Some mom I am...
I am the worst kind of mother. I have given up on life.
How many times have I tried to end it?
One is too many. But three times was not enough.
(Third time was not the charm...)
Now, I am just content for survival's sake.
Just content. Not happy.
I do things simply because I have to. Because it's what's best
For my family.
I justify, I explain, I
Have simply settled.
Because I know I am nothing now.
I'm no example. No role model.
I don't even pray anymore.
I simply don't know what else to do.
I am not the mom I want to be.
Not the mom they deserve.
Some mom I am.
In the course of the last four days, I have read every post on this site (thank you OCD). I was searching for resources regarding mental illness deriving from childhood sexual abuse and Google was kind enough to direct me here.
I've always thought that my issues were inconsequential. That I have had no worse experiences than any other soul on this earth. I've shared some of my experiences with a select few people, and the look on their faces has always puzzled me. This is my life, what is there to be shocked about?
Back on point. Spending these last four days reading about all of your joys, heartaches, pain and recovery has jostled a few memories of my own. Some things are always at the back of my mind, but others have been dredged from the depths.
Let's start with my diagnoses.
I've been diagnosed as Bipolar twice (but I contest it), Anxiety and OCD. The Bipolar was diagnosed during two full fledged breakdowns. The first was after a half-assed suicide attempt during a bad marriage at age 24 and the second during the first five minutes with the WORST PSYCHIATRIST EVER. Seriously. This guy grandly announced I was Bipolar after I mumbled it was a previous diagnosis.
But that's a story for another day.
I feel it's time to finally tell my story. I've avoided seeing this information in print for years. I've carried so much shame, self-blame and self-doubt that my soul is weary. While I'm not yet ready to delve deep into my experiences, this is a good place to start.
I was sexually abused by our 16 year old neighbor and his 15 year old sister somewhere between the ages of two and four.
My parents separated for work for six months and I witnessed my mother's breakdown when I was eight.
When I was fourteen, I had my first suicide attempt which was, thankfully, a rather pathetic one. When I was fifteen I had my first attempt at therapy but I did not say one word for the entire six sessions.
At seventeen I was raped for the first time at gunpoint by a "friend." The same year, one of my best friends committed suicide. I was the last person to speak with him. He told me that he was going to do it, but I did not take him seriously.
I made a second suicide attempt at age nineteen. Swallowed over 400 aspirin and ended up in the ICU for four days. There was some limited therapy to follow but I don't remember much about that. I told my parents at this point about the sexual abuse. It was the worst thing I have ever had to do in my life and 20 years later my mom still cries. It kills me.
When I was 24 I got married for the first time, and at 25 I had my first affair. I also tried to commit suicide for the third time. I was driving my car over 100 MPH on curvy back roads and attempting to run it into something. This landed me in a psychiatric ward for two weeks, with a Bipolar diagnosis. My marriage ended two years later.
At age 28 I was raped a second time by two men while I was drunk and in a foreign country.
When I was 29, I found out I was pregnant and had an abortion. The man that I assumed to be the father threatened to kill me if I even thought about having a baby while the man I am dating tells me that he will leave me if I have this baby. I was wrong. About it all.
I got married for a second time when I was 32, and it took all of three days for it to go to hell. Three years later I began having daily panic attacks, and within two months I am unable to leave the house. I developed paranoia and severe depression. I started seeing the WORST PSYCHIATRIST IN THE WORLD. Because of this man, I lost my job.
Shortly after losing my job, my husband told me that he really never loved me and that he just used me to get our house and the money I made. This does not assist with my recovery. He raped me. I moved back in with my parents.
After three more years, I was finally free of that man. I was broke as hell, and my credit was ruined but I was extremely happy.
Now at age 39, I have been out of work for two months with an injury. I am thankful that I have support, but the depression that started last April has blown up. I feel lost.
There is more, if I only could remember.
Thank you, all of you, for inspiring me to start this.
Band Back Together has been nominated for Best Group or Community Weblog in the 2013 Bloggies! Visit their site to vote and check out the other categories!
Band Back Together has been nominated for Best Group or Community Weblog in the 2013 Bloggies! Visit their site
to vote and check out the other categories! - See more at: http://bandbacktogether.com/all-posts/#sthash.iZSQRkS1.dpuf
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US.
This is how suicide has played a part in her life.
Cars and trucks make my toddler’s world go round. He adores them in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Imagine his curiosity when the doorbell rang at home and a police officer was standing there with his car seat in hand. After the officer exchanged a few words with my husband; my child’s excitement must have grown by fifty when my husband secured the seat in the back of the police car. His eyes bulged when he was strapped in, seated next to daddy, for an actual ride in the car.
The ride brought them over a bridge, beach-side, to where my car was parked, but I was not in the car. The officer handed the set of keys to my husband and my son’s car seat made the switch.
Within fifteen minutes, my son took the ride of his life in the back of a police car and returned home; where his momma was not.
An hour prior, I was driving home from the beach. A police SUV pulled behind me and I was careful to watch my speed; decreasing it as the beach city approached. I couldn’t help but wonder what I had done when the lights began to flash. I pulled over into a nearby parking spot right along the boardwalk. The officer approached my window and asked if I knew why I was being pulled over. For the life of me, I couldn’t provide an answer.
“Another officer will be by shortly to speak with you.” He said. He asked for my keys and I handed them over.
I was nervous but couldn’t figure out why. I started humming which turned to singing. I wish I could remember the tune; it was so very comforting at the time.
When the other officer arrived, I was asked to step out of the vehicle and walk to the rear of it. I did so without question. Before another word was uttered, I was being frisked and basically felt up by a woman police officer.
“Would you mind telling me what the fuck this is all about?” I demanded. I didn’t care about my language usage. I felt violated.
“Pamela, did you threaten to kill yourself on Twitter?” He asked.
With a chuckle I replied, “Perhaps in a roundabout sort of way. I may have mentioned how much of a certain drug it would take to overdose. I may have sent a direct message to someone I confide in just about daily that I was thinking about picking up my prescription and swallowing the contents of the bottle. It’s just an ordinary day in the life of a girl with Bipolar Disorder, sir.”
I tend to use humor to get myself out of trouble. This time it dug me in a little deeper.
Next thing I knew, my hands were behind my back and I was being cuffed. The ocean air began to make me feel dizzy and I had to sit down. Luckily I was being escorted to the back of a police car so I could, you know, relax.
I sat there in awe. How could this be happening to me? Why was I taken seriously on this day of all days?
The time was dragging on and I couldn’t understand what we were waiting for. I watched as the police searched my car. I watched them pull out the plastic bag, which contained my running gear. I saw the empty coffee cup in the hands of another. The blue cup with the straw sticking out, which I often keep with me filled with water, was brought to an officer’s nose for a sniff test.
It was getting really warm in the back of that police car. I could hear the radio belting out calls from dispatch. I had a clear view of the officer’s laptop. Right in front of me was a gun, secured to the protective glass that separated me from the front of the vehicle. The seat was hard and plastic. My wrists were writhing in pain.
Finally the door opened and I spoke up, “How necessary are these cuffs? I’m not going anywhere!”
“You’re in our custody now. You are being Baker Acted. It’s the law.” I was told.
Baker Acted. Were they fucking kidding me?
“Could you maybe loosen them? I can’t really feel my hands anymore.” And they did.
A short while later I was shifted from one police vehicle to another. This officer was much nicer. He opened the window separating me from the front seat so we could talk. He promised we would arrive at the hospital in thirty minutes. While the cuffs weren’t as tight, they were still very uncomfortable. I wondered why they couldn’t cuff me in the front of my body.
When we pulled up to the hospital I said, “Damn, I was expecting the Four Seasons.” At least he giggled with me.
I walked with my head down, through the halls toward the Psychiatric Ward. The door clicked behind me and I shuttered because I had been there before. This time it wasn’t of my own free will.
I was there under the Florida Baker Act; the Florida Mental Health Act. It is a means of providing an individual with emergency services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment.
I was under the involuntary Baker Act because without treatment, there was a substantial likelihood in the near future I would inflict serious bodily harm on myself as evidenced by recent behavior.
I spent the night in lock-up. The next day, the hospital's psychiatrist came in to speak with me. Rather than really ask me what my future plans were, he more or less formulated his own story in that I was never suicidal to begin with and I would be safe when I left the hospital. I nodded in agreement and was released.
This happened about a year ago.
Not a day goes by where I don't think about suicide.
I don't like writing.
I can fill in a form alright, even make out a cheque, but I'm not so good at thoughts and feelings. It's not for lack of ability. I’m told that I am quite intelligent, I.Q. tests put me at 155, yet I barely made it out of high school.
My parents separated when I was 2. Daddy moved in and out of the house depending on the availability of other women. He was a pilot and at the time I was convinced that he was busy flying around the world. He finally left the country when I was 8, sold the house, kept the money, and raped my mother on the way out the door.
I was an only child living in the house on the hill and going to private school. That changed, and we rented a room in a large house. The family there was nice; five kids and my new baby brother. We eventually got our own place but it was not very nice and to cover the cost we had boarders all the time. My new public school was quite a shock. The kids were really nice but the teachers hit us regularly, and with great creativity.
Daddy kept in contact, sent pictures of the new house, wife, kids, and all their travels. Depression had a pretty good hold on me by now. I had already been to therapy, but I didn't let them get too far with me. I was sure that I wouldn’t live that long anyway, not suicidal yet, just a short life expectancy.
High school was not as bad as it could have been.
I made it into the best public school. I was one of the smallest kids in my class and not one for fighting back, which meant that anyone else who wanted to hit someone without getting hit back could just come find me. My guidance counselor helped me survive, kept me in school, and got me through it.
The next ten years were filled with sporadic employment, failed relationships, and lots of liquor to dull the pain. I finally trusted a friend enough to tell them about my problems. Sharing didn't seem to help at the time; my perspective was probably skewed by the bottle of scotch. I lost my fight with depression that day, November 10th, 2001.
I woke up the next day in the emergency room with a decision to either live or die.
I chose to live.
Life definitely changed after that, though not a story book ending. I have some wonderful friends, some of my closest I made after that day. I found a job within a week and have only been unemployed for two days since then. Depression still pops up regularly, and I still pointlessly use scotch to try and stop it.
I’m comfortable with the friends I have, but we are all grown up and they have families and busy lives. Some live in other countries. Six months ago a seven year relationship ended. My personality and my job keep me fairly isolated, I now realize how connected she kept me. I have shut myself off for the past few months, and it's time to rejoin the world.
Women I am attracted to terrify me. I have never asked a woman out on a date, I’m too scared. I have always dated strong, aggressive women who have made the first move. I want to date again but I want to do the asking this time. When I see the beautiful redhead in the parking lot tomorrow morning I want to be able to get out more than a mumbled "hi."
But I’m scared, so I don’t, then I get depressed because I didn’t.
I just want to say "you're pretty."
I have never been particularly fond of myself, so my self-esteem has always been relatively low. So, I believed too much, was too trusting, and too naïve to know any better. In other words, I believed what people told me I was; I trusted that everybody was my friend, and was too naïve to know that I was worth more.
It came as no surprise, therefore, when I was sexually assaulted that I believed everything those guys told me.
“You’re not pretty enough. You’re not good enough. You’re worth nothing.”
These words repeated over and over again in my head, never shutting up or slowing down. The Game of Comparisons started, and I lost. Every time.
She’s pretty; you’re not pretty enough. She’s skinny; you’re not skinny enough.
Soon I became so full of self-hatred I was virtually incapable of feeling anything else. Every laugh, every smile, every tear was forced. I felt dead - a human devoid of emotion is no human at all.
In order to feel something, anything at all, I began to cut myself. And every time I cut myself open with the razor of hate, you’re worth nothing echoed in my mind. This routine continued day in and day out for six months. Eventually, cutting wasn’t enough anymore. So I stopped eating.
Well, okay. Technically, that’s not entirely true.
I stopped filling myself up. I started eating less and less, only eating enough to stop my stomach from rumbling. Sometimes, if I completely hated myself, I would skip a meal here and there. The cutting, not eating, and the voices continued for another year and a half. Until one day, I couldn’t take it anymore.
I wanted to die.
And I almost did. But there was a quiet voice in the back of my head whispering, you are good enough. That tiny voice was enough to give me hope that things could get better.
Over time, I stopped cutting. But I didn’t start eating again. It got worse. The summer before Senior year, I went two weeks without eating anything but a few crackers every day. Senior year I didn’t eat lunch, partly because I was taking too many classes to have a lunch period, mostly because I couldn’t stand the thought of people watching me put food in my mouth.
If I didn’t like myself, how could I expect anybody else to like me enough to want me to eat?
Graduation came and went, and for the first time in a long time, I almost, kind of, maybe a little, liked myself. I started eating a little bit more than I had before, and was pretty much excited for college.
Until I went to college, that is.
College is much like high school, at least my high school. There are the same groups of people - the popular kids, the athletes, the music nerds, the nerds. At a College like Roberts, where the number of girls heavily outweighs the number of boys, I found many more people to compare myself to.
When I walked in on the first day of classes, I was terrified by the number of people sitting there, talking in their groups. I saw many beautiful people and I wasn’t one of them.
Sitting alone at a table the first day, I was overcome with feelings I hadn’t really felt in a few months. So I retreated to the library; I felt comfortable there among the books. Nobody cared how much food I ate or didn’t eat. Nobody cared that I sat alone, procrastinating important things while scribbling away in my notebook.
But the Game of Comparisons continued, and I lost every round, even the ones I didn’t participate in. Only this time, it was different; the voice wasn’t saying “you’re not.” The voice was saying, “I’m not.”
I’m not good enough. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not skinny enough. I’m not ‘insert adjective here’ enough.
And trust me when I say that telling yourself you’re not good enough is a whole lot worse than having someone else tell you. It’s true, you know. You are your own worst critic.
Every day I would look in the mirror, hate what I saw, and compensated by being someone I’m not. It was physically and mentally exhausting. Between the not eating and the not being, I was having a really tough time.
But when you spend all your time in the library, among the books and the silence, you have a lot of time for soul-searching. Towards the end of November, I was sitting quietly sitting at my table, trying to study when the quiet voice was back.
Then it hit me.
I wanted to stand on my chair and tell the world, “I am having some major epiphanies going on up in here.” But I didn’t. I was in a library, and shouting in the library is highly frowned upon.
So I went in the bathroom and cried.
Three things hit me that day.
I am capable of so much more. In the battle between Who I Think I Am and Who I Could Be, Who I think I am won every time, because that’s what I let get a hold of me. That’s what fed off my energy. It doesn’t have to be that way.
We are all capable of doing something great. I am, you are, we all are. But we all have something holding us back.
Every mirror tells me something different. I can tell myself that I’m beautiful until I’m blue in the face but my brain that refuses to let me believe it. Even though deep in my soul I know I’m capable of greatness, there is something holding me back. And until I figure out what it is, until I figure out how to overcome it, I am destined to live in my own shadow.
I have figured out what mine is: fear and self-doubt.
I decided I shouldn’t spend so much time in the library, because it was making me all emotional (but that will never happen because I love books too much).
Even though I have figured this out, it’s still a struggle. I’m only "fine" 20% of the time, which is good but not great. But it’s a whole heck of a lot better than 10%, which is how I felt before. There are still many days when I don’t want to eat (which is more than I’d like to admit). Oftentimes I can eat a little bit every meal but some days I don’t like myself enough to force myself to eat.
Sometimes, when I’m sad, hate myself, and don’t want to eat, I look at the lines on my hands. They remind me that I have been stitched together by the master sewer, and I’ve learned that sometimes, that is enough.
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