A letter to America

I need you today. I really need you. I need your arms round me. I need your calm American voice telling me that everything’s going to be ok, baby.

Today my world is tinged in grey. I feel like I’m drowning. Emilie Autumn was so right- she knows how it feels to drown in other people, the urge to cut, the voices in your head and the depression that fogs every single day. I know you know that pain too- that’s why I turn to you and I know you will understand me.

I am lost in the contents of my own head today. I am trying to cling on the the good mood of yesterday, trying to cheer myself up and feel less anxious, less hopeless. I feel like just one warm embrace from you would fix that. I miss you.

I just want to be normal. I want to be a person who can function as everyone else does, free of this cloud of horror that shrouds my life. Is this my lot forever, this lack of life? It wasn’t like that with your loving hand buried in my curls.

At this point in time, where the only things I have of you are snippets of last night’s conversation playing in my brain, I’m clinging on for the next time we can be together. I’m already picturing what it will be like to have you unreservedly for three weeks. I’m wondering about the future too, and thinking about the next time after that. I want our silences, our conversations, our kisses. I want the time where we don’t need to say anything, just lying there and staring into each other’s eyes will say it all.

Maybe you’re one of my antidepressants. I think you are. Right now, you’re the only thing today that is keeping me hanging on.

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A and E take two.

Yesterday was a very very bad day. It was the worst I’ve had in a while.

The dark passenger’s three voices were on at me from the minute I left the door. I was supposed to be going to take class- instead, by the time I got to the tube station, they were goading me towards death again. I couldn’t make myself move. I was standing in the tube station, hearing them snicker at me.

Crazy bitch.

Why haven’t you done what we told you yet?

You should be dead by now.

Go and cross the road, go to that pharmacy, by blades and DO IT, FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

I was standing in the hallway one minute, and the next I was outside the tube, shaking, and trying to not look visibly crazy. I could hear the female voice really clearly.

There is nothing left for you now. There is no way that you will ever beat this- we are here in your head forever. You will kill yourself. You have til the 17th, and we are waiting. I am waiting. I want you to kill yourself, honey- go put yourself out of your misery so the world can be free of one more crazy bitch.]

The bench near the station was free for me to sit on, so whilst yelling NO in my head and arguing back, I went to sit there.

I didn’t think of ringing anyone. I was panicking too much, and the whole of my brain was occupied with fighting these demons in my head.

Had Jay, my saviour, happened along five minutes later… I would have been in a pool of blood with a blade clutched in my hand.

As it happened, she saw my hand shaking.

Just my hand, but that was enough to alert her to the fact that all was not well.

She asked me if I was ok, and the voices were screaming for me not to tell her. My voice wasn’t working, so I just shook my head, and the tears began to fall.

She got out of me what was wrong, and decided that she was either going to take me to the hospital or to her doctor’s surgery. She opted for the doctor’s, since it was so close.

All the way there the voices were screaming at me not to trust her, that I should run away and buy blades, that I should have jumped out into the middle of the road before she had got a chance to talk to me.

When we got to the surgery, Jay was so kind and patient. She got the receptionists to ask the doctor what to do, and eventually they decided they would call an ambulance.

Whilst we were waiting, Jay tried her best to calm me down. She explained about her background in musical theatre, about her daughter, about the novel she was writing. She talked to me about J, about my life, about my hobbies and interests and my dancing. She got me to the point where the voices were not as loud, and I wasn’t having to talk back out loud any more.

The doctor was asking again what was wrong, and I have never experienced this reaction before: he started to back away as parts of the horror that lives in my brain were narrated, and he wouldn’t look at me after that. I scared him. Me, a tiny waify little ballet dancer! Apparently, I’m still too hot for some men to handle (please, note the sarcasm!).

Time ticked past and Jay decided to check where the ambulance was. Apparently, according to one of the receptionists, they were prioritising their emergencies. Apparently, a crazy girl who is being repeatedly told to kill herself by voices in her head is not that big an emergency. Disgusted, the receptionists cancelled the ambulance and decided they were driving me there themselves. So we piled into one of the receptionist’s little red car, and we went to the hospital. The receptionist dropped off her colleague, who told me I had to drop in at some point in the week to let her know how I was, and then we were off again.

I should explain that the voices had started up again.

Crazy bitch. Why the fuck did you go making a scene? Why aren’t you dead yet? Why the fuck don’t you do something to end your life instead of fucking around?!

I started shaking my head again, trying to shake them away from me. Jay held my hand, and then it somehow got worse.

The hospital I was being taken to was the one right at the back of where I used to live in that final, horrible year with my ex- the scene of what happened. I started sobbing as we drove past the back of my old block of flats. The memories were flooding me: all I could think was that when the car stopped, I would be taken by him back to that flat again, and the abuse would begin again, and I would be the little fly trapped in the web. I was shaking so badly by the time I got into A and E, that my body was vibrating.

I was checked in in a blur and sat down to wait with Jay. She was amazing- all this time she had be talking to me, trying to make me laugh, and trying to distract me. I managed to call my friend Z and I let her know where I was, my voice flat and filled with shock. She told me she would be on her was as soon as possible.

I helped Jay fill in the crossword, and then my name was called by the assessment nurse.

He was calm and efficient, and I felt my words stutter and break into a thousand pieces as he assessed my state. I was shaking still and my leg was bouncing up and down of its own accord. The blood pressure cuff squeezed, trapping the nerve and rendering my arm floppy, and I felt shame rise hotly along my neck as my old scars were brought sharply into relief.

I was directed to wait for someone to see me through a pair of double doors, and Jay waited outside for me.

I waited for ages. There were two big male police officers and a handcuffed, unconscious woman. Their scrutiny was not imagined- they stared, probably because I kept bursting into tears and then talking out loud to the voices when they still wouldn’t shut up.

I got a panicked text from my mum all of a sudden. She must have thought it was just like last time- the voices driving me to the brink, literally to a knife’s edge. I rang her, and my family was suddenly all there. It was like they had all appeared in the waiting room- my dad, my mum, my sister- even my dog, who has been really unwell recently. I suddenly felt the pressure in my head lessening, and by the time Jay had arrived and seen I was doing better, they had me calmer.

Jay knew I was in good hands, so after a brief word with my mum (who must have thanked her profusely, judging by the sound of it) she gave me a big hug and left. Not long after that, my friend Z appeared. Getting a hug from her made the world feel less like it was spinning off its axis, and more like life was finally returning to normal.

Z was just about to take me home when my name was called- the lady who came to see me was called Annie, and she was the psychiatric nurse. I went through my whole sorry story with her, telling her about everything, and she took notes and asked me questions. I felt slowly like the voices were being made to shut up, and she eventually ended up asking me what I thought she could do for me.

That is an impossible question to be asked when you’re having problems discerning what is real and what isn’t.

We spent a good five minutes talking about the options. The question of admission came up, which worried me- do they routinely ask if you want to check yourself in?! Or is it just that it’s getting to that point, the point where I am unstable and the voices are that controlling that I need to be ‘made safe’?

I left with no answers to that, but a lot of answers to other questions.

Somehow, she sensed that one of my big problems is the question  of a possible diagnosis. Annie said that she thought there were several different issues going on. She said that I might have a personality disorder; if I have a type of bipolar, it could well be bipolar II; I could have an affective mood disorder; and most likely, along with all this, I probably have PTSD. Quite the cocktail…

The good news, if there is any to be had from last night, is that she was kind and helpful, and gave me advice on where to go whilst I’m waiting for therapy. The bad news? I could be waiting A YEAR for therapy, plus I have to nail down where I want to live PERMANENTLY in order to access it. That is standard, really, but not so fun when the life of a professional dancer is ALWAYS on the road. I really have no clue as to how I can solve that problem.

I was sent home with zopiclone, again, and lorazepam for the panic. Z was amazing with me, as was her husband- they made me feel happy and safe when I got in, and then J made me laugh on the phone so much.

What I’m now worried about is what happens next. Where do I go from here, when it could potentially be a YEAR til I get the help I need?

Will I still be alive then?

I hope so.

Friends. And I’m ok, thank gods…

I am very lucky to have my friends.
Z has spent hours on the phone to me, helping me out, asking me to move in with her, and letting me sleep in her front room. She has yelled at the voices for me and she did so again, this morning when I was literally about to take a knife to my wrist.

The part of me that is still sad wonders why she bothers. Then I read my messages from J, the comments left on my blog, and the messages from my parents and sister. I am so glad I have friends and family like this, and so grateful that you all see in me the girl I used to be.

She’s in here still, trying to get out.

Help

They’re telling me not to write this but I am frightened. They want me dead now. They want me to go into the kitchen and take the sharpest knife and “stop being a fucking coward and do some real damage”.

And I am finding it harder and harder to tell them to fuck off.

A change.

Well, I’ve taken a big step and moved back to the big smoke. I was terrified of the train journey, but I ended up talking to a really nice man who made me remember that there are some decent men out there who don’t see women as prey. I met my friend Z and her husband N at the station, and they helped me with my luggage on the way back to the flat.

They’ve been amazing, and I can’t thank them enough. They have made the journey back much much easier, and I have found their flat a lovely, welcoming place.

Z knows all about the voices, and so does N. So yesterday, when we were out with some of their friends, the male voice decided to take that moment where I was alone to come and talk to me. He said that the scars on my arm were just the beginning, and one day I would cut those veins and die. He said that I was just avoiding the truth and I would be dead on the 17th of December.

I was standing alone in the bathroom of the pub, shouting for him to fuck off. I left as soon as I felt calm enough and made my way back to the table where Z was sitting with the rest of the group.

The voices told me not to tell her what had just happened. They told me I’d be sorry if I did. They said that I was going to die and I was going to carry their plan through no matter what. As an act of defiance, I leant over and asked Z if we could step outside, which she knows is my way of saying ‘stuff is bad, I need help.’

Once standing in the square, where the nice cold air hit my face and forced me to take deep breaths, I told her what he had said. She was amazing, and listened, and told me she believes that the voices were put in my head by my ex also.

Z is a Christian, but of that awesome variety who genuinely cares about others and doesn’t let the bigotry of the Church affect them. She also believes that alongside her god, there are the forces of evil, and she has said to me she’s dealt with bad things like my voices before. As I was explaining to her what he had said, all three voices chipped in and said that she was getting bored of my shit, like everyone else.

I reflexively swore at them then apologised to her, and she asked me if I minded her ‘getting all Christian for a moment.’ She also knows about my feelings on religion, and has always respected them. I said she could go ahead- and she delivered a blistering attack on them, telling them where to stick it. She told them in the name of her god to leave me alone, and not to dare to talk to me.

Well, whatever she believes, the voices did not like being confronted like that. They buggered off and left me with a quiet head for the rest of the evening, and I was able to go back in the pub and behave normally again, and have a good laugh with N, Z and their friends.

She is the second person to be able to shut them up entirely. J is the only other person who can knock them on the head and get the dark passenger to shift. I am amazed and pleased that I know someone else who can help get rid of them for me when I am having problems doing it myself.

The other great piece of news is that FINALLY the psychiatrist has agreed to see me on the 9th of December. I rang the office to ask if they had an appointment for me, and I think that my pleas for help have finally been recognised. The receptionist sat there with the diary and made an appointment for me on the phone, and I am feeling a little better to know that at long last I might actually get a diagnosis on this thing I have. Maybe, finally, I might actually get some medication that will work and that will shut the stupid voices up for good.

Wish me luck- so far  I’ve had to cope with the Tube, strange men, and a horrible moment where I was positive I had seen my ex- thank the gods, it turned out not to be him. I am trying to re-start my life, and so far it’s working. J is busy finishing off his album at the minute, and I am so proud of him for still being there for me whilst he’s working so hard.

Fingers crossed and two magpies, ey?

anniversary. no, not in a good way.

The topic of anniversaries came up in a blog I have begun to follow – http://en.wordpress.com/read/blog/id/52332387/ – and I felt dreadful whilst reading it. Who would want to treat a child so? How could anyone do that to another human being? I also felt sad for her, as I love Halloween and Bonfire Night, and for her those festivals are tainted and hellish. I left a comment for her in the hopes she might take a little comfort from it.

I was completely unaware of the bad mood that was creeping up on me yesterday, and it only got worse today when I suddenly realised the heart-clogging despair was back and I was beginning to talk back to the voices of the dark passenger again. I found myself wondering what the hell I was doing, moving back to the Company, and I started to think of the knife blade against my skin-

I had to talk to myself and go and do something to make myself feel more balanced. I checked on the dog (he had a pain-attack last night, bless him), did some laundry, and did some jobs I’d meant to for a while.

I went dancing, as usual, and when I got home the dog was feeling that much better that he was begging for a walk. So, I took him, despite hating being out in the dark alone. I felt twitchy, had to cross the road when a lone jogger ran past, and was watching every shadow for unseen attackers.

I was on the way home, trying to persuade the dog that walking through all the wet leaf mulch was NOT a good idea, and I was thinking about the post I had read about anniversaries of trauma. I was wondering how it must feel to feel even more terrified, distressed, lonely and isolated than this, when it hit me.

Today and yesterday are one big fucking anniversary. I ran away at 16 years old around bonfire night, and the trauma associated was obviously rearing its ugly head.

Now everything made sense- my irritability, my crankiness, my fear and tension and upset. I was having a throwback, emotionally, to the day that marks the start of serious problems. I was a mess that day. Both wrists were bleeding, I had hands so cold I could barely feel to open the car door. I was so cold it sat in my bones for a week and I did get a cold, to add insult to injury. The people I lived with stared. I only remember few snippets, but it’s not something I want to remember.

Once I’d picked over what I can remember, and thought about it, I felt suddenly calmer. I still felt sad, but knowing why relieved the tension and walking-on-eggshells feeling I’d had all day. It was only remembered pain- it was not something to panic about.

So I want to thank you, ISurvivor, for writing what you wrote. It has made me understand that at certain times of the year, I am probably going to have some really shitty days- the worst of it being in Summer. However, know I know what it happening, I can try and fight it, and hopefully win.