Prior to 17, I was a very shy, quiet and reserved girl with very few friends, working in a shop at weekends and studying at college. I was never ‘normal’. Anxiety and depression had been established years before.
Emotional intelligence wasn’t in abundance in my household; money and control were though. There was love, care and a deep desire to be the respectable middle-class family that had manners and values and would never go into town on a Saturday afternoon wearing jeans. You dress like this, you speak like that so that people know you are a decent person, with standards. As long as I present myself to the world in an acceptable manner then all would be ok. I did not belong in this world with these perspectives and beliefs. I felt flawed and alien, not good enough, fat, ugly and disgusting.
Overly sensitive to life, to it all, noise, light, food, emotion, and energy. Especially energy, from the earliest age I remember vividly being able to read people; I didn’t understand it and had no idea it was a gift, so was easily drained and overwhelmed and the gift became something other than what it was intended for I believe.
As I grew up my sense of separateness intensified and looking back I think some serious mental health issues were established by the age of 10. I lived my life internally, rarely speaking. I felt everything so intensely, I was a strange child, I know this.
No core, not grounded, easily led, a follower, desperately wanting approval, unhappy. Disconnected.
Fast forward to 17 years of age; I had met some girls through work and started going out partying and drinking. I found it enabled me to communicate and mix a little. I felt like I had a little bit of a life although I was simultaneously separated from myself even then. I learnt when I was very small that I needed to be something other than what I was.
That’s the background.
Then on one fateful night;
Drinks, not many, a man I vaguely knew -a little something slipped in my drink?
Then the beach, feeling cold and sick, a heart beating hard and fast.
No, no, no
I don’t want this
Oh my god
Oh my fucking God
What do I do
I can’t move
Disconnect, burning, bewilderment
I get to my feet when it eventually stops. Disoriented, the sea so black,
I’m walking away.
I fucking hate you
I’m going to the police
A “yeah right, you think they’ll believe a word of it?”
More steps, he’s gone now.
I’m spinning, I feel sick. I find my friends and we go home to their house.
I sit on the steps shaking and I ring the Samaritans.
Panic, dread, doom, this can’t be real.
In the morning,
I can’t bear being inside my own skin
I go home and shower.
And scrub and scrub some more
And then the curtain comes down.
But I am not the same
I had crossed the line between light and dark and there was no going back
Abandoned by my ‘self’ left to somehow continue living in this body
This body I could barely breathe in, couldn’t stand to be left alone in.
No thinking, no emotions, just pain, somewhere but it was distant.
I can’t be here, I don’t know how to function so I allow my autopilot to take control.
For years I would I would punish my body and brutalise my mind.
Alcohol became my God replacement, is it any wonder I was never a normal drinker. One was too many and 100 never enough.
Anger and rage stirring silently beneath the surface, I hated everything.
Alcohol and then soon after drugs became my vessel for numbing the torturous feelings, for obliterating the incessant ranting raging thoughts.
I honestly don’t know how I survived, there were so many times where I had taken enough drugs and consumed enough booze to overdose, but I never did.
I wanted to be dead.
Every day I would think about how, if I was courageous enough I would end it.
But I was never that brave.
And so I layered on the masks, I created a version of myself for each and every eventuality and this would alter wildly depending on who I was with at the time.
And so my life went on, some good things came about in the form of education and qualifications and eventually a few years down the line a good job. Although I believed all of it was a fucked up mistake, that I had somehow got someone else’s exam results and the company that employed me obviously didn’t realise what a fucking loser they were taking on. Never able to see my abilities or achievements. I hated praise, it usually meant I wouldn’t trust you.
But my secret was still just that, my secret, buried. Alive and toxic and festering.
I didn’t know how to have a ‘healthy relationship’ I was damaged goods and just needed to be whatever they wanted me to be.
I was so fucking lost, so disassociated and yet to a degree still functioning in ‘normal’ day to day life. Weird how us humanoids can do this, a double life, an alternate reality.
But I was never ok.
Always consumed by obsessive thoughts about food and my body, wanting to rip the flesh away from my bones and burn it, or constantly wanting the next high or drink, the never-ending hunger for relief from the mind. I exercised obsessively and at times relentlessly. I ate sometimes, often in secret, often to the point of vomiting, a badge of honour I wore silently with pride. I did not deserve to enjoy food and this body did not deserve to be nourished, I starved myself frequently and felt a power like no other, power for the first time ever. The overwhelming sense of control that the light headedness brought, the burning, the nausea and gnawing belly that was empty beyond what it could stand. The relief that obsessing over numbers on the scale would give, the relentless and never-ending churning thoughts of how utterly disgusting and vial I truly was and how I should not be here.
Screaming inside every waking moment.
There were relationships, some good in some ways, some full of deceit, one left my jaw fractured and my teeth smashed in, another left me questioning my sanity as I unraveled the confusion around being with another damaged human who’s hidden addictions were shocking even compared to my standards. There were beds, many beds, often I had no clue who’s or where it was. Funny how you can be violated so fully and then go on to let anyone do anything they want to this human form of a vessel we move through life in. No regard, no care, no respect. Just loathing and shame and blame and pain and regret and despair and shock and abandonment.
I didn’t stay. I couldn’t. But I was here all the same. No ability to connect, to myself or anyone else. Just give me the pills, the powder, the liquid.
Let me swallow it down or snort it up, anything to stop me from being here. I have to go. I’m sorry.
I’m so sorry in my gut, for my family, myself. But I am gone and you cannot help me.
I don’t know how I got here I honestly and truly don’t.
Somewhere very deep down though, I never lost my faith in God/source whatever you see fit to call it.
I always had the tiniest flicker of hope that I could be saved and find my way back.
It came in fits and starts, at times I was ready for the learning and expansion and throughout my thirties, I learnt so much and began the challenging road to self-awareness.
Yet I could not own what had happened to me and therefore I could not allow myself to feel the pain or receive the forgiveness I so desperately needed from myself.
The shame and self-hatred was immense and all-consuming.
And so my little dance of expansion and creation and development was non-linear, haphazard and whilst vital and meaningful, utterly redundant as I was still not willing or able to love myself and not despise myself.
I couldn’t really grow any more until I was really ready and willing to actually listen to my own god damn bullshit, the way I denied myself my cross to bear but blamed every other fucker for everything instead. I was stuck in a pile of thigh-high sticky stinky shit and I was sinking fast.
And now my little one is dependent on me and looking up at me for reassurance that I am able to be a Mother who can keep him safe. Ha.
Safe? I couldn’t keep myself safe, I didn’t keep myself safe
My shame is eating me alive,
I know something has to change, I know in my bones that I am living a lie and a fake life and I have abandoned myself.
And then by divine intervention, I cross paths with another human who thinks like me but is smarter, faster, less damaged, clearer and most importantly real, no masks, no stories, no avoidance or shame.
Fierce and ferocious in search of truth,
He saw in me that beautiful tiny light that was still flickering one that I believed was long gone.
And so he gave me the purest gift of all, unconditional love and an unstoppable belief that I was not broken and that I would rise.
It was like walking on hot coal, with needles being inserted into my finger-nails with a fist reaching in and wringing out my heart.
Ripping away the masks and denial and lies and self-pity.
A mirror right in my fucking face with no option to look away,
I had to crack, I had to feel it.
I had to look at myself and see who I really was.
I had to look in that mirror and say I was raped, I was a teenage virgin and I was raped.
But that is not who I am, that does not define me or condemn me or lay out a given path for me.
I survived and I rise
I continue to rise