The Walls Come Down
This is the hardest post I’ve ever written. I’m so uncomfortable with being vulnerable, even after all these years. I have a solution for almost every problem in my life, but there are certain things I can’t get passed. I’m usually the one in support and I’m really struggling with being the one that needs it.
Depression has me by the throat today and I’m stuck. I can’t think straight and I can’t tell you about it. I want my mother and wish she wasn’t so judgmental so I could call her and not feel worse. I wish there was anyone I could call and feel better, someone who would understand without suggesting a meeting, meds or a walk. I can’t; don’t you fucking get it?
I don’t want to leave my house.
I miss appointments and constantly reschedule plans because I don’t want to see you. I don’t want you to see me. I don’t want to showcase my mess. Because the truth is, something happened to me and I can’t look at it. I can’t see it for what it is because I’m so afraid to admit that it happened. I can’t let it go and it’s killing me. I can’t let you know that it broke me because I’m too prideful. I’d rather be pretty and dying than tell you the truth and lose face. I haven’t seen light since that night. A part of me wishes he’d killed me and doesn’t understand why I fought. If I hadn’t I never would have met my husband and wouldn’t have the boys. There is a part of me that feels like I died that night. I can’t get out from under it. I don’t know how. I have so many wonderful things in my life and I just want to enjoy them. I want to feel safe. I’ve been to twelve different therapists, EMDR, trauma therapy, hypnotherapy, I’ve meditated, I’ve tried medication, but nothing works and I can’t breathe.
Every rustle of the trees is him in the bushes. Every noise the house makes is him inside, waiting patiently to get me when I least expect. Even when he was in prison, I thought he might send someone to hurt me. There were nights I woke up screaming and crying in the hallway, running away. Try explaining that to your family, to your children. Try explaining to your husband that you want so badly to feel safe in his arms, but you can’t. He’s in my head now and I can’t get him out. I haven’t wanted to drink, but I have wanted desperately to disappear.
It’s been years now and I’m doing a little better, but then something triggers and sets it off again. This time it was a meeting; his meeting. He hasn’t been there in years and a friend was celebrating 20 years of sobriety. I thought I would be fine. It’s not his anymore and I should feel free to go wherever, right? Wrong. I found myself outside unable to step foot inside. I had to call a friend to walk me in. I had to cry first. My friend asked me to speak and I heard the words “Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain.” This is what thirteen years of sobriety look like? What is wrong with me? My friend corrected me immediately saying, “This is what 13 years of sobriety can look like, if you don’t drink.” He was right. I have made it through all sorts of horrific things, sober, but this one is tough.
I’ve learned to see myself as not a victim, but a survivor. I just don’t feel like a survivor today. I feel like a fraud; like a coward. I know all the slogans. I know that feelings aren’t facts and that they will pass. I just wish they wouldn’t return. It’s overwhelming to know that kind of threat exists. It’s one thing to watch it on the news, but quite another to live it. I know that I’m lucky. I know that I’m blessed. Intellectually I know all sorts of things.
I just wish I could feel it.
Is there a “Most Fucked Up” award? If so, I’m pretty sure it’s mine.
Julie Maida lives in Massachusetts with her amazing husband and three children. She has been in abstinence-based recovery since May 2, 2000.
Julie is eternally grateful for all the gifts of recovery and fiercely determined to advocate for, and connect ALL women with the appropriate support and resources necessary to achieve their personal recovery goals. She writes about mothering with mental illness at juliemaida.me.