Am I imagining you? Is this paranoia? Am I mentally breaking down? Am I crazy?
To the man who followed me home from my therapy appointment. I saw you. To the same man who followed me while I drove my children to school. I SAW you. To the SAME man with dark hair and glasses, driving the white Honda Pilot. I SEE you. I see you when you drive past my home. I see you in the parking lot at church. I see you everywhere you try to pretend you are not. I have dozens of pictures of you. What are you learning? What is so interesting about me? What are you doing to me as you follow me around??
To the person who calls my home and rings my phone three times and then hangs up. I hear you. To the person who calls my cell and leaves voice messages I NEVER listen to. I see you. To the person who texts me about things you know I’m researching. I SEE you too. Why are you so interested in me? What do you want to know? What are you trying to say to me??
To my husband. Stop asking me where I am. Stop trying to track my phone. Stop asking me if I arrived at my destination. Stop texting me all day long to “check in” and see what I’m doing. Stop asking me what I am typing. Stop telling me to share what I talked about in therapy. Stop finding ways to be in charge of our kids so I am trapped at home doing chores for you. STOP trying to anticipate, see, and control my every move. You do not own me.
To the voice in my head telling me to run. I am aware of you. To the other voice telling me to self destruct and self harm. I am aware of your existence too. To the voice of evil that harasses me in the night…I hear you. To the voice telling me it’s time to go home. I am fighting you. I will never go back.
To the woman who sent lily of the valley flowers to my bible study. Thank you for invading my space and triggering me. To the man who stared me down in Target and followed me out of the store. The image of your face is burned into my brain.
None of you own me. You may succeed in pacifying me. You may access and flip my progress and healing upside down. You may confuse me and renew fear inside. I must be pretty important to your game. I must know too much. Do I talk too much? Am I remembering too much? Am I too awake?? YOU WILL NOT WIN. I will kill myself first before you ever take me back. That is a guaranteed promise. You’d probably prefer that, wouldn’t you?
Red shoes. Cannibalism. They rape the babies and children. They eat them. They skin them. The red shoes they proudly wear, they are made from their flesh.
A little girl talked to me yesterday. I was sitting on my bed deep in thought and was surprised by her presence. I wasn’t sure what to do or say so I lay there silent, with my eyes closed, and listened. She told me a story of something that happened to her. This is what she said…
“In the underground there are cages. It is dark and cold and scary there. It is sad and painful. I cried a lot. Not out loud though, because if you do, that is bad and you get in trouble. You can only lay down with your legs curled up to your stomach. You can’t talk to the others who are next to you. If you do, they will take you and do things to you. They burn you. They eat you. They cut you open. They tie you up and put things inside of you. They scream in your face. They hit you and don’t stop until you stop making noise. I don’t like it here. I can never leave. They will chase me and take me back. I have to do what they say or they will cut me. Or burn me. No one will help me. Everyone forgets about me. I try to tell them what’s happening but they all stop talking to me. They are too busy. I don’t think they believe me “
When she was done talking, she cried.
This story took the little life that I had left out of me. It has frozen me in a way that I have not felt in a very long time. I feel stuck in that cage again. With no power and no will to fight for freedom. I can only sit there and obey. It is the safest thing to do. I want to help her but I don’t know how. I want to save her but I don’t know who she is or why she came to me. I want to talk to someone about this but no one is there.
Depression is ugly and invasive. It robs you of your sense of self. It makes you feel like a failure. It prevents you from growing and moving forward in your life. It creates feelings of distress and overwhelm. It steals your energy and motivation, leaving you exhausted and unable to move. It scrambles your thoughts, causing confusion. It tells you you are worthless, meaningless, unlovable, and unworthy of anything good. It keeps you stuck in a fog, feeling forever lost and with no hope for escape or freedom from it’s feelings of oppression and shame.
This is me, stuck in depression. I have fought SO unbelievably hard not to get to this place. I have been here before and I never wanted to return. I have done everything I know and have learned to keep me from landing here again. But depression’s grip is STRONG. It pulls me back whenever I make a move forward. It holds me tight and will not let go of it’s grip. I can’t get free.
I sat curled up in my bathroom this morning sobbing into my knees. My daughter was 10 feet away from me on the other side of the closed door and in that moment I loathed her and her presence because I had to hide what was happening to me. I felt frantic and trapped because today I didn’t have the time or the space to feel this way. I felt confused because ten seconds earlier I was fine. I woke up to her sweet voice say “I woke up Mommy.” I smiled at her and said “Good morning! What should we do today?” I got up to get dressed and everything fell apart in an instant. I don’t know why.
A feeling of heaviness has been culminating inside of me for weeks. I’ve been inundated and flooded with memories from my childhood. I don’t even know what many of them mean or what they are. It’s just a reel of pictures and flashes, feelings and anxiety come and go and pictures of situations that are horrific, ugly, and frightening. I find them unbelievable and have fought hard to ignore and dismiss everything as an overreactive imagination.
But the fog sticks. Then anxiety joins in. And insomnia also decides to hop onto this emotionally distressing train. Full speed ahead, they barrel down the tracks of my life, tossing and turning me, scraping and mauling me as I’m dragged along, bumping and bouncing on the tracks from behind. I don’t want to be in this place anymore. But I can’t keep up, the train is too fast. I’m too tired to run and try to get ahead. I’m too damaged and bruised to move anymore. It’s like quicksand, swallowing me up. I wish the grip would release me. I feel likeI have lost control. I feel like I can’t be helped. I feel like I will never be free from this nightmare.
In the darkness of the night I stood in front of the stone table. I was led there with no clothing on, blood dripping down my legs, holding an infant. The man with no hair nodded to me and I placed the baby onto the table. There was a fire burning underneath.
This image has reappeared over and over in my head. My body goes numb, shuts down, every time it appears. And for days after I feel sick to my stomach. I vomit. My head hurts. My heart races. I cannot sleep. I cannot eat.
Each time it returns I close my eyes in fear. Pushing it down as hard as I can, trying to avoid the unavoidable overwhelm. A voice in my head repeats over and over “She’s burning. She’s burning. She’s burning. She’s Burning…” And the glow of the fire fills my eyes and covers the image. I’ve screamed. I’ve panicked. I’ve cried and fallen to the floor praying no one finds me.
Oh God. What have I done?
…the fire burns…I am praised…I am tied…I am touched…I am used over and over for celebration…
My gaze goes up and I float into the top of the giant trees. I hide and rest in the canopy, hoping no one will find me and make me come down ever again. But they always did. Over, and over, and over, and over.
In the underground rooms there was a young girl like me who I now know was in labor. I was in the room next to her and I heard them through the door say “she is ready.” I could hear she was in pain. I heard footsteps and a door open and close. I know they had left her alone in the room. She cried and she moaned. I got up from my bed and I peered through the door. I saw her laying there alone and afraid, wearing nothing. She rocked back and forth, side to side.
I was sad for her. I knew the pain she was in. I made a dangerous choice and walked through the doors over to her. I talked to her and held her hand. I started to cry with her and I rubbed her belly in an effort to comfort her and soothe her pain. I told her that I hated it when they touched my stomach and asked her if she hated it too and she said yes. We smiled at each other and cried together. She groaned and began to vomit.
A flurry of black and white rushed into the room towards me. I froze while I clung to her hand. There was yelling and words I could not understand. My head whipped backwards and my body was grabbed from behind.
I can feel the fear of that moment in my throat. I can hear the grunts of my own voice as my body jerked backwards and violently shook. I don’t know what happened after that. The pictures in my head disappear. I never saw her again.
My body is experiencing sensory overload. It’s overwhelming. I’m forced to shut myself down and numb every last cell of my being. It works for awhile, until the images push their way to the front of my mind. Tears leak. Hands shake. My heart pounds loud and fierce. Fear and anxiety fill my soul. I fight and shut it down again. I need to forget. The cycle repeats over and over. See. Watch in Horror. Fear. Anxiety. Overwhelm. Numb. Repeat.
I watched as they laid his small naked body on the ground. His arms outstretched and wrists bound. His feet and ankles entangled in ropes that made the shape of an X around them. Eyes wide in fear, he is erected high. The knife touched his chest. He screamed and cried out. I remember how his body shook so violently, his eyes and mouth so wide. I stood, rigid, and still, frozen, watching the blood stream down his belly, his legs, to his feet. His head dropped down. They opened his stomach. They opened his legs. They opened his arms. They said he was an angel. His skin pulled to make his wings. My hair blew in the wind. My knees shook. I knew he would never come back down from there. My stomach feels sick. I do not move. I know not to move. I wonder if I will become an angel too. I wonder this to this day. When will they come for me?
My insides are full of evil. Gruesome. Unbelievable. Unimaginable. What has happened to me? When will this end? I don’t want to see this anymore. Close my eyes. Push it away. Breathe it out. Forget. I have to forget.
No. Open your eyes. Stay alert. They are coming…closing in. I cannot hide forever. I am afraid. I am overwhelmed. Stuff it down. Numb it out…
I am evil.
I can’t breathe. All life in me is gone. My heart feels nothing. Not joy or sadness or hurt. My body is numb. It can’t even feel pain. I’m completely shut down. I can’t react. I can’t fight. I can’t cry. How can I feel my heart beat again? I can’t breathe…
I look in the mirror and gasp at the stranger staring back at me. Who is she? Confusion and fear fills my soul. I don’t know what’s happening. I want to smash the mirror into millions of pieces so she disappears. Forever. I’m broken. I’m shattered. I’m not ok. How can I be ok? I can’t breathe…
I can’t breathe. Please, give me a place to run to, to escape from this place I’m in. This prison. This cage. This asylum. Everything is dark. Everything feels cold. I don’t know where I am. I am so lost and afraid. How can I find a way out of this place? I can’t breathe…
My head is filled with evil. Paintings of trauma. Pictures of death. Images of the unthinkable. My eyes stare at each in shock. My voice is stolen. No words can describe the carnage that sits inside of me. I can’t move. It’s impossible to think logically anymore. How will I ever regain consciousness? I just can’t breathe…
I can’t breathe. The weight, the heaviness, it sits on me…the heaps and piles of terror. I’m suffocating. I can’t catch my breath. There is no air left in my lungs. They have won. I have no control. I’m too weak to get back up. I can no longer breathe…
As I was drifting to sleep the other night I had an image come into my head of a baby whimpering in distress and sorrow. It had something black attached to it’s head that resembled the look of headphones. It was so clear in my head and I felt immediate sadness and angst and wanted to literally grab that baby out of my head and hold and comfort it. It was such a strong feeling, I picked up my phone and recorded the details. I had this gut feeling that it might be of significance. I have had flashes of babies before. One was covered in small black snakes, crawling all over it, on its face, it’s head, it’s body, it’s hands, everywhere. Dozens. The baby didn’t move. It just stares into nothing.
Last night I disclosed to my therapist some things I have been seeing in my head. I had absolutely no intention of going into any of the detail that I did and I’m not really sure how it all came out. There was so much fear inside of me. I felt like I was going to throw up. I stood up and paced. I was trying so hard to not say a word about it. I couldn’t contain what was happening inside of me. I don’t remember a lot of what I said, which scares me, but I do remember some things and being in such extreme distress. More than I have ever allowed myself to outwardly show him. I regret everything today. I’m waiting for the consequences. I know they’re coming.
I told him about the babies in my head. The nursery where they were kept. The metal white cribs all lined up in a row. The babies just laid there. No movement. They stared without expression. Wires attached to their feet and their heads, right above their ears. They were trained from birth to comply. If they cried, they would be shocked or burned. Their limbs would be pulled straight and restrained so they couldn’t move. They were fed, but only after they had to endure their torture. None of them had hair.
At this particular time there were five babies. Three were laying lifeless in the cribs. The baby that cried, it was taken away. I never saw it again from that day. The fifth baby was in a sling chair on the floor. It was smaller than the rest. They wore white shirts. Their legs were bare. There were no blankets in the beds, just the babies. I was never allowed to hold or touch them. There were times when they would take them away and I knew I would never see them again.
As I write about this, I am now seeing a young girl giving birth. She wore a white gown. They just pulled the baby out of her with some sort of metal instrument. She stared at the ceiling. Frozen. Her hair was light and fell over her shoulders as she lay there. There was a man between her legs and a women standing next to her. I don’t know where I am in this room. I just see it happening. In a weird way I can feel her extreme agony and pain. But she doesn’t show it. She just lays there.