Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mental Health, Abuse, Surviving

The last few months of my mental health journey haven't been the greatest. I started feeling worse and worse, to the point that I decided not to refill my medications once they had run out a few weeks ago. I was fine at first, but it wasn't long before things became more and more difficult to do. Then, one night, my mood dramatically shifted in the negative direction, and I just crashed. I essentially didn't move from bed for 10 days. I've been back on my medicine for about 4 days now, and I'm only just beginning to feel like myself again. With major events coming up in just a few weeks, this has been one of the primary drivers of my anxiety/depression. I'm beginning to feel like I'm in control again, and I just hope I haven't lost too much time.

I don't feel at liberty to discuss the details of recent events. All I can say is that a long-term abusive situation almost ended in murder. Watching history repeat itself has been so difficult, especially when you've been made out to be the villain. But watching their strength in claiming the label of survivor, in moving forward and beyond the pain and years of manipulation, is inspiring. Rediscovering yourself is not always easy, nor is it painless. Abusers know how to control your emotions. They study your responses over time and learn how to get what they need from everyone involved. They will try to claim victimhood, to escape responsibility and consequences in an effort to get back to how things used to be--to their version of "normal". It takes strength beyond measure to disengage from a toxic, even dangerous relationship. You (plural) have that strength, and you have a family to support you.

As before, I will always stand by those who have survived, those who have escaped. I will always tell the truth for those whose voices have grown too tired, especially when others aim to silence you. Not only will you continue to survive, you will thrive as you rediscover your true self and the love with which you are surrounded. And we will do whatever it takes to help you when you need it most, when you feel like doubting yourself and your decisions. You are my friend(s). You are family. We will never abandon you.

I have more experience than I care to discuss right now. Even now, I wait for a day I feel will never come. When she finally has had enough. I wish I could say more, but it's been made clear that it's not my story to tell. I have to fight back tears when I think of what could have been for one of the most important people in my life.

I guess the point is that I haven't just seen or heard.

I know.

I may have what some people consider extreme reactions to anger. I just want to point out that I'm on high alert for a reason. It is by this point a built-in response mechanism, and I have little control over how terrified I appear. Interestingly enough, when someone directs that anger toward someone I love, my response is markedly different. I like to think that explains what kind of person I am without having to do it in so many more words.

I posted this here for a few reasons. Trigger warnings aren't my thing, but I can draft a title that gives people the option to avoid the subject, even temporarily. I needed to do this for myself as much as I did the people I love. I have a lot of my own deeply buried issues to deal with, and I'm sure I'll need to revisit this in the future. But, right now, it's not about me. It's about everyone who has ever lived through abuse, about those who have escaped and those still trying to find the courage to. I refuse to contribute to silence surrounding domestic violence. I refuse to let the abusers win. That's something we can't do alone, and I've seen such a tremendous outpouring of support in the last few days. It makes me feel confident that this ending marks a new beginning. That we will see that light shine again. However, there is still someone out there who needs that same support from the community. Friends, please don't hesitate to reach out to them as well.

My brain is doing that thing where it's going to circle back around. So, I will leave with this: