I felt a euphoric peacefulness where no thoughts could penetrate, no turmoil could reach me. I drifted into a place where the infinite depths of my feelings no longer existed.
Through this ecstasy I recall barely standing on my two feet while my parents moved me down the stairs. I remember the sweet liquorice taste of activated charcoal; the most exquisite taste ever!
I came to my senses in a hospital bed, tucked in tight with my family (mom, dad and brother) standing around my bed. My first reaction was to ask my dad to say a prayer; I somehow found comfort in hearing his familiar voice, praying . . .
I was 18 years old, the deepest darkest and loneliest time in my life. Inside my world was crashing into a gazillion pieces.
Around me it was life as usual. . . Yet inside I was filled with intense emotions of abhorrence, rage and the despicable truths of human nature, on top of the constant feelings of not belonging – not fitting in. Feelings of complete isolation even though surrounded by people.
All I wanted to do was sleep, and not feel. Not die, just sleep forever! I gradually dosed myself with my mom’s medication, numbing my emotions and thoughts. Each time I woke up from my euphoria, I made my way to her medicine cabinet and took a handful of pills, climbed back into bed and closed my eyes. Peace . . . Silence . . . Freedom . . .
After my stint in hospital, realizing that my “just wanting to sleep, forever” was in fact another way of saying, “I’d rather die than live a life where the intensity of my own emotions and that of the world around me, and the thoughts hounding my mind was just too much”. Invisible me. Misunderstood me.The haunting shadow of a childhood foreign to who I am.
The fact that I was still alive, to me, was a sign that I needed to be here. Surely if it wasn’t I would have died a peaceful euphoric death, and would be none the wiser of the shattered hearts, leaving my family to pick up the pieces . . .
The first thing I did when I arrived home from the hospital was to write this note to myself and paste it on my wall. “To live is to love, to love is to give, to give is to care, and to care is to love”.
Somehow it reminded me that loving myself IS enough, and that caring for others IS to live, and to truly live I HAD to love myself and not allow the world and, sometimes, its harsh realities, to shatter my spirit and self-worth. I had to find a way to firstly embrace my thoughts and emotions. And then find the courage to face that which shattered my self-esteem head-on!
A few weeks later the summons came and I faced my childhood terror head-on in court with the support of my mom and dad at the age of 18. It took MANY court appearances, and a soul destroying interrogation to set me free and allow me to live a life worth loving.
And years later, after my son was born, I experienced the power of forgiveness and was once again touched by euphoric peacefulness. Letting go of the suppressed hate and anger, opened me up to love unconditionally with a lightened heart.
You see, apart from always feeling as if “I did not belong“, there was also a time in my life where I was a child victim of a sexual predator who molested me. And even though the molestation stopped when I entered high school, the emotional abuse continued throughout my teen years. Haunting my subconscious and manipulating me to believe that I was worthless and revolting. I drowned out my fears and insecurities at weekend raves and trance parties, while observing the masses as they included me while on their drug induced highs.
My parents referred to me as a weekend alcoholic, because if I wasn’t at a weekend event, I was at “friends”, drinking. My dad even referred to me as a slut, to him my lifestyle, the sudden rebellion, was worlds away from the child they reared! My behaviour did not fit the quiet loner who would rather be indoors than socialise.
Eventually I could no longer take the deafening silence. I addressed a letter to them, informing them that I’m no slut, but that an adult, close to our family, molested me. In my letter I referred to their God as a failure, that they have been so blinded by their God-fearing life that they’ve failed to see me slipping away.
This letter broke our family, it changed the way we perceived our world.
After this, at the age of 18, my mother accompanied me to the police station where we sat in a small cold room, while I gave my statement and a criminal case was opened. The verdict, almost two years later – with my parents by my side – Guilty. Five year suspended sentence for indecent assault.
The outcome was of no consequence to me, what mattered was that this action, holding this person accountable for their wrongs, enabled me to take back control of my life. It allowed me to be me, without hesitation! It allowed me to start my journey to optimism, to living a life worth loving.
No longer would I live a life in the shadows of my anger, my hatred, my self-doubt. No longer would I look in the mirror and pray that my skinny bones, straightened hair and picture perfect make-up would give me an ounce of fake self-worth that I craved after constantly being mocked as nothing great to look at, while being touched in the most inappropriate ways! No longer would I depend on fake hugs dished out at trance parties to feel like I belonged. No longer would I need vodka shots to dull the ugliness inside. No longer would I be incarcerated by this person. No longer would I be a prisoner of my mind, the constant thoughts of what I did to attract this kind of attention!
Facing my incarcerator, unlocked the door to my freedom. Accountability – standing in the courtroom as the Victor (not the Victim), taking back my freedom to LOVE myself and to appreciate that not fitting in is part of who I am, and that this gives no one the right to pounce on that vulnerability.
I am triumphant, I am courageous and I am beautiful, worthy of love and born to be different! I’ve come to marvel at my depths of emotion, my insight and my phenomenal mind.
“Live your best life, even in your weakest moments” – Chevone Petersen (19 years old at the time).
Know that your light, no matter how dull, may just be someone’s hope tomorrow . . .
I also dedicate this post to a fellow Blogger whose post, Revelations at Dawn, inspired me to publish this which I have written a long time ago…Thank you Dave, here is to your third anniversary of sobriety!
Know that attempted suicide or successful suicide is NOT an act of cowardess or selfishness. There is much more to this action than the devastation that is left behind, consider the emotional turmoil and depths of thoughts that goes into the decision to rather die than live. For some dying represent a new beginning . . .
Contact Childline on 08000 55 555, “every child’s story deserves a happy ending”.
Contact South African Depression & Anxiety Group on 0800 12 13 14 or sms 31393.