accident a good friend said to me “you have nine lives, you are down to 7, please don’t use up anymore” I think I’ll die with seven lives left, and maybe I’ll come back as a beautiful butterfly representing my transformation in this life, or as a Lotus flower bringing hope to those who have no hope left. I am not wasting any more of them. When I am down to six, it will be because I am old and ill, and there was nothing more they could do. I’ll be surrounded by those who love me, and I will tell them not to cry, that in the end my life turned out alright. That in the end I had love for all those around me, and that I had fulfilled my purpose here on earth.
This post first appeared on Unsilenced | Childhood Sexual Abuse, Lessons Learned, The Light And The Darkness, The Secrets And Lies. The Truth About Childhood Sexual Abuse., please read the originial post: here