Spiraling, Bad News, & An Intervention: The Cycle of Hell 

This week was a bit chaotic to say the least, I received some bad news, pissed off an entire congregation, spiraled a bit, had an intervention and a very intense, exhausting therapy session. 

I received a phone call from my mother I knew before she even said anything that it was bad news. My mother never calls me, she informed me that she is dying. She was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney failure, the doctors told her there’s not much they can do other than a possible transplant. The outlook is not very good and so that’s happening. I honestly did not expect for it to really affect me like it did, my mother and I do not have the best relationship. She wanted me to come down for Easter and reminded me that I was the “strong one” of the family and my sisters desperately needed me to be that person for them. It’s ironic really, I am anything but the strong one, I do not cope well with bad news. I spiral and I break far too easily. I maybe able to mask my weakness with a smile but I am not strong. My parents always thought of me as the strong one growing up just because I was good at pretending that everything was just fine, I don’t know how they haven’t realized how horrible I am with things like this. I always fake it and then I spiral and it gets bad. I really did not know what to say to her other than I would be there. So I prepared myself the best I could broke out the fake happy, peppy McKenzie and went overboard with pretending like everything was fine. I wasn’t taking the news very well, but I smiled anyways. 

I fell back onto my faithful companion of alcohol this past week after my mothers bad news. I couldn’t deal with everything sober and certainly could not keep up the facade of being totally fine. I went down to my parents prepared with a bottle of vodka in my passenger seat and a flask in my purse. Obviously this was a recipe for disaster. My mother insisted I attend Sunday Service even though she knows I do not practice this religion anymore. This led to the entire church judging me and the sermon some how being turned into a lecture about how some children of God have strayed far away from what they were brought up in. 

He then continued and preached about how God will try to punish those who have strayed away, may that be by causing bad things to happen to them or whatever. He stared at me while saying all of this and then said the most fucked up thing ever. “God will try to break you down for you to see your wrong doing and encourage you to turn to him. He will do whatever it takes to waken you and bring you back to him, he may even go as far as causing you to be raped in order for you to turn back to God. Everything that happens to you is Gods way, you deserve all that you get.” I honestly could not believe what he said, and couldn’t help but feel disgusted with this nonsense, the congregation agreed with him with Amens coming from various pews. I stood up and looked dead at this guy and told him he was wrong, so incredibly wrong. I told him no one deserves to be raped and for him to be a suppose preacher and say that, is complete bullshit. And then I marched myself right out of that church with everyone staring at me. I couldn’t believe he would say this and I couldn’t believe that these people actually agreed with him! I opened my flask and downed the vodka while waiting for the service to end. 

My parents and sisters did not take my reaction to the pastors sermon very well and of course I was the one in the wrong. Easter dinner resulted in my mother and father yelling at me, reminding me how disappointed they are with me and how I’m ruining their lives apparently. I didn’t really have much to say, there was no reason in arguing with them and I planned to leave once they were finished so I didn’t really care. I figured things couldn’t get much worse but I was wrong. My mother noticed the bandaid on my arm and of course she had to know what happened which resulted in her holding my arm down while my sister ripped it off and then my mom flipping out because of the self harm cuts. My father told me I needed to grow up and if I wanted to kill myself so badly I should just go ahead and do it. I left after that and of course was not in the best head space. 

I returned to my apartment two hours away where I consumed a great deal of alcohol and kinda went off the deep end with a carving knife.  My best friend Chris showed up and flipped out when she saw what I had done, my arms were a bloody mess and I fucked up majorly. She helped cleaned up the blood and tried to attend to the wounds which were pretty bad. She stayed with me that night and the next day decided I was in need of an intervention. So Chris, Justice and my (complicated) boyfriend Adam sat down with me and we had this huge discussion about how I am spiraling and I need people to fall back on. They wanted to be my people, I really did not want anyone else in my life. All I seem to do is disappoint everyone and I really did not want to bring anyone else into this mess called my life. Chris told me I needed to either allow them to be there for me and count on them to be the ones to go to when things get bad or I wasn’t going to get any better. She told me I had to have people to help me get through all of this and I just needed to trust them. I reluctantly agreed and so now I have people so that’s a thing. 

They ended up staying with me that night and we now have this agreement that one of them will be there at my apartment on Tuesdays, so I have someone in case therapy is too much like it was last week. I also made an agreement with them that I will contact them if I begin to spiral and I won’t do anything drastic before they get there. So that’s a thing. 

I went to therapy yesterday where we did more EMDR and it was rough. They don’t tell you just how much of a toll EMDR will have on you. My therapist insisted we go back to that night I was raped and relive the experience once more. We didn’t get far into the session before I freaked out and panicked. I couldn’t deal with all of it, it was a bit too much and I began clawing at my arm to bring me out of the intense flashback I was having. My therapist grabbed my arms and tried to ground me. Once the flashback was over I lost it. I completely broke down, I began sobbing about everything it was a lot and I just couldn’t keep it together anymore. My therapist asked to see my arms and so I reluctantly showed her them, she grew concerned for they looked a bit bad. I assured her everything was fine but she made me sign a contract stating that if I harmed myself I would contact her immediately just in case. So that’s a thing. 

I feel as though I am stuck in an endless cycle of pure hell with nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks. I can’t seem to move forward from everything, my therapist however keeps reassuring me that I am just in the middle of the tunnel to recovery and it will take time before I see any improvement. I can’t help but have my doubts that I will never get over this. I want to be able to be okay again and not think about what Cameron did every second of every day. I feel like I’m getting worse than better, it just seems a bit hopeless right now. I know I have to just keep keeping on and things will eventually be okay but it’s a lot. This week was just a lot. 

EMDR Therapy, Flashbacks & Panic Attacks: This is the hard part 

“There is nothing that can take the pain away. But eventually, you will find a way to live with it. There will be nightmares. And everyday when you wake up, it will be the first thing you think about. Until one day, it’s the second.”
This week was rough, I’m not going to lie it was a really hard week. I went to therapy yesterday and we talked about the nightmares I’ve been having about Cameron (nothing new, the same ones that have been haunting me since that night). My therapist decided we would try EMDR again, we stopped a few weeks ago to give me a bit of a break since it is very intense. This time she had me hold these two buzzers in each of my hands that would alternate. We began the EMDR and she had me think back to that night and picture Cameron’s face. 

The night that Cameron raped me, he made eye contact with me for a split second when he first began. He looked at me when I whimpered “please don’t”, it was the only time during the rape we would make eye contact, he closed his eyes afterwards. His eyes were so blue, I knew then I would forever have a hate for blue eyed boys.  I will never forget the look on his face when he looked at me in that moment, he looked almost ashamed of what he was about to do and then he just continued. 

The flashback brought me right back there, that night in my bed Cameron raping me. I couldn’t make it stop and I began panicking. It was intense, I just couldn’t deal. The flashback subsided and I dropped the buzzers, my therapist moved closer to me and placed them back in my hand she told me to describe what I saw. I told her I couldn’t do this, it was too much. But she persisted. So I recalled his eyes, his face, the smell of the cigarettes on his breath. She told me she wanted me to continued, and so I again went right back to that night. The flashback was just as grueling and worse the second time around. I couldn’t ground myself and subconsciously began clawing at my wrist (which was bandaged from a couple of days prior where I burned myself to ground during a flashback. I know I shouldn’t be inflicting wounds onto myself but it’s been a rough week and I can’t seem to ground myself during flashbacks.) 

My therapist put her hand over my bandage wrist and began talking to me, the flashback slowly ended and she asked me how long I’ve been self harming. I told her she didn’t know what she was talking about in which she responded “McKenzie, I have been doing this long enough to know when someone is self harming. You started clawing at your arm during the flashback. You have to be honest with me for this to work.” And so I told her the truth about my self harm and then had a panic attack. 

After finally calming down from the panic attack she wanted me to tell her more about the night with Cameron. I just wanted the therapy session to be over. We discussed Cameron for a bit and then we did some more grounding excercises to calm me. She then wanted to make sure I was safe to go home and I assured her I was. 

I had my (complicated) boyfriend Adam drive me to therapy yesterday and pick me up since my car was in the shop. Thankfully he was the one driving me home because I was wreck. We only got five minutes down the road before I began having a panic attack and told him to pull over, I puked my guts out and then went home to sleep because I was insanely exhausted.

 I woke up a few hours later to a lovely nightmare that of course led to a flashback.  I couldn’t stop the flashback no matter what I tried, I ended up taking a pair of scissors to my wrist slicing open more wounds. The flashback subsided from the self inflictions. I then had a panic attack from all of the blood which was just terrible. I finally calmed down cleaned up the cuts and decided I would go crash at my friends house since obviously I wasn’t in the best head space. 

It was a very grueling and exhausting day. I really hope this EMDR therapy actually works because it’s hell. I just want the flashbacks and panic attacks to stop. I just want this part of the pain to end. I want to wake up and not think about the night I was raped. I know I just began the EMDR and I know it’s going to take a while for it to start working and desensitize me from the rape, but I just don’t know how much more of it I can handle. It takes a toll on my body and makes me so fucking exhausted every time. I am just ready to be over the hard part. 

Why did he have to rape me? 

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what causes someone to become a rapist. Why do rapists rape? Did someone once take their voice away and now they choose to do the same? Is it the sense of empowerment they gain from forcing themselves upon someone? Is it just because they were never taught no? Did their parents forget to teach them that you are not to take what doesn’t belong to you? Is it just because they can? 

I wonder why Cameron chose to do what he did. Why he chose to ignore my pleas and cries and continue to do what he wanted. Why he did the same thing to another girl a few months after doing it to me. I wonder if he ever lays awake at night disgusted with what he’s done. I wonder if he’s ever prayed to God to forgive him for such a horrible crime. I wonder if he will ever be sorry for what he did to me. I wonder why he couldn’t have just killed me instead, why he didn’t just slit my throat and left me there to die. 

I wish I could just ask him why he did what he did. I don’t know if I knew the answers to the questions if it would actually resolve anything. I don’t know if I would feel better and would  be able to get over all of this faster or not… I honestly don’t know if it would do any good. I just can’t help but crave the answer so badly. 

This past week I have been told countless times how much I have changed since last year. Apparently everyone is concerned that I’m becoming distant and they are worried because “I’m just not like how I used to be.” My old friends have informed me they feel as if they have lost the old McKenzie, that the old me is dead and they miss how happy I used to be, how outgoing and bubbly I once was. They wish I was like I used to be, they wish I could just move on from all of this and be okay again. 

Everyone is right I guess, I have changed a lot since last year. I am no longer that happy, peppy, excited person I used to be. That long haired blonde beauty who wore the cross around her neck religiously is dead. She died last year after Cameron took what he wanted from her on that warm September night. I’m no longer that oh so trusting, naive girl I once was. I no longer believe that everyone is good in the world or that everyone deserves forgiveness. I have become this cynical, pissed the fuck off at the universe, empty person. I don’t believe in God or myself anymore. I chopped off all of my hair and dyed it every color imaginable, refusing to resemble that girl Cameron was so into that he couldn’t control himself. I have changed everything about me. 

I wish to god I could get the fuck over this and move on with my life. I wish I could forget it ever happened and be okay again. I wish it was easier to just move on from being raped. I wish I could just be fucking okay again god how I wish I could be fucking normal again! 

I want to feel something other than this agonizing self hatred that is rotting away at me at the core. I hate myself so much for putting myself in the situation to get raped to begin with. I hate myself for not doing more to stop it. I hate myself for not reporting him after it happened. I hate myself for allowing him to walk free and do it again to another girl. I hate myself so fucking much it’s almost unbearable. 

I guess I’m just feeling really shitty this week is all. I can’t get Cameron’s image out of my head, I can’t stop thinking about all of the would’ve, could’ve, should’ves of that night. I can’t stop obsessing over the night of the rape. I can’t stop blaming myself and beating myself up about it. 

Some Days A Survivor, Other Days A Victim Of Rape 

Some nights I go to bed as a rape survivor and I wake up as rape victim. Other days I wake up a survivor and go to bed a victim. 

Today I woke up a victim, it was not a good day. I woke up panicking like I do most days, but today was different it was worse and the panic attack lasted longer than usual. This past week I started having this terrifying nightmare  about Cameron, it starts out the same I’m in my current apartment and I’m sleeping, I wake up to Cameron standing at the foot of the bed. The dream continues and I can’t move or say anything, Cameron climbs on top of me and rapes me just like he did last year. Towards the end of the dream its like I wake up and it wasn’t happening but then in the dream I go to my closet (which is my go to when I’m having a panic attack) and Cameron is in there, he then chokes me, I always wake up mid-panic attack hyperventilating. 

It’s so real like, and now I have irrational fear that Cameron is here in my new apartment, even though he has no idea where I even live! I’m so paranoid that I’m going to find him somewhere in my home or run into him somewhere in town (even though I moved nearly 2 hours away and he goes to school 7 hours away in the opposite direction.) I’ve been so paranoid and afraid this week I haven’t left the house much other than to go to work. 

My anxiety levels have been through the roof, I keep having panic attacks over nothing! They just randomly occur and it’s exhausting. The flashbacks have been hell this week and I don’t even know what’s triggering them either!! It’s just been a really rough week. 

I bought a hand gun Wednesday off some guy totally illegal but I don’t really care. My best friend is concerned that I have this weapon she’s afraid I may do something to myself with it. The thought has crossed my mind more times than I’d like to admit but I just need something just in case anything happens. I am so paranoid and terrified that Cameron is going to show up and rape me again. I know it is completely irrational and ridiculous but I just can’t shake the feeling that he’s lurking around the corner waiting to attack. 

It’s odd really, I was doing so well for a moment, things were looking up and now everything is going to hell and I feel worse than ever. I just want to stop the flashbacks and anxiety attacks. I just want to forget it ever happened. I just want to be okay again. The fact that the memory of what Cameron did will forever stay with me is enough to make me want to blow my brains out. 

I hate sleeping so fucking much every night I have nightmares about Cameron. I just wish I could turn off my brain and not think about anything. Do people ever really get over being raped?! Do they ever forget what was done to them?! How long will the scars of what he did to me last?! I don’t know how much more of all of this I can take. 

Being Hopeful After Rape: A positive post for once 

“Although the world is full of suffering, it’s also full of overcoming”~ Helen Keller

So this week was a whirlwind of emotions  I managed to somehow begin “dating” Adam (the guy who brought me red roses on Valentine’s Day) I made some progress in therapy, started a new sleep medication, I applied to a college, stood up to my mother, received my 30 day chip of sobriety, found some new outlets for my anger and got in a terrible wreck. It’s been an interesting week to say the least, with a lot more positive than negatives. 

Adam asked me out, I didn’t say no but didn’t really say yes either. He likes to talk a lot and I don’t think he realizes often that I don’t usually contribute to the conversation. I just listen, nod, smile. Sometimes neither of us talk, we just sit in silence. It’s odd really, but he’s sweet, he doesn’t pry or asks about my past which I enjoy. I haven’t told him much about my past really, he found out the hard way I do not enjoy him wrapping his arms around my waist from behind. I freaked out had a flashback, then a panic attack and puked on his shoes. It was awkward, afterwards I told him to never touch me like that again. He agreed and that was that, we didn’t really talk about it so that’s a thing. He’s sweet and honest, he really cares for me which is nice to have, so I guess I’ll see how this goes. 

I went to therapy last Tuesday, we talked about Cameron and the nightmares I’ve been having. I didn’t want to do EMDR therapy so we skipped it, instead we talked about my triggers and how I can avoid them. I also brought up some details about the night I was raped that I hadn’t actually spoken about out loud, (then I freaked out and puked) so progress was made. I keep having the same nightmare this week, it’s about the rape itself, Cameron is on top of me and I try to scream or move but I can’t. It’s as if I’m frozen and it’s all happening again. I can feel it all, the weight of his body on top of mine, his knees pinning into my thighs, his grip tightening on my wrists, the smell of his cologne, the cigarettes on his breath so vivid it’s so surreal… I hate it. I am sleeping now which is a huge deal, I started Remeron to help with sleep this past week and it is actually working. I have actually been sleeping for 6.5-7 hours a night which is amazing!!!! I still have the nightmares but I’m sleeping so that’s good! 

I received my 30 day chip of sobriety on the 25th at AA, I am actually kind of proud of myself for this accomplishment even if it’s not that big of a deal. It’s the one thing I have done right it seems like so that’s a thing. I joined yoga this week, even though I hate mediation and honestly thought  yoga was stupid, it’s actually not that bad and it’s very relaxing. I also got back into kick boxing which is the best thing ever! It’s an amazing way to release all of my built up anger. 

I applied to a college two hours away from where I currently live and a college by the coast 4.5 hours from where I currently am. I want to get back into school, get a degree in something and be successful in that area at least. I am thinking about either graphic design or paralegal work (I know complete opposites of one another but they interest me) I went to a suicide survivors group this week and met a really awesome girl who is very inspiring! She too is a victim of rape which is terrible, but she’s overcome so much and we have a lot of the same tragedies in life. We spent some time hanging out and now I have someone who kind of understands what I’m going through in my life at the moment, and that is great. 

 I got in a wreck last week which was not good and very terrifying. A friend of mine was driving and a truck swerved into our lane hit us head on and the vehicle flipped down an embankment. My friend Justice, who was driving walked away with a single scratch, I however was not so lucky. I sprained my wrist, cracked two ribs, got a concussion, a black eye, bruise face and chest and whiplash. It sucked! So that happened and of course when the ambulance brought me to the hospital I freaked out (ever since Cody I can’t stand hospitals I’m always afraid he’s going to show up… irrational I know, but it’s what I do) so they had to sedate me and then they called my parents because they are who is on my emergency list. My parents freaked out called a hundred times and when I came to I called them back. 

They were surprisingly concerned, so I went down to see my family this past weekend. It went well for the most part, I stood up to my parents so that was pretty big. My mother wants me to move back to my home town. She said it  would be better if I did, I could move back into my old apartment and get my life back that I had when I used to live there. I could go back to my old church, and start dating my ex Jacob who dumped me when I moved here back in August. I informed her I would NOT be moving back home. I reminded of the fact that I was raped there and honestly do not want to be in the town that reminds me so much of the worse day of my life. She did not take that too well and said “I was disappointing her” I told her, “Why should I move to a town I hate and go to a church and pray to a god I don’t believe in? Why should I get back with a guy who dumped me because I chose to move away? I’m happy where I am. I don’t want the life I had, I wasn’t really happy then.” She had a lot to say to this response and told me she wishes I could be the daughter she wanted. I told her if she couldn’t accept who I am now then she really doesn’t need to be in my life, I also asked her why she is so concerned now she wasn’t a month ago when I called from the 6th floor after a suicide attempt. Her response, “because this time it was serious. You got in a serious car wreck, you could’ve died.” I told her I could’ve died when I attempted suicide, it was serious then just as much as it is now. I told her if she can’t be there for me when I need her the most don’t bother when it’s convenient for her. Now we are back to not being on speaking terms so that’s what’s happening there, but I’m not going to let it bother me she made her decision. 

I am learning to deal with my trauma a bit better I believe, I’m sleeping now, I stood up to my mother, I haven’t been drinking, I’m making progress in therapy and I’ve made a friend with someone who too has faced horrible trauma. I am actually okay, I am learning to be happy and to not let what was done to me define me. This week hasn’t been all too bad, which is a big deal for me and I’m actually looking on the positive side of things. I think I can may be okay one day, I see a future for myself and that’s the most progress I think I’ve made in a long time. 

It Gets Harder Before It Gets Easier: EMDR therapy, sobriety and progress after rape 

“It’s gonna get harder before it gets easier. But it will get better, you just gotta make it through the hard stuff first.”

This week has been insanely difficult, I went to therapy Tuesday and we started EMDR therapy which is crucial and I hate it. This type of therapy is a lot and takes a major toll on you both physically and mentally. We had started last week with the first step of finding a “safe place” or whatever, a place to go to in my mind that is safe, calm and relaxing, I originally chose a graveyard. However Tuesday as we were doing EMDR she had me thinking back to the night of the rape and then told me to go to my “safe place” after I began to freak out. My “safe place” resulted in seeing Cameron there which fucking sucked. So I had to think of a new safe place and now it’s my closet in my new apartment because it seems sort of safe. It’s also the place I go to after waking up from a nightmare or when I start having a flashback while I’m at home, so it’s sort of my sanctuary for the time being. 

 I do not enjoy EMDR it brings up way too many memories of that night I was raped, memories I really don’t want to think about. It’s a lot, I began hyperventilating during our session which was just lovely because like always right after I calmed down I puked. I seriously hate EMDR. My therapist keeps telling me it’s going to be hard before it’s easy, and keeps reciting the quote “It’s gonna get harder before it gets easier. But it will get better, you just gotta make it through the hard stuff first.” She says I’m making progress but I honestly have my doubts, though I’m trusting her and believing that she’s right about things getting harder before they’re easier. I just have to make it through all this hard stuff first, and that is the hardest part. After therapy I felt horrible and couldn’t get the image of Cameron out of my head. I haven’t been sleeping well (which isn’t a surprise, it’s just exhausting). The nightmares have been just as consistent as they always have been. The flashbacks are back which really sucks and I honestly wish they could just go away. 

I am so tired, physically and mentally drained. I don’t know if I can do this whole EMDR thing, I don’t know if I’m ready for this. I feel like everything is getting worse and I just want to forget. I think it would be better if I just played pretend again and go about my life like I was before, pretending it never happened and that I am totally okay. It would be easier that way and maybe I would be feeling better than I am now. I know it’s not the wisest thing to do. I don’t know it’s just a lot, everything is just a lot. 

This Saturday marks 30 days of sobriety for me, this is apparently a big deal so that’s a thing. I don’t know how people deal with trauma and stay sober, I don’t how people remain sober while dealing with the aftermath of rape. I don’t even know how I’ve managed to remain sober for the past month now?! It’s been hard and I have wanted so badly to just down the flask of tequila I have in the dash of my car. I just want to forget for a while, I want to be normal and okay. I want things to be easier than they are right now. It’s hard, it’s really hard. However even if I think the AA meetings are silly and the chants are very similar to that of a cult, I’m going to stick with it and continue staying sober for at least one year, I know it’s something I need to do even if it’s so fucking hard. I know in the long run it’s better, I need to be able to cope and deal without the use of alcohol. 

This week I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to do with my life. I made a promise to myself before I moved here in August that by fall of 2017 I would get back into school and finish up a degree of some sort. This year I needed a break from everything, I needed a year to deal with my trauma and just take some time. I am hoping that by this fall I am ready to go back to school and stable enough with everything that I can focus on a career. So I have began applying to some colleges for this upcoming fall, I want to either go into social work or paralegal work. I want to do something with my life that can help other people in some way. I am going to start doing some interning and volunteer work at a few places around town that relate to these careers. I want to make sure I enjoy whatever I go into, so I figure dipping my toes in with interning/volunteering I can get a feel for these types of careers. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s out there and finding out what I really want to do. 

I have a pretty good support group of people right now in my life, for the first time in a long time I feel like someone actually cares. I have made a few new friends and have opened up a bit more with some people about everything. The people that now know what’s going on are amazing, they are great to have in my life at the moment. It’s kind of crazy honestly, I never would have imagined how different everything would be once I moved up here. The people I was friends with and met when I first moved here 6 months ago, I don’t even talk to anymore. Both my old roommates have blocked me from their lives, my so called friends I made are either still pissed because of my suicide attempt or have dropped me because I’m not drinking anymore. My family is still not talking to me so that’s a thing too. But the new people in my life right now are all I really need. It’s a small group of people, but they really care and are pretty awesome to have. They don’t expect me to “get over my trauma” Or “deal with it the way they think I should” which is more than I can say my old support group of people ever did. 

My new foundation of support consists of one of my coworkers who opened up to me about his trauma, a old friend from back home who is willing to answer the phone at 3am after I wake up panicking from yet another nightmare, this girl I met who is also a victim of rape and is working on healing as well, my two new roommates who are super understanding and just want to see me happy, a girl from my AA meetings who has been amazing with reminding me how important it is to stay sober and this dude who is amazingly sweet and wants to just be there for me. It’s a very interesting mix of people but they are my people and just want to see me okay, they don’t expect me to be a certain way or judge me for how I respond to things, they get me and are there for me and that’s all I ever wanted. 

So even if this week has been hell and everything with therapy has been a lot I’m making progress slowly, but surely. I have a good support group of people in my life right now and I am making plans for my future, I believe I have a future now. I can honestly say I think I’m starting to be okay even if it’s hard, even if I don’t always think I can get through this, I am. I am getting through this and that is huge. 

Red Roses, Flashbacks and Regrets- What I should’ve done

Any girl would be over the moon to be surprised with a bouquet of red roses and chocolates on Valentine’s Day. But not me, red roses brings back months of abuse and memories I never want to remember. This guy Adam, who is adorably sweet and caring decided to surprise me with roses and chocolates today. (We aren’t a couple but we are good friends and we went out bowling the day before yesterday, he is obviously in liking with me even though I’ve told him I’m not interested in a relationship.) He pulled the red roses out from behind his back and I just stood there staring at the red petals as my mind drifted back to my ex Cody and the night he choked me. 

On that warm August night a year and 6 months ago, Cody had came to my place after work like usual, we were having dinner. He always wanted me to have dinner ready and waiting for him when he arrived at 6:30. Every evening it was the same routine. Cody was in a good mood it seemed like, he was happy to see me he brought me red roses these however wasn’t apology red roses which he brought me after every time he would get physical with me. These were his “just because roses” they were rare and special, I didn’t receive just because roses often so I was extactic that he brought me some. Apology roses weren’t as special, don’t get me wrong they were sweet but I knew deep down they were just a symbol of a promise he wouldn’t keep. The same promise he made too many times before the promise of how he swore he would never do it again, he would never hurt me again. 

 I put the “just because roses” in a vase by the window, I was so happy to see him happy. Things were going good, midway through dinner He wanted my phone to “check in” on my social media accounts, to make sure I wasn’t doing anything he didn’t approve of. To make sure I wasn’t breaking any of the rules he had in place, he had a lot of rules. His facial expression changed as he looked through my Facebook, I knew what was coming. He wanted to know who this guy was that I added on Facebook. I said to him, “he’s just a kid I know from elementary school. I’ve known since I was like 5. He has a girlfriend, he just sent me a request I figured I’d add him. No big deal….I know I should’ve asked you first but I know him. okay?” Cody didn’t like my response he slammed his fist on the table and said “No. “not okay” why do you think that’s okay?! It is a BIG DEAL! If you want this guy so bad go be with him! Go be a whore McKenzie! You’re so selfish you know?!” I immediately went into apology mode even though I knew how this would go no matter what I said, no matter how much I pleaded I could never convince him not to hit me, not to hurt me. I knew my words were useless to his fists. I knew I stood no chance of trying to calm him down. But I tried, I always tried to apologize, to plead with him, to get him to understand how sorry I was. 

I sat there and begged him to just calm down, told him I was so sorry I wasn’t thinking I was being selfish. He stood up flipping his plate across the table sending food everywhere and breaking the plate into pieces. He began shouting at me for being so incredibly selfish, so incredibly ungrateful to have such a great guy like him. Cody began shouting “You don’t realize how lucky you are! I am your boyfriend do you know how many girls would love to be with me?!? Do you?! I could have anyone you know but I choose you! And this is how you treat me! You go behind my back and add some scumbag some stupid guy to your facebook without even notifying me?!? Like really McKenzie did you think I wouldn’t find out?!?! Honestly! How stupid are you? Say??!!?” 

I was suppose to respond then but I just sat there as my hands shook and watched this man I was so madly in love with lose control once again. He flung his chair out of the way and began throwing things everywhere, he grabbed the vase of roses he bought me and slammed them on the ground, shards of glass scattered everywhere. He was getting more and more upset and since I was not responding it made it worse. I just couldn’t say anything I sat there unable to even open my mouth, I knew I needed to say something, but I couldn’t make myself say a word. Cody stood in front of me pointing his finger yelling “Say something!!!! How stupid are you?!!?!! Mckenzie! Fucking say something!” 

I remained frozen as my eyes filled with tears, I wanted to say something anything but it was as if I forgot how to speak. Cody was furious he slapped me across the face and then jerked me up by my wrist, he yelled at me for crying. I felt his grip tighten on my arm as it began to throb. 

I found myself that night growing angry with every word he spit at me I was so upset that he was upset over something so stupid! I finally found my voice that night and told him “Just calm the fuck down Cody! I’ll delete him okay!! Just stop! just stop!” I regretted what I said immediately afterwards, I knew better than to mouth back, to curse at Cody. He gripped my collar of my shirt and threw me against the wall his eyes burned with anger and I knew I just fucked up. I whimpered “please? Okay let’s just talk about this okay? Please, please, Cody. Please?” He was furious and I made it worse. That night I knew better but I had a shitty day at work and just wasn’t in the mood for his anger. I wished I hadn’t said anything after those words escaped my mouth. 

He growled at me “What the hell did you just say to me?!” I again repeated, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I just.. I just think we can talk about this okay. We don’t have to do this, you don’t have to do this okay I’m sorry. Let’s just calm down and…talk okay. Just talk.” I couldn’t do anything at this point he was already raging with anger and I had already fucked up. He pinned me against the wall and then wrapped his once so gentle hands around my neck, his eyes flaming with anger, grip tightening as he lifted my body off the ground. As his hands constricted my throat he shouted “You’re so fucking selfish you are the most ungrateful person ever! You don’t give a fuck about me so why should I? Don’t you ever talk back like that again you worthless bitch! You’re so fucking stupid let’s talk about it?! Talk about it?! Alright we’re talking! I’m talking! I’m telling you to never fucking talk back to me again! I’ve told you over and over again!” His hands grew tighter and tighter with every word, his spit spewing on my face as he shouted. My feet kicked underneath me as I grabbed at his hands trying to loosen his grip, trying to breathe, I could feel my lungs burn from the lack of oxygen, I was choking. I honestly thought he was going to kill me. I stared up at him, beads of sweat on his forehead, spit in the corner of his mouth, his brows furrowed. His breathing was uneven and loud, he grit his teeth down as the vein on his temple emerged. Every detail of his face in that moment is etched in my memory. I couldn’t recognize him when he reacted this way, he wasn’t the Cody I loved. Those dark brown eyes that I fell in love with was the only reminder I had that this angry man who stood before me was my Cody, my once so gentle, so loving Cody. 

His words began to seem so distant, I remember gasping for breath and then coming to only to feel his foot colliding with my rib cage. I was laying on the tile floor of my kitchen, he was still yelling and cursing my name. It wasn’t over. I must have loss consciousness. He continued kicking me, I rolled over on my back from the pain as he spit on me saying how I was a piece of dirt. He then lifted his foot and stomped on my stomach and ribs. The pain shot through my body I gasped for breath once again then puked on the floor beside me. He looked down at me and said “Disgusting!” and I watched as he grabbed his coat and stormed out. 

I laid there on the floor sobbing my eyes out my entire body was so sore. It hurt to breathe, it hurt to move, it hurt to be alive. My roommate Alyssa came home a hour later and saw me laying on the kitchen floor, the dinner still set out on the table, his plate broken to pieces, food scattered everywhere, the chair turned over and the “just because roses” vase shattered on the floor with the red rose petals still intact. How that night ended was evident by the evidence of our wrecked kitchen. She wasn’t surprised when she walked in, not really she scanned the room and rushed over to me shaking her head. She knew about his anger, she had witness it so many times before. She sat beside me and inspected the wounds he inflicted. Alyssa put me in the car and we drove a hour to the hospital outside of our county and our state even, because I had been to the hospital in our county twice already within in the past 4 months at the time and I had visited the surrounding hospitals as well. We knew better than to go to the same hospital more than twice, they would ask questions, they would grow suspicious of how I broke more ribs, needed more stitches, sprained more bones, received more black eyes… I didn’t need that. 

So 4 broken ribs and one cracked (again) on my right side, 2 cracked on my left, a sprained wrist, and busted lip later I was back at home by midnight that night. I had work the next day and the bruises from his grip on my neck were starting to show. I would have to wear scarves to cover the handprint bruises even if it was the middle of August in the south, no one could find out. By morning it was as if nothing had happened, the remains of that night were all cleaned up, the kitchen back in order and spotless like usual. Other than the bandage on my wrist and slight cut on my bottom lip there wasn’t any obvious evidence of what he had did the night before. Broken ribs and bruises are easy to hide under clothes and scarves. 

The next day Cody apologize by sending two dozen red roses to my work, all of my coworkers were jealous everyone envied me and those damn red roses. Cody promised me he would change, he needed me to be able to change. He loved me more than anything and wish he could take it back, he promised to never hurt me again. The roses were his way of promising something we both knew he couldn’t keep, but I accepted them anyways. His abuse was always covered up with red roses and fake smiles. 

The guy who brought me the red roses today, Adam, stood there as I zoned out thinking about that night with Cody over a year ago. He asked me if I was okay, and I jolted out of the flashback I was having. I swallowed the bile that was rising up in the back of my throat, I told Adam I was fine, and took the damn bouquet of roses in my shakey hand. I thanked the boy for giving me them, it was a sweet gesture. He doesn’t know about my past or my deep hatred for red roses. And so I took them and did the only thing I seemed to be able to do right when I was with Cody, I faked a smile. I thanked him again even though all I can think about when I see these stupid red roses is Cody. 

I sit here tonight writing this as the red roses sit in my window sill in the only vase that survived Codys rage when we were together.Funny isn’t it how something so simple as red roses can bring back so many memories and pain you wish to forget. I often wonder why I stayed with Cody like I did, why was I so stupid and so blinded by love that I didn’t realize how bad it was? Why did no one ever try to stop him? Why did my neighbors turned up their TV when the arguing and abuse began to grow loud? Why did my roommate who witness the abuse first hand never try to talk me out of being with him? Why did everyone look the other way with every black eye and busted lip I had? Why did it take almost a year of his abuse for someone to finally step in, for my job at the time to get involved? Why did no one reach out sooner? I know I can’t be mad at anyone else but myself for staying like I did. Even if someone would’ve stepped in, I honestly don’t know if it would’ve made a difference. 

I regret not ending it with Cody sooner. I regret that choice to stay with every fiber in my being. I regret not saying anything to anyone. I regret keeping it a secret. I regret Cody and falling in love with him so much. Maybe if I wouldn’t have stayed with him, I wouldn’t have ever met Cameron. If I never would’ve dated Cody I never would’ve ended it with him at the end of August and I never would’ve went out with Cameron in the first place. If I never would’ve went out with Cameron I never would’ve been raped. I wouldn’t be facing all the tragedies and traumas. I wouldn’t be in therapy twice a week, I wouldn’t be on antidepressants and anti anxiety medications. I wouldn’t have tried to kill myself a month ago. My life would’ve been a lot different if I would’ve made different choices. 

I know I should probably just throw these damn red roses out, but Adam giving them to me came from the heart. He didn’t mean any harm from them and so I will let them sit in my window sill until they dry out and die. I will let the reminder of Cody and his damn red roses stay. 

Pain Of Being Raped 

This is the first time since I was raped that I am completely sober. The first time I am not using alcohol to sleep. The first time I am not abusing liquor to numb myself and forget. The first time that I do not have someone or something as my distraction. The first time I am actually dealing with everything and really working on my trauma. The first time I am actually having to feel everything and it hurts so incredibly bad. 

I am laying here in bed at 1AM writing this post, I just woke up from yet another nightmare. Finally after calming down from the anxiety attack that followed, I began to cry. I cried about everything. I cried about Cody and losing him (I know it sounds crazy but I never really did get to grieve the loss of our relationship even if it was toxic, I loved him.) I cried about all the loss I have had in the past year, my family, my sisters and my parents. All of the friends I have loss and the people I once confided in. I cried about Cameron, the rape and what he took from me. I cried about how empty and broken I feel because of what he did. I cried about the fact that I will never be the same person I once was. I cried about how stupid I was for not doing more to stop the rape. I cried about what I should’ve and could’ve done. I cried about this pain and hurt I’m feeling. I cried and cried, even still as I type this up I’m wiping away tears that just don’t seem to want to stop. 

It hurts. Everything hurts so bad right now. I just wish the pain could stop for a while. The very core of my being aches with pain from everything, from all of this trauma and loss. I just want to numb it all and be okay. I just want to forget and not feel anymore. I just don’t think I can handle this pain it hurts too much. It all hurts so much. I don’t see how people do this. I don’t see how they deal with trauma- rape and abuse- and feel all of this. How they can tolerate the pain, how they can actually feel all the hurt. I am not strong enough for this, I can’t handle it, I can’t stand to feel this pain it’s too much. 

It’s the worse pain I have ever had to deal with. My body feels like one huge gaping wound that will never heal. Everything hurts, it hurts to breathe and I feel like my skin is turned inside out, every fiber of my body is so raw and sore. Someone touching me feels like a thousand needles being stabbed into me, it sends me into a panic attack. I can’t stand for anyone to touch me lately, I jump at every sound and the flashbacks have been happening more and more. I feel nauseous every second of the day because I can’t seem to get Cameron out of my head. He is always there, the memory of what he did never goes away. I can’t seem to think of anything else but that night. It’s exhausting, I just want to get him out of my head. The panic attacks are still as grueling and the nightmares still as vivid. Everything has gotten worse lately, it doesn’t seem like I’m making any progress, rather the opposite. It’s like I’m taking 5 steps back instead of moving forward. I just wish the pain of all of this could stop. 

My heart hurts worse than any heartbreak I’ve ever felt, for I’ve lost a part of me that I will never get back. My soul grieves for the loss of everything that once was me. To mourn for yourself, the person you once was before someone robbed you of that, is a pain I wish upon no one. It hurts. It hurts so deep and so bad, it doesn’t stop hurting. The pain is still there every day deep down inside of you aching, throbbing, hurting. Hurting so bad, god how it hurts! I feel like I will never stop hurting, I will never feel better, these tears will never stop and nothing will ever be okay again. 

I never knew how much worse this would feel sober. I never knew the pain would be this intense. I never knew therapy and actually dealing with the trauma would be this hard. I thought by now, one year and 5 months later it would be easier. I thought it wouldn’t hurt so much. I thought I would be able to deal with all of this and not be so weak. Yet here I am crying my eyes out wishing for something to take the pain away. 

Standing In This Storm: cleaning up after a suicide attempt 

This past week has just been a world wind of emotions. I  went straight back to work 3 days after being released from the mental ward which caused its own stress. I told my friends I was in AA which resulted in part of them wanting to “be there for me” but they stating that they can’t “hang with me if they can’t drink around me”. So they will “support me from a distance” and when “I get better they will be there for me.” My other friends either were pissed because I attempted suicide or have completely cut me out of their lives after informing them of the suicide attempt and the whole AA thing. I’ve been trying to clean up all the damage I caused from this suicide attempt, I feel like I’ve hurt so many people and so many people are mad because of it. I just want to make it right. 

So I’ve had to deal with a lot of losses this week which was something I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect to lose my entire family again or my so called friends. I didn’t expect to make so many people mad. I didn’t expect for any of this really. I did expect the high of being alive after a suicide attempt to last longer than it did, it kind of sucks that it faded so quickly. I now have to feel everything with no poisoning to numb or take away the pain and that sucks. I was mad this week after the whole high on being alive thing went away, I was so pissed at everyone and everything!

 I was mad at my family for not being here for me, I was mad at Daniel for not texting me back, I was mad at my so called friends for seeing their true colors, I was mad at Savannah for just ghosting on me, I was mad at my best friend Lindsey from back home because she is so mad at me for trying to take my own life. I was mad at my sister for saying I’m selfish. I was mad at my coworker who threw up the whole suicide attempt telling me “I wasn’t good enough to be a manager since I can’t handle life without trying to kill myself.” I was mad at my new roommates because they have been so overbearing (even if their intentions are good it’s been very annoying!) I was mad at God or whoever for keeping me alive. I was mad at myself for hurting so many people and for being in this situation. 

After spending the past couple of days so pissed off I went to therapy where my therapist began asking me why I was so mad. I explained everything and of course like all good therapists do she asked me “how does that make you feel.” I again repeated everything and told her I was feeling pissed the fuck off at everyone. Of course this led to a whole conversation about what else I was feeling. I then let go of the anger I had and realized I was and am mostly just hurt. 

I’m really hurt. I’m hurt by my parents and sisters reactions. I’m hurt by their words and how they don’t want to be there for me. I’m hurt by Daniel and how he claims he’s there but only when it suits him. I’m hurt by my best friend Lindsey and how she can be so incredibly mad at me when I really need her right now. I’m hurt by Savannah and her choice to ghost me. I’m hurt by my friends Doug and Chris because they want to be there but only when “I fix myself”. I’m hurt by what my coworker said and my other friends who don’t actually give a fuck about me. I’m hurt by all the abuse Cody put me through. I’m hurt by what Cameron did to me. I’m hurt by so many people and it’s awful. 

I’m hurt by me. I hurt myself so many times. I choose to allow toxic people back into my life, even after they have hurt me so many times before.  I choose to put myself in a vulnerable place where I can get hurt. I choose to put so much into being there for other people and expecting/hoping they will be the same for me. I choose to open up to people and then I get hurt when they leave. And I’m so tired of being hurt. 

I’ve been going to AA and I haven’t drank at all since the day I over dose. I still have my flask in my dash though just in case. I have been attending the meetings, reading the books and trying to stay busy to where I just don’t think about alcohol. It’s been hard. Everything is hard right now. I just want to numb everything and not feel all this hurt and pain. 

I don’t really have much of a support group right now. I have one close friend from back home who has been there every step since my stay in the hospital. I have my roommates who don’t really understand but want to be there for me. I have myself and that’s about it. I mean I have plenty of people on social media who is “there” for me for the likes and sentimental messages when it’s convenient for them. But that’s about it. I don’t have a god or some type of faith to fall back on. I am just here and I’m just making it through every day. It’s hard and I’m tired, but I keep hearing there’s a rainbow or some shit at the end of this storm, I just have to keep keeping on. I’m standing in the middle of this storm. I’m trying to keep my head up but the rain is harsh and the clouds haven’t parted. I am cold and alone, I can’t see anything past all the storm clouds and fog. It’s a hard march but I won’t give up.  I get through each day hoping the next will be better and possibly easier. I know it’s going to take time and that sucks but I have to be patient and I have to keep keeping on. 

What I Learned From My Stay In A Mental Ward

I was committed to a mental ward in a private paid hospital (which is apparently suppose to be better, but really isn’t) I was there for one week after trying to kill myself. I learned a lot while I was there which is surprising because I honestly did not expect to gain anything from this experience. 

My first day there I was too out of it to really comprehend what was happening or where I was. I was high on trazodone and had the worst hangover I’ve ever had from all the alcohol I drunk, it was not pleasant. My second day resulted in me coming to and realizing where I was. This was not good and I was freaking out! I did not want to be there I was so miserable and angry at everyone. I did not enjoy it at all, I just wanted to leave and was so afraid of all the people that were there. By the third day I realized I had a choice to make either be pissed off and never get released or fake it, smile and break out the cheerleader McKenzie persona to get me through my stay there. This actually surprisingly worked and was the reason I got out as soon as I did. 

I learned a lot though! For one I learned the best therapy you can get in that place is simply talking to other patients. There wasn’t any one on one therapy there and the groups were kinda so broad it didn’t really resolve anything. They didn’t really focus on dealing with your issues that brought you there so it was pointless in that sense. However we had a lot of time to talk to the other patients and we were bored mostly, so conversing with each other was all we could do and so we talked! And talked and talked! Everyone talked about everything really, I was really curious about the other patients lives before they were committed and how they ended up there. 

It was really surprising to hear everyone’s story, one girl was there simply because she checked herself in saying she was going to kill herself even though she really wasn’t she just wanted a new place to “start over” at when she got released. There was people there who had a normal life outside of there just like me(which was really surprising for me, I just assumed everyone was fucked up on the outside of that place too!) there was a guy who ran the kitchen at a restaurant, a woman who taught preschool, a guy who had his own construction company, a woman who was a stay at home mom, and many many more. It just made their stories about their lives and how they ended up in the psych ward so much more real. 

There was one older guy who was there and would shout randomly and repeat himself, he didn’t socialize much at first and I was so afraid of him. It was my fourth day there that I finally decided to go speak to him, I sat beside of him at lunch and instroduced myself. He didn’t say anything at first and didn’t even look up at me. I asked him what his name was and then made small talk (I figured I might as well even if he wasn’t responding back). This guy finally stuck his hand out and I shook it and then he told me his name was Lee. This guy got to talking and he had the best stories to tell! He was so funny and could sing like no one else! It was so incredible to see this guy who wouldn’t talk and was always by himself finally open up and talk and laugh. His entire demeanor changed and that was seriously the best thing to see. When I left Monday he stopped me to thank me for talking to him. He said “You don’t realize how much that meant to me. You talked to me and was nice. You made me very happy and you really brightened up this place with your spunk! You are so happy and made everyone happy! Thank you for being my friend. You’re an awesome girl and I really enjoyed meeting you!” He gave me a hug and was seriously the best thing ever! 

I realized while I was in there that the nurses and doctors there some of them really do not enjoy their job and are overworked. Some really take their job seriously and go the extra mile, while others will only do what they have to and if it’s anything extra they just won’t. The night shift nurses are so much better and so lenient they are less strict and honestly don’t care what goes on. The nurses lives are pretty interesting too many of them just went into the field because it was easy to get a job with. 

Peanut butter, crackers, and hot cocoa is like money on the psych floor! These are like gold and semi hard to come by at certain times of the day so if you keep a stock you have it made. Also hospital food is pretty shitty and being a vegetarian while there is the worse because they took forever to finally give me a vegetarian menu. I realized why you should have more than your parents number and 911 memorized, neither came in handy during this situation. I also realized why it is so important to update your emergency contact list with the hospital, in my case I had my parents listed, my aunt I haven’t seen since I was 7.5, and my old roommate who wasn’t talking to me! So I couldn’t reach anyone who was of any help to me while I was there, I had to call my work and have one of my employees stalk my Facebook friends to get in contact with someone to bring me clothes and to really just have someone on the outside to talk to. I didn’t realized just how lonely you could feel surrounded by people 24/7. I just wanted to talk to someone on the outside who could remind me that it was going to be okay. I honestly felt so alone and my anxiety levels was so high I irrationally thought (like I do) ‘I will never get out of here I will die here!’ And looking back now I know how silly it was to think that but in that situation my anxiety got the best of me. If I had someone I could’ve called just to tell me everything was going to be okay and I was okay that would’ve meant the world to me! Luckily I did have a very good friend of mine who came to visit me while I was there and was super great about just being there for me. 

The weekends are the worst and you have so much free time which means you are bored out of your mind! This was when the conversations got real and people started talking about their issues they had and struggles they were dealing with. I got so much advice while I was in there, from these other patients about what I was going through that helped more than anything. I was able to gain some really interesting outlooks on what I was going through. It was incredible to have someone who was going through more stuff than I was, really listen and give me some solid advice and their opinion on it. Everyone was so great about supporting one another and really just being sympathetic with other people’s issues and troubles. 

I sat with a guy who had been around drugs his entire life and messed around and got on some when he was young, this guy was going to jail after being released and listening to him talk about what he should’ve and could’ve done differently was amazing. He talked with me about his childhood and then he started putting it together why he chose the path he did and it became real to him. Just listening and not really saying anything, just being there for him was all he needed. He told me no one ever really listened to him and he was glad I could that. 

I learned so much from the other patients it’s so mindblowing honestly. I am so grateful for this experience, it gave me so much insight on what other people were going through and helped me in more ways than I will ever be able to put into words. I learned a lot about myself while I was there, I gained more coping skills to deal with my anxiety since they sucked at giving out medications. I learned how important it is to be kind to people, to smile and talk to them, it could change their entire day for the better. I never would’ve expected to learn so much from a stay on a psych floor but I did. I am very grateful for those friends who cared to message and call me while I was away, and for my current roommates who have been so supportive in all of this. I am beyond thankful for the other patients who were there who shared their story with me and who listened and gave their take on the things I was dealing with. It was a wild ride being locked up on the psych floor and it was intense, I had my moments of losing it, but it was needed and I’m glad it all went down like it did. Even if I hate that it took me nearly dying to do this.