Good and Bad Days

I honestly hate thinking about healing or being in remission. It terrifies me to no end. I’ve heard it described like a constant upward moving roller coaster. It has highs and lows but it is steadily moving up. The problem is a huge word that I hate to think about. Relapse

Relapse happens every time I think about grabbing a knife, crashing my car, or just a passing thought that I hope I never wake up. Each and every time I start to spiral, I feel like I am back to square one. I know this isn’t true, but if healing exists so does relapse.

Perhaps I like the idea of being sick and I hold on to my illness like a security blanket. Perhaps that means I am still very sick.

Regardless, I think that instead of thinking I’m getting better and hope I don’t relapse, I will start thinking in terms of good and bad days. So the past 3 days have been bad and today has been a good day. If I track everyday as a good day or a bad day, I feel it will help me remain more comfortable with my progress. It’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to have good days. This way of tracking my my health helps me take my emotions out of it.. which is obviously a a hard thing for me.

I judge myself so harshly. I think we all do. The problem is when I become paranoid about every single thing I do being wrong. It becomes this self fulfilling prophecy. I feel judged, I judge myself more harshly, I look for ways people could judge me, I feel judged. It’s a cycle. A deadly cycle.

What do I hate most? The never knowing. It’s like I’m constantly living my life on the edge. A good day could become a bad day at any second. Even this thought scares my to the point of wishing I could just give up. Today was a good day but I hate thinking that at any moment it could make a turn.

How am I supposed to live a normal life. How am I supposed to hold a job? Buy a house? Have children? I’m living in fear of my own brain. My own body wants me dead. That’s why I have to try so hard to take it one day at a time. When that is too much, one hour or one moment at a time. I’m tired, no… exhausted just trying to get through each and every day one moment at a time. But what other choice do I have? Certainly not a good one. I must continue this mundane existence because that’s what I am supposed to do, but why?

In 200 years, my name will only be a name on a gravestone is some cemetery. Hopefully, that gravestone will reflect many, many years of life. Even though “hopefully” is hard to say when I dance with the thought of death so often. Right now, I’m not living for myself. I’m living so I don’t hurt others. That’s a daunting fact to face. So I’ll keep thinking about my good days and bad days. I’ll live moment by moment. I’ll live. Even if I really wish I didn’t have to.

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What’s the Point

I’m not going to sit here and lie about why I haven’t written in a while. This has always been a place I can clear my head space. Lately it’s not that I haven’t needed it as much as I have found other outlets. Not to say this isn’t also a great one. But hey, I’m not here to excuse myself. I’m here for one reason now.

I’m probably a freak right? Like what I’m about to say might blow some people straight out of the water. As some may know, it’s Mental Health Awareness Month and many are voicing out about suicide prevention. Let’s talk about that. Last year, I was right there with them, screaming with all my might. Now, I look at all of these stats and information pamphlets and it all just doesn’t click in my head.

Maybe it’s because to me, Suicide, is the most attractive word. I imagine most cringe when they hear it spoke. But me? I listen to it. I let it slowly waft into my ears and roll down my spine. If depression is a prison then suicide is my get out of jail free card.

I know all the things people will say when someone is thinking about suicide. I know. I’m not ignoring those things either. I don’t have a plan or even intention. However it’s something that I can’t rule out as an option. I wish I could but truthfully, I think that would make every single day that much more unbearable.

I don’t care if I make sense. If not one person reading this understands what I’m going through then the world is just that much of a better place. Denying my pain seems to be part of my treatment lately, but it’s not something I can do in my own time. I know my pain and my husband sees it. My healing is stagnant or progressively getting worse.

Why am I even writing this? Is their much of a point but to clear my mind? Perhaps someone will read it and relate. If so, please let me know because I feel completely and utterly alone.

Can You Hear Me Now?

It has been a while since I have posted publicly to my blog. At times I feel it is best my thoughts remain private, but right now, I only feel I need my voice to be heard.

I don’t know how many tines I have written about the invisible terrors mental illness causes. I have probably spoken on this topic far more than I could count. One thing I often don’t talk about though sexual assault. Now for those who may be triggered or have a hard time reading about these types of things, I do encourage you stop now. I would never want anyone else to relive trauma.

Now, every form of abuse I have suffered still causes me problems in my life. This very specific form of abuse however hurts me in ways I can’t even comprehend.

I want to tell a brief story. There was a young man who came to my work place looking for a home. Now, to everyone else, he probably seemed normal. If anything, maybe he seemed to be a tad bit conceited. To me, he was different. This man’s personality, his actions, & his mannerisms flipped a switch in my head. In my mind, I have seen him before. Even though I probably had never actually met him, my mind knew him. My mind recognized his mannerisms and set off a warning alarm. My body’s fight or flight defenses turned on because all of a sudden, It wasn’t a stranger. This man wanted to hurt me, degrade me, rape me.

I don’t know him and he probably is an okay guy, but from past experiences, my mind and body thought this man was threatening. It pulled to mind gruesome memories and details that I never wanted to think. Now, do you want to know the worst part? It was noon and I still had to work six more hours before I could go home and cry.

One of the worst feelings a sexual assault victim can feel is degraded and unheard. My mind screams internally and my body feels numb. Those same describing words could be used to describe several of the sexual assaults I have survived. I’m fighting this deadly feeling and I can’t say a word.

Why don’t I say something? Well, times like these happen more often than I care to admit and if I said something every time, I would surely turn into the boy who cried wolf. That is why I stay silent. I keep quiet until I get to a time that my body produces a physical reaction: sobbing, yelling, convulsions, hair pulling, etc. I wait until this happens because I know people will see something is actually wrong. They will be able to hear me. They will be able to understand. It’s like my mind is screaming “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW!?”

I hate living life like this. I’m in constant fear. I wonder if anyone can relate. My therapist suggested I get a doctors note so if I feel unheard, people will believe me. My everyday life consists of trying to stay calm and trying to remain normal. I practice many coping skills throughout the day just to function.

Sometimes it’s even worse after I go to therapy because it brings things up that I would rather ignore. I have been hurt too much and I’m mad that it’s able to control me. I’m mad it can hold me hostage. I’m mad it can take me away from my work. I’m mad that it effects my intimacy with my husband. My mind is mad and now it’s screaming at all the men who hurt me “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”

That is why I wanted to make this public. I want people that know me, to hear me. I want them hear the silent screams for help. I want others who read it to relate or to hear others. Think of the four closest women to you. Now pick one. Statistically one in every four women are sexually assaulted in their lives. Let our voices be heard. Because sexual assault isn’t just a “me too” Facebook post and then let’s all forget. Sexual assault is a monster that devours its victims daily.

So this goes out to those who feel like they can’t be heard. And I ask those around me, can you hear me now?

Waging The War Behind My Face and Above my Throat.

The war for the brain is a fight that is hard to win. For starts, you are fighting your brain by using your brain. How do you fight off the flu using the flu? I’m my case, my mind is constantly under the control of a mafia of sorts. This mafia has one goal, to destroy and kill. The Mafia stand guard at all hours though anyone that saw me wouldn’t know it. Their favorite time to attack is when I’m alone or at night. They see quiet and darkness as their greatest ally. My brain can put up a fight, but after a while the attacks drain me. Imagine being stabbed in the shoulder and it starts to heal a little but then you get stabbed in the shoulder again, over and over, and this open wound never has a chance to fully heal so it begins to fester and get infected. Now the simple stitches won’t work and you need to find medication and refuge to stay away from that damn man that keeps ripping your shoulder back open. The thing about the brain is no one can see the wound, no one knows what’s happening with it, and there is absolutely no way to turn off your brain. Trust me I have tried. I could sleep 18 hours a day to avoid thinking; to avoid feeling. I could distract myself for hours but the second I’m alone, the second I try to take a breath, I’m being attacked in all directions. Depression is not some “oh I’m sad, just get over it” Depression is a war. I’m not fighting sadness. I’m fighting a battle that has left me as good as dead This mafia will not give in until either they are destroyed or I am destroyed. Am I’d be a fool to say this is easy, but I’d also be a fool to give in to the fight. Not this time. No, this time, I have far too much to live for.

How Porn Helped Destroy my Life

This is a huge thing to talk about, shameful even.  Last night I read an article about porn destroying relationships.  I have read I lot of articles similar to that.  The Fight the New Drug campaign is raising awareness about how harmful Porn is.  I have a story that I think should be told, regardless of how ashamed I am of it.

I grew up pretty innocent to the world.  I knew a little about sex from some videos we watched, but I hated ever trying to talk about my curiosity with my parents out of embarrassment.  So when I was twelve or thirteen, with the internet now at my disposal, I wandered into a world that changed my life forever.

At first, it was pure curiosity.  I have to admit that figuring things out is probably fairly normal.  Things went wrong when reading story’s and seeing pictures turned to video. Knowing very little about what sex was, these videos were truth.  They showed me not only sex, but what a relationship between a man and a woman was like in private.  This is why several years down the road, when I was in an abusive relationship, I perceived it as normal.

I became obsessed with this idea that my worth came from what men thought of me.  It started out with just wanting to be liked.  When I perceived a man liked me, I became open to him.  Then if he ever did something that I now realize no man should do to a woman, I would accept it and move on.

The result of this was abuse and eventually the first time I was raped. You would imagine the after all that, I would see reality, but unfortunately, as Porn still continued to be I my life; I would constantly see unhealthy relationships.  I would crave the attention of a man, but I was unaware of how to actually obtain it.

Fast Forward a few years.  Now I am in the pit of an aweful bout with depression.  My faith in God (the only thing I held onto during my college years) was failing.  My life was deprived of its meaning.  I needed a way to feel better. I was completely and utterly desperate.

That is when I turned to men.  When I talk about my years of fighting mental illness, many are surprised when I say that my ‘rock bottom’ wasn’t even when I attempted suicide. That is because, it was in this period of my life that I actually felt dead.  Death would have been a lesser evil than the things I experienced.

So rock bottom started with this. Turning to the online dating app Tinder, I searched for love.  Instead of love, I found desperate men.  Some were straight about wanting a one night stand.  Others were more subtle. Like the first guy I invited over while I was home alone. (I’ll mention that at this point I was living with my parents as a way to control my environment to keep me from suicide.) All he said he wanted was to dance, I guess I was to blind to realize he insinuated so much more from those words.  He started kissing me, pulling on the bed.  This progressed quickly and before I even had a chance to understand it all, he finished pulling off the condom and drove away.  I was so unsure in that moment how I felt. We had sex, that meant he liked me.  I was on top of the world.  That is until, I tried to message him on tinder later that day and I realized he had blocked me.

After that, I quickly turned back to the thing that made me happy to try again.  The next couple weeks are an unforgettable haunting blur of hooking up with someone, being happy, then getting crushed to a new low when he left.  I started giving my body in exchange for attention.  I was a prostitute.  One after another, different men drained me of any true happiness and destroyed me.  Nobody even knew the trouble I was in because on the outside I was happy.

It wasn’t until a vey scary night in a sketchy motel room that I realized I needed help.  I arrived and he looked nothing like his picture.  He had a thick accent to which I still can’t place.  He reaked of whisky.  The moment I walked in he locked the door.  He started undressing me without even a hello.  That’s when I realized what was happening.  He grabbed my arm so tightly I was bruised.  He held me so I couldn’t move. He spat on me and degraded me.  I was fearing my life.  After two rounds with me I was able to escape when someone knocked on his door.  I cried the whole way home.

I told my friends who were very concerned and I got help.  My parents had to find out at the hospital, I could hardly face them.  I was angry they knew. I was angry at myself. I was angry with God.

Once I got out of the hospital a week later, I knew two things: I was lucky I didn’t get pregnant or have any STDs and more importantly, I was lucky to be alive.

Now, a few years later and I still know I’m lucky to be alive. I think back to how I thought sex meant love and how that ultimately drove me to do extremely stupid things.  Now after lots of healing from Jesus, therapy, and friends.  I can now tell the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship.  I’m able to look at my boyfriend and not fear him because I know the root of his love is not surface level.  I’m able to praise God for freeing me from what could have been my death.

So there is my story.  I dislike Porn for many reasons, but the way it destroys lives is why I believe we as a society need to fight it.  My story as horrible as it is, could be considered tame in comparison to many others. I don’t want my future children  to live in a world where a ten year old can access it.  That’s why we need to fight it.

A work in progress…

It all started with a simple snap of the mind. One single phrase brought to my mind terrible visions and pictures of things I wish I could have long forgotten.  

That is how it started. This week has been a first.  It has been the first time since I have been stable that I truly have started to feel the weight of all that happened during the last 4 years.  It has hit hard by bringing me feelings, memories, visions, and pictures.  It has brought my mood into a place of depression.  It has me fear mania when I feel myself rise again, so I try not to let myself rise. 

I think a lot of it is medical and thankfully I will be seeing my doctor soon, but as it stands, I have to admit that I hate this.  The thing about depression or bipolar disorder is you constantly feel like you are under attack.  Literally, your mind wants you dead. Mine does anyway.

Part of it is that I don’t think I have even began properly dealing with any of the trauma, because we have been so fearful just for my everyday life until this point.  So now that I’m doing better, the harder stuff is starting to surface.  As much as I wish I could never think about the abuse, the rapes, the addiction, I know I have to in order to heal. I know I have to to move forward.

Honestly,  the hardest thing for me to face is the part a rarely speak of.  I have called myself a harlot or a prostitute in the past but nothing seems to fit what happend.  I was messed up.  I was numb to everything in the world.  This is what I always refer to as my rock bottom because in my life, I don’t think I could have groveled any lower than I did.  I’ve been told I was victim.  I have also been told I’m not what I did, but no matter, it is still something that makes me sick every time I think about it.  I’ve wished the word whore be tattooed on me so people know exactly who I am.

But is that really who I am? During my darkest days, I did some awful things that should define me… but they don’t.  Strangers would never guess that is what once was.  I’m free from it outwardly. I also know in Christ I have a new Identity. One that is in him.  

Freedom from the memories is what’s still holding me.  And it’s not that I want to forget because it’s all a part of my testimony. It drives me to be the best me I can be.  I just don’t want it to haunt me. I don’t want to fear.  

So, I guess I’m still human and still dealing with my demons. We all are. We all have to. 

Not sure what else to say.

Shalom

Raise a Glass to Change

Have you ever looked back a year or two and thought about all that has changed? I think a lot of people do this.  Some see change for the good, others for the worse.  Ragardless, change is bound to happen with time.  Noticing change as it happens harder to recognize.  Usually it happens so slowly, or so suddenly, our brains don’t even process that a change has taken place.  It’s only when you look back that you can see a full picture. 

In the age of Facebook and the newer feature “memories” looking back and see everything that has changed has gotten a bit easier.  I usually look at my post from 7 years ago and shiver in disgust at the annoying teenager I appeared to be.  Facebook mainly captures such shallow memories, however, that it is harder to see any real, valuable changes.  Of course I was annoying 7 years ago.  I was an immature high school senior who thought she knew everything. Of course I have matured since then.

We all mature in different ways.  Our mental ability to navigate in this world usually grows.  Social cues and behavioral norms usually become more learned as we grow older.  Today, I saw a type of change in my life that is a harder one to see.  My regular therapist was recently blessed with a baby boy, so I was placed with a temporary one until she comes back from her leave.  Luckily, the person I was today was a familiar face.  The woman who walked through the doors to call me to her room was recently hired into the office I go to.  Before that, she was finishing her PHD while interning at the inpatient mental health center of Holland Hospital.  How do I know this? Well, she worked there during the many months that I spent during the very dark days of my life.  

Today all of those memories of suicide attempts, addiction, horrible abuse flashed through my mind.  I thought for sure that this is what she would remember me for.  I wasn’t wrong about that, she sure did remember that woman in which she did psych evaluations on and even a case study.  She didn’t treat me like that woman though.  She knew I wasn’t who I was a year ago.  Through our conversation, simply by telling her what’s happening in my life now, she was able to show me how much progress I have made.  She revealed to me the true extent to how much I have changed.

I expressed to her me fears of becoming that woman again. I told her how I didn’t want to fall back into a deep depression. I ranted about the fears I have of the mania that may consume me and turn me back into an addict or worse.  She showed me again, how much has changed.

Since stepping back into real life I have been able to build a life worth living.  That is a life that I don’t want to end.  That is a life that I don’t want to manipulate and destroy.  It’s a life I want to live until completion. I have so much to live for. My family, friends, job, passions, and dreams are all so important to me now.  More than ever, I want to succeed.  I want to help others succeed. 

Today, I had a glimpse of my old self and realized how much I and my situation has changed.  I have worked so hard over this past year and for the first time, I can say it has payed off and I’m proud.

So raise a glass to change.  In this life, we will live.

Shalom