After all these years

Sometimes I wake up in the dark to the silent screams that my soul emits. And for a split second, that feels like an eternity, I have a sense of spine tingling fear.

Sometimes I wake up in the dark to my heart beating out of my chest. And I remember things that I have spent a lifetime trying to forget.

Sometimes I wake up in the dark with a million thoughts trespassing through my once calm slumber.

And I cringe inside because I know these thoughts, these feelings, this fear, and those memories…..are you.

Even after all these years.

Have faith they say……faith.

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.

  1. 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?

Well because….

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…

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”.

I am a Suicide Survivor (Possible Trigger)

I have been contemplating writing this post for a long time. With what has been going on with us lately, I have decided I will give it a try.

After all, if this helps just one person, it will have been worth the share.

I wasn’t sure how it would be received.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to write it.  Years ago I wrote it for me.  I wrote it in speech form as my 19 year old self and it was therapeutic.  I have no desire to post it in that form, so I am going to start over.

Do over.

This is my suicide survivor story.

Disclaimer:  This could be triggering.  Please take some time and be careful if you decide to read.

A yellow ribbon is a symbol that stands for suicide prevention, and I have worn a yellow ribbon as a reminder to myself that suicide is not the answer.  Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  There was a time in my life when I did not recognize this. I did not realize there were people to help and I thought that the only way to end my pain was to end my life.

I was 18 years old when I attempted suicide.  It is a very ugly word.  Suicide. But I want each and every person reading this post to remember it, and remember it well, because suicide is a reality, a truly ugly reality.

I have often had the thought that if everyone who ever had a thought about suicide actually committed it then we would almost all be dead.  I have no idea how accurate this really is.  But it is a thought that frequents my mind.

There were catalysts in my life that kept pushing at me.  Pushing me off the deep end.  Some of them were little, some were bigger and some were huge.  But all of them combined together put such a pressure on my life that I was unable to function.

Some of the more relevant ones were: My Dad died when I was 13, I was Daddy’s little girl so that was hard, my Mom ended up with cancer not long after that and had to have surgery and treatments.  But probably the biggest thing that was causing such a negative effect on my life was the fact that I was sexually abused and raped from the ages of 6 to 11, then as a teen there was an instance of date rape.   I kept my sexual abuse bottled up inside me for 12 long years.

On October 9th, 1999 I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore.  I sat on my bed and wrote a suicide note.  I finished my letter walked out into the kitchen took a bunch of pills, placed them in my pocket and walked back into the bathroom and took them all.  The first 2 I took my mind was asking “What are you doing?” I took 2 more and then 2 more and then the next thing I knew my hand was up to my mouth and half the pills were gone. I took a mouth full of water and then downed the rest of the pills.  I went back into my bedroom.

I was laying across my bed thinking about how easy it would be to just go to sleep and fade out of existence.

Suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I DID NOT WANT TO DIE!!  I was 18 years old with my entire life ahead of me.  I turned my suicide note over, wrote on the back and left the house telling my Mom I would “be back in a second”.

A friend of mine was with me (she had no idea what I had done) but she knew something was terribly wrong.  Eventually she went and got an older friend of mine who knew everything, he was like a brother to me and was the first person I had told about everything that happened to me.  I was scared, I was shaking and I knew that I wanted to live.

He got there and asked me what was wrong.  I began to cry and handed him my suicide note saying “here this explains everything”.  At this point I did not know how to control myself, I was weak, I was dizzy and I was scared.

He read the first 2 lines, looked up at me and asked “Did you do it?” I did not answer.  He looked at me again and in a more firm and demanding voice said, “Answer me, DID YOU DO IT?”.  I whispered “yes”.

Right away things began to happen fast, but yet in slow motion, an odd sensation.  He grabbed me and was helping me to walk, we got my brother and then my mom.  We all got in a car and were driving.  From what I can remember now (this being 15 years later) I was in the back seat and sorta starting to be a bit out of it.  We stopped in the next town at friends and called the ambulance (the ambulance for our community comes from that town) it was actually a lot faster that way.

I don’t have a sense of time.  I have no idea how long it took for it to arrive, it could have been hours, it could have been minutes.  I remember being put on a stretcher and into the ambulance and then we were on our way.  The attendant was taking my vitals and kept talking to me, asking questions and trying to keep me awake. I was given oxygen and was beginning to find it harder to breathe and there was a pain in my chest.

When we arrived at the hospital I was moved to a bed in the emergency room.  I remember feeling closed in because there were doctors and nurses and hospital staff all around me.  They did an EKG and put an IV into my right hand to feed me glucose and water.  They did blood tests and took my vitals.  They fed me a thick brown liquid that apparently saved my life and my liver.  It was to make me throw up and hopefully rid my body of all the drugs.  I remember not wanting to drink it but they said my choice was drink it and throw up or risk liver failure and be air lifted to another hospital for possible surgery.   At this point in my life I was terrified of surgery, so I drank it.

Once my blood test results came back they changed my IV from glucose and water to an antidote.  They then stuck another IV into my left hand with potassium going into it.

When I was finally moved out of the emergency room I was put into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Observation where I was hooked up to a heart monitor and had a nurse watching over me at all times.  I was not allowed to get out of bed because of the heart monitors and IV’s.

I felt like someone had literally beaten me with a stick, both inside and out.  I was called a “special” which meant I could not be left alone at any time for any reason.  Personally, I did not feel very special….

My first night there I spent 34 hours without sleeping.  My glucose was taken 5 times a day, blood taken 3 times in 6 and a half hours, temperature taken every little while and my blood pressure was taken every hour. To top all this off, every time I so much as coughed or moved my heart monitor would begin going off.

They then switched my IV in my right hand with another antidote that would take 16 hours to go into my system.

It was my 3rd night there before I was finally unhooked from everything.  I was moved to another room, but was still considered a “special”. I was moved around a few more times and was finally released on October 13th, 1999.

It was not a very good situation to be in.  It was an eye opener for me and I learned some very valuable lessons while I was laying in bed unable to move, listening to the beeping of a heart monitor, contemplating my life.   I learned that no matter how hard life seems, it is not so bad that you have to take your own life and end it.   Your life is valuable.  You are worth fighting for.  You deserve to live.  Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Statistics show that immediately after “attempting” suicide the person desperately wants to live…not die.   This makes it so sad and scary for the people who do succeed with their attempt.

I was really lucky.  I figured that out before too much damage was done to my body and I was lucid enough to get help.

No matter how dark the path ahead may look, no matter how bleak the future may seem, there is a light, follow the light.  Accept help, talk to doctors, open up. Its hard, but what you might already be going through is hard too, and telling someone, opening up will take some of the pressure off.

You, my dear friend, are stronger than you think.