I had many years of happiness and fulfillment at the shelter. I felt wonderful working with women and children that I could understand and empathize with. It was my purpose in life to be there to comfort, educate and above all encourage. Encouragement is so important to me, not because we lack courage, but some times we need others to give us the “en” courage.
When I walked out of the crisis shelter for the last time, something happened. It was just to much. I had enough. I was done. I shut down. I slammed my mental door shut, be damed with the world, I was not giving any more pieces of me. What was left I was keeping. I resigned myself to my truth, which was, “you got hurt, you will be hurt, you will always hurt.“ Well, that was not going to happen, I refused, at least I tried to refuse. However sometimes the heart and soul, has other ideas, and your intellectual side is out voted.
I spiralled into a place so dark and empty, it was a terrible place that I never wish to go to again, not even for a short visit. I stopped bathing, and only would wash if I could not stand my self. I refused to leave my home and refused all visitors. Although, I really only had one friend, who really cared about me. She has been my friend for over twenty years. The through thick and thin she has always been there for me when I was ready to let her in. I was a expert at sleeping, I could sleep any were up toward Eighteen hours. The down side was sometimes I wouldn’t be able to sleep for days. I loved sleeping, I lived in my dreams, at least till the nightmares took over.
The consequences of the abuse I suffered and the repetitive placements in foster care, group homes and finally institutionalization is, I have attachment and bonding issues. There is a disorder that describes attachment disorders, reactive attachment disorder, which typically is a result of severe neglect or abuse at a young age. Usually the abuse is from the mother. It is a symptom of complicated post traumatic stress disorder. The complicated just describes some one who has has a long history of trauma, abuse. We’re as PTSD is being diagnosed by some Drs. And Psychiatrists as being a one time event. Irregardless any mental illness and injury, is a difficult and painful process of recovery and healing, the best we can.The symptoms of PTSD may include symptoms that overlap with BPD. Depression runs in our family, our mother was diagnosed with manic depression, and was being treated for that disorder. However as already shared, she was a prescription addict and her illness as going untreated because of her abusing her medications. So falling into This abyss was not difficult, the difficult part was, can I get out of it?
Days, sometimes weeks would go by, unwashed, forgetting to eat, because I did not feel hunger, sleeping for hours, or mindlessly playing games on the computer. Reading book after book. Anything to escape looking at what was happening to me. I felt empty, the one time I did break down, it was so painful, I shut it down with a bang. Another trait I was good at, disassociating from myself, a coping skill I honed and perfected as a child. I was suffering, I was so depressed that It was slowly killing me from the inside out. I wanted absolutely nothing, I was so shut down, I couldn’t even rally up enough empathy for myself to reach out for help. What I was feeling was so overwhelming and painful, I could not afford to allow myself to feel it. So I opted to feel nothing at all. No anger, disappointment, love, fear, nothing, I truly gave up and did not care any more. I was a vessel filled up with pain and could hold no more, sorry, this Woman is “out of order”.
When I look back at that time, and I have to share this lasted for seven years!! I was in this state for seven long years. I will never get that time back, so I look at it and learn what I can from it, and use the experience to relate and empathize with others. Hopefully, I can save them the time I had lost, to untreated mental illness and complicated issues. It is hard to imagine being in that state so long, but I had a supporter of my illness. My partner, he enjoyed my exclusivity and dependance on him. I was his young wife, and he had me all to himself. He would do all the shopping, never disturb me when I was sleeping. Do all the menial chores. Above all else he would chase people away, people like family that were concerned, friends that wanted to know were I was. He was my biggest advocate for my illness. I didn’t think of it that way at the time. Years later looking back, I can see that this was indeed the case.
I am not going to leave you hanging, there is more, and I do want share. You may be wondering why so long? Why suffer in silence for so long. There is varying and complicated reasons why we sometimes suffer in silence. Toxic shame, is a huge motivator to keep silent. Dysfunctional Learned coping methods. Untreated Mental illness, symptoms and behaviours. Addiction, whether using or not, the behaviours we used as addicts can surface with a vengeance. Fear of involuntary commitment. Been through that when I was eighteen. I have a fear of being incarcerated, nice place or no, it is not voluntary. Also, having some one encourage the mental collapse does not help. Those are a few of the reasons, why. Not a comprehensive list by any means, but hopefully it is a start to the question why. The fact remains that if you are suffering in silence, there is a multitude of people, including my self and my that want to be there for you and do not judge you. Please, reach out, and keep reaching out, some one will be there for you. I will cover more about this dark time in an adjacent piece. There is hope.
If you haven’t already please feel free to start at the beginning intro “Two Sisters Perspective” or if you wish to start reading our experiences “The Beginning” Thank you so much for your support. Tammy and Tyra
http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html You can find a list of crisis lines available to you, were ever you reside.
https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/ a international list of resources available for you and me.