Beyond Lady Pandora – Episode12a – The Men In My Life – Beyond Lady Pandora
Screaming. When I sit still in the quiet, there is a memory of screaming. My grandmother, she is screaming. It’s a primal scream, the kind of scream that chills your blood and freezes you in place, like they are being murdered. Then me screaming and blinding pain, screaming as if the sound itself could be a weapon, formed physically in the air above me, coming out of my mouth. Just screaming and pain. Sometimes, bits and pieces, sometimes moments flow through and it’s as if I’m right there, yet not. Like I’m dream walking through my life. Everything is foggy then crystal clear and then foggy once more. What does it mean? It’s frightening. I do not know myself at times. It’s not me. It’s not happening to me, I’m just watching, sliding along through life.
The voices in my head. It’s hard to listen to others, to hold conversations, to focus. I’m already listening to what is going on in my head. Opinions, so many opinions on everything, so many different perspectives and ideas. Do this, do that. It is exhausting at times. People think I’m not listening but I am or at least, I’m trying to. I just get distracted and interrupted while talking and listening by a group of people no one can see. That doesn’t sound at all crazy, does it? I wonder why I’ve tried to hide it for so long.
I find it so hard to say no, to stand up for myself, to advocate for myself and it really makes everything very difficult. Why can’t I just say what I think? I can’t so others do, eventually. Eventually, they get fed up and they take over and they say no while I worry that I’m being rude. I’m always so concerned with everyone else and with being good that I never bother to care for me. I find it very hard to deal with doctors and the such, I find it hard to describe what I’m feeling in a way others can really understand. I find it hard to ask for things. I struggle.
I sit at my computer trying to relax and my heart thumps so loudly in my chest that it feels it might explode and I sit there, trying to breathe through it. I try to convince myself I’m fine. My thoughts, my memories, they fly away because even the smallest glimpse puts my mind and my body into overload. I do not believe that anyone really believes me or ever will about what I experience. I do not think they really can fully believe me because how can I expect anyone to understand something I do not understand? I have had about 40 years to spend making sense of this, of myself, and I’m still shaking my head. I get it, I do. I went through a lot of bad things, that part makes sense. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely stupid. I get that this is why, but there is a deeper why and then there is this result. Me. I’m the result. I pay forever for what others did to me. That is just so unfair. I’m supposed to pretend, that is what others around me want. Pretend. You’re ok. Don’t be a problem. Be ok. How can I ever be ok though? Will I ever feel ok?
I am a mystery, even to myself. What happened to me? What is it? Why do certain things make no sense? What did they do to me? I want to know and yet, I do not, I’m scared to know. The parts I do remember are so dark, so scary, they hurt so much. What on earth did they do that is so much worse than this?
I want to color, to draw. I’ve had this strong urge to draw, a numb feeling comes over my nose and my mouth when I think of it. I remember my drawing of a flower when I was young and at my Mom’s house. I had drawn it on the kitchen table. There was a big table, it seemed so big and it was particle board, thin wood. It was a medium sort of brown, like wood grains but I remember my fingers and nails could flick the covering up slightly at the edges. It had large metal legs that curved down and middle legs that went straight down. The legs ended in caps, black caps. I would sit on the chair, it was a big wooden chair. The back had smooth rounded poles in it. I ran my hands along it, feeling it. Round parts and long parts and short parts. The kitchen was small and narrow and it led into the dining room area where the kitchen was. The walls were white, off-white from my mother smoking heavily. I would sit, my feet hanging because I was so short, drawing. I was in school and the art teacher had gotten us drawing. I was very unsure about drawing, I was nervous about it. I felt I was terrible at it and I was afraid to do it. I did draw though, I was not very good at all, I tried though. I worked so hard on that one little picture. A flower, a simple flower that looked like a daisy really growing on a sloping hill. It was the only flower there, in the whole photo, all alone. It was like me, all alone trying to grow and bloom. I drew it a sun. I colored my photo and I drew a sky. It was the best I’d ever drawn, I thought. I was proud of it and yet also embarrassed that I was not better at drawing. Still, it was my very best drawing to date and I had drawn. I had dared to feel a little good about myself, a little proud and that is when disaster struck. That was when ill befell me because I dared to hope. Do I dare draw? Do I draw a flower? I am afraid. I hold back.
I’m afraid to drive. I loved driving, my new found freedom. I started driving again finally in my early 40’s to get to university and back. I drove everywhere, it felt so free, so good. I’m a safe driver, I’ve only had accidents at which I was not at fault. Two drivers have hit me through the years. One, I escaped without injury but both myself and my son were left nervous about driving in vehicles. I told myself I’d get over it and though I never fully did, I still drove. After the second, the most recent… I just can’t. I start panicking every time I get behind the wheel plus it hurts very badly to hold my arms up to drive or try to turn. Still, even if I could drive, I would be too afraid. I am terrified that I will get hurt. I am terrified I will get hit. I’m scared even as a passenger. I have no idea how to begin to overcome this because the thought of driving makes me want to cry. This newfound freedom has been taken away from me and I need freedom, that sense of freedom. I’ve had so little freedom in my life and to lose any that I gain is just very hard for me. I am so embarrassed that I have not even told anyone until now. My fiancé knows, of course, he knows without me saying. I don’t want to say it out loud, I want to pretend I’m ok. Why am I so damn afraid? I hate myself for being afraid.
I call my therapist who is supposed to call me back to let me know about a scheduling issue. I leave messages on multiple days. No call back. I’m not her only client by far, I’m sure others have bigger problems than me. I want to scream because I know I’m going to end up missing a week of therapy that I desperately need and it will be due to her not returning my call. Really, no matter the answer, she could take a moment to at least call and tell me I’ll have to miss a week, we cannot reschedule… but not even getting that little effort from her on this just leaves me feeling incredibly unimportant to her. Then, I wonder, do I have the right to be upset about this? Am I being selfish? Do I expect too much? Maybe others need that time more than I do. Maybe my issues or problems are smaller, they can wait. I have always been treated as if I should wait, as if I were insignificant and I’ve always felt that way. This does not help. I only get to talk to her one hour per week, do I want to use that time to address her not returning my calls on numerous occasions which then takes from time that could be used to address my very real problems? It is so frustrating.
I’m getting very annoyed at myself over things. Check the door, check the lock, three times. Say your prayers, say your spells, three times. Everything three times. I panic. Check the doors again. Check the windows, behind the doors. I’m stuck on three. Three is safe. Check the closets, check the shower. It is so very annoying. check it again. I’ve checked it, I know I’ve checked it, there is nothing there but damned if I do not have to check it again. Can’t trust myself. It’s exhausting. It is all just so exhausting. How am I ever going to make progress in one hour a week with so many problems, with so much history? How am I ever going to be who I was supposed to be? Where is my brilliant future? I do not know. I honestly don’t. At this point, my only goal is to not be in pain, such a simple request and yet, it’s a goal I have not reached in over a year. I’m fed up with it but just like everything else, that doesn’t really seem to matter. I pretend to be so positive, so upbeat, think of the good side but in reality, I’m tired. I’m just so tired of being hopeful in the face of so much pain, both physical and mental. So much loss. So much bad. I honestly wonder if I will ever just live. What could I ever have done as a small child to deserve all of this? I just do not understand. This was not my future, this was not the outcome that should have been. What purpose does all of this suffering serve?