We all have letters we'd like to send, but know that we can't. A letter to someone we no longer have a relationship with, a letter to a family member or friend who has died, a letter to reclaim our power or our voice from an abuser. Letters where actual contact is just not possible. Do you have a letter you can't send? Why not send it to The Band?
To Whom It May Concern:
Born nearly a dozen years after you, I can see how we wouldn't be closer than two ticks in a blanket: I was potty-training as you were discovering girls, I was in the throes of middle school hell as you were in the middle of partying your balls off in college.
That said, I'd have considered chewing off a leg to have a decent relationship to you.
By "decent," I mean, a relationship in which you didn't kick the shit out of me emotionally and physically, mocking my every move as one cannot be related to you AND make wise decisions. You were a bully and a coward back then, picking on someone half your age and half your size.
You still are.
When I was largely pregnant with my first daughter, you and your new wife decided that YOU'd be the ones taking her home from the hospital as I was not, obviously, fit to be a parent.
I let that one pass. You could've been infertile or otherwise unable to pop out your own children with your brand-new wife. I didn't know and I didn't ask - I liked to think the best of you both; that you didn't ACTUALLY think I'd be unable to care for a small child.
I was wrong.
You began to enjoy the pleasure of my company only once I married my soon-to-be-ex. Since he enjoyed my company, it was only fitting that you and your wife would, too. Clearly I couldn't be such a pile of dogshit if he chose to marry me... right?
I can't tell you precisely when things took a turn, but I can tell you exactly when things passed the point of no return: 2010.
The marital problems I'd so carefully tried to hide - often at the sake of my own sanity - had finally come to a head. My husband, father of my children, had enough of me. I couldn't say two words without hearing, "Can't you get out of here already?" and "You're damaging the children by crying," or "Get the fuck over yourself."
He'd found someone new.
And slowly, the only world I'd known began to crash around me.
We'd gone to lunch one day, he and I, and it was at that lunch that he expressed something I did not know.
You, my darling former brother, and your wife, once the divorce was made public, contacted him for two things:
1) You'd been avoiding family gatherings so as to not have to see me as you were mad that I'd candidly written about my childhood in such a manner that the whole! world! knew! our! secrets!
and (more hurtfully)
2) You planned to have no more contact with me. You were done with me. You wanted nothing to do with me. You were on his side.
It didn't matter that he'd been beating me down for years. It didn't matter that the happy face I'd put on each morning was a facade, it didn't matter that he'd openly found someone new.
Nope. I was to blame.
What I think you've forgotten, now that you're married to the sea harpie, is that you, too, have been through a divorce. A divorce in which your former wife strolled into the kitchen, and dropped it on you. She informed you, as she pulled cornbread from the oven, that she wanted a divorce now, that she was moving out in a few days and that she'd already fallen for someone new.
No wiggle room there.
Your divorce devastated you.
Despite our age gap, I took you under my wing, bringing you to parties with me, set you up with my older friends, making sure you didn't have to sit home at night alone. I knew how your heart had broken and I wanted to fix it. Maybe we'd never been close, but that didn't mean I could - or would - sit idly by and let you mourn your losses alone.
And divorce IS a loss. I knew it then and I feel it now.
But you had your family - Mom, Dad, me - to fall back on, and without us, I don't know if you'd be here today.
I hope that you remember that.
Because I've tried to forgive you. I have. I've spent days examining your words and actions from every angle to determine if there's one, one single thing I can glom onto; to make me feel as though I can forgive you; that we can remain siblings.
It's been nearly two years and I've yet to find one single thing I can hold in my hand as a solid reason to hold you in my heart.
I cannot; I will not forgive you.
I can forgive a lot of people a lot of things. But there is no longer a spot in my heart for you. No anger, no vitriol; nothing. Not even an empty spot where you once were.
I am an only child.
Someone You No Longer Know
This is her story:
I wasn't even in my teens.
During my holidays, I visited my aunt, where a mother and son from my uncle's side of the family had also decided to visit.
You consider a cousin's cousin as your cousin, right?
That's the only way my young brain understand our relationship.
Every evening, I'd play in the park a while, before heading off to the library in the neighborhood to read comic books. It was a wonderful time.
Except for that day.
As I was leaving the library, he met me on the steps.
"Hey, the terrace is fantastic. Have you seen it?"
I hadn't. So we got into the escalator and took it to the top of the building. We were alone. The sunlight was fading as we walked close to the boundary of the place. The terrace was somewhat enclosed.
I bent my head to explore the structures up there.
I do not recall when exactly he came and stood behind me. He just did. Only when he was too close did I realize it. I turned to face him. He asked me to check if he had a fever, so I touched him to see.
He did not have a fever. Then, I sensed something was wrong, very wrong - my body screamed it. I wanted to run, but I was stuck in place.
To save myself, I turned around. My back now faced him.
I should have run.
I could not.
I think I was shivering.
Or was I too hot?
That's when he checked me for a fever.
He groped me from behind, then let his hands run all the way down from the front. He felt me. He came up and groped my chest, not yet fully developed. I can still feel his hands. He pulled me close. There was no space for air between us. He continued to grope.
Typing this makes me shiver.
And then someone came. Someone came onto the terrace. Finally, I ran. The person who came, saw us from a distance, and began walking towards us. I yelled, "Hey," and I ran. I ran ignoring him. I ran all the way to my aunt's house.
Two more days. Two more days that SOB stayed in that house. With me. I have no memory of how I survived those two days. Why I did not say anything to anyone? Why did I not kill him that night?
Today I am married, and have a family of my own, but I do not enjoy sex much. I can't help but wonder if the reason I don't like sex stems from this experience. Maybe I am just cold.
We never crossed paths again. He is not married and is living alone. He's been shunned by his family for different reasons.
He deserves it.
This is her story:
When I was 14, I felt an incredibly horrible stabbing, burning pain in the top of my left foot.
Over time, my foot started to change temperature and color. Meanwhile, I was on crutches, because the first three doctors thought I had a minor stress fracture in the top of my foot.
When I finally went to the sixth doctor, a pediatric rheumatologist at the Children's Hospital of Milwaukee, he finally diagnosed this as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome.
After three months of aggressive physical therapy, I finally felt back to myself again.
Over the last ten years, I've had small bouts of it, which I've been able to control with desensitization - a technique I learned in the aggressive PT sessions.
In February of 2012, I was shoveling some rather heavy snow, and ended up herniating my L5S1 disc.
I've seen a chiropractor, had five shots of cortisone, and one shot of Depo-Medrol in the s1 space. I had an immediate allergic reaction to the Depo-Medrol shot, which in turn caused more allergies I didn't know I had.
I was also prescribed prescription pain killers, which I am now allergic to, Percoset was the alternative. I've since taken heavy daily doses of Percoset to manage that pain, as three bouts of physical therapy has not helped. My whole body has shifted to the left, which is a large problem for both me and my therapists.
While I was coping with my back issue, I slept on the couch. One day, I was in a sitting position, and picked my laptop up from the floor next to me. The laptop slipped from my hands and fell on the previously (bad) foot.
Immediately I felt the pain of the RSD.
My former rheumatologist informed me to race to the ER as soon as possible to get it checked out. The ER doctor checked for a broken foot and squeezed that foot, which sent me into orbit to hell with pain.
So, on top of a chronic SI joint dysfunction, degenerative disc disease in the L5S1 joint, and general inability to function as a human being, my RSD came back in full force, a thousand times worse than the first time I'd experienced it.
My new rheumatologist prescribed amitryptiline for both the depression and anxiety this disease causes (fear of anyone touching me and the inability to function as a normal human being) and to calm down the nerves in my foot.
Since then, my endometriosis has been giving me issues. My OB/GYN suggested another surgery to remove the tissue a mere two years after my first surgery.
After my first surgery, my OB/GYN informed me I needed to get pregnant or he could give me a Lupron-Depot shot to put my body in a false menopause. Everything was well and good until this medicine made the FIRE PAIN in my foot spike greatly.
The last time I saw my rheumatologist, she told me that the RSD is not only in my foot, but has spread up to my ankle. The RSD skipped my calf and shin to skipped to my knees.
This pain I can feel in the shower in my back and, more recently, my elbow, which I'd had surgery on two years ago.
This disease is debilitating and I'm becoming frustrated that none of the medication is working anymore. My back and RSD seem to work against each other to ensure that I'm extremely miserable.
I actually tell people that I am in hell.
Massage therapy has not helped at all, as I have a phobia of being touched. I also have extremely bad allodynia (a sensitivity to light, sound and touch) due to the RSD. I can't even put a pair of socks on most days - and shoes are the worst.
My brain fog is SUPER horrible. I forget everything really easily; I have to write everything down to remember my own HEAD when I go out in public. I've been battling to receive disability since June of last year. I can't work and am frustrated that I have been denied twice.
Recently, I've been getting stared at a lot, which I'm not appreciating. Stares and laughs...yup, go ahead, laugh at the crippled girl. Is it because I'm fat? Is it because I have a scar and a droopy lip that worsens during allergy season? HELLO it's spring time! Shit happens.
This has happened twice in the past week. I don't get it at all.
Perhaps the great demon of anxiety is back. I feel something weighing down on my shoulders. My whole body is at odds with the earth. The fear of something - anything, touching me or coming across my path makes my pain rise and boil.
It's hard to explain to people who have never had a chronic illness.
I'm in my own personal hell.
The only thing that would make things worse right now would be an endless loop of Phil Collins songs playing and not. ever. stopping.
I'm so very frustrated.
How do those of you who deal with chronic illness handle these experiences?
Domestic abuse affects the whole family.
This is her story:
Once upon a time, when I was eighteen, my mother visited for a week or two. Well, it was supposed to be a week or two. She moved in for the better part of a year.
But let's back this up a few years.
I didn't know my dad; my mom raised me until age seven. My new Daddy had a big television with a PlayStation; he allowed me to play video games.
It was nice, right up until the first of three little sisters were born, which coincided with his back injury at work. Suddenly, he just wasn't as nice anymore.
The earliest unsettling memory I recall was when he threw his wallet down on a table so hard it bounced off and broke a window. That alone didn't scare me - I was fascinated by his violent outburst.
I was so fascinated, in fact, that I told the guidance counselor. She called my house. After school, that day, my mother was in her bare feet on the front lawn. My stepfather had taken off in a fit of anger, and she couldn't stop crying.
I knew I was the reason everyone was upset. That day, I learned to keep my mouth shut.
I didn't tell anyone when, after the twins were born, he threw a bowl of Jello at a wall, barely missing my mother. I never told my friends that we hung calenders over holes in the wall created by my stepfather's fists.
He didn't just destroy things - there was also a lot of yelling. Tons of swearing. In my family, these "funny stories," often recounted to horrified but politely-nodding visiters (rare as they were). My two-year old sister once loudly repeated my stepfather's "nice ass" whisper, after he'd checked out a barely-legal female passerby. Funny. A real rib-tickler. Verbal abuse? I heard my mother called every name in the book.
When I was fourteen (he was on disability - cheating the system and taxes), I messed up while helping him work on a car. I'd dropped an engine after he'd assumed I knew how to use the engine lifter.
He was livid about the inconvenience - he got up with a power cord in his hand and that look in his eye.
I ran as fast as I could as he screamed that I was "a cunt." I felt the metal prongs of the power cord graze the back of my shirt and hit the gravel driveway. I hid in the conservation area down the road for hours. I was scared and angry which melted into stubbornness.
Four and a half hours later, my mother came and collected me. She'd stayed home to get my sisters off the bus, then helped with their home work and made dinner. They ate, she sent them upstairs, and then came to see where I'd run off to.
I tried to explain what had happened, but I got shot down: she didn't want to hear it; she just wanted everyone to get along. Once again, I learned that upsetting people was all my fault. I went home, ate dinner, washed dishes, then did my homework until I passed out.
A small fast-forward.
What was your fourteenth birthday like? Steamers? Balloons? Friends and Presents? From a friend of my step-father who pitied me, I got a broken fourth-hand bike and an almost antique television that was quickly given to my sisters to use.
Rather than a card, I got a lecture about how I could be kicked out and no one would give a damn. My scholastic hopes could be dashed against the rocks of Children's Aid Society. I was force-fed stories of foster home rape and molestation.
Once, my clothes were shoved into garbage bags and I was driven to the Children's Aid Society building and told to "get out." I had an epiphany, amidst the yelling and the crying, that I could call his bluff. I suddenly calmed, and began to insist upon getting out of the van. Then, of course, I was being forbidden from doing so.
I wasn't so afraid anymore: I became detached and coolly pissed. I'd finally figured "what the hell." I'd been accused and found guilty of things I hadn't done for years.
My seven years of being properly raised and loved had made an indelible impression on my personality. Just because he called me a slut didn't mean I'd go out and sleep around. Just because I was called a stoner didn't mean I'd start smoking up. Called a "pathological liar" and a "psychopath," I was generally honest, never hurting a soul.
I did take one liberty - I started to use his computer. I'd sneak on after everyone was asleep, after months of being accused of malicious computer hacking. It seemed a small freedom, one that I felt I'd well-earned. With the internet access, I got straight A's. I loved school simply because it wasn't home. It wasn't pretty when I got caught, but it was surprisingly quiet. Probably because it was something I'd already been accused of doing.
He was just biding his time.
It was several months later before the ball dropped. He wasn't a very creative creature, he simply repeated something he'd said to ban a friend from the house: accusation of stealing money. It worked flawlessly; she never returned and the money was written off.
When I was accused of stealing money, my mother and step-father showed up at school, demanding that a confused and beloved secretary give them access to my locker. I was paged to the office when she refused. I was slightly slow, as I was posing for a picture - photographic evidence that I was in the school that day, and not, as would be accused, off school properly buying drugs.
They screamed this accusation when I returned home, shortly before pushing me down and punching me repeatedly. I had bruises for over a month. My arm STILL hurts when it rains from that injury. He dented me.
I was very briefly afraid, before becoming incredibly angry that he, that anyone, could make me feel that way. I tried to tackle him down the stairs twenty minutes after being beaten on the couch. That was stupid. Despite the back injuries and the drugs, he was thirty-something, with years of formal and military training. I was just a weak, anemic young girl.
I can't believe I lied when a teacher asked about the bruise; and I can't believe he bought it. I lied for my mother's sake, more than anything else. She was afraid of how he'd manage without her, or perhaps how she'd manage without him, with three young children. Or something.
I'd guess she had Stockholm Syndrome; that she still loved him even after watching him pin and punch me. Oddly, she kicked me out. Best thing she ever did for me during her marriage.
That I was kicked out because I was going to be late after my boyfriend's grandfather had had a freaking heart attack and thus his mom couldn't drive me is besides the point. I was kicked out a month and a few weeks shy of sixteen, the legal minimum in Canada.
Within two months, I tracked down my biological father. I was sixteen, on student welfare to pay my rent so I could finish high school. I spoke with my father, my real father, now and then, and very occasionally visited my mother and sisters, holding my tongue as he verbally abused them. They were still accusing me of things I hadn't done even without living there.
I moved in with my real father a few months before my eighteenth birthday. We'd been living (happily) together for a year when I visited my mother. Save for flashes of fear and violence, the stay was pleasant. It was what I'd grown to expect when visiting.
Twenty minutes before I was to leave, my stepfather told my mother to pack a bag to go with me. She hadn't seen my father for almost twenty years, and was very uncomfortable with the idea. However, she was pushed and prodded into packing a bag of clothes, herded into the car, and left the apartment.
We had a lovely time. She called to speak to my sisters every day, until my phone was disconnected for an unpaid bill. She began to email them, when, after four days, all hell broke loose.
My stepfather told her to take off for a few weeks, to visit her sisters and have fun, but four days in and one day of missed communication, he started emailing me insisting to know her 'real' whereabouts. He accused her of adultery; insisting that she couldn't be at my apartment.
Soon he'd shifted the blame: I'd "brainwashed" my mother. Still she fully intended on returning to him; she didn't see the abuse, she called it home. Just over a week into her so-called vacation, he showed up at my apartment with my little sisters. We all went to a park and my sisters played while they discussed their failing marriage.
I assured my sisters that this wasn't their fault after I learned he'd informed them if they were very good and quiet, Mommy could come home and everyone would be happy.
That sick bastard.
He sent me hate mail vowing that I'd never see my sisters again; if I ever asked them to come live with me again, they'd never find the pieces. I'd never asked them to live with me; I'd imagine they asked if they could. I politely told him not to threaten me again; to stop contacting me.
He ignored these and sent me another harassing email insisting that I disclose my mailing address to serve me court papers for libel. I'd never written about him; never in any revealing detail, the only so-called "libel" may have been in private emails between the two of us. Everything in those emails was true.
He told my mother that he planned to get a restraining order against me. The forty-something year old who put a dent in my arm and molested me for years wanted a restraining order on me. Briefly I had one against him, not that it worked, he used my non-contact order like his shield.
I'm not afraid, I'm angry. I'm really really angry. He took my mother's keys and bank card, leaving her four hours from her home and children. My mother can't drive. He abandoned her here and got an emergency custody order on the pretext that she was threatening to kidnap my sisters.
It was rescinded the moment a judge got a handful of facts from anyone other than him. The next judge he faced acquitted him of the near-daily molestations neatly folded into the otherwise-abusive relationship. During those court proceedings, my mother moved back into her home, and then out again.
And that's the story of how my mother visited me.
~ I'm Fine
Here at The Band, we believe in kicking stigmas to the curb, flinging glitter, and shining a light into the dark. And now? Your bandmate needs a sounding board. It's time to Ask The Band!
I've been under the care of psychiatric services since 2007, at age sixteen (I'm now 23), when I had my first overdose. I've made a few more attempts since.
Throughout the years, I've been told different things as to what's going on with me, but it boils down to "low self-esteem." I've also heard "reactionary depression" now and again. I've always felt it was something more; I've never felt right, even as a kid, I've always struggled.
For a number of years, I've tried to convince myself there's nothing wrong with me as that's what I've been told. There's always people worse than me, I should cop out on myself
These people haven't seen me at my worst and instead of working to get better, I found I spent a good deal of time trying to convince them that I truly do have something going on.
I'm not looking for a diagnosis of a mental illness, but severe depression and anxiety have seriously affected my life. My G.P. has said it. My counselor has said it, too.
All I want is an acknowledgement; understanding that I'm not just attention-seeking or because I've heard about these problems. Sure, with some of the things I'd thought were a possible cause of the depression were wrong, but I just wanted the possibility explored.
When I go to clinics, it's the same questions. Every time. I find I don't want to tell my psychiatrist anything because I won't be believed, what I say will be downplayed or dismissed.
It's been like this for years - I'm constantly questioning myself in everything I do. It's is wrecking my head. Talking to a phone counselor, she person asked if I had Aspergers Syndrome based on things I'd told her.
I researched Asperger's Syndrome and went over the information with my parents. They could relate. I also did one of those online tests for Asperger Syndrome, and it came back that I likely had AS. I'm going for a diagnostic test but I'm very nervous, which was dismissed by the psychiatrist.
Through other counseling, I've learned that I was raped twice when I was 14. I explained what'd happened to one of the nurses on the psychiatric team a few years back and she told me not to inform my parents that I'm carrying on like that.
To qualify for the waiting list for rape counseling, I had to get a referral letter with a bit of background info. The letter I received used sentences like "claims to have depressive symptoms," "complains of anxiety and tension and social phobia."
I don't know what to make of it. I don't know what to think. I'm trying to get on the right path. Things like this just knock me back.
Am I right to be feeling like this?
I'm really trying to stop questioning myself - it's tiring me out while I'm trying to focus on recovery. I don't know whether to say anything because I spent so long trying to justify myself.
Has anyone had any similar experiences to mine?
Page 1 of 627