My plan to get out of the army and heal up and be all better was just a fairy tale.
Years after the assault and after leaving base, I had kind of evolved into a negative, depressed, and anxious mess. I would fly from anything that I considered even vaguely a threat. So, if I went to a store, and I saw a man in an aisle, even a measly pimpled teenager stocking the shelves, I would turn and go the other way. I avoid driving now, although, I force myself to go out at least once per day so I dont hermit away like I did at one point, not leaving my house for two weeks straight until we were out of food. I had taken to doing rituals and if I do not do the rituals I get frantic. Every day, I must at all costs have a bath in the late afternoon. If I do not, then I get crazed, itchy, scratching at myself and feeling filthy. Every day, I am usually fairly okay in the morning, but by 1300 or 1400 hrs, I get a huge surge of fatigue and get very down. Every day, I struggle to find motivation to live, and as I try to put makeup on and brush my hair, I look in the mirror, and instead of seeing me now, I see me then, that day, 1735 hrs, standing at home, stripping naked out of my wet panties and wrinkled BDUs, looking in the mirror at bruises, blood and bitemark. Every day, I dread what I will have to do, especially if it involves an appointment where I must be around people or shopping where I must be around people, or driving in excessive traffic. Usually I am not an aggressive person, but, when in a vehicle and some schmuck is tailgating me or cutting me off, it gives me a surge of anger. I hate to drive so much now 😦 I cant sleep, and when I finally do drift off, any little thing wakes me up, such as, the dog barking, the wind blowing, the refrigerator kicking on. Anything.
Kids really do grow up fast… my children grew, then, were teenagers and didnt need me so much any more. When this happened, I slipped even more in my depression. The marriage was pretty much gone, just held on in name. No affection, no intimacy, no friendship. What is left?
I sought help at the VA. Hated talking about my problems, it made them feel fresh again. I was only just starting to be able to come to terms with being raped. I stopped seeking help and again withdrew.
Depression worsening, unable to work, finally, around 2010, I realized that I no longer had a purpose one day. The kids were going off with friends, and I was in the kitchen, and I realized I had nothing to live for. At that point I craved to die. I told myself I would wait until the kids graduated, and then I would end my miserable existence. I almost couldnt wait for this to happen. The way I look at it is, just turning off a switch. And I wont suffer any more.
My health was so bad. I had hormonal problems, adrenal problems, insulin issues, fatigue, chronic pain, depression, insomnia, and still, years on, popping back if I let myself, to that day and those moments of terror. Worst was the seizures, sometimes full blackouts and sometimes awful twitching sessions and then hours of being as weak as a kitten and confused afterwards. I got put on seizure meds, but still have issues.
My husband was no support or help. He hated me, I guess, for the mess that I had become. I looked like the “after” photo of the women on the “don’t do methamphetamines” poster. Where was the vibrant, healthy blonde that was called “malibu” at basic training? Gone, long gone. My eyes sunken in, my skin blotchy, dry and marked, weight problems, skimpy and limp hair. I look like a totally different person, and it is not just aging.
My birthday 2010 spent at a homeless shelter after a fight with my husband. Miserable times and a miserable, filthy place.
Christmas eve 2010 spent at a suicide center when I almost lost the fight, lost the will to go on. It hurt too much to even exist. I sped away from home, mind racing, suffering, wanting it over. I thought of ways to end my life. Maybe jump from a tall bridge. Pills too iffy, might just fall asleep. Gun too iffy, might miss and be crippled. I left the suicide center and drove for hours, planning on living in the car. It was too cold 😦 I had only a small jacket. I was speeding at over 100 mph across the empty desert. I tried to sleep in the car and could not. I turned around and went home some hours later.
Ran away from home in 2011, left my husband. I had loved him so much, before. We had been kids together, I remember the first time I saw him in middle school, standing in the playground at PE, leaning against a fence in his red jacket. Later, he gave me my first kiss just before I turned 16, a shy and exciting experience. Later, he took my virginity, teaching me how to be sensual. Later, he became my husband and father of my children. But in 2011, there was nothing left. So I left with the kids. It was a desperate and crazy time. But the distraction felt good, a new place, far away from Fort Bliss. I sold almost everything I owned, and packed up, moved out. Now I had to find work or we wouldnt make it. Those were incredibly poor times. I thought I could find a job right away, but it took 2 months. So I put ads on Craigslist that I would do housework. Would make $20-$25 to clean up after slobs. Begged for food at food banks. Begged for clothes from salvation army. Finally found a job in a day care center, $7.50/hr. Thought I would do okay with kids, they feel safe. But the co-workers antics, gossip, and slacker behavior was so awful. They would all take off to smoke weed in the parking lot and leave me alone in the gym, customers complaining. They would toss around a few insults about me, well I am sorry I cannot buy better clothes or go to the beauty salon. I am sorry I look like the after photo on the dont do meth poster. I lasted a few months before I couldnt take any more and quit. Jobless and penniless again. Bounced around, had a few other jobs. Botched interviews and entrance tests. Why cant I concentrate? Why do I mess up what I am trying to say? Some jobs lasted a few weeks. Some only a few days.
Months, years going by. Mostly just existing, barely getting by. In 2015 I finally got Obamacare and sought help. I was disappointed with the VA and knew the civilian healthcare was better. Found a therapist and began treatment for PTSD and depression. Hmmm I am not sure why, but, therapy for me makes it all worse. Like poking at an old wound to bring up thoughts, memories, details. I have tried to stick with it, but, writing a detailed account of the assault for therapy sucked me into a deep, dark depression possibly even worse than the one I had in 2010-2011. Suicide started to sneak into my thoughts again. It seems like a good thing to do, to just turn out the lights and end it all. And so here I am. Trying to think, trying to put things in perspective.
I know what happened was a long time ago. But I also know I am incredibly and horribly broken, mentally and physically, and I cant fix it.