I realize I haven’t written on here in over a year. Two years ago, something horrible happened to me. One year ago, I finally mustered up the courage to speak about my trauma. I decided, with the help of a mental health professional, to branch out and tell my friends and family why I had been so distant. Why I had changed and become this different person.
One person who I thought was a friend was incredibly insensitive and invalidating. They demanded to know whether I was drunk when it happened, whether I knew him, whether I really wanted it. As if it was my fault. They asked me if it was really “that bad”, why I didn’t come home, why I didn’t report. I was in tears, in shock, unable to speak as they berated me and further assaulted me with questions.
After that, my progress halted. I went back to the nightmares, sleeplessness, and shame. I repeated my “friend’s” demands in my head. Why didn’t I report it? Why didn’t I leave? What if it was my fault? What if I deserved it?
I became silenced. I stopped writing.
I feel like I’m holding onto so much, and I can’t possibly ask for help. I don’t know how to unload lightly onto someone else, because everything feels like it’s stuck and tangled together. I don’t want to drop this all on someone else, so I feel like I have to keep hanging on, alone.
A paper plane flying through a thunderstorm.
Each drop weighs ever heavy on the thin wings,
Curling, folding, disfiguring the once
Straight, strong edges.
Laying in a puddle of muddy water,
A crumpled shape is left.
When the sun returns, the airplane cannot be recovered –
It dries and hardens,
Never quite the same.
I have nothing. I lie here empty and uncertain of why exactly I’m hurting. There’s an uneasiness that settles throughout the spaces that have been worn through my mind. It’s the kind of feeling of being trapped. Of falling and having no way back.
After next week, I am done with instructing. On top of everything else that’s been happening, I feel like teaching is becoming overwhelming. It was once the one thing I looked forward to. I’ve been teaching and/or tutoring for almost a decade now and it’s a shame to see the passion shrink into nothing.
I dread going to each class. I hate interacting with the students. I want to leave as soon as I can. I feel like I’m not making a difference or helping at all, which makes me a worse instructor, which then consolidates the idea that I am not making a difference or helping at all.
I should have known this was coming. Last year towards the end of the last semester, I began burning out fast. I was having panic attacks in the lab and had to have some of my classes cancelled. I keep telling myself that there’s only ONE MORE WEEK, but the thought of that one week is daunting.
I tell myself I can make it, but there’s a growing voice in my head asking, “can you, though?”
I used to love teaching. It breaks my heart that I feel this way. I always prided myself as being someone who enjoys helping others learn and see how exciting learning can be. Now I feel like I’ve lost that. I’m not really sure what kind of person I am anymore. I don’t know if I can make this one last week.
I always downplay my pain. I encounter stress and then adjust my baseline instead of dealing with the stress. Then it piles higher and higher and when I finally break, I’m left wondering why. Now I’m just numb and unsure of how I really feel anymore.
In my head I was fine. Then all of a sudden I have all this anxiety. I can’t fall or stay asleep. I’m completely isolated from all my friends. I talk to nobody. How did I get here? (See beginning).
You told me to call you whenever I needed someone to talk to. The only person I wanted to talk to today was with you. You told me you felt unwell last night, and I tried to make you smile. At 7pm I texted you. No reply. At 10pm I texted you again. No reply. I didn’t sleep last night just in case you called. I could have been there for you. But no, you swallowed a bunch of pills and ended up in the hospital. I could have been there for you. Yes, I’m angry. But I also understand. I hope you get the help you need. I’ll always be there for you. I wish you knew that.
Journal entry, 11pm.
I’m sad. Sad I couldn’t be there for you. I feel so helpless. Part of me feels guilty even though I know there’s really only so much I could have done.
I’m angry. Angry that you had so much support while I stayed silent. I hid my pain, it was my fault. But I can’t help but think that your pain is valid while I’m just a psycho.
I’m angry that my visit to the hospital was horrible. He knew I was BPD therefore I’m a faker. My pain isn’t real.
I cried for you this morning. I lashed out and screamed at my mom until my voice went hoarse. And then I cried some more. I wanted to cut so badly. I took my own advice and went for a run. I left the house as the sun began to set. I ran. I held back tears and I ran for as long as I could. Ran until my throat burned from gasping for breath and my legs trembled. I walked and stumbled upon the field while wandering through previously unexplored paths. I went into the middle of the field and sat. I just wanted to talk to you. I was so mad. I was so desensitized and apathetic and unempathetic, yet helpless. Yet my heart ached for you. I fell back and laid there for a while, as the sky went dark. I laid down and let myself cry. I’m home now and I feel like I can’t cope with the pain. I want my own pills to knock me out, just for tonight.
Today I talked about the trauma openly with a therapist. Talking about the first incident was the hardest. It easier as I recounted the next incident. She pointed out there was something new she saw in me. Not quite anger, no longer fear.
Confidence in myself. In knowing that he was the one who was wrong. Confidence that only blooms out of 7 years of suffering and buried pain.
And behind the confidence, there stood sadness and anger, interlocked. Sadness for the naive girl who was manipulated, overpowered and lied to. Anger towards the boy who stole her innocence with his selfish ways.
I am forgiving myself. I never did anything wrong. This was not my fault.
“One of the hardest battles we fight is between what we know and what we feel.”
We are always told to check the facts. But even if you know the facts, it’s hard to push our feelings and thoughts away. Especially when they’re so deeply ingrained in us. When you live half of your life believing you’re not good enough, worthless, or undeserving of love, it’s difficult to accept the facts. It’s tough to accept everything that’s proving your assumptions wrong, even if they are right in front of your face. Checking the facts is great. But it’s unhelpful if your emotions constantly get in the way.
It seems counter intuitive, doesn’t it? Isn’t healing supposed to make things better? When in reality, the steps we take to facilitate healing can be very painful. If you’ve ever cleaned a scraped knee, you’ll remember the pain of having to touch the open wound. But in the end, this is to facilitate the healing process.
These words by @jennagalbut revealed a lot to me about my own healing process. For so long, painful memories were hidden in the shadows, where I didn’t have to look at them. The problem with this is they would jump out at me when I least expect it.
Since starting treatment for my PTSD, I’ve been even more so on edge and anxious. I thought that the treatment was making things worse. I wanted to quit. To shove all the painful thoughts back into the dark instead of facing them in the light. But I am trying to remind myself – it gets worse before it gets better.