Not many know the true story behind the accident that took part of my leg.
Not many are aware of the mental torture of the next few years, the total annihilation of any semblance of self-worth, self-confidence or self-esteem that was perpetrated upon me by the person I was trying to help that night.
In my weird way I always thought I was protecting those around me by fighting my battles alone. I now know that was foolish.
When you are not a confident person, when you are less that strong emotionally, and when you are the type to fight your own battles, to never let anyone see your pain, you are in fact, catnip for anyone damaged and abusive and in retrospect filled with guilt.
In the guise of the caring friend, month after month, he would come to the hospital, whispering warnings, reinforcing my fear of abandonment, my fear of disgust at my severely scarred body. Filling my head with the notion that only he could handle this mess I had become. Only he would see past the exterior damage. Only he would not be repulsed.
I fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker. In the dark place, I had fled in my mind, I knew that he was right. The weird internal voice that seems to relish your pain, stoked the fires of self-doubt, self-loathing.
I gave up almost everyone I knew, I became a recluse in order to avoid the pain of the abuse that would follow any small infraction. I wasn’t allowed a phone, I wasn’t allowed to see friends, and I wasn’t to look at or speak to another male over the age of 10. (A 12 yr old boy carried 2 heavy bags home for me from the corner grocery)It cost me two days of verbal abuse and multiple physical attacks.
The escape from the situation came after I had spent an entire night perched on the edge of a precipice feeling the only option was an either – or…choice. Only one of us could continue…
Thanks in part to the gift my friend Andrea had given me when she took her life,(suicide is not the answer) and in part to the universe intervening, my abuser did not return to our house that night.
I now know that I must have called on courage ( finally I get it Kathie Donovan) to start anew, I still tried to go it alone, never reaching out for help until 2004 when I finally found Patricia Wall. Ostensibly she was helping me get my house sold ( My son calls her the holistic missile, her help had nothing to do with real estate!!) Not everyone is this lucky. Not everyone is blessed with friends and family who support us even in the silence.
I know that initiatives like #BellLetstalk and all the mental health options we have now (still plenty of room for improvement) can help.
I hope that by finally talking publicly about this dark and pain-filled time in my life perhaps someone else will reach out.. Talk … Ask for help… or offer it… Thank you