TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains descriptions of domestic violence and PTSD flashback episodes.
Today I took a Mental Health Day from work. I cannot express to you how refreshing it is to work for a company that understands this is A Thing and it’s not something a person can “just get over” so they can “just push through.” Sometimes we need to take a day to ourselves and just chill out where no one can bother us.
As we all know, I’ve been through a lot. I sort of handle it okay for the most part, except for that whole pesky drinking thing. The good news is that I’ve been working a lot so I’ve been making lots of money instead of going out and drowning my sorrows and dealing with annoying people I don’t like. Plus one for me. Level Up! I’ve gotten really obsessed with personal finance in the last year and a half, so I’m really hoping this pattern continues for the good of my wallet. Besides, let’s face it. Movies and TV > Small Town Drama. I am over it!
I’m also hoping to keep this pattern going in light of a more recent event which led to me taking this mental health day in the first place. I decided to take a self-defense class. I thought it would be something cool/empowering/helpful so I was pretty excited about it. Then I got there and things didn’t exactly go as expected.
What happened? Well, during the first demonstration, which was a block, I froze up and had a flashback. Everything around me went black and all I could see was a fist coming right at my face. I turned and coiled up to avoid it. He hit the wall behind me. I thought he was going to kill me. I’m lucky to be alive. I’m lucky I escaped. I’m lucky he didn’t break my ribcage when he threw me across the room and I hit the wall. I’m lucky he let me go and that I ran away as fast as I possible could. That was eight years ago. Yet there I was, standing there in a room full of people and three cops, going into full PTSD mode. Great. In hindsight, perhaps it was a little too ambitious to jump right into the martial arts portion of the recovery program.
Needless to say, I ran out of the room and promptly had a panic attack. Luckily for me, I’ve been doing a lot of yoga and meditation lately, so I used my breathing techniques to calm myself down. Then I went for a walk. It was a lot. I went back to my temp stay and sat alone with those feelings for a long time. I just kept saying to myself, “An app wouldn’t have stopped him. A block wouldn’t have stopped him. Fighting back wouldn’t have stopped him. Nothing was going to stop him. There was nothing I could do. It’s not my fault. I didn’t deserve it. He had no right to put his hands on me.” And you know what? It hurt. It really fucking hurt. I cried a lot. It sucked. It was not fun. 0/10, would not care to repeat said experience again.
You know what else really sucked about that incident? The fact that no one was on my side. All of these trashass people sided with this disgusting piece of shit. It was gross. Those same people who sit there and talk shit all day, who call me a liar and say I made it up for attention. They’re disgusting. And what was worse? My dad wouldn’t help me get a lawyer, then yelled at me for showing up to court without a lawyer, and now tries to re-write history by claiming that I never asked him to help me. Lol, men. What a bunch of shitbags. Like, you should just kinda know to help your daughter get a restraining order against the guy who threw her into a wall. That should just be a natural thing. But for whatever reason, it’s not. So what happened as a result of this? Oh, all the charges were dropped and this guy was just… free to go. And justice was served again. The End.
So yeah, this whole experience I had with this guy that I saw a handful of times, wasn’t serious about, and never even had sex with has left a lasting mark on me that I still can’t shake. Why? Probably because it was the cherry on top of the pile of shitty, abusive men I dated in the past. Is anyone really that surprised I ended up with a domestic abuser? I’m not. And here people wonder why I choose not to date anymore. It’s a disaster. I’m over it.
I spent about three hours drinking the same glass of wine, but I didn’t get shitfaced. I just thought… what’s the point? It will not fix anything. It has been eight years and it still feels like it happened today. I’ve been trying to drown this incident out, and all the other shitty, horrific, traumatic shit out, and it hasn’t worked. So… fuck it. Why not just take a nice hot bath with roses and lavender and eucalyptus and mint and ashwaghanda? Just get the whole garden up in this bitch. We’re sitting with our feelings, ya’ll!!! And guess what? IT FUCKING SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!
I also decided to pursue EMDR therapy. I heard from multiple women that this technique works. Though I have many issues with Big Therapy & Big Pharma from a previous life, I strongly feel after yesterday’s episode that I should try again. My work offers us a free subscription to Lyra, a mental health app. My first attempt to find a therapist on there did not provide the result I wanted, so I was very frustrated. There was only one person in SD and their profile stated that they did “Christian-based therapy.” Yeah, so, that’s a hard no for me. It’s just not going to happen for lots of reasons that I don’t particularly feel the need to explain here. I will try again to find a better option and update how it goes.
So imagine carrying this very heavy weight through the day, then going to your house to pick up some stuff, and your crazy mother shoves a graphic picture of a woman’s bruised up face right in front of me with no warning. She said, “WaNnA sEe A pIcTuRe?” The way she said it made me think it would be something silly of my nephews. Nope. Apparently my grandmother had an accident. Instead of just telling me this like a normal person, she shoved this horrific picture in my face and completely re-triggers me after I’ve been dealing with the incident described above. Naturally, I was upset. So what will she do now? Go around to everyone and rant about how selfish and horrible and nasty I am and how I’m making her life so miserable all the time. Honestly, it gets so old. I’m so tired of her tantrums.
I have spent decades living under a shadow of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I’ve also essentially been held captive by her and my father, whose relationship is so depressing that I can barely stand to be in the same room with them. Needless to say, I’m over it. I’m tired of being unhappy. I have goals and dreams and plans for the future. I want to live in Paris and have a successful writing career and travel the world. It’s become very clear I will never achieve any of that as long as I stay in contact with her. She always, always, always has to attack me and drag me down. I can’t take it anymore. I’ve finally accepted the truth. I can finally see her for the monster she is. I have no illusions about her anymore. She is a very disturbed, unhealthy person who desperately needs help. I can’t be around her negative energy anymore. It’s toxic. It’s never been more clear to me than it was today.
What is the point of this post? To share my experiences so other people out there struggling with these issues know they’re not alone. There’s no right or wrong way to deal with mental illness. It doesn’t magically go away. It’s not something you can just get over. It’s not something you can bottle up or drown in bourbon. It’s there and it’s ugly and it’s real. It’s real and I have to live with it every day. It’s exhausting. I want nothing more than to just be healthy and happy. I hope that my journey can inspire others to empower themselves to embrace this shitty journey for what it is and just vibe with the universe, man.
That’s all I’ve got for you right now. Walk in Beauty, Friends.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline