I tried to flee the constant tune of disappointment ringing in my mind and my life because it had become more than I could stand. I dulled it with medication, letting a foggy sleep muffle the sound.
The excitement of the unfamiliar and the freedom of meeting new people who knew absolutely nothing about me was an effective reprieve in the beginning. There was no one to question my thoughts, or to guess at the emotions under the surface. No one asked me what I was going to do, what my big plans for life were, or any of those other big questions so heavily loaded with expectation. I could pretend. I could do anything. Anything except really be at peace with myself.
Overwhelmed by reality
I traveled around, doing different temp jobs, experimenting without any particular direction. I also went from one medication to the next, rather like a merry-go-round that couldn’t run on the right track. I needed the distraction. It was strange to sit in my room, and, like a twilight moment, become uncertain of whether I really existed, unsure of whether the walls were closing in or expanding. At other times, anxiety would grate on my nerves like broken white noise, charging up a wordless fear.
One afternoon, I confronted my own skin with self-inflicted pain. It was eerily peaceful, as if the scream of my leaking blood seemed to silence the inexpressible yet deafening screaming I felt on the inside. It wasn’t long before I tried it again. I was hooked because I could express my pain almost as vividly as I felt it and make it more “valid”. Moreover, cleaning and covering it up afterward was a valid comfort, something I couldn’t (let myself) have in real life.
Taking a break and moving on with lifesavers
I danced a bloody love-hate tango every now and then for quite a long time after that. Sometimes daily. Thank God, I finally had real friends who fought for me without judgment, prejudice or empty, ignorant suggestions. Without those friendships, I would not be recounting this today. I particularly needed them when I decided I wanted “a break” and swallowed all the medication I had. No, not a good idea. Ever. I survived that and went to work the next day as if that was normal. I was numb, so I didn’t emotionally register what I’d done. I hardly even told anyone.
A year later I was home and married to a wonderful man (yes, we did hook up pretty fast!), but I was still an emotional wreck, having no coping skills besides punishing myself. Hello hell. A traumatic and humiliating stint in hospital finally helped me start finding my way out of that hell.
Yes, there is a way out and it sure as hell is not a slow dance!