Often, there is a much darker side to domestic violence and intimate partner abuse beyond the physical assaults and destruction of property. I’m referring to the destruction of the victim’s ability to find a purpose to go on living.
At my most depressed before escaping the boy, I thought about how easy it would be for me to end the anguish just by dying. I imagined myself dead. I thought about how my death would affect my son and my mother and my sisters. I didn’t like what I was imagining, but I couldn’t help but think about my own relief. I was tired of quietly crying myself to sleep or drinking myself into unconsciousness so I didn’t have to answer his phone calls, respond to his texts, or listen to the boy degrade me with his accusations and words. I didn’t know any other way to make it stop, but realized that dying was a great solution. Dying would end it all.
I remember sitting on the edge of the bed, grabbing my journal, and beginning THE letter. I didn’t get far before I heard my cell phone ringing. It was the special ring tone I chose for my sister Rachael. I answered. She asked me, “Are you Okay? I am worried about you.”
Instead of going into what I was in the midst of writing, I just talked with her. I took this call as a sign that I was being really, really stupid and really, really uncaring to myself and everyone who loved me. We kept talking. I felt better by the time we hung up, and I ripped the beginnings of the letter out of my journal and flushed it down the toilet. (If I had tossed it in the trash, there is no doubt the boy would have found it and had me admitted immediately. I think he was always hoping I’d end up in a mental hospital, because he KNEW, he was convinced, there was something wrong with me. Little did he know that the “something” was him.)
I never told anyone (not even my counselor) about these thoughts I had about dying. I don’t even know how I would have gone about dying. Killing myself seemed so far from anything I could imagine. Stepping out into traffic. Eating spoiled food on purpose. I honestly didn’t get far with thinking about the “how-to” part of the whole event. And to me, that simply meant I wasn’t THAT serious. But was I?
I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t received that call. Would I have written the letter and realized I was stupid? Or would I have written the letter and felt more certain dying was the only answer and way out? I don’t know. I have no idea what my next steps would have been. One thing I do know is that my sister did call me, and I picked up.
Thankfully, the thought of dying on purpose, of killing myself, of committing suicide, has not crossed my mind since that day. That day I started writing little notes to myself about why I wanted to live. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to miss out on my son’s life. I didn’t want to miss out on my own life, regardless of what setbacks it brought to me. I realized that I was the common denominator in my own life and my own sadness. But I also realized that I had to let go of the people who made my ability to fight for my happiness impossible. I had to escape. I had to surrender.
Walking away and giving up on a futile fight is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. I didn’t know it at the time I escaped. It took me many months to regain my self-trust and self-confidence. I am still growing and learning. But, thankfully, I am growing far, far away from the pain and suffering that once had me doubt myself so completely.
If you are having doubts or if you know someone who is, visit the RU OK? site and learn how to lift the fog. Nothing and no one is worth your life and the guaranteed pain those left behind will suffer.
Be good to yourself. Be good to others. Namaste!
(image source: http://d-e-v-i.deviantart.com/art/Call-me-66015254)