When I was fifty-eight, sixteen years after Tropical Spastic Paraparesis paralyzed my legs among causing other painful symptoms, and confined for the most part to bed, I became suicidal. I could not endure another waking hour of suffering or another hellish nightmare invading my sleep. Deeply depressed at the loss of my independence and isolated because I moved to an area where I had no family or friends, loneliness, and fear overpowered me. (I lost my trailer and had nowhere to go but a nursing home. A dear friend invited me to live in their condominium, but so far away from all that I had ever known).
Dwelling in a pool of despair, I seriously contemplated swallowing a handful of pills and I had a variety to medications to choose from. Suicide attempts were not new to me. I had tried several times in the past.
I told no one, for I felt I had no one to tell.
Then, I remembered Linda. Friends for over twenty years, we had both been casualties of an extremely painful church split. Linda, a much-laid back Bohemian type of gal, who I had met and befriended when I lived in Miami, headed the women’s ministry in our church in Baltimore. Her compassionate way and engaging humor broke down my barriers. I began to trust her and she has become a loyal confidant, wise counselor, and one of my closest friends.
After days of sadness, and, frankly, afraid I would go to Hell if I killed myself, I called Linda. She listened patiently as I wept and told her about the traumas haunting me and my tug-of-war between life and death. Her suggestion rescued me.
Linda told me to “vomit” it all on paper, every sordid detail, in no random order. So I did. Slowly at first. I opened my Word program in my laptop that sits on my over bed table and typed a paragraph or two of pieces of my past and ongoing traumatic life.
Then, one day, the words just spilled out of me and I could not stop typing. I stayed up many a night until the wee hours of the morning tapping away on my keyboard. Several things happened as I penned my catharsis.
My nightmares worsened, but when I awoke, I wrote them down.
Writing about my molesters, rapists, and traffickers evoked odd feelings and sensations I could not understand nor control. I did things that were out of character for me such as joining adult websites. It frightened me and filled me with shame.
I didn’t understand that while I wrote about my many rapes and time with traffickers, my catharsis was like a loaded gun. Each horrid detail pulled triggers, causing me to react.
I sought therapy . . . to little avail, until I met Dr. Harry Morgan, who explained to me that I suffered not only from PTSD, but also from Stockholm syndrome and conditions known as Reactive Responses and Learned Behavior, things that I still deal with from time to time that started out a catharsis turned into a memoir.
Nevertheless, it’s been six long years of reading and rereading those chapters of my life for my editors, reliving horrific memories, but now that it’s completed, I must admit I feel cleansed.
Even though I still go through bouts of depression and have nightmares from time to time, I am definitely a different woman, who smiles more often that I cry.
I hope this entry helps someone else to “bleed” and that the spilling of that blood onto paper helps them to heal too.