Mental Health- Isolation
Trigger warnings- depression, sexual abuse, PTSD
Some of you are aware, I have been avoiding social media for the last few days. Few of you know what caused it. There is a list of 2 people that knew I intended to leave social media for good and leave the world of YA literature; something that all know has caused me some comfort following the escape from Dick.
Luckily, those two beautiful souls were able to make me see sense and open up to other people, who made me rethink my stance. You see, as I pushed them away, they pulled me back. These two wonderful people are very new to my life. They don’t know my fucked up nature or that I don’t respond like a ‘normal’ person.
So, when I perceive that I am being considered by other people as a nasty person, a bitch, enemy or even, as I felt in this case, a monster; I will punish myself. I unravel and lose all composure. I do so in the worst possible way, as it does incredible damage to my mental health; I isolate myself and it hurts.
So, on Wednesday evening upon returning home and having a panic attack I decided I had to hide away. Despite attending an event I was looking forward to and meeting Holly Bourne, a highly regarded author I’ve waited 3 years to meet I was painfully and unbelievably broken. I broke hard and fast and I cried until I fell asleep. I cried until my eyes were puffy and the eyelids were translucent. I hadn’t even cried like this about Dick; probably because deep down I knew him being removed from my life was a blessing and despite there being a connection to him within the YA community, I saw it as a lotus blooming out of the murky pond. How wrong I was.
I don’t know how I got up that morning and couldn’t bring myself to see people in work. I cried even more whenever I had 5 minutes or more alone. It was a busy day and this was the last thing I needed. I felt like my world was falling, crumbling around me; people who didn’t even know me had made a judgement that I was no good. Perhaps a bully, perhaps evil; I guess I will never know but I know I’d been feeling ostracised and it was confirmed on Tuesday. These were people I thought were part of a safe place, free of judgement or prejudice. It sucks that my joining the community coincided with my leaving Dick, but I was forbidden by him. Not that it matters; it was about me, not him. I never brought him up, she did. Talking about him was the last thing I wanted. I just wanted a home and a welcome. It didn’t even have to be from her. It doesn’t matter who they are, or what parts are true. I don’t know how many of the community she’s told, or even what. Just that from some of the treatment, it wasn’t exactly positive. I’m not even angry, I don’t blame her; I’m just so very sad that without any communication I’m the one who gave up the community. I’ve made a sacrifice for her, yet I’ll still be seen as the bitch to them all. It’s how I feel, and that’s all that matters to me right now.
I went to my counselling session on Thursday having cried all day, cut myself off from Facebook, Twitter and even my phone. I couldn’t tell him why this had happened; all I could say was that I’d been ignored by an individual since YALC and now others felt I was the one causing pain and suffering. He knew it all; my first ever session was all about Dick; how he had led me down this path, how he’d given me permission to contact his ex (he didn’t care and thought it would help me.) then screamed in my face that I was a ‘fucking freak’ when he found out I had.
All I could tell my counsellor was that it hurt that it had gone so badly, that I’d regretted approaching her before hand, but knew it would have been worse if I hadn’t we’d made friends and she eventually found out. I also informed him, in a pitch that only dogs could hear, that the community’s actions reinforced an idea that I deserved this treatment; that they’d seen the monster within me I’ve tried so hard to hide. That I’m of no value.
I do it all the time.
I run away, or people tell me I’m a bitch and I go into my punishment of solitude. Usually this is a result of one thing; I get tired of being walked all over. I find it hard to express my frustration and I walk away, or I speak my mind and I become the bitch.
I actually asked him if it was possible that I was a victim of some Dr Jekyll/ Mr Hyde. That perhaps that I black out and act like a heinous bitch without me knowing. That maybe I had done something wrong. That I do all my selfless acts and never waver because I am that horrible person deep inside.
You’re probably thinking, what the hell? Why, if it’s clear I’m not in the wrong, or even if there is NO ONE to blame (other than Dick, because God knows what he’s said to her) like with this week’s conflict that resulted in my diminished mental health, do I punish myself?
The reason is this; even when I’m right, I’m wrong. It’s something that have followed me through life from one extremely traumatic event from my childhood.
I was sexually assaulted when I was 8 years old. It would have been so simple had it been an adult that had inflicted the act. My life would have been different had the attacker been male and of any age. But my assault was not that simple. It was not that clean; and therefore, not seen as an assault.
Instead, it was a girl who was only a year older than myself. I was seen as complicit; a consentual act but not something innocent or playful. Except it wasn’t consentual, it wasn’t something innocent and it wasn’t the first time. It was just the time that someone saw and told.
I was never asked to explain what happened and once I was punished it was never spoken of again. I was placed in my room and not allowed to speak to anyone; summer holidays were spent away from people my own age. All because of fear and an act of homophobia. I hadn’t known or understood what happened to me and it was only about 2 years ago I registered the incident as sexual assault.
If you went to school with me, you’ll have thought I was always stand offish and a little dreamy. However, between this incident and being told any boy you brought home was dead meat; it was easier to just keep to myself. I didn’t want to be punished again and I didn’t want any boys to be killed.
So, whenever I’m treated badly, or as if I’m the bad guy (no matter how big or small); I assume it’s because I deserve it. It hurts and the part of me that’s screaming ‘fuck this shit, you’ve done nothing wrong, you’re a fucking peach. Get a grip and throw them the finger.’ Is so unbelievably confused that it draws me into my depression. I hate that people do often believe so easily that I can be so horrible. I say sorry if someone barges into ME for Christs sake! It’s exhausting, it’s lonely and it’s heart-breaking. My answer is often to be nicer, kinder and more generous yet it doesn’t work.
Especially when I opened up to Dick and told him all this. I told him everything; yet he’s not only abandoned me, turned one person against me, but his actions and lies have probably turned a whole community against me.
The biggest part I gained out of my counselling session was that I was perhaps right going forward to avoid any connection to Dick, but I should not delete my blog or shut myself off from the people who have been reaching out. That if any further attempt is made to smear my name, I have every right to stand up for myself. We both agreed that wouldn’t happen until I’m stronger though and start to gain some self-worth.
On top of that, the remainder of my sessions will be considering why I don’t see any value in myself. Why I considered answering the twitter plea of a spare ticket to the event and give the Holly Bourne ticket to a random person I’d never met with no benefit to myself other than I knew it would make her happy (and that I was already feeling uncomfortable going because o); why I would keep a relative stranger (she’s now one of my closest friends) company while she waited in A and E one Friday evening after meeting her for only an hour and why I would not put myself forward for a job promotion so that the man I had a crush on would be guaranteed it then complete all the work for him, getting nothing for it.
Yet, when it comes down to it, I feel like the best gift I could give everyone would be not to exist at all. Yet, the selfless part of me stops me from doing anything that would take my life. Mainly because I’d only do it is God would give my remaining days to someone much loved and missed from heaven.
I don’t know how this article will be met. Please respect the fact that I don’t want my treatment on Wednesday explored or the people involved identified. I have come to a point where I certainly don’t want anything to do with Dick’s ex. I have no energy to ‘clear the air’ or listen to why she so clearly hates me. I have no respect for anyone who would not wait to get to know me before making any judgement and constructively making me feel excluded.
Most importantly, I don’t want the same thing to be done to them. I don’t know them well enough to identify most people in the community as nice or nasty; I’m not Santa and I don’t have a list. I will never name them and those who do know, respect me enough not to discuss it.
You will find my presence much more infrequent over the next month. This is quite a revealing post and has come at a great cost to myself. I’m now in need of an evening to myself, good book in hand and a cuppa on my bedside table. I have allowed Dick to take the joy of films away from me, I will not let him take reading away from me by proxy.