The Phone Call

I spoke with my childhood abuser last night.

Out of mania, or compulsion, impulse, or maybe just the simple need for closure, I sent him a Facebook message yesterday asking him to please talk to me.

My childhood abuser is my cousin. When I was 12, I was raped and repeatedly sexually abused by this man, then 38. For years my family swept my trauma under the rug (they still do, for the most part).

Yesterday something pulled me to message him. I’ve done this before. I’ve texted him, called him, have pleaded for him to acknowledge me in my adulthood for the pain he’s caused me. He has never responded to me; until last night.

I received a phone call and I knew it was his number. My heart kind of froze. I thought for a split second about not answering it, but I did.

His voice was eerily comforting. I almost… missed him. I felt relieved to hear his familiar lowness, the scratch in his voice.

He thanked me for the message, that he’s happy I reached out. He was happy to see me at our cousin’s wedding a few weeks ago. He cares about me, he loves me. He wants to talk to me and give me that acknowledgement.

My logic told me to be cold and angry, yet I found myself asking him (as I’ve always done before), “How are you? Are you okay? How are the girls? You’re still working for the same company? Thank you for calling me… ” It seems the effects of Stockholm Syndrome were still present.

My body was shaking from the adrenaline, yet I felt nothing. There were no emotions on the surface, nor deep down. There was nothing to pull out. No anger, no fear, no sadness.

He wants to set up a time to meet with me and talk. I want that, too. I want so badly to hear from him, face to face, what he did.

6 Small Lines Worth of an Update


Rough couple of weeks.

Break up
Depression
Self harm
Bridge visits
Lost time
Relapse

Sigh.

Now I am finding some solid ground to set my feet on to.

In other news, I shall turn this pain into art.

now
I drink alone
at this malfunctioning
machine

as the shadows assume
shapes
I fight the slow
retreat

now
my once-promise
dwindling
dwindling

now
lighting more cigarettes
pouring new
drinks

it has been a beautiful
fight

still
is

Bukowski

Cut: an Autobiography- Trigger Warning-

Her name was Ally. She was my best guy-friends’ sister. She was older than I was by two years. Ally carried one of those black messenger bags adorned with pins, buttons, and patches. Her jeans were always ripped and her Slipknot shirts were always one size too big. I never spoke to her much. Her brother, Jose, adored her.

Jose and I met in seventh grade in drama class. I was sitting in the second-to-last row and Jose sat directly behind me. Our first day there, all of the students had to whip up a comedic skit and present it that same hour. Jose and I were paired. I forgot what the skit was about, but I do remember it being hilarious. We were friends ever since.

Being the 13-year-olds that we were, we shared secrets, feelings, dreams, and confessions. By this time, I was already being abused and was having an understandably hard time with life. I told him one day on the swing set that I wished, more than anything, to find a way to make the pain stop. He held my hand and thought very hard for a few minutes. Then, gently, he offered a possible solution.

“Ally cuts herself.”

Surprisingly, I had never heard of such a thing. I had self-mutilated my body before in different fashions, but I never knew that there was a name-not only a name, but an entire subculture. I looked at him inquisitively.

“I don’t know. She says it helps her go numb or some shit. She uses a razor blade.”

And just like that, I had found my solution.

That same night after our long talk on the swing set, I retreated to the safety of my bathroom. My grandma was sound asleep in her room and my grandpa was watching telenovelas. I carefully pulled out a razor blade from the medicine cabinet. Sitting on the toilet seat, I raised the left sleeve of my pajamas. My hands were clammy. I rested my arm on the porcelain, pressed the blade against my skin, and pulled. At first, I had only made cat scratches. But as I went on, the deeper the cuts became. My pajama bottoms became stained from the droplets of blood.

I felt an empyreal high. Jose was right. It had brought me great relief. I washed the blade off, and tucked it in a lock tin box I had, where I later kept an arrangement of blades, gauze, a small pair of scissors, and tape.

Now, I know how awfully clichéd this story is. I get it. Half the school, it seemed, listened to My Chemical Romance and wore black and pink checkered wristbands. The campus was full of them: emo kids flipping their bangs out of their face just enough to be able to see the dark poetry they would be scribbling on their hands. For a period of time, I was one of them. I purchased a God-awful amount of merchandise from Hot Topic. Chokers, black and green striped knee-high socks, black bracelets, safety pin earrings.

Cutting was a thing. It was subculture that quickly bloomed like red plush beneath an Exacto-knife. It gave people a sense of community. Misery loves company, I suppose.

I admit at first that I had felt some pride about being a “cutter.” As the scars developed, I was satisfied with myself. It wasn’t until my cousin draped my body over the bed that I realized I had a problem.

It was just like all the other nights. It was 12am. My grandparents were asleep. My cousin, who worked from home nocturnally, took a break. I had done this several times before. I knew exactly what to do. I escaped my body momentarily and watched us from the ceiling. Watched numbingly as he peeled articles of clothing off of me. Off came my pants. A gasp escaped from his lips and he pulled back. I was jolted back into my body. His face softened and I felt a lump in my throat. I had missed this tenderness.

“Baby, what did you do?”

It had been fine before. The cutting, I mean. I never thought it as dangerous. He ran his fingers over hours-old welts. He was shocked. I had at least 300 cuts on my body… my thighs, arms, hips, stomach, chest, anywhere I could reach. “Why did you do this?” I had no words for him. I knew he knew why. He wasn’t stupid. He’s a rapist, a pedophile, and a destroyer- but not a stupid man. He pulled me into his chest and I could hear him begin to cry.

A seemingly juvenile coping mechanism had turned into a ten year addiction.

Despite the countless nights of enduring my cousin, I had missed and longed for this paternal part of him. Perhaps it was Stockholm Syndrome. I let him cradle me and I felt safe. Little did I know that this act in itself was potentially more dangerous for me then the abuse; I quickly learned that my self-inflicted wounds served as a protective shield. The cuts bought me time. With each gash, he took on the paternal, caring role. Now, I realize that this was HIS game. I would take my clothes off willingly, because I was under the notion that he would check me every night out of concern. I thought that he cared. I often look back on my very visible scars on my thighs and remember that night on my bed, as my cousin held me, weeping.

I’ve read somewhere that the victim of incest and early sexual abuse can become wildly sexually confused and could essentially muddle compassion with arousal, so on so forth. I am ashamed to say this, for multiple reasons. However, I will say it in hopes that A) I’m not alone and B) maybe someone could know THEY’RE not alone. During some of these nights of check-ups, cuddling and “therapy” talks, I became aroused.

The cutting continued. Slowly, my family members began to notice the scars and long sleeves. Multiple interventions were held in my living room in efforts to get me to consider going to a adolescent rehab facility. While each person read words of concern from tiny sheets of paper, my cousin sat next to me, hand on my knee, making sure the family knew that he was my foundation. And no one suspected a thing.

This post was inspired by this Tumblr pic:


It made me think. I had never seen a self-harm picture that resonated with me like this one.

I am still addicted to cutting. The blade, ironically enough, has saved my life on many occasions. I struggle with it nearly every day. It does bother me that cutting has been equated to a fashion trend. It’s not. It’s cunning, dangerous, and destructive.

If you’re reading this and you also struggle with self-harm, I’d like to personally let you know that you are worth more than this addiction, and I love you.

Checking In, Checking Out- Back to PHP I Go

From the lobby into the evaluation room. Picking at my sweater… takes my blood pressure. I check out.

I’m sitting on the chair. She pushes her bracelets further up her arm. “Victoria? I asked you if you are suicidal currently?” I nod yes, but say no. She scribbles something down.

I’ve answered these questions hundreds of times before. Yes, I was traumatized. I was raped, beaten, father killed himself… well, no, see my mom abandoned me and I just met her 3 years ago- well, I didn’t really meet her.. Yes, I’ve attempted suicide. I suddenly feel that I’m on top of building.

“And how did your family members commit suicide?”

I check out again. I start feeling panicky. I smile, slightly shake my head and say, “I like your necklace.”

She responds, “Thank you. How long were you abused in the Church?” My lips go numb. I wasn’t talking about a church. I ask her, “Which church?”

She looks confused. “You had just told me that you had been physically abused in the Church of Scientology. How long did that last would you say?”

I check out again.

“Do you dissociate often?”

My heart is racing and my eyes are burning with tears that have refused to unfasten themselves. We talk more about medication compliance, self-harm. She asks me if I have an appetite. I stare down at my wrists…

“Last time you used heroin?”

Before I knew it, I was out in a flash. I just now heard from the hospital and my insurance has granted me 4 days of partial hospitalization for now. Hopefully, they will give me more once they witness my basketcasery.

I’m on the verge of a panic attack as it seems right now.

Princess of Wales

I had a small nervous breakdown yesterday while at work. It seemed that the flashbacks came on unexpectedly. I was unable to hold onto myself. The walls begun to cave in and I was left pushing the trap away from my body. Unfortunately, the way I currently know how to protect myself is through self harm.

I numbingly hacked away at my thighs, my hips, my stomach, my ribs, some of my wrist and throat. All the while, I was not feeling anything- no pain. Just absurdity at one point. 250 scrapes, scratches, and welts.

(The night before that, I had experienced my first full-force panic attack. I thought I was going to either have a heart attack or stroke. My chest tightened, my body went numb, my eyes went black and I couldn’t breathe. I could barely stand.)

Without going into too much detail, I’m constantly recalling fractions and filaments of my molestation. Now the images are unfamiliar and very, very fucking frightening. Fingers pushing through until I see red. Pressure. “Don’t resist. It hurts more when you resist.”

My ever-wonderful girlfriend took us to a beginner’s pottery class last night. She is well-seasoned in the clay craft. I am not. However, I had tons of fun and it got my mind off of the inevitable suffering that is my mind.

I have another therapy appointment on Thursday. I feel that I have been shooting down the rabbit hole with such ferocity lately. My mind has decided to split into more unattainable pieces. I know that the only way out is through. I’m just having a really, ridiculously difficult time sitting with the pain. A large part of me wishes that I could package this all up again and tuck it away some place that I wouldn’t find it again.

Then, I wonder why I had spun out of control last year to begin with. I remember the day where my girlfriend plucked me from my bathtub, naked and partly lost in psychosis. I remember the several days where I would stay home from work; I’d pull the curtains shut, drink, shoot, crush and inhale until I was floating in my own delirium. I would lie curled on the tear-soaked carpet for hours, staring so intensely into the wall ahead of me, I swear I’ve drilled a hole in it.

31 Day Blog Challenge- Day 1

My girlfriend is doing this challenge, so I will, too! Check her out sometime 🙂

Day 1: Tell Your Life Story in 300 Words or Less

Born with heroin in my system, daughter of two homeless and drug-saturated parents, dad committed suicide. I always thought I’d become either a writer or an actress. Beaten and abused a a child, alcoholism runs in the family. Institution when I was a child. Allie is my best friend but nobody else can see her. Teacher’s pet, good grades. Then I was raped by my much older cousin, molested for months. Forced upon again by another man. Cutting, burning, self harm, suicide attempt, stitches. Aunt died, high school came, hallucinations started, cross country, theater productions, AP Calculus and AP English. I fell in love with a girl and her name is Sarah, came out to my family as a lesbian. I was punished for it in the Church of Scientology. High school friend died, I missed my mom, went to school drunk, tried heroin and liked it, popped pills. Was accepted into Juilliard, didn’t go. College, I don’t remember much. Raped by 4 men at once, Morris came. Cutting, burning, heroin, xanax, cocaine, alcohol, opiates, inhalants. Almost jumped from a building. Hallucinations. Took my pills and said goodbye. 5150. Rehabilitation, more work in the Church of Scientology. Miscarried. Mania. Cutting. Psychosis. The voices won’t stop. Found my mother. She lives in South Carolina. More drug use. Fell in love again with a woman. I found help. I have Schizoaffective Disorder and I take Lithium and Seroquel to keep me alive and stable. Blogging.

Did I miss anything?

Lesson Learned, Take Your Meds

Good morning everyone, good afternoon for some. I am tired, yet in a much better mood! This weekend was difficult. As my recent posts have indicated, I have been feeling rather floopered and suicidal. This weekend was no exception. Friday night….I don’t even want to discuss Friday.

Saturday, I woke up on my sofa, still drunk from the night before- I hadn’t taken my medication (or the night before) and I decided it would be a good idea to drink an entire bottle of wine instead.
I had been throwing up hours prior to this. Every 15 minutes I would wake up, disappointed that I was even in existence. After I woke up, I tried to pull myself together and drank some water. My ex came out of the bedroom, already dressed, and said, “I’m staying at my mom’s for the weekend.” Off he went.

I was alone. I flew into panic mode. Separation anxiety I suppose. I closed all of the blinds in the house, threw sheets over them to make it darker, and listened to the saddest damn music I could find. I sobbed and paced circles in my living room clutching scissors in my fist, pausing periodically to etch bits into my wrists and thighs. I crumbled into a ball on the floor, shivering with depression, really thinking, “Why can’t I just kill myself already?”

My girlfriend continued to text me throughout the day. Half of me felt bad and I didn’t want her to know that I was once again so close to placing my head in the oven. The other half of me believed she was angry and really didn’t give a flying fuck what the hell I was doing- which made me feel worse.
I was home alone, felt to deal with my suicidal thoughts and the hallucinations. How the hell did I survive that…?

She came to my house later in the afternoon on Saturday. I felt better with her there. It took a while for my insides to stop feeling so tormented, but sure enough, I began to feel more stable.
Sunday morning was much better. I felt more grounded and actually felt motivated to do something. The morning was a little tough, physically. I hadn’t eaten in two days nor had I been on my meds. I took 300 mg of lithium in the morning and my body freaked out, shaking hard and involuntarily. After a few minutes it passed. I was also sweating through the night on Saturday, even though I was freezing.

But- Sunday got better. And I felt happier in the end. We did some laundry, and she helped me find a pill container to help me take my meds! Hooray! I also wrote down some affirmations to counter the negative, “you are so worthless, nobody loves you” thoughts.

I really do want to get better. I want to be able to be me again, to feel strong and secure in myself, even through muck. I think I can do it!

Rapid Cycling, a Guest Writer, and PNES

 

I am cycling faster than an Olympic Triathlete. And I’m tired of it.

I am depleted, depressed, deranged, and desperate. I want to say the hallucinations are better, but with the influx of anxiety at work, I am still swimming through teeming auditory hallucinations. I’m frustrated. I am not a fun person to be around right now. Every little thing sets me off either into a fuming rage, or into a morose melancholy in which I sit in to ponder my existential purpose.

On top of this, I want a drink. OH I want a tequila shot. Or a glass of wine. I’m itching and I cannot remedy the cravings with grape juice anymore.

On another note, I’d like to introduce a guest writer- my girlfriend. I wanted her to recall what happened on Thursday night, since I feel it’s important.

Without much further ado, COME ON DOWWWWWNNNNNNNN

 In regards to what happened last night, there was a certain familiarity to the situation. There was a loss of touch with reality, a sense of fear (mostly emanating from me), and what I would describe as a kind of takeover.

Simply enough, she and I were laying in bed. She sat up and blankly stared ahead. I asked what was wrong, and she told me she didn’t feel too well – that she felt a bit hypoglycemic. So off I went into the kitchen to get a glass of whatever I could find which ended up being some flat soda. After drinking it, her hands stopped shaking and she just laid back down. No more than 10 minutes had passed after this incident when I got up to get dressed. I stood at the edge of the bed while she began to sit up and addressed me. She looked at me mischievously, and in the most tauntingly devious, callous tone of voice she began to talk. This was the dialogue:

“Oh, you don’t want to fuck me first?”

“What?”

“I fucked you, why wouldn’t you fuck me?”

“Why are you saying that?”

“Come here baby, *makes kissy noises* OH, I loooove you.”

At this, she began to slyly grin. Her hand was reaching out for me – she wanted me to come sit down next to her. She dropped her gaze, bowed her head, with her hand still in the air, she got really quiet and began to cry. I sat down and looked at her and asked her to come back to me, since she was far gone at this point. When she stopped crying, she looked up with a manic grin behind her eyes, and I realized she was dripping blood from her mouth. She looked at me in the same way she had just moments before, and said “You’re sure you don’t want to fuck me now? Come on babe, I’m right here.” This is when she began to have what appeared to be a seizure. It was a slow onset; she began shaking lightly, then more and more violently. This lasted for about a minute and half. As she shook, blood dripped from her mouth, down her chin, and onto her thigh. I wiped it up with my hands and went to go get a towel or something in the bathroom. I was gone less than ten seconds, and when I came back her head was back down and she was no longer ‘seizing’. Her voice changed to the voice I’m most familiar with, and a meek “I don’t feel well, babe” escaped her lips.

I pulled her towards me, and she was confused. I asked her to get dressed, to put her pants on. She kept coming back to me. Her eyes slowly unglazed and she came back to reality. I guided her to the bathroom and when she saw herself in the mirror she asked why she was bleeding. We then realized that she had bitten and chewed the inside of her lip and that’s where the blood was coming from (this to much a relief for me, since my first thought was that she had been back to using drugs without my knowledge; this wouldn’t be the first time she bled from her mouth in that manner).

She, for a couple of minutes, had completely dissociated and removed herself from present time. She had no recollection of what had happened. She remembered laying down after drinking the flat cola, then coming to, when I was asking her to put her pants on.

All I could do was lay back down with her, assuring her everything was okay, that I loved her and that I was here for her.

Also, because she cares so much for me, or maybe she was just scared out of her mind (because who wouldn’t be), she did a little research and learned about Psychogenic NonEpileptic Seizures (PNES). According this website:

“PNES are attacks that may look like epileptic seizures, but are not caused by abnormal brain electrical discharges. They are a manifestation of psychological distress. Frequently, patients with PNES may look like they are experiencing generalized convulsions similar to tonic clonic seizures with falling and shaking. Less frequently, PNES may mimic absence seizures or complex partial seizures with temporary loss of attention or staring.

A specific traumatic event, such as physical or sexual abuse, incest, divorce, death of a loved one, or other great loss or sudden change, can be identified in many patients with PNES.”

I’m not self diagnosing. I will bring this up to my doctor, however, does anyone out there have feedback, and/or experience with PNES, or dissociation? I want to know I’m not alone here.

I wrote this to my girlfriend yesterday and it describes how I feel:

I feel as if the dust of my childhood had settled for years and years on the attic floor, untouched and unbothered by light or a footstep. Now, I’ve let people into the attic- doors and windows splayed open. The wind is tossing all of the dust into a flurry, illuminated by bright sunlight. And I’m in the middle of it all, gazing at the floor, remembering that the wood panels below had etchings and designs. My lungs are contracting, wheezing, and coughing from all of the dust. All the while, everyone else around me is well equipped with masks.

I think that through group, I have been rustling up my past memories. Yesterday I actually had a flashback to my molestation. As I ran to the restroom at work, I kept thinking over and over, there’s nowhere for me to hide. Not a crease, nor crack. There is no place where the pain won’t reach me. So, I cried in the stall and cut my wrist to quiet it down.

My girlfriend made a great point (again. She’s great). In regards to me telling her that I don’t think I’m getting better- I mean I WAS feeling better, but I crashed again. She said that when I was first admitted, I handled the immediate situation. I got meds, I was in therapy, I talked out my immediate issues and felt better. However, we all now that mental illness isn’t cured by wiping the superficial grime off of ourselves; I began digging deeper and finally hit the center of my earth. My childhood and past. It’s hitting me like a truck now.

I know I’ll be alright, though. I need to keep thanking those around me for simply being there for me. I’m a wreck right now.

Day 3 of Partial Hospitalization- 600 mgs of Mania

Day 3, done.

I felt so incredibly manic today. I haven’t felt that wound up in a very long time. Once I got to group, it was pretty apparent. I could barely sit still. My attention was all over, as well as my speedy speech. I felt as if I was bursting out of my skin; complete with anxiety and rapid auditory hallucinations.

I brought it up to my doctor. When I was first admitted to PHP, I had let them know in my assessment that I felt a manic and/or psychotic episode coming on. (I have had several intense psychotic breakdowns in the past, so I know the onset symptoms well, now) She said that it sounds like the mania is setting in before the psychotic crash. She had me up my dose to 600 mg tonight- which I took 30 minutes ago.

I was so incredibly anxious before I took the meds. The anxiety attack started around 7:30. I felt it buzzing beneath my skin…then, it all set in. I began crying uncontrollably, desperately gasping for air. I wanted to harm myself, I wanted a drink to diminish the panic. It was all okay in the end. I’m really looking forward to the lithium working.

Today was very quiet and mellow. There were only 4 people in group today so we had a lot of time to really delve into ourselves and such. During fourth group, we participated in a guided meditation. Ahh, finally, relaxation. I was elated to greet the fresh blankets and pillows. I napped and I napped hard. So did everyone else. The heater softly blew tepid air into the room as we listened to the rain propelling down onto the bungalow roof.

I left a message for my primary care physician. The plan is to get an approved leave of absence from work for 1 month from my medical doctor. That way, I won’t have to totally jeopardize my job because they won’t know I’m in behavioral treatment. While I’m in PHP, I’ll be able to work on myself some more, adjust my meds, and just get better- the ultimate goal.

I cleaned the shit out of my apartment when I got home. In 30 minutes, I had picked up the living and dining room, vacuumed, dusted, wiped down the tables, washed the windows… mania is good for production purposes.

As of right now, I feel kind of dazed and detached from everything around me.

Washing Down My Feelings with a 2005 Dry Rose

Morning came and went, passing, crawling. Vodka, sip, sip. Norco crack, split in half. Small scissors scratch, scratch, in the stalls I push more plush from my wrists. Dark, caved-in eyes, darting from the light fixtures on the ceiling, desperately answering back to chimerical chatter.

Then, the high is gone, the vodka wears off. I’m empty, emptier, emptiest.

Well, not so empty. It’s not so bad. Although the thought I want to kill myself flew by more than once against the wallpaper of my corneas.

She took me to my favorite store ever, World Market. They have everything. Anyways, I broke my own heart. I was looking around at items, things I really wanted, little things like tea. And I had the thought, “What’s the point of acquiring more physical items? It just means more clean up for people when I die. It’ll just take up space.” Then, I stepped back for a second because I had scared myself so badly. I know I have this sick, perverted love lust for suicide, but I think it really shook me up inside actually planning and thinking about the aftermath of my death.

So, I bought some Hello Panda chocolate just to hold onto life a little bit longer. I don’t really want to die…I just really, really don’t want to feel this pain anymore. I don’t want to be the cause for anyone’s heartbreak.

Now, I’m going to purge because I feel sick with anxiety. I’m going to lay in bed, and I’m going to try to not think about being stupid and taking another hydrocodone.

Thanks for reading through my morose soliloquies. I know it’s a bummer. This depressive episode has been a rocky, sticky one to say the least.

And thanks for everyone that has been supporting me, commenting and such. It helps. Just knowing someone is reading this and cares enough to comment back helps my heart. It really does!