Beauty & The Beast

Not all Love Stories have the happy ending that we hope for, but sometimes, they have the ending that we didn’t know we needed.

Sometimes, the happy ending is finding yourself – the real you – again. Sometimes, the happy ending is having the strength to walk away, even when it breaks your heart. Sometimes, the happy ending is starting all over again, with absolutely nothing.

Sometimes, the happy ending is just getting out alive.

My Son used to beat me up. He turned nine years old this year. By the time he was 2.5 years old, he’d given me my first busted lip. By the time he was three years old, his Father would need to intervene. By the time he was four years old, I’d been in the ER due to his violence. Three years ago, he nearly killed one of his Carers and himself. If left alone for even a moment, he would break things, put holes in walls, scream and try to harm himself and/or those around him.

Did he do any of this with intent? Did he do this because he was malicious in nature, a bully or abusive? Did he understand what he was doing to himself and the people around him? Could he stop (even with all the help in the world)? Was he ever sorry for what he did?

No. To all of the above, No.

My Son and his number of disabilities including Severe/Classic Autism (He is the 1 in 10,000…not 1 in 100) was the valid explanation and reason for his violence. It excused it. It justified it. It made it easier to cope with. My little boy, genuinely, did not know what he was doing and even with all the support, therapy and medication in the world – the violence continued.

Two years ago, after the last of the Carers quit and I realised I could not keep him safe (or others safe from him) anymore due to the fact he was now very tall and growing stronger everyday, I relinquished care of my Son to his Father. When myself, my 6’4 Brother and my Sons Carer very nearly failed to keep Owen from ending up on a main road – I, and every other sane/logical/responsible person in my life agreed that I could no longer look after my beautiful boy. For his sake, and mine.

When I broke my own heart by ‘giving him up’…I thought the violence in my life was over. I thought it was a thing of the past. By that point, I’d been single and separated from my Ex-Husband for 18 months. I had no interest in men, other than the occasional flirt down the pub or online. I had healed from the breakdown of my marriage, I loved being alone/independent and I felt strong, confident, content and true pride in myself. Entering into a new relationship or falling in love was not on my radar, and it certainly wasn’t something I felt like I needed to “complete me” – no way. I completed myself!

I loved myself, I enjoyed myself…and in no way, shape or form did I ever need a man. Why am I trying to stress these points so much? The answer is because there is a common misconception in Society that ONLY desperate, hurt and insecure women fall for abusive/violent men and become victims or statistics of Domestic Violence. According to society, these women follow some type of ‘pattern’ when it comes to the men in their lives (past and present).

I’m here to tell you that while that may be true for some, it is not true for me. Nor is it true for a lot of other women who’ve been abused. To be frank, it’s utter bullshit for many of us. Many of us do not, and will never, fit Societies idea of what a typical DV Victim looks like. I find it offensive that there is even a ‘mold’ that we are somehow supposed to fit into. The fact is that Domestic Violence does not discriminate, and the other fact is that most abusive men (including Narcissists) do not display their true colours until they have ensured that their victim is worn down and in at least some way, dependent on him. The victim is not aware of this at that stage – however she often feels confused, and/or crazy – she is probably even doubting herself by this point too. She’s a Lawyer, a Doctor, a Teacher, A Single Mum, A Cancer Patient, A Sales Assistant, A Student, A McDonalds Employee, A Centrelink Recipient…..she is ANYONE.

I was anyone.

While it is true that I was missing my Son and feeling his absence in my life, I grieved him long before the day I relinquished care of him (I had to for my sanity). I was also trying to care for my troubled and unwell Brother living next door. I was still a Freelance Writer by that stage, mainly in the Vegan food scene. Yes, I was sad a lot, but I was also happy, I was also free. I guess in a way, I was vulnerable – so I guess some people might think I was an easy target. I can see how they would. I can see how some people out there believe that in some way, I potentially fit the profile of your “typical” DV victim. Of course, it’s still complete horseshit, but I am aware of how it looks.

It was around this time that I met a man I fell head over heels in love with, very quickly. He made me feel like nobody else ever had. He was more attractive to me than any other man I had ever laid eyes on. His smile, charm and charisma lit up any room he would walk into – he turned heads. He was more romantic than any man I’d met in my life and I simply couldn’t get enough of him…and to my delight, he couldn’t get enough of me either. It was a whirlwind love story, we became inseparable from the moment we met.

I truly thought he was ‘The One’. My Soul Mate. My perfect match.

For a couple of months, life was bliss. The Honeymoon phase was on steroids – things were great.

But then one day…

They weren’t.

One night in September 2017, he had a fight over the phone with his ex-housemates regarding unpaid bills and a misunderstanding about overdue rent. The fight escalated and his Parents needed to get involved. This scenario didn’t have anything to do with me…but it resulted in the first hole punched in a wall. It resulted in the first time my Brother came over to intervene out of concern, as well as the first warning he gave my Partner (along the lines of “Don’t you dare fucking hurt my Sister”).

Not long after that, after an argument, my Partner took off to see his friends who lived two hours away.

He stole my ATM card and didn’t return my calls for 12 hours.

After he returned, we had a heated argument, and he put his hands around my throat.

He said it was the first time he had done anything like that – he told me he had never harmed a woman before and that it would NEVER happen again. He seemed genuinely shocked and mortified by his behaviour, especially given how much he was crying and trembling, so I believed him.

By this stage, my Brother had to move back home and ceased living next door to me. I still believe this is the reason why the abuse ramped up – it was a lot easier for my Partner to hurt me, especially more seriously, when my Brother wasn’t around to beat the living shit of him and/or to get him to stop his abuse.

It wasn’t long after my Brother left that the abuse escalated – albeit not physically. Apart from the hands around my throat (very serious, but not to the point of anywhere near blacking out, it was more of a “threat” thing if that makes sense), there wasn’t another instance when my Partner put his hands on me during this time. He did, however, smash my valuables, break things that were important to me, punched holes in walls and verbally abused me more than I could ever imagine. He wasn’t hitting me yet, but I was still scared of him.

When he was abusive like that, he was a monster. Vile, malicious, cruel, terrifying and completely inhuman. To this day, I do not think I will hate anyone as much as I hate the monster he turns into. Alcohol unlocks this Beast, but in no way is blaming alcohol fair or even rational. The only person to blame for his behavior is HIM. As even he himself has stated, he chooses to drink, knowing the serious risks it involves. When he becomes this ugly, intolerable, disgusting Beast – he is making the choice to do so.

Things went on like that for a while. One minute, we were more in love than ever, the next, it was a horror story rather than a fairy-tale. By this point, I was wondering why the hell I was putting up with it, I was internally beating myself up for giving him chance after chance, and for believing that he would change. Most disturbingly though, I hated myself for not being able to figure out why I couldn’t let him go – I didn’t understand the power of my love for him. How could I love this man more than I love myself?? Where did the happy, independent strong woman I knew go? What the hell happened to me?! I was disgusted in myself – I had become pathetic, desperate and seemed to only live for him…what was wrong with me?! Those thoughts would quickly change into an internal, self assuring, almost scripted monologue of “Well, at least he’s never actually hit me…and when he doesn’t drink, he’s fantastic….so everything will be okay”.

My self esteem by that stage was well and truly in the toilet. Maybe this is what I deserved? Maybe this was Karma? I mean what kind of Mother gives up her kid, right? What kind of Wife gives up on the FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE vow and leaves her Husband after nearly a decade of marriage? What kind of Sister neglects her struggling, sick Brother? Yeah. Maybe the Masochist in me agreed that I deserved some sort of punishment – maybe she even enabled her own abuse. This isn’t me blaming myself as none of this is my fault. It is, however, me being a realist about what I was probably repressing at the time.

Later that year, due to drunken stupidity on both our parts, I wound up pregnant. As soon as I saw those two pink lines, I decided, then and there, that I would not continue the pregnancy. This enraged my Partner. He wanted to keep the child more than anything, especially as he’s been through the hell of losing a baby in the past. I understood his feelings, and I truly felt for him and did everything I could to support him through it – but I was adamant that I needed to abort. Which I did, very soon after the pregnancy was confirmed. There was no fucking way I was going to risk having another special needs child, put my body through another torturous 9 months of pregnancy (my body doesn’t cope with pregnancy well) and there was no way I would ever bring a baby into a situation as violent, volatile, dangerous and unpredictable as the one I was in with my Partner.

I may have been stupid at the time, but I wasn’t that stupid.

He didn’t understand any of that – so he made the process an even bigger nightmare than it already was. I was called a Killer, a Murderer, a Baby Hater etc (I am rolling my eyes so hard right now at those memories). He smashed up my house again and again. The Police visited a number of times. He would abandon me for days on end to go and get stoned or drunk with his mates. Why I put up with the abuse during that time is beyond me. As I write this, I am re-living it, and honestly…my pregnancy should not have been the only thing I aborted at that time. Hindsight is a bitch, isn’t it?!

Once the dust settled after the abortion, we decided it was time to move away and start our lives together again. We agreed that he would stay with me some nights and stay with his family the rest of the time. The second night at my new home resulted in multiple police cars, an ambulance and every single neighbor huddling around me, making sure that I was alright. The reason for the abuse this time was due to the fact I could not find the address of an Australia Day Party (2018) that we were supposed to be attending. Again, my eye rolling game is hard right now.

Forensic Police photographed the damage he did to my house and my things. The Police put out a 5 year DVO on him – which he breached as soon as he got out of lock up. He went to court soon after and was given 12 months probation.

In April 2018, he became violent only days after my Brother died. Quite seriously. He did so again just nights before my Brothers funeral, in the home my Brother and I grew up in, while my grieving parents slept. What I allowed him to put me through during the worst time I have ever lived through still blows my mind.

In August 2018, he breached the DVO again…

But this time, none of my things were destroyed. No walls were punched. No windows were broken.

This time, it was me who was destroyed. I got punched (actually, to be honest, I got knocked the fuck out and had a form of Amnesia for three weeks). I was broken.

I didn’t report it. It wasn’t like every other time – every other time that I did report him. This time though? Hell no. I couldn’t stand the idea of him going to prison…especially since my Brother had passed away only a short time beforehand. Even after a black eye and a temporary head injury, I still felt like I couldn’t live without him…

and besides, (cue laughter and the shaking of heads), I believed him when he said this was the first time he’d hit a woman, and that he’d never do it again.

He sought therapy, counseling and started taking antidepressants etc after this incident. He even stopped drinking for a while.

By January of this year, I kicked him out. I couldn’t handle being abused and scared anymore, and the level of violence was beginning to genuinely terrify me. He left and went to live with a friend and his partner plus her family. He couldn’t stay here anymore.

By April, his Probation was finished. At this point, things were okay and I agreed he could spend a couple of nights here most weeks. In hindsight, that wasn’t a good idea. He breached the DVO twice in 10 days during that month. He didn’t hit me, but he did rip the front screen door off its hinges to force his way back inside to scream in my face some more. He did the same thing the next time. God knows what I’d apparently done to set him and his drunken self off. Neighbors reported both incidents to 000 and fortunately, he was arrested, both times.

Last month, due to a misunderstanding (not even an argument), he became enraged and violent again. Mainly verbally. After hours of asking him to leave, he amped up the verbal abuse. I was exhausted in every way, and generally, by this point, BORED of being his victim – especially on this night, as it was late and I just wanted him to shut up and leave so I could go to sleep. He smugly told me that the only way I would be rid of him was if he killed himself…so in my deflated, tired and absolutely over it state of mind, I told him that if that was the only way he would stop and leave me alone, then so be it. I told him “Okay then, if that’s the only way, then kill yourself”.

He didn’t kill himself. Nor did he stop.

Instead, he beat the absolute living shit out of me.

I screamed, I tried to hold my hands up in front of my face/head to defend myself. I screamed some more. I begged him to stop.

Which he did, eventually.

Once he got off of me, he stood up and retrieved a brand new, very sharp hunting knife from his pocket.

He told me that he was going to kill me. He meant it.

Bleeding, bruised and truly believing that I was about to be murdered, I asked him to do me a favor. I asked him to at least tell me that he loved me before ending my life, because I wanted those words to be the last thing I ever heard.

By some miracle, that was enough. He dropped the knife, collapsed on to the floor, and he wept. I held him for a long time, and then he fell asleep. The next day, he left, and he went to work as normal. That morning, I reported all of this to the Police. A few days later, he took himself and all of his things away from here.

He will appear in Court regarding all of the above very soon. My bet is that he’ll get a fine (like last time) or perhaps another stint on Probation.

The first few weeks after the night I thought my life was over, I was traumatized to the point where I didn’t leave the house. I ordered all my shopping online, I slept on the couch to be close to the front door if I needed to escape, I was jumping at shadows…I was a mess. I felt hopeless, I cried all the time. I felt like life wasn’t worth living anymore – I felt like I had lost my identity and had no purpose. All I saw was black, never any light. I felt more lonely and alone than I’d ever felt. I barely showered, I stopped functioning, I just slept…and slept…and slept.

But guess what happened then?

I woke up.

Sure, I was traumatized. Not just due to that night, but due to all the other times this man tried to destroy me. Who wouldn’t be a mess after that?? Sure, I was confused about the future and scared of being alone…but again…who wouldn’t be??

I started to realise that I was feeling EVERYTHING that I was meant to feel. I started to realise that I slept for so long because I NEEDED TO REST. Living your life in a constant state of adrenaline is exhausting to say the least.

I started to give in and allow myself, with nobodies permission but my own, to feel.

Anger, grief, disbelief, fear, heartbreak.

and –

Liberation, hope, strength, accomplishment, safe.

And you know what?

Today, I feel strong enough to write this.

Yesterday, I re-opened my little Fudge business after a 4 year hiatus.

Last week, my best friend came to stay and I’m now blessed with some of the happiest memories of my life.

Tomorrow, who knows what will happen?

The point is, I’ll be here for it, and I’m looking forward to it.

I am not a Victim of Domestic Violence. I am a Survivor of Domestic Violence. I am the proud Mother of a beautiful little boy who I miss dearly – but who I did the right thing by. I’m also the proud Mother of a grown up Daughter who inspires me more than anybody. I am the proud Big Sister of the best Little Brother who ever lived. I am the blessed Daughter of my Parents – two people I’m lucky enough to call my friends as well as my Mum and Dad. I am the very fortunate friend of a select few wonderful humans who make this world a much nicer place to live in, and who make the healing process a lot easier to bare, and to navigate.

I am a woman who not only has her identity intact, but who is proud of loving that very identity.

When it comes to the man who hurt me, all I’ll say is this – and I’ll say it in true Samantha Jones style;

“I love you, but I love me more”.

…and that, my beauties, is the very essence of this post. The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself, so make sure that you love ALL of you the way you deserve to be loved, even when you doubt yourself, and especially when you feel like you’re NOT yourself.

Trust me, you’re still in there somewhere. Just like I was.

Anxiety & The Space Between.

I will never forget my first panic attack. Like millions of others, I had no idea what was happening and I genuinely thought that I was about to die. Is it a heart attack? Am I having a stroke? Trapped standing in an absolutely packed aisle on a peak hour express train. No way off, no way out – at least not for 15 minutes until we reach the station mid journey…a long way from my actual home stop.

I hopped off the train, and instantly…I felt fine. Very confused, terribly worried, but physically, I was fine. All I could think during the rather expensive cab ride home was “what the fuck just happened to me?”.

I went home, had a drink and a couple of post-horror cigarettes, and then I realized that whatever it was….it was mental. It had to be. There was just no other explanation possible. I tried to convince myself that it was a once off thing and wouldn’t happen again. Maybe I just didn’t have enough to eat that day, plus I had an exam at College that morning…surely it was just the stress of that. I managed to convince myself that it wouldn’t happen again…and I had a pretty good weekend.

By Wednesday of the next week, I was in the sick room at College being urged by one of the tech staff to breathe in and out of a paper bag. I’d apparently had a panic attack in the College Auditorium before I was taken down there. It was an attack so bad that, in mid winter, I was soaked in my own sweat. My vision was blurry, and I had started to hyperventilate.

No train home that day. College paid the Cabcharge. Brisbane City to Bethania, over $100. Thanks, Sarina Russo!

Being only 21 at the time and still living at home, my Parents took me to the family GP. I couldn’t stop my body from trembling and according to the Doctor, my heart rate was through the roof. I remember the worst thing about all of this was not knowing why. The GP gave my Dad a script for medication to calm me down, and then he told my Parents to take me to a psychiatric hospital the next morning. He was already typing up the admission referral.

I was less than 4 weeks away from finishing my Cert III in Business.

Suddenly, and for no clear reason, I had developed full blown Panic Disorder.

I had been hospitalised for Depression in the past – but never for anything like this. I didn’t feel depressed at all. On the contrary, I felt pretty bloody fabulous (other than this scary anxiety stuff!). I had overcome my Depression 18 months prior, I’d gone from a size 18 to a size 8, I had close friends, I wasn’t a big drinker nor did I use illicit drugs, I had supervised and managed a successful Call Centre, and I was excelling in a Business Administration Course at College. So what the Hell went wrong?!

Over the next few weeks in hospital, and in extensive therapy with a Psychiatrist and Psychologist, it became clear that my newly diagnosed Anxiety and Panic Disorder stemmed from what is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). An incident that occurred in late 2002 (repressed) coupled with my symptoms led to that new label as well. At 18 years old in 2001…I was diagnosed with Depression (or Major Depressive Disorder to be exact). Now I had Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and PTSD added to my rap sheet.

It was mid 2004. I was 21 years old, and a nut case…outstanding.

Fast forward to now, and thankfully, society has changed. Labels like mine no longer have the same stigma attached to them that they did just 15 short years ago. We are no longer seen as “whack jobs”, but more as strong people who were too strong, for too long. We are seen as fighters, as warriors…and we are. More and more people are finally learning that mental illness is just that, an illness. Illnesses need treatment. All of them, whether it’s an infection in your gut or in your mind.

These days, while I still have my Labels, I’m far more comfortable with my mental illness. I have had no choice but to be friends with it. All of it. I regularly see my Doctor, I’ve been on the same Tricylic Antidepressant for nearly 10 years, and I undergo counselling whenever I need to. I still sincerely loathe panic attacks, I still struggle with PTSD some days/nights, and I am currently battling through one of the longest episodes of Depression that I have ever experienced.

It’s incredibly hard to function most of the time. Some days, I do nothing but sleep. Some nights, I cry for hours on end, wishing that I was somebody else. Sometimes, it takes half a Klonopin just to do a small shop at Coles. Hell, sometimes it takes a Valium just to get my ass out of the door and down to the Doctor (literally a 2 minute walk away).

I cancel plans when I need to, but I force myself to socialise as well. I withdraw when I need to, but I force myself to check on my friends and family too. Even though I’m one sad Trainwreck in a Tiara at the moment, I make myself live through this. I know that this is temporary, and I remind myself of that every single day. I have to.

I have found the space between my Anxiety and I, and instead of fearing when the space will close, I have learned to enjoy it. To appreciate it. To cherish it. To cling to it.

The most important thing I have ever learned though, personally, through all of my Labels – through every bout of mental illness – through every panic attack, through every intrusive thought and PTSD episode – and through every tear… is to NEVER BE SORRY.

I will never apologise for being sick. Nobody should. If my mental illness inconveniences you, that is simply not my problem. I have far more important concerns, like getting myself better. If you think it’s hard for you to deal with sometimes, try living with it everyday.

No sick human being, whether it’s Lupus, a broken bone, Cancer or any form of mental illness, owes anyone an apology for being unwell. We have more than enough to deal with.

We do everything humanly possible to get through the day, and to get better. It takes everything in us some days not to give up. It’s a war that we fight…and we fight it alone most of the time. Not just for ourselves, but for everybody else as well.

We don’t need to apologise for anything.

Actually, no. Scrap that. I’m wrong.

There is one time when it is okay to apologise, and it is to ourselves.

So I’m going to go ahead and do that right now;

“I am so sorry for being so hard on me sometimes”.

There, I said it.

If you are reading this, and you are suffering or battling any form of mental illness, please feel free to make that apology to yourself – but make sure it is that apology only...

Because it is the only one that will ever truly be required of you, my darling.

______________________________________________________
_

Beyond Blue – http://www.beyondblue.com.au
Suicide callback service – http://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Kids help line – 1800 55 1800
Headspace – 1800 650 890
Mensline – 1300 78 99 78

A.A. Acceptable Addiction.

Oh, God. Not again.

What are you doing?

The last two nights were good, great even. Nine drinks total in 48 hours – barely any! Well, barely any by my standards. Way to go!

But wait…not again… now look at you.

Do you even see yourself?

One after another, after another and another. You didn’t eat. You forgot to. Again. How many meals have you actually consumed this week? When was the last time you cooked? Actually, don’t answer that. You can’t even remember how you made it to bed, let alone the last thing you said. It was a bad night, you know that much at least – even if you can’t recall the reason. At least you had the sense to take the bucket to the bedroom with you.

At least the other night was fun…apparently.

You’re sick again. That old familiar feeling. Most people call it a Hangover…but you? No. Not a Hangover. Just the same old reality. You’re beyond used to it these days. The headache and nausea, while unpleasant, brings an odd yet comforting sense of familiarity. A lot like seeing all those empty wine bottles in the bin.

When did it get this bad again? You were sober from August until Christmas last year. Ah, yes. That’s it – Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year for some, and nothing but a crappy clusterfuck for the rest of us. Jingle Hell, Jingle Hell…..all the damn way.

It’s not just Christmas though. Not half a year later. It’s loneliness. It’s feeling lost. It’s sleep paralysis. It’s grief. It’s sadness. It’s guilt. It’s low self esteem. Confusion. Post trauma. Money. Work, or lack thereof. It’s family. Apathy. Intrusive thoughts. Recklessness. Pain.

Pain.

It’s also fun. It’s rewarding. It’s enjoyable. It’s killing time. Relaxing. Social. A form of escape. Legal. Not Benzodiazepines. Not Codeine. Not Heroin.

It’s something we seem to need, something that makes life, somehow, easier to cope with. Whether it’s a failing marriage, insane stress due to work (or looking for work), mental health problems, boredom, bad memories, an identity crisis – you name it, the list goes on.

It’s three things:

Self medication.
Self harm.
Selfish.

I’m not the only one. Many (and I mean many) of my friends are exactly the same.

Like me, they function. 
Like me, they’re aware that they are slowly (and potentially very painfully) killing themselves.
Like me, they don’t want to stop. 
Like me, they don’t plan to stop. Yet.
Like me, and often with me, they laugh about it.

All of it.

What can we say? We’re addicts. The vast majority of us know it, even if we do stop ourselves from thinking about it too much. Our idea of self control is very different to the idea of self control in everybody else.

As addicts, the denial makes it all too easy to pass as functional, healthy members of society. Responsibilities, employment, study, paying bills on time, creativity, ambition, passion, travel, adventures, love, lust, dreams…personal and professional growth. We have it all. We succeed and we fail the same way everybody else does.

I guess that’s what makes us acceptable addicts. In a way, we’re kind of privileged addicts. Victims of our own circumstances, whether it’s a celebration or just an excuse. It’s even easier when Yellowglen, Absolut, Heiniken and Singleton are on special right around the corner.

Acceptable addiction – especially when we compare how much we drink one day, and how little we drink the next. It’s what we do, and let’s face it, the monkey on an alcoholics back is a lot cuter than the monkey on a crackheads back. Society tells us that. Australian reality tells us that.

The loving enablers in our lives, for the most part, agree. The checkout assistants at the bottle shop agree, too. The memes and ads on social media, the commercials on television, the catalogues in our letterboxes, even the happy hour at any licensed establishment – in any city – on any given day…they’re all kind to our monkeys. And to quote Mike Skinner from The Streets; “Who cares about my liver when it feels good?!”.

We are genuinely self aware, for the most part. This doesn’t stop us justifying our addiction/illness, though. It doesn’t stop us using/self medicating/drinking. Whether we cut back some nights or stop entirely for a while – we still lie to ourselves. Lie and rely; two things every addict does. It’s all acceptable though – we are acceptable. And our monkeys are pretty damn cute, especially after a few pints.

Are we cute though? Do we really look healthy, the way we think we do? Do we look happy?

A Selfie with a wine in hand wearing the new shade of Napoleon Perdis lipstick? A Beer next to a beautifully home cooked dinner in a Facebook photo? Downing a Double Scotch or Vodka with a #hashtag about how we’ve earned it, as well as the next seven that will follow?

It is all just so acceptable. Except for the times when it’s not. And believe me, no matter what we tell ourselves, it’s not. Not when those loving enablers in our lives worry for us, and not when they feel hurt by us. Not when our Doctors tell us that we’re sick, and especially not when we ignore them. Not when we jokingly label our denial as cognitive dissonance.

Definitely not when we figuratively and literally avoid mirrors.

However, in saying that, the mirror (like our conscience) is easy enough to drown out. It really is. All we need to do, whether we’re together or alone, is pour another.

One after another, after another.

Oh, God. Not again.

What are you doing?

A Recap & Reinvention.

Let’s not beat around the bush. Nearly two years ago, I gave up my Kid. 

The difference between the me in mid 2017 and the me now, is that the me now doesn’t give a shit what anybody thinks about this. People who judge this decision do so because they have never been in an agonising position where relinquishing care of their child was the only choice they had. I did it because I love my Son. It’s that simple. For anyone who doesn’t know this particular story, please see the following links if you’re interested in knowing what the hell went down:

https://silenceandthespectrum.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/the-long-beginning/
https://silenceandthespectrum.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/524/
https://silenceandthespectrum.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/bye-sweetheart/

I have grieved this loss and I have grieved it hard. For the first  few months after I let my Son go, I lived in a haze of alcohol and drug use. Fast forward to today – I still grieve this loss. Not because I feel any form of guilt or shame, but because I naturally miss my little boy.  

Now, with that fully explained and out of the way, let’s move on. 

Since losing my Son, life has been up and down – and seems to be getting harder to navigate the older I get. 

In late 2017, I had an abortion, and I had it in silence. I told a few online friends, my Partner and my Brother. My Partner, Brandon, was heartbroken and found it incredibly difficult to cope with the situation, so I couldn’t lean on him for much practical or emotional support at the time.  This isn’t his fault, but it did make me feel even more alone than I already felt. Seeing that pregnancy test come up positive was one of the hardest realities I have ever had to face, and I have ensured that I will never go through that form of Hell again. I kept it hidden for a long time, and in hindsight, I wish that I hadn’t of done that. My Parents and my close mates showed me nothing but love, understanding and compassion when I eventually confessed. 

Also, in late 2017, My Brothers downward spiral (he would love the fact that I’ve just used a Nine Inch Nails album title to describe his struggle by the way) took a far more serious turn that it ever had. For months, Tom, my Brother, had been struggling with Depression and drug use. I became accustomed to always leaving my phone on the loud setting and never having it anywhere but on me, or next to me. He would call me in tears sometimes, especially at odd hours, mainly due to crippling anxiety. I’ll never forget the first time this happened, as I couldn’t get to him. I was on holidays. All I could do was cry with him and assure him that I would be home in a few days before begging him to just hang on. I fail to recall a time I saw my Brother cry even when he was a Kid.

It broke my fucking heart. 

We (my Parents, my Brothers then Partner and my Partner) had an Intervention not long before Christmas 2017. The number of times that we all mentioned rehab, a trial of methadone, more intensive therapy etc – I can’t count. Between all of us, we tried everything we could in terms of listening, suggestions, understanding etc. I’ll never forget feeling bad at that Intervention. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling due to the fact that Tom was saying that if he didn’t “get better”, he’d kill himself. I believed him. That’s why I couldn’t stop the waterworks.

The Intervention was in October 2017. One night in April last year, a few months after I had moved away to start a new life, and six days after my Partner proposed to me, Tom sent me a message to say Goodbye. I didn’t read it until the next morning. 

By then, he was dead. 

It’s only been in the last month or so, since the 1st year anniversary of his death, that I have been able to remember the day we all lost him. Until recently, I couldn’t really remember the hardest phone call my Mother ever had to make to me. All I could remember was getting up from the floor and having a Coffee with about 15mg of Valium afterwards. I do remember it all now, though. I woke up that morning, Mum told me Tom was dead, I collapsed on to the kitchen floor and started wailing. This woke my Partner, he came in, spoke to Mum and then he and I had Coffee. Two days later, I went to the Doctor and asked him if it was at all possible that Tom could wake up. He assured me that this wasn’t possible, told my Partner to watch me closely, and prescribed more sedatives. 

The Funeral was the most beautiful and fucked up event that I’ve ever attended. I think the high point was me kissing my Brothers freezing cold forehead about a million times while telling him that the joke wasn’t funny anymore, and to please wake up before the damn casket was closed. Alas, he didn’t wake up. He still hasn’t. And I still don’t know how to deal with that. It’s my Birthday tomorrow, and just like last year, I don’t feel like celebrating one bit. Not without him. Not when his Birthday would of been in just 25 days time from now. Not yet.

He was my best friend. So not yet. Maybe one day – but not yet. 

Since my Brothers passing and the grief that brings on an hourly basis (even now), I have seen my 17 year old Daughter go through far too much personal Hell of her own, I have been there for friends going through the turmoil of domestic violence while I’ve been going through that myself (this will be touched on in a future post). I have also lost friends. I have battled addiction, including going sober for 3 months last year. I’m still battling addiction in the form of alcohol. I’m still battling addiction in the form of knowing that it’s been 2 weeks, 2 days and 17 hours since my last Klonopin or Valium.  Since my Brothers passing, life hasn’t been great. Since losing my Son, life hasn’t been great. 

It seems like it’s pain on top of pain. There have been days and nights where I’ve come far too close for comfort in terms of following Tom. Suicidal Ideation is apparently “a thing” – and it’s something I have suffered on and off for over a year now. I will get into this in another post too. Between mental health struggles, addiction, abuse and hard hitting grief – life, if I’m honest, has been pretty fucking horrible. 

But you know what?

I’m still here. Some days I don’t want to be, but I am. I’m writing again, so that’s something. I had a shower today, so that’s something else. It all counts, it all matters, it’s all some form of slow, functional, healthy healing…right

I guess I’m up to date now in terms of where I’m at. Given everything that I’ve just said, I am sure you can conclude the tone of this Blog and the myriad of issues that will be shared. Not just for my sake, but for everyone else out there who feels they are alone in their own Beautiful, unique, fucked up, unfair but real Hell. Nobody needs to suffer in silence, and in a very real way, this is me proving that to myself and hopefully, to anyone else who needs it as well. 

So here’s to being 36 years old tomorrow – and to the next 36 as well. I may be a Trainwreck in a Tiara, but at least I’m staying on the tracks. 

Welcome to Hell.

Have you ever known what it is to love and hate yourself at the same time? To feel total apathy in one moment, but suffocating in unexplained chaos the next?

Life is such a headfuck sometimes.

Hi. My name is Emily. It will be my 36th Birthday tomorrow, and I’m a bigger mess than the last Federal Election & GOT Finale put together.

I haven’t written anything in almost two years now, so please bare with me if I suck. Writing used to be my sanctuary, it’s something I always used to turn to, it was my release. Things went and got themselves a little crazy over the last 24 months though, so instead of channelling my feelings into written pieces during that time, I fucked up my entire life in epic fashion instead! Winning! I’m probably bordering on continuing that path by creating this Blog…I mean what type of person shares their disturbingly dark histories and triggering experiences online for anyone and everyone to read?!

Insecure, frightened, confused, sometimes intelligent and witty, lost little people like me. 

People like me. That’s who.

Why? Two reasons, really.

1) I miss writing. It is a part of who I am, and I miss me. Or do I miss who I was? Who the hell knows?! I guess I just miss spewing word vomit.

2) Because I know that I’m not the only Trainwreck in a tiara out there. So maybe my shameless over-sharing might help someone else in some way. Maybe they won’t feel so isolated, hell, maybe they’ll even feel a little better about themselves after taking in tales of my assorted fuckery over the last 3.6 decades.

So with that being said, Welcome to Her Own Beautiful Hell. Welcome to my own Beautiful Hell – a place that is blame free, shame free and full of hurting and healing, misery and madness, grief and growth.

What I share here may, at times, be triggering. Please pay attention to the relevant content warnings if you feel you may be at risk. Absolutely no form of bullying or disrespect towards myself or anyone else will be tolerated, and immediate bans and reports will follow.

The idea of this website and accompanying Facebook page is to create a safe space for all women and men to find comfort and company in. I will write about my own experiences regarding everything from mental illness, domestic violence, death/loss, relationships and more. I will write honestly and candidly – no sugar coating, sometimes no happy endings and most importantly, no bullshit. At some stage, there will be the option to anonymously write in for support and/or advice on the Facebook page.

Thanks for stopping by, I am looking forward to starting this new journey of creating raw (but necessary) content in order to give hope, and possibly a lifeline, to not only myself, but to anybody else out there who may need it.

Watch this space.