the depression is so bad you feel like you have failed everyone and everything and as much as you want to go to sleep and not wake up you have to keep on breathing.
Such was me a few weeks ago, me before coming off the Zoloft.
The Zoloft that made life worst. The Zoloft that made me feel crazy. The Zoloft that made me want to harm myself. The Zoloft that made me put the breaks on while driving because I thought someone was crossing the road and when I blinked no one was there (among other stories), The Zoloft that made me dream dreams that I thought were real, absolute. The Zoloft that did not mix well with alcohol. The Zoloft that did not let me sleep but yet made me feel like I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. The Zoloft that made me paranoid. The Zoloft that changed me.
Now I am off the Zoloft, and in just a couple of weeks I already feel a ton better, not ‘normal me’ better, but not Zoloft crazy.
Back one one of my old faithful medications, Tegertol.
I have let circumstances control me my entire life. I got hurt at a young age, innocence taken and I let the circumstances dictate my life from that point forward. Letting circumstances dictate a life from age 6 forward can be pretty daunting now looking back. I felt like a coward. I felt like, not only was my innocence taken but my dignity, and my life were taken as well.
Don’t get me wrong. I tried to live. But what did I live with? Flashbacks? Memories? Nightmares?
That was not living. That was merely breathing inside a shell of a body. I felt defeated. Defeated physically and mentally.
I gave up on myself. I stopped caring about me.
As I got older and the teenage years crept in, I began understanding the things that were going on within my emotional and physical self. As confusing as they were, I understood where they came from. I knew the sole cause and could almost pinpoint the moment of change within me.
That was the age I changed. Probably because I understood more. I was at an age where I knew about the birds and the bees from school, at least to some point. But I was also at an age that for me, the birds and the bees were nothing new. I knew for years what happened behind closed doors……or in the woods, between rocks, in the grass.
In high school I spent a lot of time in my bedroom, listening to music, or writing. Or even the classic rocking back and forth on the bed. Sounds so cliché. Like watching some horror movie in a mental health hospital with that one patient who kept rocking and rocking with a blank look on their face.
That was me. Why?
I could not stop moving.
My mind would not let me forget. I believe sometimes that I tried to shake the memories out. Tried to make them stop.
I wanted to crawl under a rock, into some dark deep hole and I wanted to die, at least mentally.
I wanted everything to stop. The memories, the flashbacks, the nightmares. I wanted an end.
Nighttime I barely slept. I was afraid of the dark. Or more importantly, I was afraid of the things that happened in the dark.
I knew what monsters were lurking. After all I had been face to face with one only years before.
I had this routine where I slept right after school before supper. I managed to get a good 2, maybe 3 if I were lucky, hours of nightmare free sleep. After that all bets were off.
I honestly prayed, and bargained with God to save me. To make the abuse stop at the time it was happening. After it was over for good, I prayed to forget, I prayed for the nightmares to stop, I prayed for the memories to go away, I prayed for the flashbacks to stop, I prayed for the triggers to not happen.
At 11 years old do you want to know what my biggest fear was and my biggest prayer? I prayed that I was not pregnant. I was terrified that I was pregnant and I was even more terrified that I would get in trouble for it.
Pregnant by the force of some fucked up monster. But not some monster in the dark in some dreamlike place without a face whom I would never see again. This monster had a face, this monster had a name, I knew this monster, and I hated him.
But no one came to save me. Have faith they say…..faith.
I guess the only prayer that got answered was that I was not pregnant.
Because as for the rest, the nightmares still rocked my body, the memories still caused tears to slide down my cheeks and my body to shake, and my God no matter what I did, I could not forget.
That is when I learned I had to save myself.
Because some mythical being was not going to swoop down out of the heavens, wrap me in its wings and warm glowing light and save me.
I am not really an atheist. But I sometimes think that “I grew up and stopped believing in fairy tales”.
In the beginning, when I needed you the most, you were there for me. You held my hand, you held my heart, you held me. You told me that you would always be there for me. I told you everything, my deepest darkest secrets. You knew. You knew what you were getting into when you took me into your arms and into your life.
And you promised.
You promised you would always be there for me.
You promised that you would always hold me.
You promised that you would always listen to me.
You promised that you would always talk to me.
But I was very afraid. I was afraid of how incredibly fucked up I was.
I was afraid I would hurt you and in the future I just proved how worthless I was in that department. I did hurt you, and I took responsibility for that and I beat myself up every day over how incredibly fucked up and stupid I was.
I was afraid because I could keep my own secrets, but having someone else know them meant that it was possible for someone else to tell them.
For the longest time I was afraid that you would tell my secrets. And you did to some extent. But of course I forgave you, because you were my everything.
It meant that this giant wall that I had put up all around me could crumble even more at any possible moment.
It meant that someone cared, and they cared deeply about me.
I could not understand that, I had never had it before. No one was ever there for me like you were. No one cared to get deep enough into my mind to try to figure out what was going on in there. Except doctors and therapists. And that was their jobs.
But you, you meant it when you said you wanted to be there, you meant it when you asked how I felt, you really, truly wanted to know what was going on inside me and you did everything in your power to help.
It was hard what I put you through. I know that. I did not mean to put you through anything like that. But it was hard what I went through too.
I did not ask to be dealt this hand in life. I did not ask to have mental illness passed on to me through some fucked up genes in my family.
I did not ask to always have to struggle and fight with the things that go on inside my mind.
I did not ask to be sexually abused, molested, raped.
I did not want these things, I DO NOT want these things.
And I damn well do not want the memories, the flash backs, the nightmares that are associated with them.
But unfortunately after years and years they are still there fresh in my mind. And I wish they would just fuck off and I could forget it. Truly.
I cannot even go to certain places without being triggered, I cannot see certain things without being triggered. Stupid things that should not bother me end up being something that causes my body to shake and my heart to beat faster and faster. I wish this would just go the fuck away.
In more recent years I have been afraid in a different way. I have been afraid that we are living some lie. That the closeness that we once had is gone.
And I realize that you are sick too and I try to not cause you any extra stress and I hold things in instead of talking to you about them.
And this is causing me stress.
It is like blowing up a balloon, there is only so much air that can fit before the balloon explodes.
I no longer tell you my dreams, my inspirations, my fears.
I hold things in, pushing them deeper and deeper down some deep dark endless pit.
Then I explode. I hurt. I cry. I swear. I pretend not to care.
But truth is, I care too deeply, because if I did not, it would not hurt.
And it hurts.
I don’t mean to be a burden. And that hurts too. Because I am afraid that if I tell you anything or bring up anything that I am going through that this will be the cause of another seizure. That I will be the one to make it happen.
So I hold it in. I struggle. I hate myself. And there are days that I barely live.
Then I know that there is so much more of the time that I am so in love with you that I just want to hold you and do anything for you.
When I say “I love you” it is not out of familiarity, it is because each and every time I say it, I truly mean the words. “I love you” does not come out of my mouth unless I mean it, and then it comes from my heart, somewhere deep within in, with a deep honest feeling.
And I do love you, but I am struggling right now, in ways that I cannot even begin to explain. In ways that you have told me you cannot handle.
And I am sorry if I need validation. That is me, it has always been me, ever since we have been together, and nothing has changed there, nothing.
Trigger. A topic, word, phrase, item, picture, smell, taste or song that can create an emotional response in someone or cause them to relive an experience. Traumatic or otherwise.
We all have them.
Something that triggers a response in our brains to remember a corresponding memory. Sometimes these memories are positive, rewarding memories. Other times they are negative, sinister memories.
Some of these triggers may be weird. But that is the thing about triggers – you do not get to choose which ones affect you, or how they affect you. You cannot control the triggers, but sometimes the triggers can seem to control you.
I have good triggers. They are my ‘happy’ triggers. They make me feel warm and fuzzy. Loved.
My wedding song does this. I hear it on the radio. It might sometimes cause me to cry, but in a good way. I remember one of the happiest moments in my life. I drift back to the moment I was dancing with my husband. Our first dance as a married couple, with a shared last name.
I cut sandwiches and toast from top left corner to bottom right corner creating two ‘triangle like’ pieces. Sometimes without even thinking I cut my bread into squares. My Dad used to to this. These are the times I know he is with me, watching over me, protecting me. It always seems to happen on a particularly bad day. As if he is trying to remind me that I am not alone.
Then there are the other triggers, the ones that cause a negative response.
I have triggers that bring up very painful memories for me. They cause me to shake, sweat, feel nauseous, and have even caused me to cry. They make my skin crawl and my spine tingle.
Cabbage Patch dolls are one of my bad triggers. If I see them, even in a picture I literally shudder. I feel sick to my stomach, I start to shake, and my heart begins to beat faster.
The anxiety begins and my mind travels back to a memory stuck in time, like some black and white slide that someone stuck on repeat in the projector. I have tried to over come this, but I get the same emotional and physical response every time.
I have an extremely hard time when something in my own home triggers me. It makes me feel like I have no control in my personal space.
My suppose to be safe place. No longer safe. Instead, invaded by thoughts, memories and flashbacks of something my brain has long since tried to forget.
I have this one song that does this for me. I have the same trigger response as the Cabbage Patch dolls. Its one of those stupid one-hit-wonders. Sometimes I will be watching television and I hear it come on. It still makes my heart squeeze with anxiety, beating faster. Worry lines creasing my brow, tingles up my spine and skin crawling.
I hate that I let these little insignificant items become such a big significant, controlling part of my life. It bothers me that after all these years my body still continues to have a negative emotional and physical response to these triggers. A response that I have absolutely no control over.
I have other triggers, some good – some bad. The good triggers, I cherish. A warm, happy memory flooding my heart and memory. But the bad – they make me want to scream “Why can’t you just leave me alone. I was doing fine before you flooded my mind.”
My memory is really bad. I mean, really really bad. I forget simple things. I forget more important things. I forget stories that I want to tell. I forget plot lines in movies. I read a good book, and 6 months later I know I have read it, but chances are I cannot give you any details. I forget funny things that happen in our every day lives. I forget birthdays and anniversaries. I forget things that my children have done, things that I want to remember.
These are all things that I want to retain within myself, yet I am unable to do so.
I have often wondered about my lack of memory. I get frustrated because I cannot recall the details of something my kids told me earlier, or that funny thing my son did yesterday. I want to replay a story in my head, only to have it stall out because the details are lost to me.
Why is it so hard for me to remember?
It occurs to me that I have spent the better part of my life trying to forget details of some particularly painful childhood experiences. I spent time building an impenetrable wall. I learned very early in life just what a secret was. I learned how to place things in a box, place the box on a shelf and try my hardest to forget it was there.
But why is it that I can remember things I do not wish to remember? I remember painful experiences with a muddled clarity.
But the beautiful, inspiring moments, are lost. Washed away like the dirt from yesterday.