Bad Dreams, Cries & Screams
“There are days when I wish I had died that night. Today is one of those days.”
Today was the most painful day I’ve had in 15 months. That bar isn’t exactly low, either. I woke up from some of the most horrific and heart-breaking nightmares I’ve ever had, and they left me feeling so fundamentally and agonisingly broken that I began to feel as though recovery might never be on the cards for me after all.
I took my morning medication, drank my tea, and I cried. I cried hard. I felt compelled to post the picture and the caption on Instagram (both above); it was the last picture of me taken before the sexual assault. My friends each saw it, and sent me wonderful messages of love and of care; this just made me cry harder. I didn’t feel worthy of that love. I still don’t, but thinking about isn’t currently making me cry, so I guess that’s progress.
It got to a point where I felt so overwhelmed that I found myself facing a small number of options. Open a vein, break my hand punching through my bedroom door, overdose, or scream at the top of my lungs.
With the promises I had made to my family in the forefront of my mind, I opted to scream. I’m talking a guttural, a piece-of-your-soul, nothing-but-agony type scream. My brother freaked and yelled to make sure I was okay (you couldn’t be blamed for thinking I’d hacked off a limb) and Mum rushed to my room. I was inconsolable. Through sobs and laboured breaths, I explained to Mum what had happened, and how I felt. I could tell she was already shaken from the scream, but once I finally got through everything, all I had left to say was:
“I wish they’d just killed me, Mum.”
This broke Mum and suddenly we’re both there, crying. She’s trying to console me and I’m just trying to calm down and apologise for saying something that would make my Mum feel so much pain. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to see your own child sat in tears, wishing their life away. Then I felt guilty and cried some more, until it just stopped.
Anybody who knows me or reads my writing may know that I liken my mental illness to Snakes & Ladders. I stepped on a big fucking snake today. I no longer wish I was dead, actively at least, but suffice it to say I’m not in a great place. I tweeted the other day that I could feel the storm coming, but this is the worst it’s been since I nearly killed myself last June.
It’s strange to be sat here 7 hours later, typing this with a clear and lucid mind, but I suppose I should be grateful that things are no worse. When you go so long without a relapse, you develop a degree of unconscious complacency. The emotional calluses you had built up have softened, and before you know it, you’re far more fragile in those moments than you realise. Living with PTSD hasn’t been easy, and it’s an illness that I’m still trying to understand. The way I broke down today was as intense as the first time I broke down after the sexual assault. It’s not until you’re in the thick of it that you realise how fucked up you can still get.
I don’t know if there will ever come a day where I feel worthy of the love that people send my way. I don’t think I’ll ever be truly comfortable with it, because it feels like you’re being given a prize that you didn’t win.
Before you leave, please take a look at the picture at the opening of this post. That was the last recorded smile of mine before my life changed forever. All I want now is another photograph, where I’m smiling honestly, and I’m thinking “I’m so glad I didn’t die that night. Life is worth living.”
I’m not optimistic, but I am alive. Time to sleep it off, wake up tomorrow and roll the dice again.