CW: Mentions of r*pe, intimate partner abuse, physical and mental health issues.
Ok, I’m just being dramatic.
But sort of not.
Someone tell me how I’ve experienced intimate partner abuse, rape, multiple chronic illnesses that have tried to kill me and isolated me along the way, and so much harassment and abuse… and 2020 feels like potentially the worst thing I’ve experienced.
Maybe because it’s so fresh that I don’t have the rose tinted glasses way of looking back at the positives. Because I still feel awful.
Maybe it’s because, when you’re abused, at least you have an actual physical presence to attribute your mental pain to (dark, I know, but true).
But seriously, isolation is the worst thing ever.
I could handle isolation when I was sick (kind of not really) because I was low energy and didn’t really want to see people. And it’s not super fun to go out if you can’t eat or drink, and have to talk to people who are having a great life and you can’t relate.
Thing is about this year, is that I personally see the collective trauma as having a knock on positive effect when people get that awakening and a deeper appreciation of “normal” life when we get it back.
The collective reevaluation of all of our lives can surely only be good. I’m planning for increased empathy in the whole population, because that’s usually a huge effect of trauma.
But like, can we fast forward please?
I don’t know about everyone else, because I think we all have it hard in different ways, but for me, not working this year, coupled with lockdowns, has uncovered so many unknown, unhealthy coping mechanisms in myself.
It’s made me realise that work itself is a coping mechanism for me. Maybe my biggest one.
Pre-2020, every therapist I’ve been to has asked me, “Why do you work so much? Why are you so busy? How do you never have time in your calendar? So many social events you don’t say no to? What are you hiding from?”.
And I’ve always been like, “Respectfully, I am just a ✨busy person✨. I am not hiding from anything, I just enjoy having zero time to be alone, in silence, with my thoughts, EVER. There’s NO REASON I never want to have space with just me and my spiralling traumatised mind, it’s just what us career women be like 😌✌️”
Then 2020 comes and is like, “BAM BITCH, you have no choice but to be alone with your thoughts cos you don’t have a job, you’re high risk so you’re not allowed out with people even though you’re an extrovert and it’s the one thing you need, and due to these reasons, you now also don’t have the mental health capacity to work from home either! Good luck!”
And then 2020 bodyslammed me and I sat rocking in my shower for 5 months.
You know how it is when you’re super not ok, but also no one knows you’re super not ok, cos they have lives that don’t revolve around you and your issues. Yea, that.
So yea…. I’m not ok.
I’m coming out as a person who isn’t doing great.
It’s hard for me because I spend my whole life as the positive, optimistic person that people look at and say, “Look how shit her life has been, but she’s smiling and laughing and exercising and dancing. How brave. How strong. How inspirational.”
But the truth is, when you’ve experienced trauma, the pain still always exists somewhere if you don’t work through it. And for me, it existed below a jam-packed calendar, high career aspirations, crazy social life, and full-on personal development goals.
So when that’s all gone, I’m no longer the inspirational, strong one. I’m the one crying to my therapist that I want to self-sabotage and burn my life to the ground cos nothing feels right in the world. The future feels terrible. The present is on fire.
I feel like we’re in the middle of an earthquake and everything is smashing around me, the ground is breaking open, and I’m the only one who can feel it. It makes me feel like I don’t exist, or like I exist in the wrong dimension.
And this makes me feel like a failure. Like I should have a job, and money, and a normal life, and just ignore the earthquake and fires like everyone else is. But how can I? Everything is shattering!
I also realise this is probably a result of a lot of pent up trauma sitting in my soul.
It’s all the things I placed aside over the past 10+ years because it was far too much to handle at the time. And I assumed that because I hadn’t really thought deeply about them for a while, they had gone?
But apparently not, because I’ve had months of it bubbling to the surface. Like a lava flow coming out of the cracks caused by the earthquake that apparently only I know about it.
It’s constant feelings and flashbacks.
It’s the horrific walk to the police station after no sleep to report my rape. It’s being treated exactly the same way as my perpetrators and isolated from everyone I knew. Then the police recommending I drop it even though they believed me. It’s all the people who told me I was a lying slut to make themselves feel better. It’s the love I had for a man who took his childhood abuse out on me. It’s the hotel staff who knew I had been abused in their accomodation not checking I was ok or doing anything about it (even when the room was covered in blood). It’s the man who raped me in my sleep and still kept coming back to my bar and flirting with me. The good friend of my friends who followed me to my bed and tried to force himself on me when he was drunk. It’s the man who locked me in his house when I was door knocking and tried to kiss me. The guy who put his hands down my top and bra when I was 19 and alone in a bar. It’s the years of doctors not listening to me when I told them I had an immune issue, to the point that I now have damaged lungs because of them. It’s the months and years of constant illness to be fixed with a lifetime of IV infusions. It’s those damaged lungs that have given me sepsis and tried to kill me. It’s the pandemic threatening to try that again on me. And the people saying I’m overreacting when this is how immunocompromised people act ALL THE TIME. It’s the fact that I don’t even think I should be alive right now, so why would I believe I’ll live past tomorrow?
And I don’t have a full social calendar to shut the trauma feelings out. So here they all are.
And new ones keep arising every week. Like, apparently a 30yo put me in his shower and shaved me *down there* when I was 21, when I didn’t want that… What in the fucking repressed trauma is this?!?!
It doesn’t bloody help when two men who have been accused of sexual assault were running for office in the most powerful country in the world and we had to choose one and pretend he’s not a creepy old pervy abuser because the other one is a serial rapist white supremacist.
Like fuck me. Tell me how to survive this year. Tell me how to not burn my house down and take up hard drugs or whatever people do to not feel feelings?
Tell me that these feelings will end.
Tell me that I can get a job or do a course and we won’t go straight back into a lockdown and I’ll lose the ONLY thing that my sanity was holding on to. Again.
How can I do anything when every time I attach myself to something, it disappears? (Hello abandonment issues? I didn’t know you were there.)
And don’t tell me to meditate or I’ll burn YOUR house down 😌
Thank you for coming to my personal therapy session.
Sometimes just writing these things out makes me feel weirdly better.
Funnily, this is coming from me feeling quite good. If I had written this last week, it would have taken years to translate and probably been able to be made into some creepy existential horror film cos I genuinely wasn’t convinced that I existed in this dimension.
This week, I’m ready to apply for jobs and pretend that I don’t deep-down believe that if something good happens to me, something terrible will happen in the world. (Apparently this is a trauma belief.)
So, if you know of any part-time, low stress work, feel free to send it my way. Ignore all of the above, I’m surprisingly mentally stable in front of others. You’d never know I’m in another dimension ☺️
And if you’re feeling the same way, and want to hang. To go for a walk or a coffee and discuss if we live in a simulation and this is just a test for humanity, please send me a message.
I’m leaning on collective growth and empathy in the global population to make all of this mess worth it, and that’s what’s getting me through, day by day.
Everything always works out in the end. It always does. Right?
Sending lots of love to all the other people living with their own personal earthquakes – we got this xxxx