Creative Writing · Dark · depersonalization · Depression · Free Write · Healing · Hope · Melancholy · Prose · Reflection · Relationships · Self-harm · Survivor · Writing

Moving Day

In march of 2015 I moved what few precious possessions I had decided to keep into this tiny studio apt that I would call home for the next 2 years. I did not have a bed. I threw out my dishes, clothing and books and gave away nearly all my furniture.

My first night in my little apartment was spent full of despair and confusion in my heart and mind. I was more than broken.  At the time I saw myself as hideous and unfixable. Undesirable in every way.  Though I sat troubled in this tiny room with my kitty wondering what possible terrible thing lay waiting for me next, I still had clarity enough to notice the quiet calmness around me. For the first time in several months I felt safe and the ton I had been carrying on my shoulders with chains dragging by my ankles were suddenly gone. I knew it was over and I felt guilty for enjoying that moment because I truly did not want any of it to be real.


I wanted to still be with the man I loved, even though his sickness was literally killing me. I did not want to feel peace without him. I wanted him and I wanted contentment but it was evident that those things could not coexist. Life with him was chaos. Unrelenting emotions at the blink of an eye. Unsuspecting pain and sadness that became a habit. Much like everything else of him, an addiction.


I struggled. I spent hours on that tiny bathroom floor sobbing. Sometimes putting slices in my thigh. Early into this journey it was late on a spring night and it was pouring rain and I just couldn’t be inside anymore. I took off down the street running. Soaking wet and panting. I walked up to the library. Everything was dark and dripping. There was a brick wall with a good ledge for sitting. I climbed up into the bushes and sat behind them. The trees above kept most of the rain off me, still I could not tell the difference between my tears and the earth’s weeping.


I lay there in the dirt for a long time. I do not know how long but my fingers became numb like the rest of me. I should have felt pain but I did not. I did not feel anything.


Around that same time. I had another evening. He called and got my mind all twisted again and I called my mom upset. I felt like I had no one anymore and she was far away and defending the others. I hung up and shut my phone off and climbed up the street and sat on the ledge looking down the cliffside. I could jump I thought. I could hope for a broken neck. Unlikely I considered and I sat looking into the dark tree tops waiting for this to end.


I spent my days working at my neighbor hospital. Watching mostly dead people roam by. It helped take my mind off my own suffering but watching people slowly die takes a lot out of one, one that barely had enough to give.


I never told my best friend that his anger at me pushed me over the edge. I called my boss in the morning and said “I’m not coming into work today. I haven’t slept because I spent the night pondering how best to kill myself.”  It goes without saying really that this did not end well. I panicked everyone and ended up naked on a ER bed with all my personal belongings taken away from me. I laid dead and numb for hours in that bed. I probably should have been admitted but I hated not having clothes and my phone so I played it off and instead got an uppage in my dose of medication and a leave of absence from work.


I never made it back.


My grandfather died a couple months later. I sat on that floor again. I wept until I passed out. I cried for hours, everyday for months. Sometimes the pain of missing him skips a beat of my heart and I find myself literally gasping and grasping at my chest. How does one recover from death? I do not think we ever do. One’s existence changes completely. You wake up a different person.


When you spend hours and days on days alone you learn things about yourself you previously thought incapable of. You forget the sound of your own voice. You have to talk out loud to remind yourself that you still exist. I would punch my skin to insure I was still alive. And indeed, this was all unfortunately not a dream.


Wake up. Go back to sleep. Forget. Remember and do it all over again. Write three papers, two at a time. Remember this is your purpose now. Just survive.


Today I packed up that tiny apartment, that hole I ran to as the world crashed all around me. I remember those days like a story, a novel of some other lifetime. Written and dedicated to me. I will not forget those days anytime soon but I look back as a proud mother. I nurtured myself along the way. I had to because no one else could or would.


Tonight you called me. I noticed a message four hours after. I do not listen. I do not read your words and I know you are waiting. Today I left the place I ran to because of you. Because of you I had to hide and I was begging for your calls.


Today I run only for myself. I despise what you did but I look back with a smile. Today you are begging for my calls. You long for what I used to crave. I go to bed at peace. 

Creative Writing · Depression · Free Write · Letter · Melancholy · Personal · Pondering · Prose · Reflection · Writing

Lost in the Supermarket

I visit often, mostly just to see you. Sometimes I feel we have a connection. Other times I am unsure if it’s just politeness. I have been hurt a million times and my heart is fragile. Mostly I am okay. I sleep alone. I eat alone. I feel okay on my own. But it’s been two years for me and I miss having a man’s arms around me and feeling enclosed, inside of another. I miss having someone to look forward to. Someone to share life with. Laugh with.

I see you and think, you could be that person. I am not often attracted to others but I feel strangely drawn to you. When we speak, I want to keep talking. To ask you questions about life and death and the universe.  Find out why you love Deftones so much and how I lost my virginity to White Pony. I think if you cared, if you were interested, you would have inquired by now. I have presented ample opportunity for it.


So here I sit writing to no one, or possibly the entire world. I think there is not one for me but that hopeful piece asks, maybe? Still do I wonder at your mysterious aura. I think about you as I walk away to my car again. I like to imagine you looking back or at least wanting to, and maybe even you wonder of me too…


More likely we will continue to pass each other in this market. Red shirt and a basket in my hand. I will smile and you will smile but go on in our own ways.


“I’m all lost in the supermarket
I can no longer shop happily
I came in here for that special offer
A guaranteed personality”

—-name that band

Personal · Prose · Reflection · Writing

Convocation

This last semester in our capstone course for the Health, Society and Policy major we were given the topic of “family” for the concentration of the course. I thought to myself, “ Family? Are we studying health? Can we really fill an entire semester talking about family?” I was slightly confused and irritated thinking I wanted a topic related to saving the world; something like environmental change, disease control or health care reform. I soon became aware of how ignorant that thinking was and I spent the rest of the semester not only humbled but with greater insight to my own family and health. I now say with confidence that family is one of the most important aspects of health.

If college has done anything for me, it has been the continuous realization of how much I do not know.

Perhaps the most significant revelation I had during this semester after all of the discussions and lectures was that I am not alone. I do not exist exclusively or without consequence. You also are not alone.

We are interconnected. We are not only an individual. We are family. We are our community. We are in this country together and we are all citizens of earth.

There has recently been much divide in this country and in this world. People are broken over political discord and it is easy to become discouraged when we look at the troubles of the world.

As new graduates I challenge you, as well as myself to not become so tangled in the big issues that we forget who we are and where we have come from. I know I am not alone in having aspirations to make positive changes in our world but it may be that we must start small. We start with ourselves and then our family, friends and neighbors. In the long run we may never make changes on a global scale. We may not be recognized by name or face or have prize winning achievements. But like a stone being thrown into the water, our actions will create ripples and reach others in ways we could not have predicted. As we adventure into the future and step into our chosen fields let us remember to keep throwing stones.

Now lets go make some ripples.

Creative Writing · Dark · Depression · Emotional Abuse · Healing · Hope · Personal · Prose · Psychological Abuse · Reflection · Survivor · Writing

Two Years

I have been single more or less for two years today. The actual date is a bit ambiguous but officially i was moved into my tiny apartment and living alone. Two years ago I was a broken shell of a person. I could not stand being in my own skin. I would look in the mirror and see a person I did not recognize. A person I hated. I felt like the foulest, most disgusting thing on the planet.

I misplaced my rose colored glasses.


I think back to the true horror my life was then. I think about the last time I saw my grandfather alive and well, holding a letter in his hands. I do not remember if we hugged goodbye. I have pushed that guilt deep inside me, ashamed and saddened.


I remember putting my Stevie in the car, the back seat packed full, my sweet little kitty on top of everything, mewing at me through the window. I looked around me, attempting in vain to make sense of it all or even just a piece of it. I knew that day was the end something. I locked that door. I had every intention of going back to clean and to get my washer and dryer but I couldn’t make myself. I was incredibly exhausted mentally and physically; spiritually I was dead and I knew I had disappointed all of those around me.


A few days into my single and solo living I realized how quiet it was. Not just quiet, but calm and I liked it. I liked it a lot. It was the first time in many years I did not have the compulsive and never ending  thoughts of “Where is S? What is he doing? How drunk is he? What and who am I going to come home to?”


I knew within those first days things were over between us, even though he had promised over and over again that it wasn’t and that he loved me and still wanted to be with me. He played this part well. A month later I saw him and told him it was over. He Said he didn’t want it to be…even though he was loving someone else and moved away from me.


The cognitive dissonance ran deeply. I got to a point where I was pretty certain this person I had loved and sacrificed for years for was not real. The life I was living was a different world, so unrecognizable to my current state that I could not believe it happened. I remember I went to lunch with my best friend. I arrived first and sat in the booth waiting. When he sat down, with all sincerity I said, “I need to ask you a serious question.” I asked, “Is S a real person? Did everything really happen? Or have I been living in a hallucination that other people went along with?”


He took it well. This is a hallmark of true friendship. I was assured that indeed all of it was real. I believed him, mostly. It didn’t help that S used to actually tell me he wasn’t real. He said that he was my Tyler Durden. He would say, “What if you made me up to indulge in your bad side?” I told him that was silly the first few times but then the idea started to make sense. The longer I walked down the road of his psychopathy the more I believed that idea, or at least that I kept him around for my self indulgence and anarchic tendencies. He was that anti establishment part of me. The one that would not settle or conform. I liked it. I craved it.


My only addiction I have ever had was him. It was always him. And just like any addiction I had to detox and go through treatment. I had to learn to live without my drug.


I am still learning but somehow hitting the two year mark has given me new perspective. There should be chips for those of us that survive abusive and toxic relationships. Hell, there should be a god damn party for all of us. We will all get crowns and a pony.


The hardest part of recovery is the loneliness, guilt and shame. I know I am not alone when I say it is humiliating to admit that you were used, abused, lied to, cheated on and stolen from the person you loved most in the world. And the crazy thing is that everyone around you is telling you the other party is the asshole and that you did nothing wrong. But after living in a world so warped that you took responsibility for EVERYTHING, it’s quite difficult to let that consistency go. Even though that routine was self destructive and poison, you can not shake this feeling of still wanting it. Its confusing and embarrassing and you blame yourself for loving this person and staying with them for so long.


On the outside looking in at another’s life we can much easier judge. We say “I would NEVER do that or allow this…” and so on. But the truth is that you can never really know how difficult leaving an abusive relationship is unless you have experienced it yourself. It is also an experience I would never wish upon anyone else. It is too terrible and soul crushing for even the worst of my enemies.


As I write this I consider where I am at. I am about to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree. I have met so many good people in this last two years. I made new friends and worked interesting jobs. I had the opportunity to volunteer and to witness those so much worse off then I could imagine. I stand up straighter. I stand with confidence and pride, so much so that a family member recently commented on it. I have seen incredible beauty and gone on road trips and adventures. I have also experienced one of my greatest heartaches in the passing of my grandfather, something that still breaks my heart on a daily basis. But I have also lived to see my first nephew born who turns one this month.


Life and death.


I could not see all this two years ago. I could barely see an hour into my future. I would think, “Am I going to lose it today? Is this the end?”


I look back at those dark days sad but not destroyed. I am glad to be alive in this moment and in this time. I have to say that you can and will endure those dark moments. The days when you want to forget or even to die will pass. You will surely see the sun once again. You will find joy in different and simple things. And you will feel, oh yes you will feel incredible and beautiful moments much deeper because you have felt such pain and despair.


Hang in there; until morning, until noon, next week or next year. Sometimes you can only hold out for your next breath, but please keep breathing. Your life is worth so much more than you can imagine and the pain you feel just one stroke of the brush. You are a masterpiece in the making. Let yourself become.



In love and solidarity,



JRJ

Apathy · Chronic Illness · Creative Writing · Death · Depression · Free Write · Pondering · Prose · Suicide · Writing

We Are Waiting on Death

Often times, I do not feel anything at all, but when I do it’s raw and real and full of passion. I have been berated many times in my life for my intensity and sensitivity, which is why I am usually turned off.

I have hated this part of me for many years and pushed down so much of who I am. Yes, most have only seen the less extreme version. I have hidden away pieces of me, the parts I am told are too much, too intense, sad or crazy.


The ugly parts.

These experiences that made me real are the things the world is afraid to share, yet is the the thing we yearn to see, and when done can set one free.


We crave this vulnerability and yet run from it.

Afraid to show anyone we care, we hide from our truths, because caring means love, and love is eventual pain or abandonment.


It’s 3 a.m. and looking in the mirrior wondering why I couldn’t be his and why my stomach isn’t smaller, my legs not slender or my heart less fragile?

Why I was given this broken back with uneven shoulders? Why her arms could bring the comfort I no longer could but sought to give every moment?


The pain of inevitable loss is so immense that we can not even bare to look rejection in the eyes. So we don’t. We do not try.

We live only half in love and waiting for something that will fill us. Someone better, someone more than anything we could imagine.  Something to make us feel alive again…


But the truth is we are all terribly broken and we are all dying. Some of us at a  faster rate, but the end result is the same. We’re all looking for something to slow down death or speed it up. Or perhaps a distraction great enough to make us momentarily forget our human frailty.


I am, in fact tired of hating myself, tired of feeling like dying and done with trying to fight it off. I am genuinely trying to love who I am. But I have a lifetime of suppression of pain to work through. I look at myself and see crumbles of a person and I do not know if I can ever become more, except a greater mass of such.


Perhaps there is a chance out there. The piece of the puzzle I will eventually stumble upon. The moments to distract me from my own mortality. I wait for these times on bated breath and with a broken heart.

Depression · Emotional Abuse · Personal · Prose · Psychological Abuse · Relationships · Writing

I Have Too Much To Say

I feel like I have said too much lately but it is because I spent years not saying anything at all. I was too embarrassed to speak about such things. I felt like a fool, an idiot and pathetic.

People tell me I am intelligent, how could the smart girl allow such terrible things in her life?(It must have been my fault).  I fall naturally into deep depression. It’s a constant battle to keep standing and sometimes the pain is so unbearable I literally fall to my knees. I have felt so alone in my suffering, unable to put words to the crazy things that happened.

I have spent countless hours reading about others that experienced psychological abuse. It’s honestly the only thing bringing me comfort right now. While I know those around me care, most can not truly understand what I went through and some, quite frankly, can’t even see why. This is why psychological abuse is so insidious. You don’t wear your bruises on the outside and the world around you asks “Why do you still care? Why are you bothered? Get over it. Fuck them.”

Well intentioned as these comments are, they are not helpful. I am on my journey to heal from this past (nearly) decade and unfortunately I have to bring to surface the ugly truth about all of it. I have driven myself literally to the brink of insanity, having severe mental breakdowns and struggling with suicidal feelings all because I kept this suffering deep inside.

I was happy, smiling Jayla. I had to be strong and keep up appearances. Perhaps if I acted like everything was okay, eventually it would be? That’s was the hope anyway and my intention. If I could be happy for him, he would eventually be happy for himself. If I was sober, he would be sober. If I loved him, he would love me…

None of that came to pass and I destroyed every ounce of confidence, strength and self worth that I barely had to begin with in this process.

Depression · Personal · Prose · Relationships · Self-harm · Suicide · Writing

Christmas Eve Nightmare

This time of the year brings back a plethora of traumatic memories. Pretty much every holiday is surrounded by some trauma but it’s worse because it’s also my birthday and the day after my birthday was our anniversary.

Two years ago tonight the narcissist and I had a huge fight. I was sitting at the kitchen table. He of course, had been drinking all day when he started to run his mouth. I believe I brought up going to work the next day (Christmas Day) when he decided to lay into me.


“Of course you’re working tomorrow. You always work Christmas. You never think of me.”


“I asked you two months ago If we were going to do something. You said no and so I signed up to work.”


“We shouldn’t have to do something special to spend Christmas together.”


“What are we going to do? What we do everyday? You will get drunk and I will watch and have to listen to you all day. Why shouldn’t I work?”


“You haven’t paid any attention to me all week. You spent the whole weekend with your family. This is our first day alone in a week.”


“I spent the week with my family because it was my birthday and we were celebrating Christmas early.”

(I hadn’t celebrated my birthday with my mom and sisters on my actual birthday in 8 years so it was pretty important and special to be with them).


I continued, “My entire life revolves around you. Everyday. Everything I do is in some way connected to you and for two days it wasn’t. Is that really all I get?”


He says,”Yes. You get your birthday, but your birthday is only ONE day, not a whole weekend.”


“So I get one day of the year and the rest are yours?”


“Yep.”


Four days later he told me he was going on a romantic trip with another woman to a cabin at a lake. This woman was “just a friend.” Even though I wasn’t allowed to go.


I spent New Year’s Eve cutting into my body with a razor blade and in the morning I attempted to hang myself.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!