Last year, Stand Up to Cancer asked me if i remembered what i was doing on september 11th, 2001. I did. I still do. This is what i wrote:
su2c asked on twitter if we remembered what we were doing eight years ago on September 11th, 2001. we were living in manhattan. i was on my way to work. the streets were filled with frantic police officers. it was horribly loud, as manhattan so reliably is, but you could feel an eerie silence beginning to settle over the city.
there was a mass exodus on foot. people fled the city via every bridge possible. the subways and trains weren’t in service. grand central was locked down because of the bomb threat. our building was locked down, too. a cell phone signal near impossible to come by.
nuggetdaddy was working in new jersey then and i was finally able to get a hold of him. we decided i would take the first train out of the city and he would pick me up wherever we could both get to. i made it on the first train out of grand central. it was sweltering. the train filled with an acrid stench. most passengers were covered in a heavy white dust; most in more than their fair share of blood.
it didn’t matter where the train was going, people just got on in hopes of making it out of the city. the train stopped at every single station en route. it took forever.
nuggetdaddy picked me up at the fleetwood stop and we decided to try to drive back into the city. we had pets and friends to check on. family and friends desperate to hear our voices. we were finally able to make it back in over some tiny bridge in the bronx.
by now the city was silent. there were no planes in the air, no people on the streets. when we woke up the next morning the wind had changed direction. the stench was unbearable. we stayed in the apartment all weekend, happy to be alive and at home with the pets and dr. roommate.
so, stand up to cancer, there’s your answer.
and speaking of stand up to cancer, did you watch the telecast last night? did you donate? did you help find a cure? did you save lives? did you stand up to cancer?
I don’t know where to start. I have had dysthymia for as long as I can remember. My new therapist says it is like a living a half-life. I guess it is. This year, it slipped into something worse. This year has been one of the worst years of my life and I have had some pretty bad years. I had a relationship end, I started a bout of major depression that left me 70 pounds heavier, I had two surgeries, I am in a job that I hate, and on November 21st, I lost a dear friend to cancer. I can’t stop thinking that I wished it had been me. I feel trapped by bad choices. I have nothing left to give anyone anymore. I feel dead inside, but I hide it well. No one really knows how many times I came close to killing myself this year. I grew up with an alcoholic, I grew up in a violent household where I never felt safe. I was molested several times by several men and one female relative.
I feel trapped in this fatsuit. I feel like the best years of my life are behind me. I feel damaged and broken. I am trying to get help. The mental health resources where I live are spread pretty thin. I get to see a therapist once a month, if I am lucky, and I see a doctor for meds for ten mins a month. He switched me some of my medications because of the weight gain. I have tried about ten different anti-depressants and all of them had some kind of unpleasant side effect. I keep hoping I will find one that actually works. I also take an anxiety medication. I take it to control the panic attacks I get when I am out in public. I take it to quiet the loop of negative thoughts I have going through my head everyday.
This is my first post. I come here and I know that I am not alone. I thank the brave people who share their stories here.
So, I’ve just realized that I’ve been in an emotional, physical, and verbally abusive relationship for five years. I am in the process of healing.
You would think that healing comes easily. It doesn’t. Every day seems like a struggle. Sometimes I hate myself for the person that I have become: fragile, weak, heartbroken, depressed. I thought that I loved this man. He told me that he loved me, and I told him that I loved him, but everything changed so fast. The gentle, sweet talking man that I thought I knew turned out to be an angry, jealous, bitter abuser. I can’t help but think about the chances that I had to walk away.
I met him on a Christian blog. I discovered my spiritual side wanted to learn more about the Christian faith. He sent me a friend request, and I accepted it. I invited this man into my life because I thought that he was a fellow Christian with good intentions. Being 19 at the time, with many problems in my personal life, I realize that I was also naive. I did not think about the repercussions of pouring out my heart to a complete stranger.
Not long after we had met, he started to tell me that he loved me. Soon after, I gave him my phone number. I thought that I could trust him, and I gave him my address. Over time, he would send me gifts: candy, clothes, money, and other things. He told me that I was the only one, different from the other girls that he met. He made me feel loved, in his eyes I was perfect.
The more we got to know each other, the more serious we got. Since the relationship was long distance, we kept in touch with each as much as possible, maybe a little bit too much. We would literally stay on the phone with each other for hours. What I thought was a sign of care was nothing more than his way of control. If I did not return his phone calls, he would text me constantly. When ever we got into an argument, and I would ignore him, he would threaten to commit suicide.
Months into the relationship, I noticed that things were beginning to take a turn for the worse, but since I was going through a tough time in my life, and I needed someone to turn to, I chose to ignore the signs. A began to notice his jealousy, especially after I would tell him about my male friends. He punished for my honesty when I was only trying to establish trust. He started degrading me and calling me names. I thought that this was normal and forgave him after. He then started to send me pictures of himself, some sexual in nature. I was uncomfortable with this, but I did not tell him. I thought that sex would bring us closer since we were so far apart.
After seven months of communicating by phone, email, and text, I took a bus to meet him in Mississippi. I was scared, but felt that this would show how much I really wanted this relationship to turn out. When I saw him for the first time, I felt numb. I didn’t feel attracted to him, but did my best to make him feel loved. When I got to his house, I was nervous. His mom didn’t know I was there and I didn’t know anyone. We ended up having sex that first night. I didn’t enjoy it, but I felt like this would make everything official.
After two weeks, I returned home. I moved out of my parents house and stayed with my grandparents. We continued to stay in touch and we told each other how we wish that we could be together. One day, after an argument with his mother, he decided that he wanted to leave home. He wanted to come live with me even after I told him that I was not ready. He left anyway. I was scared at the fact that this man would come to my home even after I said no. I was worried about what my family would think.
When he got to South Carolina, I met him at the hotel to help him settle. I began to feel responsible for his homelessness and I stayed at the hotel with him. When he ran out of money, he asked if he could stay with me. As worried as I was, I let him.
Since that day, my life has never been the same. I live with a predator. He’s a completely different man from the man that I thought I knew. He accuses me of sleeping around. He’s looked through my phones, and even broken them. He destroys things that have value to me.
I’ve been sexually abused by this man. He touches me inappropriately without my permission. I’ve been physically abused: punched, kicked, slapped, bruised. I’ve called the police on him three times. He’s been arrested once.
I became pregnant by this man. The abuse did not stop after I got pregnant. After my baby was born, he started to isolate himself from me even more.
I wanted to share this story because I wanted to let any one who has been abused know that you can heal. I had to get on my knees and pray for healing. I accepted Jesus Christ into my life so that I could be saved. I know that Jesus loves me, and you, no matter what anyone else says. When we know that we are loved, we begin to love ourselves: then we can heal.
Today, I decided to go back on anti-depressants. This is a battle I’ve waged for years; do I really need them, do they really help, are the side effects worth it, am I just a loser who can’t deal with life’s vagaries.
Last weekend I drafted a post that contained the line, I feel like a bucket brimming with tears, and the slightest, inevitable tremble of the earth makes them overflow. It’s an inelegant metaphor, but worse, it’s a pretty clear symptom that things are not going well. It’s partly a bad birthday, partly the break-up, partly some harsh health news. It’s mostly, if I’m honest, cyclical, recurrent, my noonday demon.
“Grief is depression in proportion to circumstance; depression is grief out of proportion to circumstance.”
— Andrew Solomon
This is a family tradition; at the cousins’ table at last weekend’s wedding, we raised a toast to Lexapro and discussed having a candy bowl of all our meds on the coffee table of the rental house we’ll share at the next wedding. It’s funny, but it isn’t. Undiagnosed and untreated depression, manifested as alcoholism and other self-destructive behavior, blackens the family history like soot after a fire. Not everyone, not all the time, but too many, too often.
For me, it begins with a lack of resilience. My normal ability to adapt diminishes and diminishes until I can’t remember that I ever had it. Then, despite the pride I take in being self-aware, I start to judge my good life unworthy and tell myself that my unhappiness, my deep profound malaise that rips the joy out of each moment and shows me only the glaring photo-negative of each happy event, is actually the only sane and measured response to a terrible world and my own failures to strive against the terribleness. That’s the most insidious part, for me; my beautiful brain turns against me, whispering that I am correct in my assessment of my own awfulness and that I deserve to feel bereft, that my sadness is borne from clearly seeing the world and my own bottom-rung place in it. That the life that stretches before me will always be this bleak and hopeless, and that it’s my fault, and that I’m forever lost.
I mostly retain enough self-awareness to know how first-world self-pitying this sounds to anyone but me, but knowing that doesn’t combat my secret belief that it’s true.
My first episode of depression hit me during my fourth year of college. I was living by myself, and working two jobs, and so sad and overwhelmed that I began skipping classes to sleep and sleep, until I got so far behind that I saw no option but to quit. The rueful backstory here is that my parents had already yanked me out of my beloved city and school once, for financial reasons, and I had fought bitterly to return to the life I thought was rightfully mine. And then I ruined it. No one, myself included, ever thought my actions might be aberrant because I was ill; I was just a failure who fucked it all up.
“…a part of depression is that it touches cognition. That you are having a breakdown does not mean that your life isn’t a mess. If there are issues you have successfully skirted or avoided for years, they come cropping back up and stare you full in the face, and one aspect of depression is a deep knowledge that the comforting doctors who assure you that your judgment is bad are wrong. You are in touch with the real terribleness of your life. You can accept rationally that later, after the medication sets in, you will be better able to deal with the terribleness, but you will not be free of it. When you are depressed, the past and future are absorbed entirely by the present moment, as in the world of a three-year-old. You cannot remember a time when you felt better, at least not clearly; and you certainly cannot imagine a future time when you will feel better.”
— Andrew Solomon (The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression)
I’ve tried and tried to write about the beginnings of this last trough, when my sister’s boyfriend was shot and nearly killed on our front porch in 2006. Well, I have succeeded in writing about it–the awful terror and despair of the days and weeks that surrounded the event, and my subsequent PTSD and years of broken sleep and terrible anger–but I’ve failed to write about it in a way that is useful. It’s simply too raw and ugly still, and there is no happy ending, only pain and permanent disability and broken hearts. The long-term effects led to my worst low ever, eventually, and to an appointment with a psychiatrist where I wept uncontrollably and confessed that I was afraid to leave my house and afraid to stay home alone and at the bitter end of my ability to conceal how bad things were. I was scared that I would die, that I was broken in a way that could never be put right.
Medicine was a revelation, a silver bullet that lifted me up and out in weeks. I’d gone so far as to get a prescription for anti-depressants before, but never taken them. Once I started, within six months I’d launched a new business, gotten a promotion, found a new place to live, and started dating again.
And then in January I quit. I felt good, I was falling in love, I was emphatically not a person who would be on meds for the rest of her life. I wanted to be the plucky heroine of my own story who’d had some lows and left them behind. I didn’t want my dates to see the pill bottles. I didn’t want to be damaged goods.
But I don’t want to be mired in black sadness and self-doubt any more either. I’ve met so many people lately who are doing amazing things with their lives, and I’ve lost so much time already. I write this to remind myself that I have more to offer the world than I’ve been able to give, that the drum of failure and hopelessness inside my head can change its beat. I get a flash every once in a while of what my life could mean, of what I could accomplish with the talents and abilities I have, and I need to hold on to those images and walk toward them. If I have to pause in my march each day to wash down some false pharmaceutical courage, it’s a small price to pay.
A few nights ago, my husband forced me to have sex with him. I said no so many times, and told him I didn’t want to. He asked me if I wanted him to stop, and I said yes. He started to stop, but then he continued anyway.
He’s been pushy before, over the course of our marriage, but has never gone that far.
I am devastated. He is so apologetic, but still has tried to have sex with me again (consensual). He makes crude, sexual statements about me that make me so incredibly uncomfortable.
I’ve talked to rape crisis hotlines. They have advised me to leave, but aside from love and loyalty, I also have five children, three biological and two step-children with him. I’m a stay at home mom with no relevant work experience.
Even if I was prepared to throw our marriage away, I would have no resources. I’ve thought about it. He’s admitted that he wouldn’t blame me if I did leave, and even went so far as to say he knows he should be in jail.
I just don’t know what to do. I love my husband, but at the same time, I don’t. I can’t trust him, and now I can’t even kiss him because it’s just too much anxiety. So we don’t touch, and I can’t imagine being intimate again. I should see a counselor, but with no family or friends to watch my youngest two children, I can’t do it.
I keep wondering if since he wasn’t violent with me, and I didn’t struggle, maybe I’m overreacting. I guess I’m just writing this here to feel like I’ve said it out loud somewhere. Thanks for reading.
This only happened to me a few weeks ago, and I am still trying to find ways of coping with what happened to me. I am hoping that sharing my story and writing it out will also help my mental state at the moment.
I already suffered with severe anxiety and depression before this had happened so have already suffered through some traumatic experiences already. However, this is my story.
I am 20, a university student, and generally enjoy my life. Even though I do live with mental health issues I never really let them over-rule my life.
Being students, we decided to go on a night out. I wasn’t drinking as my friend was already excessively drunk, and I was keeping an eye on him to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid. A couple of hours later, we were still out enjoying our night. He had found some lad to dance with and spent the majority of his evening with this boy and me. I went to the toilet, trusting that he would wait for me, so that we could get a taxi home. I came out of the toilet and he had gone, I searched both rooms in the club to try and find him or any other of the group of friends I was out with. I couldn’t see any of them.
I went outside to see if anyone was outside smoking. No one was in sight there either. I then went to call everyone I was with to try and find someone, so I remained outside. I started to panic slightly. Absolutely no one was answering their phones and most of their phones were turned off.
I again began to panic. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get home as one of my friends had my bank card with them. I had no cash on me either. I then began to text my friend, who hadn’t come out with us, to ask if he could pick me up. He agreed, but said he was going to be over an hour. At this point, it was around 5am, and everyone started to leave the club. I was standing at the end of the street, where I told my friend I would meet him when he came to pick me up.
A male approached me as I was having a cigarette to ask if he could have one. I said yes, and he stuck around to talk. He seemed genuinely lovely. He then realized that I was alone and began getting friendly. I politely asked him not to, but he kept on insisting that it was fine. He then asked if I wanted to go back to his house. I again politely declined the offer, as I was waiting for my friend to pick me up.
A taxi then pulled up shortly afterwards. He walked back over to me, I thought to say goodbye, but instead, he said to me I had no choice as he wasn’t leaving me alone. When I tried to push him away, he picked me up and threw me into the taxi. In the area that we were in, the taxi drivers tend to ignore their clients, regardless of what was happening, so I knew I would get no help from the driver.
We then arrived at his house, and I had no idea where we were, I felt really scared. I thought about running away from him when we got out of the taxi, but I wouldn’t know where to run to or where to go. I also started panicking about how I would get away.
He then proceeded to drag me into his house. He walked me to the living room and told me to sit on the sofa and not move until he came back. While he was gone, I started looking for his address to let my friend know where to pick me up. His cat was staring at me whilst I was doing this. I found a letter and really quickly sent a text to my friend. He returned, and I hid my phone as quickly as I could. He asked me what I was doing, and I didn’t reply.
He then threw me onto his sofa and took my underwear and skirt off. He gagged me with a tie that he had just gone to get, so that I couldn’t scream or shout. After around 10 minutes, he stopped and told me to follow him to his bedroom. He told me that if I didn’t do what he said, he was going to hurt me, so I followed his instructions. He continued to rape me in his bedroom. After around another 20 minutes, he told me to clean myself up and leave. I ran into the living room to put on my clothes, and just at that moment, my friend called me to say he was outside. I tried to act completely normal, like nothing had happened, when I left the house and got into my friends car.
I continued pretending like nothing had happened until I spoke to my tutor. She could see something wasn’t quite right. I had become really angry and extremely quiet. I didn’t cry when I told her what had happened. I still haven’t cried. I have become emotionally numb and tried to block out this situation.