Finding a lost voice –

This is me. Me after coming home and searching every closet, turning on every light, and pulling back the shower curtains with a knife in my hand. Its the feeling of something bad getting ready to happen that I can’t shake. I’m terrified of my own home, the place that’s safest to me, that I’ve lived in for over a year. It’s sleeping with a knife under my pillow because I’m so afraid of my own sleep and what I’ll see and what will happen when I wake up. Its going to the gas station to buy an Arizona and that smell from the man in line, or maybe his shirt, or the look he gives you, just sending you into this strange state of hyper-vigilance where everything is suddenly foggy but overwhelmingly clear. Total awareness of your surroundings and everyone in it, the crunch of the bag of chips being grabbed off the shelf, the beeping noises from the keypad at the register, and the smell. The smell of that mans cologne takes you back to that haunting memory. This is PTSD in my everyday life. Not every night is like tonight but it used to be, before I started to talk about it. I’ve done all kinds of therapy but working with another woman who specialized in EMDR gave me my life back. I had kicked a drug habit but my mental health was in shambles. My sleeping & eating was totally irregular and I felt hopeless again clean. I sought out to continue therapy and talk about it to women who have gone through similar experiences and committed myself to getting better. That moment still is the greatest act of love I’ve given myself and no I’m not where I want to be but I am nowhere near where I started. For me, my addiction is tied real close to my PTSD.

I’ll have 2 years clean this upcoming October. But before October 2015 my life consisted of ravaging my body, slowly trying to kill myself and not so slowly other times. I loved to self destruct, to ruin anything beautiful and take the dirt from under it and suffocate myself with it. It started with weed and xanax then ecstasy then living in Miami with a girlfriend and her asking me “hey you like coke right? Try this” and handing me a pipe. For years after that I was always trying to burn myself to the ground with that pipe and then putting that fire out with alcohol to try it all over again the next day. I ended up trying some pills and before I knew it I needed them. And then came the needle. I had periods of “togetherness” that maybe lasted a couple months but it never was real. By 21 the ER nurses at Mt Sinai in Miami didn’t have to look at my chart to know my name.

I finally came back to palm beach county and tried to keep it together which went pretty okay as long as I could find other things to kill myself with -exercise, unhealthy relationships, and lots of alcohol. It only took me a couple months to end up homeless again with a very expensive habit. I remember when I had moved back to my moms in lantana and I told myself I’d never do these things again but there I was, the most hopeless I’ve ever been. Nothing fucking worked for me anymore & I was too fucking sick all the time. I finally ended up at a meeting & asked for help & ive been clean since.

In my recovery I’ve been pregnant, I’ve had a miscarriage, I’ve cut off people I thought would be in my life forever, and I’ve learned to forgive myself and try to love a little harder. Today I exercise regularly & actually take care of my body. I am back in school taking pre-reqs for nursing. I have the most AMAZING friends and relationships with my family. However, I’ve been to more memorials and funerals than I want to remember and I’m so upset that most likely since I’ve started typing this another person somewhere is dead because of drugs. There is so much more to life please don’t be afraid of how good things could be. I remember being so terrified of discovering who I am and actually liking it. Life is not perfect since I’ve gotten clean but I can keep working on it and seeking help for myself and I can keep growing. As long as you wake up in the morning you have a chance.

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