There’s no better way to describe my experience than this: a long, dissociative episode coupled with many mental breakdowns and topped off with impulses to hurt my infant son. If you don’t read this post, that’s pretty much the gist of it. The last part may upset you, but I’m here to tell my story.
For eight lengthy years, I went without psychiatric help. Somewhere between my parents’ second divorce and the start of college, my life started veering off the road. The day-to-day monotony trudged along miserably. My physical form carried out tasks routinely, but my inner consciousness was floating among the stars. I could see others’ lives being played out all around me: people in love, people with plans, people suffering. There’s no sound in the celestial plane. My cries of “I’m suffering too!” were never heard.
I felt nothing. Only when things seemed really awful would all those emotions I wasn’t feeling opened up like floodgates. Rock bottom could never quite characterize these breakdowns. They were Mariana Trenches and vast caves. “Please, please just let me die.”
Pregnancy was unfathomable. Once I learned a life was in my womb, the worry became unbearable. I’d just graduated college, moved from my childhood home into a quaint neighborhood in north Arlington, and was in the process of moving with a friend to Dallas. My life felt okay for the first time.
After leaving the abortion clinic, a decision needed to be made quickly. The definite possibility of being disowned by parents in tandem with the humiliation I would face giving up my child for adoption — or to my parents — was enough for me to make a decision I wasn’t comfortable selecting.
The first few months were fine. There was no fairy tale story about how I looked at him for the first time and fell in love. I saw my son as a baby who literally needed me to survive. And so I did my best to stay alive. I returned to work shortly thereafter and quickly realized the monster that had consumed me for so long had never left.
No sleep left me irritable. Crying enraged me. Dirty dishes unhinged me. Work was a drag. Clock in. Clock out. Clock in again. Clock out again. My attitude changed drastically. I hated my coworkers, and I hated the customers I had to deal with. I would sneer, and I would be rude for no reason. Day-in and day-out was misery, a personal hell.
Thoughts of him being hurt started to play in my head. Visions of him rolling off the bed suddenly turned into him being thrown. There was no face to the person doing these actions. Slowly, the thoughts turned more violent: stabbing, punching, hammering. All sorts of brutal beatings kept ruminating so that it was hard to concentrate on work — or anything at all. I couldn’t look at him. The thoughts were too disgusting, and I couldn’t live with myself.
Months had passed, and a few therapy sessions did me in. After my therapist planted an idea in my head that my son’s father could potentially be sexually abusing our son, I stopped going altogether. Mind you, her idea was baseless and unsound; it only made my condition worse. With this newfound apathy towards getting help, things only got worse.
I could not listen to him cry without completely seeing red. The faceless apparition in my thoughts now had a face — mine. Each time these ideations occurred, it took all of my strength to stop. Unclench the jaw. Retract the fist. Quiet the snarl.
I didn’t know what I was capable of. I was alarmed. What had I become? Had I been this person all along? What kind of person does this? These questions of unknowing plunged me further into the inescapable hole. The level of self-hatred was insurmountable.
I couldn’t bear another day on earth. My life now depended on seeking an answer to the problems I was facing. It was do-or-die. I scheduled an appointment with a psychiatrist in late September. Everything I had been wanting to tell someone for eight years spilled out like an endless stream of words. It felt incredible to finally convey my thoughts. All the terrible things going through my mind were finally out.
After everything was said and done, it was my job to be checked into a mental health hospital right away. I left there concerned about the next day and what it would bring. After a short conversation with my mother, I realized this was the right thing to do. It was time for me to get well. Years of unchecked mental health issues led me to this very moment, and I had to take the chance.
On September 28, 2017, I checked into inpatient services at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. My life would never be the same.
You can read the continuation of this story in “Monologues of Madness :: Part 2 — A Tale from the Psych Ward” and the conclusion in “Monologues of Madness :: Part 3 — Recovery.”
Wow. I can’t imagine going through this. Thank you for sharing – and interested in part 2.
What a powerfully told and courageously shared account! Your openness and honesty will surely empower others to find ways toward safety and health and life. Thank you.