It’s been a few months since I posted on here and I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back. One of the problems with discussing domestic violence and other traumatic incidences when you have PTSD is it can trigger setbacks and all sorts of problems like nightmares, no sleep, anger issues, feeling overwhelmed and generally a huge desire to run away. I have been dealing with suicidal thoughts and severe depression for the last few months and didn’t really want to put it out into the world. As some of you would know, when suffering a depressive episode the motivation to do anything just isn’t there, except in my case, the overwhelming motivation to drive my car into a tree or off a bridge.
What stops me? It’s hard to explain to people who are lucky enough not to suffer from clinical depression or who have never experienced some of the horrific things that have occurred in my life, but I’m willing to try. Here goes; about 20 years ago I had a great rapport with a lovely girl who was a volunteer in a community house project I visited, and we became friends. She talked to me honestly about the abuse she was living with and her new struggle of trying to separate from her violent boyfriend and I was vocal in my encouragement for her to break the chains. After a few months and another couple of broken fingers, she finally decided to move back home to her mum. What followed was months and months of stalking, threats both to herself and her mother, brake lines cut, her car was bashed with a baseball bat while she was sitting in it with the doors locked, all number of things that were pointing to the increasing instability in the mind of the boy she was trying to free herself from. One Monday, just two days before her birthday and less than a month away from completing her university degree, I got the news that both my friend and her ex were found dead together in his car. To this day I carry feelings of guilt for not helping more, for not noticing that things had become so bad, for not convincing her to take it to the police. I tried. Over and over I tried to get her to have him arrested but she was scared of his reaction if she called the police, so she never did. Neither did I, or any of her other friends who also knew some of what was going on. Worst is that she picked a fight with me on the Friday afternoon and cancelled plans we had for the Sunday, because of our pathetic argument. I feel so guilty that in my anger toward her over the argument, I didn’t call over the weekend to fix it, to make sure she was ok, to make sure our friendship was ok. Now I will never have that chance and 20 years on I still feel like I should have done more, listened more, been a better friend. So no matter how despondent I get over my life, or the pain I am constantly in, suicide is no longer even an option. I would never want friends of mine to be questioning themselves 20 years after my death as to how they could have helped more. I have to just push through each depressive episode, each anxiety attack, each nightmare, each flashback and keep working toward making my future better. Sometimes having that choice (suicide) taken away from me is frustrating because life is really, really hard on a daily basis when you have PTSD, but sometimes I am grateful that choice has been taken away because it is forcing me to find ways to cope on this journey when I think it would be much easier to just not be here.
I am lucky. I am incredibly grateful. Both for the friends I have and the opportunities I have been given on this journey to learn so much about myself; my strength, my resilience, my passion. I try to appreciate how lucky I am every day; I have a roof over my head, I answer only to myself and my ethics and principles, and I am free.
I am working toward making this year all about writing. I have approximately 8 months left till I finish my Master of Arts degree and I am working diligently not only on that but also on a series of children’s books, a YA historical fiction novel and a collection of poetry, all of which will keep me extremely busy and focused. I hope.
So I apologise for my long absence and I will do my best to not let it be so long in between posts.
Take care and be safe.