I couldn’t sleep last night. My brain…sometimes it won’t turn off. I start thinking about things, worrying, panicking, and the next thing you know, I’m wide awake. Last night, my thoughts were a random whirlpool of miscellaneous fears, concerns, prayers. But they began to turn in a certain direction, kind of gelling and I became aware of an emerging theme. That theme was centered on cost, on the price I have paid. For being sexually abused by my father and abused in general by my parents. I realized there hasn’t been a single day that has passed in my life that I haven’t carried the burden of abuse. Not one day has passed without me thinking quite a bit about what was done to me as a child. Not being angry or bitter…but I’ve had to deal with the aftermath. It has had a huge, major impact. Every day. In fact, I have never had a day when I’ve awakened free, even if only for a minute, of the damage, pain and turmoil it created. I have been seeking healing since I was in my late teens. That was a very long time ago. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I have been relatively consumed daily with the destruction I suffered as a result of childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Especially the sexual abuse. It fractured me. And not a day goes by but what I have tried to put the pieces back together…consistently, diligently, relentlessly…ever since. I’m trying to survive. To live. To find a way to do what I need to do. I’m trying to find wholeness. It’s a full time job. A job at which I am failing. It takes every scrap of energy I have just to hold myself together enough to go on. I can honestly say, there is not a day that goes by but what I don’t deal with what happened to me as a child. Not one single day. Not one. That’s a pretty steep cost. I have paid a very high price for my childhood. And I’m still paying. It has cost me a lot of money, to be sure. At various times during my life, I’ve tried to seek professional help. Most recently, I’m ashamed to say, I’ve been in counseling since 1999. Gone almost every week. There was a period in 2007, after I tried to kill myself, when I was going twice a week. There are times now when I see two therapists and a psychiatrist during the course of the week. One of those counselors is an eating disorders counselor. Then there’s my normal trauma therapist. The psychiatrist is part of the outpatient eating disorders program. My co-pays have varied from $15 to over $50, depending on the insurance I had at the time. A very conservative estimate of how much this has cost me is $18,000. VERY conservative. And then there’s the medication, with co-pays that average $60 per prescription. Oh, and the money I had to pay when I was hospitalized after my suicide attempt. That was several thousand dollars. I think it’s safe to say, over my lifetime, I’ve paid at least $50,000 in hard cold cash as I have sought to overcome the depraved childhood afforded me by my parents. Then there’s the area of relationships, which brings a whole new set of problems. The fact that I don’t have any. That I’m so isolated, lonely and broken, most of the time I don’t feel I have a reason to live (thank goodness for my Schnauzer). I don’t understand why I have never been loved. My parents didn’t love me. They used me. Abused me. I’ve been married twice, but never was loved. They both told me they didn’t love me. My second husband told me he didn’t love me regularly, frequently. But I stayed. I believed the best I could hope for was to be tolerated, so I was thankful that he tolerated me for 22 years. Since he left me, I’ve been completely alone and it takes a heavy toll. I’ve paid because I can’t seem to have a healthy relationship with a partner. I’ve paid because I don’t seem to be able to connect with friends. Even when I want to, long to, desire to have a close relationship, I can’t. My connector is broken. So I have a very few distant friends who say they care, but who I rarely see and rarely interact with. Were it not for Facebook, I would be completely alone…well, except for my therapy “team.” And while they care to a degree, they are professionals who get paid for their services. So it doesn’t feel all warm and fuzzy, my relationship with them. It’s mainly business. A transaction. More money paid toward trying to get better. Trying to live what little life I have left. I try to talk myself out of the darkness. I really do try hard. But it doesn’t work, no matter how much I work at it. Since childhood, I have been living in this murky darkness, half alive at best. I haven’t yet found the pep talk that allows me to rise above and conquer. I am ashamed at how badly I fail at life. Every day, at the end of the day, I lay my head down on my pillow in defeat, hoping I can find the strength to fight another day. Hoping I can find the hope to keep trying. I am tired of paying. I don’t want to wake up every day thinking about the abuse, how it impacts me still, how much damage it has done and what I’m going to do to get through the day because of that damage. Trying to figure out how to get over it. How to “think right” so I can heal. I’m tried of going to doctors and therapists and still not finding any light in the darkness. I’m horribly tired of darkness. Of having to wrestle with this gigantic mess. Of never ever feeling happy. Of being alone. Because of what my parents did to me…because of what my father did to me…I have battled the demons every single day of my life. I’m really sick of the dance of death I have to engage in each day. I want to stop dancing this horrid dance. I want to leap for joy. At least for a moment or two. Fly because I am so light, gravity can’t tether me to the earth. I want to twirl in the bright daylight and soak in the sunshine. Live. I want to live. Enjoy life. I’ve very few years left. I only ask to be able to enjoy a few of my days before my life is finally over. Is that asking too much? I think I’ve paid enough. I want to stop paying. The cost has been too high. Far too high.