Tag Archives: Suicide

Terry Wayne

When I started working for the company that operated the large machine shop where you worked, I was intimidated.  Introverted by nature, but having been instructed to “manage by walking around,” I tried my best to appear comfortable and to engage each person in conversation.  But it felt a little like parading through a maximum security prison as hundreds of cold, angry eyes looked me up and down before spitting on the floor in disgust as a way of expressing their disapproval.  Wandering through the oily aisles between huge, noisy, dangerous-looking CNC machining centers, mills, and lathes, past welders, the hobbing area, assembly, paint and shipping and receiving, I was bombarded with hostile stares, then completely ignored.  Rigid backs were turned, delivering a clear message without saying a word.  I was the new HR person.  The last HR manager had done a lot of damage.  I had been hired to rebuild the relationship and credibility he had destroyed.  To make a difference.  Challenged to create a connection built on trust with a group of men who didn’t trust women anyway, especially not women at work, particularly not women in management and never those in human resources, I felt doomed to fail.  And I was terrified.


You were the first person to show me kindness.


A few days after I was hired, I had to pull together an agenda  and chair a previously scheduled meeting of the safety committee.  The guys on the committee joined because, per long-standing tradition, the meeting was held during lunch, they got paid while they attended and they were provided generous helpings of all the pizza they could eat.  And they could eat a lot.  You were on the committee.  And you were the only one who listened.  Who spoke to me.  Everyone else laughed and talked among themselves, acting as if I weren’t there, as they gorged on slice after slice of free thick and thin crust pizza decked out with every imaginable topping.


By the next meeting, your best friend spoke to me too.  And participated.  He followed your lead and I was grateful.


I discovered you were someone I would be proud to call a friend both at and outside of work.  Like most of the machinists, you lived quite a distance away from the shop, deep in the “country.” Your home was nestled in an spot with pristine, post-card perfect scenery, the land dotted by farms, tiny towns, isolated houses that could only be accessed by long dirt roads, and stretches of untouched woodland that extended for miles beyond the metro area where I lived.  And like most of the guys, you loved to hunt and fish.  You were an outdoorsman.  Drove an old “muscle” car; rebuilt them as a hobby.  You effortlessly existed and fit quite nicely in this world of macho men.  But there was another side to you.


You were a few years younger than I was, but had married a woman who was my age.  She was an RN and had run several nursing homes before finally opening her own.  It was a dream she couldn’t have fulfilled without your support, both emotionally and financially.  And you spoke about her with love and respect, in total contrast to the way the other guys talked about their “old ladies.”   She had children from a previous marriage, but to you, they were your kids.  You loved them and did everything you could to give them a good foundation.  Tried to make up for their dead-beat dad.  You read books.  Lots of them.  Contemplated your purpose, sharing some deep thoughts with me that let me know there was much more to you than the “good ole boy” front you wore to work each day.  I enjoyed those conversations.  Looked forward to them.  And I came to profoundly respect you.


I was there for 7 years and during that time, you were the one person I could turn to when I needed an honest answer or someone to help me see a different perspective.  You would also tell me the truth about anything dangerous that was going on out on the floor.  You were the one who told me about the machine that was malfunctioning, throwing the giant bearings we manufactured halfway across the shop, endangering lives.  No one else would report it.  They were tough.  Management sucked.  Safety was a joke.  But you recognized the idiocy of their machismo and let me know when there were serious problems.


I think you came to trust me.  I know you shared some very private and personal thoughts with me; I treasured and guarded each jewel you entrusted to my care.  I valued you.  As a friend.  As an employee.  As a leader among a workforce of 200 crusty men who were all trying to be the same.  And I certainly trusted you.  For me, you were a light in a dark and hostile world.  I don’t know if I could have had any kind of positive impact without your cooperation.  And friendship.  You led the way.  You were the one who truly made a difference.


The company sold shortly after I left and you moved with them to their new location.  I thought about you from time to time.  Hoped you were doing well.  Hoped your wife’s business was growing.  And that you had found another friend with whom to share your weightier thoughts.  Those feelings you could never divulge to your fellow machinists without being ridiculed and ostracized.


Several years later, I ran into one of the guys who had worked at the shop, who had also stayed on after the sale.  I asked him if he knew how you were doing.  If you were still with the new company.


He looked at me with an expression of wary surprise.  “You didn’t know?”


Even before I answered, my heart started beating faster.  I felt a lump in my throat.  “Know what?”


“He’s dead.  Killed himself a few years ago.  Shot himself, tried to put the bullet in his heart, but it didn’t kill him instantly, so he shot himself a second time.  Took him a while to die is what I heard.  He must have been crazy!”


I don’t remember how I responded.  I was suddenly numb.  And undone.  And brokenhearted.  Grief flooded over me, along with disbelief and horror.


There had been no signs.  No note.  No one knew the reason you gave up on life.  I learned that you walked out into the woods, presumably so neither your wife or kids would find you, thinking the animals would discover and take your body away instead.   Considerate until the end.


Though it’s been almost 10 years, I still think of you, Terry.  Did the mask you wore to survive the world where you worked become too heavy to carry?  Were you no longer able to reconcile your sensitive heart with the tough exterior you  donned as a shell of protection?  Did something happen between you and you wife, the love of your life?  What went so horribly wrong to cause you to take such drastic, destructive action?


You weren’t educated, but you were wise.  You had a “hick” accent, but a philosopher’s brain.  You had an intensity that hummed inside of you, a vulnerability and tenderness visible in your eyes, though you hid it well by surrounding yourself with powerful, humming machines.  You were contemplative and interesting, mingling with the common and unthinking.  Had a depth that was contradicted by your unassuming, woodsy exterior.  And the heart you shot and killed was such a kind and gentle one.  You were so unique, grounded, sensible.  How did you reach the point of losing all hope?  How did you come to that terrible place of total aloneness and despair?  Why did you think the only answer was to die?


I’ve been there.  I survived my attempt.  Women tend not to shoot themselves, preferring a less violent departure.  But you…you were so determined to die, you shot yourself…twice.  You might have survived the first bullet.  Why didn’t you take that as a sign?  A sign that you were not supposed to leave us?  Why did you feel such a desperate determination that you ignored the pain and all logic, unflinchingly willing yourself to pull the trigger the second time?


I think of you.  Your shy, tight smile.  Your wise, observant, piercing blue eyes that seemed to see so much more than most.  Your quite spirit.  Your innate intelligence.  I think of the kind person who spoke to me when no one else would, who gave me a chance when the rest of the men turned their backs, and who shared bits and pieces of your heart with me, only to ruthlessly, mortally wound it until it stopped beating as you dropped to the ground, alone in the woods.  Wanting to fade into nothingness, yet wishing to spare those you loved and those who loved you.


I think of you and grieve.  I feel I let you down.  Succeeded at my job, but failed as your friend.  I should have been there for you, just as you were there for me, when I needed you.


I don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive myself for this failure.  I know I will never recover from the loss of your light.

Sometimes the Pain Wins

I, along with the vast majority of human beings currently living on the planet earth, are incredibly saddened by the news of the death of several high profile “stars” over the past year.  Kate Spade’s suicide marks one of the most recent of those tragic deaths.  A death that was premature.  Unexplainable, to those of us watching from the outside.  “Senseless,” we call it.  Some are using it as a lesson; “money can’t buy happiness!”  Some of my friends even said it was selfish.  A few are actually angry with her.  But I can’t go there with them.  Not to the place of being angry or judging or moralizing.  Because I know something they don’t understand.   Something they simply can’t comprehend.

Sometimes the pain wins.

Until you have experienced that kind of intense, destructive, unrelenting pain in your soul, you probably can’t understand.   But I’m know it’s true.  The agony and isolation can take you down and knock you out of the game permanently.  Depression doesn’t fight fair.  And its goal is to destroy you.  Simple as that.

Depression is ugly and because it’s ugly, a lot of people won’t even glance in your direction when you are struggling.  That is part of the reason pain wins.  Ignorance.  Rejection.  Being judged as unacceptable.  A downer.  Troublesome.  A burden.   When we’re not “together,” we’re required to wear a mask and pretend as if we are.  And it’s lonely behind the facade.

When others see you as a burden, it’s unbearably hurtful.  When you can only see yourself as a burden, a negative in the universe, pain will use this advantage, this crack in your armor, and it will take you down.  It will take you out with one huge knock-out punch.  It will win.

This is the place where hope breathes its last breath.  The place where the aloneness and emptiness becomes overwhelming and shattering because there is absolutely nothing or no one to hold on to or to grab.  All strength and the will to fight is annihilated.  Nothing seems worth it, especially not you…your life.  You realize you are asking too much from the world when you ask to be wanted.  You’re more trouble than you are worth.  A toxic substance in the life of everyone you touch.  And you just can’t stand to contaminate the world or live such an empty existence one second longer.

At this point, the emotional pain becomes excruciatingly physical.  Your heart feels as if it will explode.  As if it is being ripped apart from the inside out.  Your mind stops functioning and the wiring in your brain smokes and fries.  You try; still you try.  But that kind of rending, tearing, shredding, utterly consuming pain is more than most mortals can handle alone.  And when you have been marked by the significant fracture it causes in your soul, you simply don’t stand a chance.  You are hardwired to self-destruct in times of such consuming emptiness and overload.  You don’t have the skills or the connections that are needed to survive.

And let’s face it; we live in a world of superficiality.  Your aren’t supposed to be real.  To “over-share”.  Which means, you aren’t supposed to share at all except in very limited doses in very specific circumstances.  Only the good stuff, even if you have to make it up.  You aren’t allowed to be vulnerable, to talk about weaknesses, issues, struggles, destructive thoughts, hurts.  You are not allowed to have dark and difficult times emotionally.  None of that is acceptable.  You’re supposed to be upbeat and positive and see that damned glass as being half full even when the sucker is bone dry empty.  Smile!  Look for the silver lining!  Don’t share your heart.  Whatever you do, don’t be real, don’t be weak, don’t fail, don’t cry, don’t tell, don’t acknowledge the ugly darkness that is destroying you.  Nonconformance will cause you to be labeled as defective.  Deplorable.  A plague! You will be judged and found worthless.  People will turn away and run in the other direction when they see you coming.

You can’t be real on Facebook and you can’t be real in church.  You can’t be real with your friends or they’ll stop being your friends.  You have to play the game or you’ll become a total outcast.  You can’t be honest about who you are, what you are dealing with or where you have come from or you will find yourself wholly alone.  Without even the most shallow of connections.  Lacking any form of companionship.

In those times of darkness when your own soul is gashing you to pieces, you need someone to tell you that you have value.  Even more, you need them to show you.  To be there.  To help you find your way.  To invest in you…time, heart, connection.  To believe you are worth the trouble.  You need something solid to stand on.  So you can rest and stop struggling for just a moment so you can get your strength back.  You need real.  And real…well, real is hard to come by.  Real is rare.

In fact, being real is discouraged. It’s ridiculed.  It’s scorned.  But real, honest, vulnerable…these are the only things that will pull a person through.  And if you don’t get real, that’s when the pain wins.  And when it wins, it wins for keeps.

I am saddened that Kate Spade was in that place.  That place of grasping for a hand in the darkness and coming up empty.  That place of desperately seeking a hint of light in the black, dense fog that obscured anything and everything worthwhile in the world.  Of not being able to see even a pin prick of light to guide her through. It breaks my heart that, when she gave up because she simply couldn’t walk one…more…step, there was no one there to catch her when she let go.  No one to reach her when she began to fall that one last time.

She needed real.  Something solid; someone to tell her she was worth it.  That she could make it and they would help her through.  But when she reached out her hand, for whatever reasons, it came back empty.  And the pain won.

I pray that this tragedy will cause others to break through the facades we spin for ourselves, to rip off the masks and to start a journey to the place where we share our hearts…good, bad, ugly, dark, broken, confused.  Where we embrace, encourage, accept instead of ridicule, reject, disavow.  Where we love instead of judge.  Where we offer a hand instead of a fist.  Where we share the pain until the darkness recedes.

Nothing can fix Kate’s world now.  Nothing can help her to find a reason to hang on.  To live.  Nothing can help her to see how wonderful and specials she was.  And how valuable.  The door is closed.  She closed it, alone in the night of her soul.   I am saddened that this woman who brought so much happiness to the lives of others through her many creations ran out of joy.  I’m upset that she found herself alone in the darkness at the time of her greatest need.  I hate it that this wondrous, unique, creative, beautiful individual couldn’t find a reason to hang on and couldn’t find anyone or anything to hang on to when she needed help the most.  It should never happen.  To me, this is our ultimate failure.  The pain should never win.  But it does.  As it did here.  And we are all diminished because of the loss of another special individual who should have never had to know what it is like to be that horribly alone and without hope.  Depression colors and clouds our perspective.  We need the eyes of another, their hand to hold, their arms around us, their heart beating with ours to survive those times. We need intense intervention.  Someone has to carry us when we are that lost.  And when this doesn’t happen, when we reach out, desperately grasping and find nothing but empty air, the pain wins.  There are no second chances.

I hope we will not continue to be lulled into complacency, believing things will turn out okay in the end.  Because sometimes they don’t.  Sometimes the pain wins.  And when the pain wins, the winner takes all.


The Scary Thing

The scary thing is simply this:  We were all young once.  And innocent.  And then, we aren’t.

We all began at some point, a point at which we were incredibly vulnerable and insecure.

We will all end at some point, a point at which we will be incredibly vulnerable and insecure.

Between these two point of utter vulnerability and insecurity, life happens.  Life happens as we travel from birth to death.  Whatever it involves, one thing is certain.  It’s a grueling, confusing, painful process.  For many of us.

A long time ago, but not that long ago, I was a newborn baby, laying in a nursery in the hospital where I was born.  Hours old.  Knowing nothing.  Unable to focus or to comprehend what had just happened to me.  Trying to take it all in. Cold and crying.  Hungry.  I had never been hungry before.  There had been nothing for my eyes to see.  Now, there was too much to see for me to take it all in.

This is where we all begin.

I didn’t know who the people were who were staring at me through the nursery window.  I didn’t know about love, hate, fear, abuse, rejection, shame or disgust.

I learned.  I learned too soon.  I learned and grew.  Aged.

I discovered how eating made the pain of hunger go away.  I discovered my own hands and feet.  Fingers and toes.  Developed a sense of being.  Of being me.  Unique.  A human being apart from my parents.  I took my first steps.  Stopped pooping in my diapers.  Was awestruck by the lights and the magic of Christmas.  Found out I could run.  Enjoyed the wind, the sun, the stars and the clouds.  Bonded with toys and learned how to play.  I grew.  Matured.

Didn’t bond so much with people.  People were too dangerous.  I learned that early. Very early.

Then, I went to school and another kind of learning began.

But before I was old enough to enter kindergarten, the bad things had already started happening.  They had already started eating away at my soul.

My father had a side that was hidden from most people. A side few ever saw.  A sick side.   It wasn’t hidden from me, though I wish it had been.  That side, that hidden side, was a big scary thing.  He touched me in scary, wrong ways.  He would also explode with anger and hit me – he said it was because I was bad and I deserved it.  He taught me things that he said I needed to learn.  About sex.  But now, looking back, I’m not sure that any little girl needs to learn any lesson that abuse has to teach.  I still knew my own fingers and toes…knew they were mine and mine alone.  But I forgot what it meant to be a unique person.  An individual.  The sick father taught me I was nothing but an object to be used.  He taught me that the reason I existed was to please him and my sick mother.  The sick mother who rejected me, hit me and belittled me.  I was supposed to please them both.  To fulfill them. To satisfy them.  To make them happy.

But I could never do or be enough to please them or make them happy.  And there was no way I could ever fulfill them.  I could never make their world okay.

So, when I went to school and started a whole new kind of learning, I was shy and fearful.  Awkward.  Different.  Ashamed.  I made a few friends, but I never fully connected with anyone.  I was too afraid.  Adults were especially terrifying to me.  I knew I must please them or suffer the consequences – and the consequences were terrible.  So I studied and got good grades.  A’s, B’s, even some A+’s.  But I was never good enough for my parents.  Never did good enough for my parents.  I was always expected to do and be more.

I always failed.  Failed them.

I grew.  I aged.  Matured some more.  Passed grade after grade with flying colors.  Sick father and sick mother continued to teach me I was worthless, pathetic, and such a disappointment they could hardly bear it.  They destroyed me.  From them, I learned depression and despair.  Brokenness.  Emptiness.  Hopelessness.  Nothingness.

Now, I’m closer to death than to life.  Youth is further from me than that point in time when I will cease to exist on this planet.  That, too, is a scary thing.

The scary thing is, it all went by too quickly.  Without my even realizing life was slipping through my fingers and toes.  I let my parents tell me who I was…nothing.  I let them warp my thinking until I believed with all of my heart that I was unlovable.  Despicable.  I tried not to listen to their message, but it happened, I did, and after a time, I couldn’t fight it.  I took it all in.  I believed them.  Even though I knew they weren’t trustworthy.  They told me abuse was love and I believed that too.  They told me it was all my fault and I believed it.  I still believe them.  The message they placed deep inside of me when they raped and abused me bore much fruit.  It was planted so far inside of me, I didn’t even know what they had done to me until it was too late.  Until it was over.  Until I believed.  Until I became what they told me I was.

The most scary thing is that we all start out innocent and full of hope.  But it doesn’t last long.  Everything that happens to us after the moment we are born drains a little bit more innocence and hope out of us.  Inch by inch, everything that makes us wonderful is destroyed.  Until we give up.  Until we are nothing but a zombie.  Until we have nothing to live for.

The most scary thing is that, when we reach this point, life doesn’t matter. We’re too numb to care.  All we can hope for is that we will be able to endure.  All that we can hope for is that death will be merciful.  The most scary thing is that the innocent child dies long, long, long before our flesh begins to rot.  That it’s over long before it’s over.  No matter how hard we try.  No matter how hard we fight.  We die years and years and years before we stop breathing.

That, that, yes that is the most scary thing.  The scariest thing of all.

Ghost of Christmas Past

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
Or not.
 It’s a lonely time.  It’s a time of unfulfilled expectations.  Of laughter that never reaches your heart.  Because it’s supposed to be a time of families and close friends getting together, celebrating, sharing love, magic, joy.  Perhaps for a lot of people, that’s what happens.  But for many of us, it’s just another empty, disappointing day.  One that feels even more empty than normal because it’s supposed to be full.
 And then, there is the dark side.
 I have a memory from when I was a young child.  It’s Christmas break.  My father was a teacher, so he was home with my brother and me.  It was a few days before Christmas and it had snowed…a big, deep, delightful (when you’re a child) snow that turned the world into a wonderland.  My father was born and raised in Michigan.  It snowed a lot there.  And while this wasn’t a major snow by Michigan standards, it was pretty significant for Missouri.  The snow was thigh deep in the shallowest of places.  It was almost waist deep in the drifts.  We could barely contain ourselves, we were so excited.  We bundled up and rushed outside to enjoy the miracle.
 My father didn’t often play with us.  But even he seemed enchanted by the beautiful snow that shrouded the world in intense, frigid white, like icing on a cake.  Being from a state where snow in the winter was an everyday affair, he knew lots of outside winter games.  He asked us if we knew how to play fox and geese.  We both shook our heads no, shivering with anticipation rather than with the cold.  And so the fun began! He instructed us to clear a big circular path in the snow in an open area of our yard.  We kicked and dug and packed and tramped, working up a sweat.  Once the circle was complete, he had us make an “x” path through the circle, dividing it into 4 equal quadrants. 
 He was the fox first.  We were the geese being chased around and through the pathways we had created in the snow.  The goal of the fox was to catch a goose, which would then become the fox. We ran for our lives!  Laughing.  Falling.  Laughing some more.  It was so much fun!  We played until we were soaking wet and freezing cold and totally exhausted.  Then we all tumbled back into the house to change into dry clothes and warm our runny noses, red ears, and stiff, numb fingers and toes.
 This is where the memory changes for me.  I was in my room, having just opened the drawer to my dresser.  I was trying to decide what sweater I wanted to wear.  As I poked through the 4 or 5 sweaters I owned, I was startled when the door to my room opened and closed.  My father entered my room and he was acting strangely.  Playful daddy had turned into what I later labeled “sick daddy.”  He sucked the air out of the room as he breathed heavily. I was enveloped by an overwhelming sense of dread.
 “Let me make you warm,” he said quietly but firmly.
 He removed my clothes as I hopelessly begged him not to.  Kissing, fondling, groping, invading me.  And when he was finished, he said, “There, now isn’t that better?  Don’t you feel warm now?  Get dressed and come on out to the kitchen.  I’ll make us all some hot chocolate.”
 I remember picking up my discarded clothes and placing them in a pile.  I dressed quickly.  I felt numb.  Once dressed, I picked up my wet things to put them in the laundry and cast a glance back into the room before walking out the door.  I wanted to make sure everything was in order.  But what I most remember…vividly remember…is seeing myself still there behind me, hopelessly broken.  I remember leaving that shattered little girl behind.  I left her there, a pile of gore and broken bones, shattered spirit and heart, where my wet clothes had been laying, hideously destroyed, fractured beyond recognition.  She wasn’t able to walk out of that room.  She wasn’t capable of facing the monster that waited down the hall with hot chocolate and marshmallows.  She couldn’t move; couldn’t stop screaming.  She was in a million pieces and I left her there to fend for herself, half angry with her for leaving me, for making me go out into the world alone.  I saw her body, ripped, torn, decimated.  And instead of rushing to her side and comforting her, I turned away.  I walked out of the room.  Closed the door.  And joined my brother and father as we sipped steaming mugs of freshly made cocoa.  As if nothing had happened.  As if nothing had changed.
Why do I remember this particular memory so clearly; so vividly?  It wasn’t the first time my father sexually abused me.  Nor was it the last.  It wasn’t one of the worst memories I have.  Certainly there are far more horrible memories of perverted things he did to me. So why is this one day, this one event, etched so deeply and perfectly in my mind?  Why can I still see it as if it happened only yesterday?
 Several things seem pertinent.  For one thing, when my father started sexually abusing me, I was probably around 4 or 5 years old.  The memories I have of that time are shrouded in fantasy.  I didn’t have the maturity to understand what was happening.  I didn’t like it.  It scared me.  It felt wrong.  But I didn’t have the ability to grasp or process what he was doing.  Because of this, I created a fantasy world and escaped into it.  As an older child, this was becoming more difficult to execute.  And I believe I had finally reached an age and a point of understanding where it was no longer possible to ignore, warp, or wrap what he was doing to me in a make-believe world. Secondly, having come to an age where I could no longer deny or shroud in fantasy what my father was doing to me, I shattered. Completely shattered.  I believe the memory I have is of the day, the moment in time, when that horrible shattering took place.  So even though what was done to me that day was not the vilest thing my father would ever do, it was a highly significant moment in time.  It was the moment I was utterly obliterated.
 I didn’t stop loving Christmas.  Though I hate snow.  But Christmas was never a carefree and magical time for me afterwards.  I was always looking over my shoulder.  Waiting for everything to morph into that other unspeakable reality.  It was never again wonderful.  There was a hidden razor’s edge, cutting into my deepest and most vulnerable parts and places.  There was always pain mixed with the happiness.  Fear mixed with the laughter.  Terror mixed in with the carols that were sung.  And I stopped expecting it to be special.  Because everything that was special had been taken away from me.
Guarded, posing in front of the Christmas tree at age 12.
Me in front of the Christmas tree at age 12.
Magic no longer existed.  The lights were not as bright, the ornaments weren’t as shiny.  A hideous monster hid behind the bows and colorful paper that covered the gifts under the tree.  I knew the monster.  The monster watched me, waiting, pouncing, taking.  Christmas that year was when I finally understood what he was.  And then, I closed the lid of the brightly wrapped box in which he hid and smiled, carried on, acting as if everything was as it seemed.
He is dead now, this ghost of Christmas past.  But he haunts me still.

Intensely Sad

It doesn’t take much.  A gloomy day.  A harsh word.  A slight rejection.  Not to mention a major one.  Or a major setback.  Of which I’ve had…many.

I struggle to outrun the depression.  The sadness.  The intense sadness.

It’s weird how a few moments of sunshine can  lift me.  Revive me.  At least to the point where I can find the will to live.  To keep going.

But in the gloom, the truth is exposed.  In the fog, reality is strangely revealed.  The depression.  The intense sadness.  The lack of hope.  The despair.

My world is filled with too much despair.  Too much sadness.  Too much to be offset by the few good things that have come my way.  The very few things.

My first suicide attempt was made when I was about 11 year old.    Looking back, it’s hard for me to imagine why an 11 year old child would want to die. But I did.  Want to die.  I took a half a bottle of aspirin, all that was available, and went to sleep.  Much to my disappointment, I awoke.  Hours later. Groggy, but alive.

And disappointed. That I was alive.

My father was sexually abusing me.  Had raped me.  More than once.  Among other things.  Despicable things.  But the first time he raped me, at least as far as I can remember, was when I was 11.  Coincidence?

Wasn’t the first time he abuse me sexually.  Wasn’t the first time he fondled me.  Made me have oral sex with him.  Or that he acted out his sick sexual fantasies with me.  But I think, maybe, the first time he raped me was when I was 11.  After which I tried to die.  And failed.

My parents hit me.  They rejected me.  Certainly did not love me. Life didn’t seem worth living.  Even as a child with the entire world ahead of me.  My entire life ahead of me.  The abuse ate me from the inside out.  Hollowed me out.  Isolated me.  Made me strange.  Broken.

And left me sad.   Intensely sad.  Unbearably sad.

In a deep, inexplicable way.

Depression ambushes me frequently.  I fight it.   But it is always there.  Haunting me.  Imprisoning me.  My shadow.  The haze that engulfs me.

There are good things in my life.  Some sunshine between the clouds and storms.  But my heart is damaged; so deeply damaged.  My heart has been marinated in sadness.  No part of me is untouched.

My soul is damaged.  In some irreparable way.  It was crushed when I was too young.  Too young to protect myself. Too young to understand my soul needed protecting.  Needed protecting from those who were supposed to be protecting me.

There are many things for which I am grateful.  Many, many things.  My life could have been so much worse. 

But it could have been so much better.

Even a little bit better would have been incredible.

How do I balance the two?

My second suicide attempt was more serious.  Deadly serious.  I planned it for over a year.  Hoarded medication.  Adderall.  I was prescribed 20 mg 3 times daily and I took them zero times a day.  Because I did some research.  Research that indicated I could kill myself with a mere 60 of these little beauties.  I took 300  of those 20 mg pills.  And lived to tell.  Inexplicably lived to tell.

Lucky me.

I was surprised.  Surprised to wake up.  Alive.  Alive and…intensely sad.

I’m looking for good things.  Holding on to them with all of my might.  Trying to cast the sad things, the hard things, the ugly things, out of my line of sight.  Trying to cling to any little good thing I can uncover. 

Trying to escape the sadness.  The intense sadness.

I can’t seem to outrun it.


ED & Friends

Meet ED.   He’s a complicated guy.  A friend.  But kind of not.  He’s brought some advantages into my life that I really love.  And some fairly dark, hard things too.  In some ways, he’s been extremely helpful.  I have welcomed his arrival. But he has also (possibly) attempted to destroy me.  Maybe.  That’s ED.  That’s the kind of guy he is.  It’s a complex association.  Fairly dysfunctional.  But I’m totally into him.  Don’t want to let him go, no matter what he does to me. 

We’ve had two very intense relationships during my lifetime. 

I met him when I was in my mid-twenties. Young, but still older than most who meet him for the first time. Guess you can call me a late bloomer.  I had just learned that my new husband didn’t love or want me and I was totally crushed.  That’s when ED stepped in to fill the gap.  He introduced me to his friend, Restricting.  And to their mutual friend, Excessive Exercise. Next thing I knew, I was running 13 to 15 miles every morning, walking for an hour every night, doing another hour of general exercises, all while counting the number of croutons and cherry tomatoes I was allowed to have on my salad.  I had a 30 minute window of time in which to eat each meal.  If I couldn’t eat within the window, I didn’t get to eat.  The rules were rigid, but they were for my own good. ED assured me he had my best interests at heart.

The last time I weighed myself during that first relationship, I got down to 84 lbs., but I lost more after I stopped weighing. 

I felt so powerful with ED by my side!  If I hadn’t broken my hip running when I was in my mid-30’s, who knows what would have happened.  But that injury effectively ended my ability to fraternize with Excessive Exercise and when we parted company, it became extremely difficult to keep the weight off, even though Restricting was still in my life.   I was eating 500 calories every other day, but gaining weight.  Sadly, Restricting’s friendship alone wasn’t enough for me anymore.  The pounds accumulated in spite of our partnership and everything unraveled.  

My relationship with ED was in shambles.  I wanted him back, but didn’t know how to reach him. He moved away and left me all alone, breaking my heart nearly as badly as my husband had.

Then, after 22 years of marriage, my (now ex) husband told me he had fallen in love with another woman.  This, along with several other traumatic events (loss of job, church, dog and failed suicide attempt) brought ED back into my life.  At long last!  It was so good to see him again!  And I reestablished close contact with Restricting too.  Together, they introduced me to a new friend of theirs…Purging.   We became inseparable.

With Restricting and Purging on my team, the pounds fell off.  I was ecstatic!  Something good was finally happening in my life!  In short order, the tiny person I had long felt hiding inside of me was back. 

ED likes me thin; skinnier the better.  And I like myself that way too, so we get along famously.  But by the time I hit 90 lbs., I was encountering some physical difficulties I didn’t experience when I was younger.  This time, probably because of Purging, I would frequently find myself unable to stand up or to remain standing.  My muscles simply didn’t respond to the command of my brain.  A couple of times, when I let my dog outside to do her business, I drunkenly staggered into the yard and fell unceremoniously to the ground. I was too weak to stay upright and my muscles weren’t working.  Each time, I eventually managed to crawl back inside the house.  But I didn’t yet understand the impact of my relationship with my new friend, Purging (I later learned about his cohorts, Low Potassium and Low Sodium).  My hair fell out too.  And the muscle cramps were unbearable.  But ED and his friends were my best buddies.  You do what you have to do for your friends.  You don’t kick them to the curb just because things get a little difficult.

At some point, Restricting and Purging introduced me to Binging.  Not BIG BINGING. Binging, Jr. With Binging, Purging and Restricting by my side, by taking supplements, I was able to (mostly) make it through the day without medical intervention.  There have been a few scary ambulance rides and overnight hospital stays. But ED and his friends are sticking with me. Whether I like it or not.

And I do like it. But I don’t. It’s complicated.

I need to be as far away from overweight as I can get.  ED’s helping me with that.  I pray he doesn’t let me down…I need him.  No, ED doesn’t make my problems go away, but he does make me able to face the next day.  He gives me the ability to tolerate myself. And the ability to tolerate being alive. 

Honestly, what more can you ask for from a guy?

The Day I Didn’t Want to Live Anymore

It’s hard to believe, but it has been almost nine years. Nine long, hard, disappointing years.

I lost my job the previous July when I decided to keep my integrity . What I mean by this is, I refused to do something illegal that my employer required of me. They “asked” me to “move on down the road” (their words, not mine) when I told them I couldn’t comply.

It was an especially terrifying situation because it happened about a year and a half after my ex-husband left me for another woman. I had no other income. No one to lean on. Little savings.

I was encouraged when I found a new job about 5 months later, but the new company was run by an egotistical, insecure, psycho-tyrant who hated and bullied me for absolutely no reason. He dismissed me after only 6 months.

I couldn’t find another job. 

My dog died that October. The holidays were approaching and I felt worthless, brokenhearted and alone.

Then I completely ran out of money. In danger of losing my home and unable to pay basic bills, I asked my brother for a loan. He declined to help, blaming me for getting myself into the situation to begin with. I blamed myself too.  But I had nowhere else to turn, other than to him, so I was feeling completely without options. 

That’s when I realized it didn’t matter if I lived or died. Nothing tethered me to the planet. Nothing in my life made it worth living.

I have fought depression most of my life. I was tired of fighting. Tired of losing every battle. Tired of losing everything and having to start over.  Again.  And again.

For some time, I had been seeing a counselor weekly and a psychiatrist monthly. They were still trying to control the depression with medication, so I was taking a shit-load of anti-depressants along with Adderall in a vain attempt to boost my mood. When I lost my job, I stopped taking the Adderall. I filled the prescriptions, but purposely started stockpiling most of the pills. This was my back door. My way out. Per my research, 120 mg. per day was the upper limit that should be prescribed. I was taking 180 mg. per day. Figured I was going to need a lot of pills to actually overdose. But I needed to have an option when it seemed all options were running out. It made me feel better to know I could, if life became unbearable, simply exit stage left and let everything go on without me.

I stockpiled about 400 20 mg. pills.

The day I finally gave myself permission to quit life, I took 300 of them. I also took an entire bottle of Effexor, having just filled my prescription.

Though I don’t remember much, at some point during that night, I evidently stupidly called my counselor, apparently because I wanted to apologize for being the first patient he would lose to suicide. I don’t recall the conversation. I barely remember the police entering my house or the ambulance ride to the hospital. My memories of having a black sludge of charcoal pumped into my stomach are a little clearer, mainly because I puked and puked and puked the stuff all over myself, the bed and anyone who happened to be in range.

At some point, they moved me to ICU. That, I don’t remember at all.

I think I was there for 3 days before I really became aware of my surroundings and situation. For those lost days, I was in and out of consciousness, mostly sleeping, content to lay without thinking or caring, listening to the alarm buzz on my monitor with interesting frequency when various readings were in the danger zone. 

Eventually, I was alert enough to realize I was very angry that I was still alive. That’s when I started trying to get up and at least go to the bathroom on my own.

After the 4th day, I wanted out of there. But they wouldn’t let me go.

On the 5th day, they explained I would be released, then admitted to the psychiatric hospital. This, they told me, was non-negotiable. There, they would continue to monitor my medical condition, but would also perform a psychiatric evaluation.

I was discharged into the care of my ex-boss and his wife, both of whom had become friends. She took me home to pack, then sat with me as I waited to be admitted to the psych hospital. I filled out the forms, then was taken through locked doors onto a walkway, down various paths, through a couple more sets of locked doors and into a small room where I was strip searched. All bruises and any cuts were carefully documented. They asked for my cell phone, but I managed to slip it into my shoe and told them I didn’t bring it. They then went through my bag and confiscated anything they felt might be dangerous. I hadn’t realized rubbing alcohol could be used as a weapon of destruction, but they took it, along with a nail file and all my makeup. The makeup would be placed in a locker at the front desk of the floor where I was being “incarcerated.”  Each morning, I would be allowed to use it there at the desk as they watched. Then it would be returned to the locker. 

I was admitted on a Friday evening.

The first thing I learned is that there wasn’t anything to do. Especially on a weekend, when all activities were suspended. There was one television on the floor. They offered a few out-of-date magazines and some self-help books for your reading pleasure. The only other entertainment available was to sprawl in one of the institutional vinyl chairs in the common areas and watch your fellow “inmates” or go to your room, which was shared with a roommate, to sleep or stare out the window.

My roommate had bulimia and I could hear her purging at times. Having been anorexic in my 20’s and 30’s, something clicked inside of me, possibly because my stomach was still in turmoil after everything it had just been through. I can thank that psych hospital for bringing ED back into my life. 

An attendant walked the floor continually. They had to account for your whereabouts every 15 minutes.

Sometimes, alarms sounded, signifying a patient had become violent or, as indicated by a different tone, wasn’t accounted for.

Some people were completely out of touch with reality. They sat where placed, babbling incoherently to themselves, drooling, rocking. Some spent most of their time crowded around the TV. Others struck up friendships, sitting in small groups, talking and joking. There was a lot of flirting too, since there were both male and female patients on the floor. I mostly stayed in my room, exiting for meals or to occasionally wander the halls when I couldn’t stand my room a moment longer.

Three times a day, I was called to the desk to have my blood pressure taken and I was given my medication, which had to be swallowed in the presence of the nurse. She checked my mouth each time to confirm I swallowed it.

I talked to a social worker once. I was scheduled for a 30 minute interview with a counselor the day after I arrived and again the following day. Other than this meager “therapy,” I received no mental health support what-so-ever. I found that rather ironic, considering I was, after all, in a “mental” hospital.

The only phone on the floor was located across from the center desk where the attendants sat. Though I had managed to get my cell phone in, I had to be careful because you never knew when an attendant would come looking for you. So I tried to use their phone as much as possible.

My first call was to my counselor. I begged him to get me out.

And he did. But there were conditions. 

On the third day, though not affiliated with the hospital, he was finally authorized to come in to see me. He told me he was working on my release, but I wouldn’t be allowed to return home alone if they did deem me to no longer be a threat to myself. I would also be required to attend counseling twice a week for several months. And someone would be put in charge of my medication, giving me only enough to get me through the day each day.

On the 4th day, the head psychologist finally called me into one of the small glass therapy rooms. He grilled me, eventually shaking his head and telling me he was reluctant to let me go. He said I was too intelligent for my own good and he knew I was smart enough to tell him what he wanted to hear so I would get what I wanted. Even so, he agreed to discharge me. 

I missed Christmas that year. I was released to my friends just before the new year arrived, as 2005 became 2006. 

A different friend had my medication. I had to go to her house to get what I needed each day. And I had to see my counselor twice each week…more if he deemed necessary. Plus, I had to see the psychiatrist twice monthly.

I had no money when I went in. I had even less coming out.

After two weeks living with my former boss and his wife, I was allowed to return home. My life was in shambles. And I didn’t even want a life. My anger festered.  Mostly, I was furious with myself.  For failing.  For being alive.

They tell me I forever changed the Adderall overdose bell curve. No one had survived taking more than 600 mg. prior to my suicide attempt. I took 6000 mg. and lived. The dose I took was so ridiculously high, they actually didn’t believe I took that much. But I did. I know I’m telling the truth. 

I don’t know why it didn’t work; why I wasn’t allowed to slip away into eternity.

But the most disturbing thing I don’t know is why I am still here.


Killing Time

“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”  Henry David Thoreau

I have done a great deal of killing time in my life.

I’m killing time now, working a temp job where they rarely keep me busy.  So I sit and stare at the computer screen, bounce around the internet accessing the few sites that aren’t blocked, rearrange papers, write posts for my blog, straighten files, pace, go to the bathroom frequently, and count minutes until I can finally leave.  I would rather have more work.  Killing time is mind-numbing and tiring.  But they are paying me to sit here and I need someone to pay me to do something, so I sit.

When I was a young teenager, I wanted to run away from home.  The abuse was shattering me.  But I made up my mind to finish high school.  I realized even then that to run and never finish school would severely limit my possibilities.  I believed in possibilities.  So I killed time until I graduated.  When I was 14, I discovered a new way to kill time.  I discovered drugs.  Discovered they were the perfect way to run away from home while still living there.  They were hard to come by back then.  Even pot.  But I saved my lunch money each week and at every opportunity, I bought what I could.  Whatever I could get my hands on; it really didn’t matter.  I was killing time until I could leave home for good.  Not just with my mind.

When I married the man I truly believed I would spend my life with, I thought I was going to start living at last.  But when he told me he didn’t love me, didn’t want to know who I was, didn’t want to hear about my experiences, thoughts, dreams, needs, or anything that was going on inside of me, I started killing time again.  Waiting until God would work an amazing miracle, a miracle that would result in my husband falling in love with me.  I never doubted it would happen.  Eventually.  I never thought it would take years and years and years, so I did have concerns as time drug on.  Holding on was difficult. But by then, I was a good time killer.  I prayed and did the best I could, living with a man who rejected and disliked me.  I waited fairly patiently right up until the day he left me for someone else.  I killed 22 years waiting for a miracle that never came.  Waiting for him to want me.  To think I was worth something.  I killed so much time, I was no longer young.  Not yet terribly old, but getting very, very close.  Not yet a senior, but definitely on the wrong side of middle-aged.  Honestly, I was shocked when God didn’t come through.  Shocked and destroyed and utterly alone.

I’ve killed time waiting for lesser events.  To be old enough to drive.  I got my driver’s license 3 days after my birthday, only waiting that long because they didn’t give the test every day at the county offices where I had to go to take the test.  I waited to turn 21 so I could buy my own booze.  I killed time waiting for a mate, back before I married.  And I’m killing time now, waiting for someone special to come into my life.  I’m afraid God isn’t going to come through for me in the relationship arena this time either.  I’m afraid I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life.  And I’ve pretty much been alone all of my life, so it’s hard at this stage to believe there is going to be a happy ending to my story.  Hard to believe it’s worth killing more time over.

I am beginning to fear I have killed so much time in my life, I’m never actually going to live.

I’ve killed time while I was trying to build a career.  Trying to climb the ladder.  I’ve killed time working long, crazy hours, doing what was required and more, believing my diligence would be rewarded.  But it wasn’t.  When I became “too expensive” (they could hire someone younger for less money to do the same job) or tried to express an opinion or took an ethical stand or some new manager just didn’t like me, I was booted out the door.

I’ve killed time trying to lose weight, believing that would make me a “real” person.  A person who was worth something.  Because obviously, my fat self wasn’t worth a plugged nickel.  And when dieting and exercising didn’t work, I found my good friend ED.  ED came to my rescue.  But even ED has let me down.  And I’m killing time once more, trying to get back to my goal – being invisible – hoping I will be wanted and prized if there isn’t much more to me than bones. Bones don’t require anything.  They aren’t much of a bother.  Bones aren’t needy like people are needy.

I’ve killed time trying to save money and sell houses so I would finally be able to live in a relatively safe part of town.  That involved working like a fanatical person because my husband, who thought I was ridiculous to want a better house in a safe area, didn’t want to work.  He made me feel guilty about wanting that safety. That comfortable house.  My nest has always been important to me.  It never was to him. Which is one reason I find it laughable that he is now set for life, living in a 3 million dollar home in a very safe area, while I would be homeless if not for the ridiculous generosity of my brother.  But I killed that time, saving, trying to find a way to make it happen, only to have the one home I truly loved yanked out from under me when I lost my job.  I finally ran out of options.  I killed so much time, I completely ran out.

I don’t know whether I’ve damaged eternity, killing all that time.  But I’ve certainly damaged myself.  Maybe eternity is paying me back by withholding from me everything that has ever mattered to me.  Life has always been just a little out of reach.  I’ve kept trying to grasp life, reaching for that carrot, believing the day would come when I would finally clasp it in my hand.  But that day never materialized.  Hasn’t yet.    At this point, I’ve killed decades and decades of time.  Forgive me if my hope and faith tank is empty.

Unfortunately, the only way I know to live is to kill time until something happens.  Until I finally unearth an opportunity.  Until something changes significantly.  Until I finally meet someone.  Finally reach a certain age.  Finally achieve a goal.  Finally get that promotion and / or raise.  Finally find love.  Finally have that house.  That job.  Live in that ideal location. 

The problem is, I’m out of time.  But I’m too cowardly to put a gun to my head or to jump off a building.  Yet, I’m finding, in killing all the time I was given to spend, I have actually committed a type of suicide.  It has just taken me a very long time to finally reach the end.  In killing time, I’ve killed myself.  Slowly.  Painfully.

But I don’t think eternity cares.  I don’t think I’ve even dented it.  If anything, eternity has simply shrugged and turned away.

Yet here I sit, counting the seconds, still waiting.  Killing more time.



As a child, my parents owned me.

My mother poured lemon juice over my darkening hair because she couldn’t bear to have her white-golden-haired child become a run-of-the-mill ash blonde.  She gave me pixie cuts because she loved them.  Thought they were adorable.  I hated them.  She dressed me in frilly little dresses because I was her doll. Luckily, I liked the frilly dresses too.  She told me to smile, to look pretty, to be nice, to stop bothering her, to go away, to come when called, to do the ironing, the cleaning, the vacuuming, the laundry, mowing, dusting, straightening, and window cleaning.  I was hers to command and to do with as she wanted.  I was supposed to make her life worth living, to fulfill her, to make everything good.  For her.  I was supposed to banish her depression, give her purpose, take away all difficulty, cause the negatives in her world to go away, and make her look successful.  It was my job to fix her life.  She screamed at me, slapped me, and dragged me by the hair when I didn’t live up to her expectations.  Which was frequently.

My father was a different story.  He owned me too, but in a much different, more horrible way.  He wanted me to be his companion.  His hunting companion, his bird dog, his little tomboy.  That part wasn’t too bad.  But the other companion, the sexual one, was a nightmare.  He wanted me to be the fulfillment of every deviant sexual fantasy he had ever had or that he could dream up.  He forced me to comply, overpowering me, threatening me, cajoling me, and shaming me.  Using me.  Taking my soul.  I was also supposed to fulfill him and make him feel good about himself.  To protect the family and make them look good.  My actions reflected on him and his ability as a parent.  I was supposed to make him look like a good parent.  And he slapped me, hit me, yelled at me, and knocked me across the room when I didn’t live up to expectations.  Which was frequently.

I was a major disappointment.  I could never do enough nor do anything right enough.  I couldn’t stay out of trouble.  No matter how hard I tried, I was a huge disappointment.  A failure.

When I graduated from high school and left home, I was owned by a husband.  I was supposed to be his fun hippie-chick, always up-beat and happy.  While doing the housework, cooking, and working a job outside the home, all with a smile on my face wherever we went.  I certainly wasn’t supposed to have “issues” or “baggage.”  I wasn’t supposed to be hurt or depressed or down or confused or wounded.  And since I was all of those things, I wasn’t accepted or loved.  In fact, I was rejected. He cheated on me from day one.  Three and a half years later, we finally called it quits.  I wasn’t even 20 years old at the time.  Physically, anyway.  Mentally, I was over 40.

For the first time in my life, I was on my own.  I was still young enough to have hope and, in spite of my bad experiences, I still believed in love.  I had courage. I thought I had a future and I was going to do everything in my power to make sure it was a good one.  I made friends, did crazy, irresponsible things for once, going to parties, bars, camp-outs where the dope and alcohol flowed freely.  I played.  Acted almost like a “normal” person, staying high and ignoring the problems that still haunted me.  I had almost 3 years of this.  Doing what I wanted with my free time.  Then, I met the living God and my world changed so abruptly and completely, I was undone.

I didn’t know the rules for being a Christian, but once again, I knew I was owned.  By a big, powerful, demanding God who had lots of instructions and…expectations.  My brief carefree days were over almost before they began.  Once I became a Christian, everything was all about pleasing God.  Doing the things He wanted me to do.  Being who He wanted me to be.  Saying what He wanted me to say.  Making him look good.  Sound familiar?

At first, I felt His love.  But as time passed, the demands became heavier and harder to meet.  I realized fairly quickly, I couldn’t win. Once again, just as I had with my parents and first husband, I found myself in a situation of never being able to be good enough.  I could never do enough, nor do it well enough, to please.  The whole concept of grace made no sense to me as it was far out of the realm of my experience.  It didn’t seem relevant.  Didn’t seem to apply to me.  Because even though I was saved by grace, it seemed clear the only way I was going to stay in God’s good graces was if I was able to perform.  And I wasn’t.  Not for long.

I was quite familiar with the performance requirement.  My parents had taught me well.  But the problem with performance is, when you can’t be perfect enough, there comes a point where you give up.  You stop trying because you know you’ll never achieve.  You’ll never please.  You’ll never make the grade.  So why bother?  You know you’re doomed to disappoint and to be rejected.  I felt that rejection oozing from this new owner.  This new Father.  God the Father.  Who demanded everything.  Just as my biological father had demanded everything.  And He too seemed to take what He wanted from me.  No matter the cost to my heart.

When I was 25, I married again.  A Christian man who believed we were meant to be together.  I thought he was incredible…and far too good for someone like me.  He was too cool.  Too popular.  Too cute.  Too awesome.  But he proposed and we began to plan our life together.  Now, not only did a terrifyingly powerful and demanding God own me, I became the property of this new husband.  A husband who, once again, never loved me and who demanded perfection.  He wanted a pretty little skinny wife who loved to do the things he loved to do, who was smart and would make him look good, who would be easy to be with, who would work a job and make money so he wouldn’t have to work too hard, all while cleaning the house and cooking and being a good wife, a wife who stayed in shape and didn’t bother him too much.  He wanted me to smile and be light and funny and happy.  Me.  The broken one.  The depressed.  The wounded.  The haunted.  The one who lived in darkness.  Me, filled with pain and struggling to feel my way, trying to act normal, but never quite succeeding. He wanted me to be someone other than who I was; just as everyone who had ever been important to me had wanted me to be a completely different person.  I didn’t see it coming, so I was wide open.  The rejection.  The judgment.  The disdain.  It hit hard and utterly destroyed me.

I dutifully remained his faithful wife until finally, after 22 years, he threw me to the curb when he fell in love with someone else.  As a result, I tried to take my life about 3 years after the divorce.  I was tired of trying to pick up the pieces of my soul.  I wanted to let the chips fall where they may. But I couldn’t even succeed at killing myself.

I have been owned by someone other than myself for most of my life.  I am still owned by God.  A God I fear.  A God I can’t please.  My heart is dead and I have no idea who I really am.  I’ve tried so hard to please everyone in my life by attempting with all my strength to be someone I wasn’t, someone they wanted me to be, I’ve lost track of who I am.  I don’t know who I started out to be or who I might have been or what I really hoped for in life.   I’ve tried to live up to everyone’s expectations and now, I don’t even know what I want…if I want anything.  I’ve lost my dreams.  I’ve run out of hope.  I no longer have the ability to believe in tomorrow.

Sometimes I wonder.  What if one of those people who was important to me had accepted me?  Cherished me…just the way I was?  What if, instead of rejecting me and demanding I be someone else entirely, they had supported, encouraged, loved, and helped me to find my way?  Where might I be today?  Who might I be?  I might not mind being owned if the one who owned me lifted me up instead of discarding and destroying me.

I guess we are all owned by someone.  I long for an owner who can love me without bounds.  In spite of my flaws.  Someone who can accept me and teach me how to fly.  And then fly with me.  Hand in hand.

More partner than owner.



Am I Bad Because I Want to Die?

I have spent almost 45 years trying to recover from my childhood. 

Since my abusive childhood, during the time that has come after, things have not gone well in spite of all efforts to overcome.  I have been married twice. I have held 7 major jobs, after working my way up from a slew of menial, mind-numbing assignments.  Jobs lost due to the economy and greedy, unethical men who have no conscience, compassion, or mercy.  No morals.  I have become a Christian, having had a life-changing encounter with the living God.  Started attending church, stopped, thought about starting again.  I’ve had 4 dogs; buried 2, and cried broken-hearted tears over their loss.  I’ve owned 3 houses, lost the last one that, though modest, was my dream home and meant to be where I retired.  I’ve been in horrid debt.  Now owe and own nothing much to speak of.  Owned two new cars and now drive one that is 16 years old.  Had adequate money; had no money.  I’ve never been loved and wanted by my partner.  I’ve never had plenty.  It has never been easy.  In fact, life has been terribly difficult.

During both marriages, my ex-husbands told me they didn’t love me.  The first husband, who I married when I was 17, told me after 2 weeks of marriage that he wanted a divorce.  The second told me during our first year of marriage that he didn’t love me.  But because I was a Christian and didn’t believe divorce was an option…and I loved him totally…I stayed.  Like a fool.  Believing a miracle would occur and he would someday awake to realize he did love me after all.

Both of those ex-husbands didn’t really want to work.  The first was a musician who wanted to make a go of it in the music business.  I worked at places like garment factories, egg processing plants, and chicken processing plants to support us.  We divorced after 3-1/2 years.  It hurt like hell, but I got over it.  I was young enough to believe I had a future.  I still had hope.

The second ex wanted to be a fireman.  When he couldn’t get hired on due to failure of some weird medical test, he worked menial minimum wage jobs during our entire marriage. He didn’t want responsibility and didn’t want things to be too difficult.   I started at the bottom and worked hard.  Worked my way up into management.  Worked long hours.  Hard days.  Came home to his rejection and disgust every single one of those days for 22 years.  Trying to support us so we wouldn’t be living hand to mouth and so we could enjoy a little security in life.  A few splurges.  Nothing fancy.  But I wanted to do a little more than just pay the bills.  We finally reached that place…where we could breathe a bit.  Then he left me for another woman.  A woman he fell in love with.  Something he could never do with me, apparently.  I was never worth his love.  Never received his acceptance.

I was also trying to heal, particularly during the last 15 years.  I was trying to heal from the parental abuse (sexual, physical, emotional) and neglect I experienced until I left home at age 17.  Having been sexually abused by my father from approximately age 5 until I was 14, I had a few “issues.”  I was broken.  At times, I was a mess.  Not being loved made that worse.  It’s hard to heal when you’re still in a negative, unloving relationship.  Hard to believe you have value when you’re continually being rejected.  So I went to counseling, attended groups, read books, prayed, attended church, prayed some more, went to more counseling, enrolled in Celebrate Recovery…I pursued every avenue of healing I could afford and lay my hands on.

Nothing worked.

I lost jobs, dogs, houses, marriages, opportunities…I lost everything. I’m alone.  I’ve been trying, at an age where most of my friends are retiring and starting to enjoy life, to find another job because I literally have nothing but my modest household goods, a 1999 car, and my dogs.  I must work.  Yet, I’ve applied for well over 400 jobs, many for which I am vastly overqualified, based on my skills and experience, and NOTHING has panned out.  Nothing.  My family is ready to boot me out the door and I don’t blame them.  They’ve tried to help me.  But nothing works out. Good things don’t come my way.  Life hasn’t been a treasure.  It hasn’t been precious.  It could be worse.  But it’s pretty awful and it has been that way for a very, very, very long time.

Which is why I asked the question, “Am I bad because I want to die?”

The onlyHannah & Zoe barrier to voluntarily hopping off the planet, the only thing keeping me alive, is my dogs.  I love them dearly.  I want to be the person who gets to love them.  One of them is 8.  The other is 3.  I don’t want to leave them. Or cause them trauma.  They tether me to the earth. But I don’t know if they are going to continue to be enough. Because things are so bad, I don’t know how much longer I can will myself to hang on. I don’t even know if I want to keep up the struggle.   I’ve lost hope. The best I can believe for at this point is to find a way to get by. Can that be enough? Days without meaning. Arduous and tedious. Empty. I’m really, really, really, really tired of fighting this battle to survive. Really. Tired.

So, am I a bad person because I want to die?

I’ve tried EVERYTHING I can think of to the best of my ability.  Is it worth soldiering on when everything has fallen apart and I continually come up empty handed and alone?

Now, I’m filling out forms to receive government assistance, government subsidized insurance, help with utilities.  Which is utterly humiliating.  I’m being told to go to Dairy Queen and get any job I can get there.  Never mind that I should be able to do a little better.  Or that standing all day causes my legs and feet to swell up so much I can’t wear my shoes and can’t even walk.  I haven’t had a standing job since I was a teenager.  I’ve been in human resources management for 25 years.  I am old enough now that trying to acclimate to a physically demanding job feels impossible.  I don’t even want to have to try it.  I think I would rather die.

Except for my dogs.  The conflict between wanting to stay so I can care for them and wanting to die is tearing me apart.

The best I can do is to want to want to live.  I want to have the will and the strength.  I want to have hope to fight and vision to believe.  I want to want to.  But I don’t want to.

I pray that’s enough.  That there is yet something positive ahead of me.  I guess time will tell.  If I’m still here tomorrow.