How I Survive

I seem to have this reaction towards any small amount of emotion that tells my mind to run as far away as fast as you can. Last night I strongly considered ending it with K, simply because I can tell I’m starting to like him. I don’t want to care. When you care you are vulnerable and that’s the problem. My subconscious fights against vulnerability with all of its might. My brain knows what happened the last time I was in a compromised position. It is willing to do anything to keep that from happening again.

It is so much safer and easier to be numb to the outside world. A protective, impregnable wall surrounds my heart. Keeping anything remotely dangerous out. Keeping me safe. Keeping me alive. The truth is if I allowed myself to feel, I’m not sure I could handle it. There’s so much pain locked away from the past and so much uncertainty stemming from the future. I’m not ready. I’m not ready to bleed like that. That level of emotion might drive me insane.

Granted, I’m not completely void of everything. Just the really strong feelings. I still smile and laugh. I’m still happy. I’m just in a very protected state. A sort of lock down that won’t let anything remotely dangerous in. That’s why K is a problem. He’s dangerous. I know it. I want to run.

I realize how crazy this all probably makes me sound. I don’t really want to be like this. But so far it’s what I’ve had to do to live with what happened to me. I’d rather be living than dying. And I honestly think the pain could have killed me if I chose to handle it a different way. For so long my life has just been about surviving. Now that I’m finally living, I fear jeopardizing that more than anything.

The Great Escape

I’m going to talk about suicide today. A hard topic, but I find that it is another that is kept in the quiet dark. I think the saddest people suffer in silence. I wish they could know that is a real sign of strength. I read some posts by bloggers who have been considering suicide today. I tried to comment on them all so they knew someone was listening. I know I have a lot of people who read this. That helps me a lot. I even appreciate those who read all the time but rarely comment. It’s really special for me when they speak up about something. So, thank you to all my readers. You’ve helped me pull through a lot.

I can’t say I haven’t thought about suicide. My mind puts me through a lot of shit sometimes. It was especially hard when I was younger. I didn’t quite understand what was happening, and I hadn’t worked out methods to get through it. For me, depression feels like a deep sadness that has no origin. You feel like you just found out your entire family was killed in a car accident. It hurts to the very core of your soul. Yet you have no idea why and it is such a hopeless situation. I have thought many times, “I can’t live my life like this. I cannot survive this much longer.” Somehow I pull through though.

I don’t think I could ever kill myself just because I couldn’t handle what it would do to my family. I also don’t think suicide is “the great escape”. Something tells me that you don’t get to run away from your demons that easily. I don’t know though. I also would never judge anyone who decided to take their own life. It makes me very sad whenever I hear about it, but I never judge. I know what that space is like. I can understand wanting to escape it forever. Sometimes the world just hurts too much.

 

The Meaning Of Life

I haven’t felt this emotionally tired in a long time. I know I’m receding deeper into numbness. I don’t really care at this point though. I need it for survival. I have to keep going somehow. If I have to feel nothing for a little while longer in order to ensure that, then so be it. Nothing is better then the pain I’m experiencing. It’s too much.

I’m too sensitive. I know that. I was born that way. According to my mom, I’ve been like this since day one. I’m hyper aware of my surroundings and everyone around me. I feel everything to the extreme. I just absorb emotion like a sponge. It makes me good at empathizing and understanding; it also makes me really easy to hurt. I like to be strong, but I’ll be honest. I feel really hurt right now. By P, G, A, and a few other people. I don’t want to sit here and whine about the injustices that have been done to me. That’s not productive. I just need to acknowledge it. I am hurt.

Where do I go from here? I’m not really sure. At this point I just need to keep soldiering on. Hopefully, I’ll be doing some EMTing soon which will be a welcome distraction. I’ve also been studying for the MCAT. Not very well though. I’m having an impossible time concentrating. All of this bad stuff can’t have come at a worse time. But that’s life right? It’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. Sometimes I wonder what the point is though. I want to know why we are all here. I like to think it’s so we can develop into better people, and teach our children to be better people. My parents definitely instilled that belief in me. I hope that’s what life is all about. It’s what I’m living/going to live for. No matter how much others hurt me, I don’t want to take it out on anyone else. In fact, it just makes me want to help more. I wouldn’t inflict this pain on anyone. I want to heal, because I know just how terrible it is to hurt. No one deserves it.

 

An Emotional Shut Down

In many ways, the effects of being in an abusive relationship are wearing off. I’m certainly not paranoid anymore. I don’t look over my shoulder when I walk places or see P’s face in every crowd. I’m starting to feel less guilty about it. I have realized it was not my fault. I was just young and silly. We are all that way. I just made some bigger mistakes then most. It’s not something I should be beating my elf up over though. That won’t help me heal or become a better person.

However, a new problem has arisen. Actually, this isn’t a new problem at all. I have just finally realized and accepted it to be an issue. The other day G commented, “You know, you are always really quiet after we have sex.” I didn’t know what to think of it, but he was right. I started pondering that more and how I feel while we are having sex, and I had an epiphany. I feel nothing. I emotionally shut down. And I should be feeling something, because I do like him. I remember it used to be a hurricane of emotions when I first started having sex with P. It feels awesome with G, but I can’t make a connection.

I know what happens. I go into survival mode again. I was conditioned to it for years. It really was the only way to not go completely crazy. P tortured me. He was a sadist. He enjoyed hurting me and seeing me cry. Living through that would mess anyone up I think. I’m just not sure how to heal from it. It will probably just take time. I know I should probably address the issue with G as well. He needs to know what’s going on. He would probably try and help. That is, if we ever get the chance. There’s more going on with him, but I will have to save that post for tomorrow. I’m exhausted. This past week has been absolutely hell, definitely my worst week of the year. It was finals, which is why I disappeared, and a whole lot of other crazy bullshit happened too. Again, I have to write about it later because I’m just too tired to think about it right now.

Falling Again

Last night at formal G told me there’s a chance he might not be moving to California. Apparently his friend’s dad owns a renewable energy consulting firm in Princeton and he wants to offer him a job. If that happens I will be so happy. Princeton is only an hour from my hometown where I’ll be living in the summer. It would be very doable. I hope it comes through. I realized last night that I could fall for him. In fact, I may already be starting that process.

It’s so different from P. In a good way though. P wanted me completely attached to him from the get go which made our relationship extremely emotionally intense. I was also young so I fell in love with him hard and fast. There was no controlling it. It was like wildfire: dangerous and out of control. I also realized last night how a real boyfriend should behave. G was a perfect gentlemen at formal. He is so respectful of me and treats me like his equal. P never was. P always thought he was better then me, because he was older. He also thought he was smarter then me too. The extent of how much he looked down on me didn’t really hit me until now. Probably because I’ve finally gotten to experience having a man that is proud to say you’re his date. And not proud because of your looks, but because of your personality and accomplishments. That is a new experience for me. I feel very grateful to have gotten it.

It’s so strange. I had forgotten what these feelings are like. Previously, it was impossible for me to imagine ever falling in love with someone that wasn’t P. Now it’s becoming a reality. It’s not the same as before though. I have much more control of my emotions and I feel a lot more mature. I’ve definitely moved into the realm of an adult relationship instead of a teenage one. However, the same feelings are starting to form. I recognize them. They seem foreign though. I haven’t felt anything like this in four and a half years. I’m pretty sure it’s a good thing though. I’m ready for this. It’s time for me to experience something healthy and good. After all this time I finally feel like I deserve it.

The Mind Says Run, The Heart Says Stay

I am happy. And terrified. Thursday’s are usually rough for me. I have organic chemistry lab from 8 am until 1. Wednesday nights I have synchro until 10:30. On a day with no homework that equates to very little sleep. Today I had a 12 page lab report due so I got three hours of sleep. Normally I plan a nap so I can make it through my physics class at 4. However, today had some unexpected surprises.

Halfway through my lab G texted me asking if I was free for lunch. I wasn’t expecting it at all because he was in Rhode Island until 11:30 last night for another job interview. I agreed to meet him and we basically ended up hanging out all day. We parted ways for our 4 pm classes after lunch and then he picked me up afterwards and we went back to his place. It all keeps getting more and more intimate. We cuddle more. The sex is more emotional. We are both getting really affectionate. It’s fucking scary.

I probably would have ended up staying the night, but his fraternity is initiating new brothers tonight. He insisted he would much rather stay with me which was cute. When he dropped me off, we kissed for a really long time and he said he was really glad he got to see me today. I was really happy when I went up to my room but the rational part of my brain was screaming, “This is bad!!”

I want to run. I want to run so much. My survival instincts are going off like sirens. I’m really not prepared to handle this. I wasn’t expecting it. I really just wanted to be single until medical school. I did not want to be involved with someone so soon after P. It has been over six months since I stopped talking to him, but it still feels like yesterday. I guess I just did not expect to find someone I connect with so well so quickly. It’s not exactly opportune timing either.

On the flip side, this is happening for a reason. I have a very strong belief that life hands you what you need, not what you want. Life has given me this boy who is everything P was not. He’s a man. He treats me with utmost respect and goes the distance to make sure I feel comfortable and secure. That’s exactly what I need from the first person I’m going to see after such a tumultuous relationship. Most importantly, being with G makes me really happy. We definitely connect. I believe that people radiate energy. And each person radiates a different type of energy. Mine is very active. I am a doer and I go go go all the time. My mind is always working and thinking. G’s energy fits with mine because it is much more laid back and calm. It relaxes me to be around him, which is good for me because I’m always in an excited state. I think he likes me, because I’m stimulating. It’s a good give and take.

Honestly, I really don’t know what’s going to happen. I do know that my heart feels happy. This is helping me heal. It’s giving me tastes of a good side of men that I had forgotten existed. I think that’s a very healthy to experience. I don’t really have hopes for where this will go, because it’s a tough road. I just want to live in the present and enjoy the time we have left together.

A Window Into The Mind Of An Abuse Survivor

This is going to be another one of those intense pieces. Last night I realized just how much the average person cannot realize what being in an abusive relationship does to you. It changes so many aspects of your psychology. There are really obvious problems, like trust issues. However, there are many other hidden demons. I’m trying desperately to get them under control. Although last night made it very clear to me that I think I’m doing a good job, but I’m really not. I was an inconsolable mess. No one could calm me down, and they really couldn’t understand why. I know alcohol was part of the reasons those demons were unleashed. I’m so embarrassed by my behavior right now. I want to delete that post I wrote last night, however I decided to keep it (don’t drink and blog folks).  I’m keeping it as a reminder of what my mind can be like when my walls break, and I lose control of what’s raging inside me. Because last night was not about G. Everyone who was around me thinks it is, which makes it more embarrassing. It was really all about P…

I’m going to explain what being in that relationship did to my psyche. This list just describes me personally, not everyone who has experienced abuse or domestic violence. Although I have a feeling many survivors will be able to relate to what I’m saying. But for those of you that have no idea, I’m going to give you a window into my mind. Here goes nothing:

  • Paranoia. I am looking for P everywhere I go. I am terrified of running into him or seeing him again. I scan every face in every crowd of people I walk by. I avoid the two block radius of his fraternity like it is infected with a deadly plague. I’m constantly in a small state of fight or flight, because I’m prepared to run as fast as I can when I see him. And I’m prepared for that all the time.
  • P’s voice is in my head. He taunts me. Whenever something goes wrong I can hear him, “See I knew you were a worthless piece of shit. I was right. You were wrong.” He laughs. Watching me struggle always made him laugh. I could hear him so strongly last night, it was like he was there. That made me even more upset. I fight so hard to get him out of my mind. He doesn’t deserve to be there. But he wormed his way inside, and he’s hiding. I’ve been fighting a constant internal struggle to rid myself of him. I lost a large battle in that war last night.
  • Fear. This is different from the paranoia. It’s a fear that every man you meet is going to be the same. There is a terrifying prospect that this could happen to you again. That the guy you decide to trust will turn into a monster. Just like last time. As soon as you fall in love, you’re doomed…
  • Walling off your emotions. The reason I do this is not because I’m afraid of my emotions. I also don’t hide from them because it hurts. I can handle hurt. I’ve been through insurmountable pain. I wall my emotions off, because I was conditioned to for four years. I had to survive. If I showed any weakness, it would be exploited. If I acted out or got upset, I was going to be punished. Every tiny insecurity was something new that could be used against me, to control me. For four years I learned that the hard way. And now my mind does not want to let that behavior go. Why? Because it kept me safe, to a certain extent. It certainly protected me from an untimely fate. It’s also the behavior that enabled me to get out and stay out. It was extremely important at the time.
  • Lack of trust. Like I said earlier, this one is a given. However, I don’t think everyone realizes the extent of it. Even when I do “trust” someone, I am just waiting for them to turn on me. I am prepared for that all the time. Even with the most unlikely of people I am ready for it.
  • Desire for physical contact/fear of physical contact. Yes, this happens at the same time. I like to be cuddled. I like to have arms wrapped around me tight. It makes me feel safe. That’s the desire. At the same time, some touches scare the shit out of me. It’s the unexpected ones. My brain needs time to see, register and analyze that I’m going to be touched. The rational part of me has to calm down the fearful part. It has to say, “This is going to be okay. It won’t turn into a bad one.” Once that happens then I’m okay with physical contact, and I can enjoy it. However, if that process doesn’t have time to occur it is very bad. Flashbacks start happening and I revert back into survival mode. My entire body tenses as it prepares for pain.
  • Flashbacks. The smallest reminders can trigger them. You also can’t understand a flashback unless you’ve experienced one. It’s like your mind turns into a DVD player you cannot control. First you’re rewinding, extremely fast. Then suddenly you’re stuck back in a place you never want to be again. You relive bits and pieces of it so slowly, it’s excruciating. Every emotion you felt at the time comes rushing back and overwhelms you. It can be crippling, and in the beginning they are completely uncontrollable. I’ve gotten better at snapping out of it. They still happen a lot, but they don’t last as long. I can usually recognize it and come back pretty quickly now.
  • Guilt. The guilt is also overwhelming at times. How could I let this happen to myself? Why wasn’t I strong enough? What made me keep coming back? How come he has so much control over me? Where did I go wrong? And the most important question of all, “Why couldn’t I stop him?”. I’m such a strong person. To admit that I allowed myself to live in that for so long is just embarrassing. At times, I do hate myself for it. At times, I feel like it was all my fault. I could have gotten out. I chose to stay. I have to try really, really hard to remind myself that I didn’t really have a choice. I didn’t even have control of my own mind for Christ’s sake. I know this and yet I question myself all the time. The guilt is ever present, gnawing at the back of my mind like a worm

I could keep going with this for a long time. I think I’m ready to stop though. You all have read enough, and you know me better now. You probably think I’m a mess. Here’s what I need to remind you though. I am still strong. I did survive that trauma. Everything I wrote about up has been getting better with time. It’s been a slow healing process. However, I am healing. If you read that, and you understand those feelings. I’m here for you. I’m here for any of you that need help. I always will be. If you’ve never experienced anything like that, I hope I’ve opened your eyes just a little. I hope you all will be more understanding of the people in your own lives. There’s more to everyone then meets the eye.