Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Medicated (17)

I woke up the next morning with unfathomable sorrow.  Deep, heavy sorrow like the weight of  a thousand oceans piled on top of me. It took every single ounce of resolve and effort to fold over the blankets and climb out of bed.  If it wasn't for my children who were loudly playing downstairs, I would have stayed curled in a tight fetal position soaking my pillow with more tears and sweat.

Sorrow gave way to deep gloom, which gave way to numbing heartache. I couldn't speak, I couldn't move, I wanted to sob and weep but the energy eluded me. Instead, I focused on unpacking and breaking down the many boxes from the move a few weeks ago.

 "I must work and move," I thought. "If I stop moving I may never get up."

Eventually, my body got tired.  The house was nearly unpacked, the furniture was re-assembled and moved to their appropriate places. I was exhausted, but the house was unpacked in record time. I sat down. Blackness came to rest next to me and all I could think was. . . I couldn't think at all. I felt for the sensations of my skin against clothing and the chair, nothing.  I listened for sounds to hear, nothing.   I looked for light, but all I saw was colorless and grey. I was in a numbing, desensitizing state of oblivion. I stopped moving and everything stopped.  I can't say for certain how long I sat motionless and silent in the center of our new home. Suddenly, a small spark of life popped inside me grabbing the slightest focus of my attention. I got up from where I sat, went upstairs into my bedroom and began to medicate. I needed to feel SOMETHING! I needed to feel ANYTHING but nothing.

(Sigh) The few seconds of pleasure was enough to get me through the rest of the afternoon. The physical release was just that--a release of the nothing.  Feed the kids dinner,  change clothes for bed, snuggle, put the kids to bed, kiss the kids goodnight. Curl into a tight ball and watch something boring on T.V. My wife was traveling and away training for her new job. I was alone. Hopefully tomorrow would be better somehow.

It wasn't.

The same numbness, the same agony, the same emptiness, the same barely-lit cavernous hole of despair. Like that final moment at sunset,  as the last beam of sunlight breached past the horizon making the landscape neither light or dark. Its grayness makes it even more difficult to see.  Feed the kids, entertain the kids, try not to explode in rage, medicate, nap time, medicate, try not to explode in rage, make dinner, kiss the kids goodnight. Curl into a tight ball and watch something boring on T.V. medicate. Go to sleep.  Perhaps the next day will be better.

It was worse.

The sounds of movement and activity downstairs in the living room opened my eyes to a new day of more oblivion and pain. This had to stop--I needed to find a way to get moving and motivated. Slowly my hand moved downward and untied the knot to the waistband of my pajamas. Perhaps if I medicate first, that will start the day off on a high note and I'm not spending all day trying to play catch up.  Afterwards, as my heart-rate began to slow down.  I put my clothes on and descended the stairs screaming, "Why is it so loud in here?"

"I just want SILENCE!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. "Why can't you be quiet!"

Rage churned inside me like a knife blade twisting deep into my blistering flesh. I needed to separate myself from the moment or I was going to do something that I would later regret or possibly go to jail for such as hunt down AFB.  My children didn't need me like this.  It wasn't their fault. "Put your clothes on! We are going to the mall so you can play for awhile!" As I shouted orders at my confused children, I became more and more impatient and angry. "Why is this taking so long!? Put your fucking shoes on!" What was only a few seconds in normal time, felt like an hours piled upon hours to me--nothing was accomplished quick enough. At long last, we sped off toward the mall so that the children could play, and I needed to collect my thoughts and write in my journal. I needed to calm down.

(Fuck! I regret my behavior. I wish AFB hadn't done this to me so that I could have been a normal father to my children, not this screaming trash heap of brokenness.)

At least I was feeling something: rage, anger, fierce betrayal was better than the emotionless void of previous days. Once we got to the mall, my rage had begun to fade as a distant drumbeat in the jungle,  just loud enough to put everyone on alert. I decided I needed a coffee and an apple fritter from Starbucks. We then walked to the play area, and as the children scampered off to play with the others that were already there I opened my book and began to write. The words were hard to come at first, and I had completely devoured the apple fritter and drank over half of the large coffee before the venom began to flow outward from my pencil. "MY FUCKING PASTOR RAPED ME!!!" I wrote, taking the whole page to create those five words.

"No he didn't," a voice in my head argued back. "You are angry for nothing. you are the asshole pervert, not AFB."

I continued writing, organizing my thoughts, processing the previous days. Later I wrote,

". . . another thing I learned in group this week was anger or rage can be a compensation for other lesser emotions like vulnerability or powerlessness."

"Damn, I must really be feeling powerless and vulnerable today," I said to myself.

I took one last sip from the bottom dregs of my coffee cup.  "Children," I called with a lighter, calmer tone, "let's go home and have some lunch."

I can't say I was feeling better, but I was less on the edge of murderous revenge. After lunch, I put the children to bed for a nap. It was "Daddy's special alone time." I closed my bedroom door and began to medicate. This time, perhaps, I could feel something besides rage, anguish and guilt.



lisa said...

Joel, I have to say your blog has been difficult to read at best and very disturbing at it's worst. But I admire and greatly appreciate the courage it has taken for you to share your story with me and others. I always wondered if you were somehow broken...I would never have guessed just how deeply your scars went. Reading your blog has helped to understand others in my life who have suffered their own pain and trauma...maybe not the same as yours but the anger makes much more sense now. Blessings to you and Amy I am priveledged to know you both.

Perpetually Healing said...

Thank you for reading, your feedback encourages me to write more.

"Reading your blog has helped to understand others in my life who have suffered their own pain and trauma.."

And that is why I am writing this.


Anonymous said...

Hello, I know this content is a decade old at this point so I am not sure if you are still updating or reading replies but I wanted to tell you that this story is quite a wild ride and very similar to what I have been dealing with. The misdirected anger with your family is a particular hard point for me to read but very true for me as well. Keep fighting the good fight!

Perpetually Healing said...

Thank you very much for reading.