Friday, June 3, 2011

Breakdown

I had my first breakdown when I was 15.  At that point I was not able to speak about why I was trying to kill myself.  Well, I mean, I could make allusions.  I talked about sex all.the.fucking.time.  Including talking extensively about sex with people I shouldn't be sleeping with.  That's what I did.  I treated all of the assault as consensual and I talked about it as if I liked it.

So when I was 15 I went to Los Gatos High School for my sophomore year of high school.  The only year of high school I completed in one school.  Go me?  I had friends in the theater group.  I even still talk to some of them.  Most of them I have lost contact with on purpose.  You see, they all hang out with the guy who tried to rape me at the end of that school year.  He's a great guy, right?  I will never find out.  I did send him a message on facebook telling him that he contributed to fucking up my life when he tried to rape me.  He didn't respond at all. I think that is the best possible result of me doing that.

So yeah.  LGHS kind of sucked.  The folks around me were spoiled rich kids.  Most of them had issues because rich parents are often shitty parents.  They have better things to do than pay attention to their kids, yaknow?  I was taunted and bullied a lot.  A really really lot.  I no longer remember what kicked it off, exactly.  But I remember sitting in my room.  I had my own room because no one could stand being near me.  Every other room in our house has 2-4 people in it.  But they all agreed I should have space.  Because I was such a nasty bitch and no one wanted to be near me.  That is what I was told.  I was told that I got my own room because I was a nasty bitch and no one could stand being near me.  I spent most of my time in that room.

So one night, not sure why that was the one, I was just done.  I couldn't get up one more time.  I just could not bear any more pain.  So I went and found some sleeping pills.  My family shopped at Costco!  We had three boxes with 30 each.  I figured if 1 should help you sleep through the night, 90 would be enough to let me sleep forever.

Taking those pills was awful.  They were chalky.  There was no coating on them.  They were blue.  I experimented with how many I could swallow at a time.  I only had water because I was afraid to go down to the kitchen and get something else to drink.  I can't swallow pills with water now.  I gag and vomit the pill up.  At that point it was the worst thing I'd ever had in my mouth.  Not anymore!  But it was still really disgusting.

And then I sat and I waited.  I waited to find out what it was like to die.  It was fucking terrifying.  I hallucinated all night long.  I was tortured with the darkest recesses of my mind.  I vomited repeatedly.  (And cleaned it up because I didn't want anyone else to be burdened with my mess.)  I spent most of that night sobbing hysterically because the itching skin feel made me think there were thousands of ants crawling on me and I couldn't get them off.  For many years I got hysterical if I found ants in my house.  It became a phobia.  If I saw ants in my house I could feel them crawling on my skin and I started to shake and scream.

I remember watching huge spider nests in the corners of my room explode with teeming bugs, a la Indian a Jones.  Horrifying.  I saw lizards mating on the floor and if I stepped off my bed they would bite me.  I saw kittens running around.  The kittens are why I was found.  You see, I didn't die fast enough.

When morning came around and everyone got up, my mom came and told me to get ready for school.  And I wasn't dead yet.  So I did what I was told.  I started getting ready for school.  In the process I started freaking out (uhm, still hallucinating, yo) about the kittens I saw darting out from under my mother's bed.  She got understandably freaked out.  The next bits are very fuzzy.  I vaguely remember splashes from the ambulance trip and I remember flashes of having my stomach pumped.  I don't recommend it.  You shit charcoal for a week.

Obviously I was put in a psychiatric hospital.  In Belmont.  I started to shake every time I drove past that town for a lot of years.  The hospital was really horrible.  When my anxiety is at its worst (clinical language applied now, I had no words for this then) I cannot eat a lot of foods due to texture issues.  And when you are in a psychiatric hospital as a teenage girl, they force you to eat.  It doesn't matter if you have food preferences, you are required to eat what they give you in the quantities they give you.  You are no longer treated like a human being.  I could not eat that shit.  So I got in trouble.  Lots of trouble.  I would not cooperate in group therapy with "drawing my feelings" so I got in trouble.  Lots of trouble.  I spent two weeks there.  Twice I wanted to go to my room when it was not "room time" (sometimes you were locked into your room and sometimes you were locked out, depended on the time of day) and I got into kicking, screaming brawls with orderlies.  I have been strapped to a table in a mental hospital while I screamed and fought and sobbed.

That was my reward for surviving a lifetime of sexual assault.  That is why no matter how bad it gets I will never enter a treatment center again.  If someone implies too strongly that they think I should enter a residential treatment program I'm not sure I will ever be found again.  I caution my therapists and my husband not to even talk about it.

I know there are humane programs out there.  But the thing is, once you are there you don't have any power.  I will never let anyone take my power again.  I may be fucking crazy, but I'm the kind of crazy where I GET TO DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS TO MY BODY.  Motherfucker.  It's kind of funny.  I have done a lot of being tied to tables as adults.  Once Tom tried to use "humane restraints" like they have in hospitals and I lost it.  He didn't try that again.

I have been saying that this month I had a nervous breakdown.  I think that is an accurate assessment.  But it's awfully nice to see how they are progressing over my lifetime.  My first real breakdown ended up traumatizing me more.  It compounded my problems in new and exciting ways.  The idea of having to ask to use a bathroom ever again fills me with so much rage I would like to commit murder.  No one gets to fucking control my body like that.

I will let people tell me I have to have sex with them.  But telling me that I can't go to the bathroom?  Oh hell fucking no.  I guess you pick your battles?

I remember my family coming to see me in the hospital.  They all looked very confused and asked me why I did this.  They all acted like it was a total surprise. Group therapy was a fucking joke.  "I know Krissy hasn't had an easy life, but I don't see why she did this!"  What they meant was, her father hasn't raped her for a few years.  Why is she bringing up old stuff?  They all got past it, why couldn't I?  Why was *I* so dysfunctional?  My family actually believes they are stronger than me and I need to learn how to handle my shit more like them.

Right.

But there was good from that situation.  If you go into a psych hospital Kaiser requires that you go to group therapy for 8 weeks.  Because that's an awesome way to solve your problems!  Let's get all the families of the really fucked up teenagers together for a couple of months and pretend like the kids are crazy in a vacuum.  The kids are just fucked up out of no where.  None of the parents could understand why we were acting out.  It's not like any of you abused us or anything.  But the nurse in charge was Tricia Perry.  I think she saved my life.

I saw Tricia as a therapist (jointly with my mother) on and off till I was thrown out of child and adolescent psychology for becoming an adult.  I never did tell her the big stuff.  We talked about my abandonment issues with my mom moving me around.  She did know I was molested, but she didn't have any idea of the extent.  My mom made it sound like one thing happened one time, without details.  I never argued.  I just couldn't describe it.  I didn't have words for what happened to me.  Tricia taught me to draw spiderwebs and journal and read psychology books.  Tricia knew that if I got through my life it would be on my own.  I don't remember if she ever said it or not, but now my sense is that she pretty much knew how bad my life was and she tried to give me tools to survive it.  She knew I wasn't ready to talk.

While I was seeing Tricia I was raped three more times.  I don't think the therapy was actually useful at getting me past my shit.  But I survived.  That's what I do.

It's kind of funny learning survivor language.  It feels so pedantic.  I mean, uhm, duh I survived.  Or I wouldn't be writing this down, eh?  Being a survivor means I get up in the morning and I pay attention to my kids.  I am careful with my tone of voice.  If it sucks, I apologize for it.  I do my best to pay attention to the honest-to-god actual needs of my children.  I try to parent them with a respect I never had.

My bad days are days when I am incapable of being anything other than a self-obsessed, hurting, flailing child.  Sometimes I sit and I think about my needs in comparison to my children's needs and I am able to triage without anger, blame, or feeling victimized.  I go through a lot of my life feeling like people are actively, deliberately trying to hurt me.  It's not a fun feeling.  When people give me advice that would be flagrantly inappropriate if they knew my whole story... but they don't... it feels like they are deliberately kicking me.

And the more I talk to people who knew me as a child the more that feeling grows.  It wasn't really a secret.  I talked to a girl I went to elementary school with.  This school very rarely had more than 30 children in a grade so everyone knew everyone.  Apparently in second grade I told her that my father and brother went out at night to suck blood.  That was probably the closest I could come to saying that my father raped me.  Her mother went to the teacher and said she thought I wasn't safe in my home.  The teacher said, "Those kind of people don't exist in my world."

I wasn't invisible.  It wasn't a secret.  But no one stopped it.  I was raped over and over and over.  No one stopped it.  No one ever gave a shit enough to stand up for me.  No wonder I feel worthless, useless, pathetic, dirty and bad.  My childhood was full of it and everyone acted as if it was right and proper that I be treated that way.  But I survived.  And now therapists want me to integrate my trauma so that I can heal.

Maybe I just don't like that language.  Maybe it is valid and ok that I just can't handle that language.  I don't want a chakra cleansing because how can anyone think that something as simple as an "energy cleansing" will help me?  I am so very fucked up on so many levels.  And the vast majority of it was very important in my childhood.  I don't want to give up my anger.  If I give up my anger then I am giving up this enormous source of Power.  No really.  I am incandescently angry that no one ever did anything to help me.  I consider that one of the greatest sins humanity has enacted.  I want to go find every person from my childhood who FUCKING KNEW and line them up in a row.  I want to tie them down into an all fours position and leave them in a prison shower.  I think they god damn deserve it.

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