Every problem is magnified in the dark of 2am. I was frantic, unable to sleep, anxious, and terrified. I didn’t want to face my friends in the morning at school. I didn’t want to live like this anymore. I could hear the music of my Step Mother’s party raging well on into the evening. I felt sick to my stomach with upset. I just knew this wasn’t what my life was meant to be. I tried to sleep, desperately, but no amount of sleep could calm me. Minutes felt like hours.
I knew it was coming. The light of the hallway blasted my room and my reaction was a clear indication that I had been awake. I didn’t even clear my vision before I was being dragged by my hair from the bed. I should be scared, any normal girl would be. But this is what life was like for me. Every day there was some reason to attack me. I did everything I was supposed to, took care of everyone in the family, tried very hard to be lovable. It was all useless. No matter what I did the hits came. Often after the drugs. I wanted a mother, a family, to be loved. But I was starting to not want any of those things. I was tired of not being loved or enough. When my friends longed for boyfriends and easy summers, I longed for a nights sleep without fear. I wanted my body under my own control. I wanted freedom.
You could tell she was particularly high because she forgot to keep the hits from my face. It was a family rule. If she didn’t leave marks where my teachers could see, everyone could pretend it didn’t happen. I used to tell people but people don’t want to hear those things. They don’t want to help you and like to tell you how they can’t. Everyone wants you to just be quiet and do what you’re told. I wasn’t very good at that. I probably deserved it, as she told me all the time, my own mother didn’t want me.
It was a favored family story, how my father didn’t claim me for my first four years of life. That the only reason why I lived in this house was because my mother left me there. It’s hard to be lovable when no one loves you. I felt completely lost in the world. I didn’t make friends because once they saw the marks on me, they would tell. Most of them had the kind of parents that cared and didn’t want their children harmed, some of them just didn’t want to know. At 13 I felt like the world was unbearable, that humanity was hopeless and careless. I couldn’t even dream of having a good night, let alone a happy life. The only path laid before me was to follow in my Step Mother’s footsteps and do drugs. I watched my best friend and cousin do it. It was hard losing my only friend to addiction. I didn’t want to lose the only bit of my body that was under my control, my thoughts. I just didn’t enjoy it.
It really didn’t matter that she was slamming my head now, nothing really mattered. She smacked me in the face, I reacted without planning to. She was laying on the floor stunned while I was on top of her. I had no idea that I could hit, or that I was that strong. I could see her anger but now there was something else too, fear. She smiled as she left my room, rambling about dire consequences. It didn’t matter what she took from me, I had very little.
I was only allowed whatever food was left over, although I cooked it. I was never allowed to watch tv, or to chose what they watched. All I ever did was chores, my homework, hide. I had an addiction to reading but I wasn’t allowed to read in public, so I took my books with me into hiding.
The light of the hallway was blinding as my father yelled obscenities at me. Apparently I didn’t deserve his money, I was a drain on his resources, I was single-handedly destroying his marriage and life. I sighed with the knowledge that this would be awhile and I would lose another privilege. I didn’t get actual things taken away, I was never allowed them. But I wanted to do Volleyball next year again and my Dad couldn’t afford it. Volleyball was off the table, no new shoes or clothes this year, no treats. The list was impressive but I wasn’t ever allowed most of the things anyway, like allowance. I may have scoffed, I had a serious sarcasm problem.
My father never really hit me. That night he did. It was the second and last time he ever did. But it was shocking and terrifying. My father was a talker, blamer, denier, but not an abuser. When he left the room apologizing and promising I could sleep in the morning, I was different. I felt broken, something in me had given up. It was as if they were right and I would never be lovable. I must deserve it. There was no one in my life, no one to love me, or care for me, or to run to. I wondered why I was fighting so hard to live with people that hated me so much.
It wasn’t a conscious decision, I was compelled. I grabbed the vodka sitting in the living room and the family pack of aspirin and I drank my sorrows away. Before I could lay down, I felt remorse. I was doing what I wasn’t supposed to and should tell someone. I ran from my room, hitting walls along the way, and out to the garage. She and her friends were smoking weed and were shocked to see me drunk in the doorway. I fell to the floor begging forgiveness asking to be released of my sins, maybe she could love me now. She kindly helped me up and to my bed telling me all the while “suicide is not a sin, it will be okay, you will sleep in the bed that you made, it is what you deserve.” I fell asleep before I could protest.
At first it was blissful, I knew I would find peace. I passed out for hours, maybe 6. I was woken up by the vomit. It was everywhere and growing more violent. I was gasping, sobbing, and crying in pain before long. I have very little recollection of the time that followed, it was all bleak and terrifying pain. My father came in and allowed me not to go to school, not even caring at my eye roll. But hours dragged on in that room as my body slowly died. Hours later there was nothing to vomit, but my body continued to try, unwilling to give up. I lost my hearing, my vision, most body function. Someone came in and moved me to the bed.
I didn’t go over last rites, or make plans in my mind. Through all the pain I realized hours earlier that there was and would never be any hope for me. I was startled when someone started yelling at me. One of my Step Mom’s friends was poking me, lifting limbs, checking my heart rate. I could only see him when he got in front of my face, his yells sounded mumbled in my ears. When I tried to talk nothing came out. I will always remember his face. He grabbed me, vomit soaked, completely limbless, and put me in his vehicle.
I don’t know how we got to the clinic because this savoir did not drive, he held me the whole way, unable to get me to sit. I know that the wait at the clinic took 30 minutes. My hero kept complaining about how even the dying had to wait 30 minutes. It is the last full thing I remember. People were running for me scared.
I woke up in the ambulance, there was a lot of “hang in there” and “thank god.” A nurse told me I was a fighter. I woke up in the hospital to frantic doctors talking about how hopeless I was. Everyone kept asking how it could have gotten so bad, where were my parents? I awoke a day and a half later after a few bouts of dying. My mind wanted to give up but my body was strong. At least that’s what the nurse told me. She ran out to tell the whole team and I had the entire floor’s staff in welcoming me back to the living. They were all very concerned, I was the worst living case they had had, they wanted to help me, but eventually they had to leave.
My nurse kept talking to me about destiny and the future but I was minutely focused on the right now. I had never lived that way before and everything about my body, my mind, my soul, felt different. I was no longer scared and I didn’t really feel the pain. After the complete agony of dying everything seemed different. It was nice to be cared for and I enjoyed that my family wasn’t staying. They didn’t keep my Step Mom away, even when I told them what she had said, that she had known. Nothing ever happened to her. My father cried and said words of love but he never protected me from anything.
I spent three days in a mental institution, which is it’s own story. Nothing at home changed, not a thing. But I had. Something inside myself has been different ever sense. I am lucky that I was given a second chance at life. I am luckier in that my family stepped in and helped me move out of my father’s home within a year. Had I stayed I would not be alive today, my cousin isn’t, she was taken by addiction.
Most of my life people have not listened, they did not want to hear. I hope you will listen for the people in your life and offer them the help and support they need to have their second chance at life.