00:21 – Terrified of the wrong side winning

12 May

“Do you know what I’m really terrified of? The wrong side winning. It’s as though my mind has split in two and I have no control over it. And the thing is, I’m beginning to get confused about which side is right and which is wrong.”

(Victoria Leatham)

 

That quote above couldn’t be more true right now. My mind is split in two and it is driving me mad, it’s tormenting me constantly, it’s trying so hard to pull me backwards and make me fall with an almighty bang. I have two things going on inside my head right now and the voices keep cropping up as well, making sure that my head is constantly busy.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been finding it incredibly difficult to watch television. I feel as though everything I watch is trying to trigger me, like the programmes are being deliberately controlled by someone to make sure just about anything I try to watch either leaves me feeling panicky or in floods of tears. There are two reasons for this, one is that I can’t seem to watch anything even a tiny bit upsetting or I end up in these moments of intense sadness and tears. The other is because there have been so many alleged cases of historical sexual abuse by soap stars and TV presenters reported recently that I feel as though every time I see a news report it is trying to fuck my head up. I start to wonder if this is a deliberate attempt to see if watching TV could send me properly bonkers.

I don’t know if this will make any sense, but some of the men accused I associate with happy childhood memories of seeing them in kids TV programs and others I have kind of grown up with as TV soap stars. And because my childhood wasn’t always happy as I was abused myself for a large part of it, when I see these news reports this noise starts up in my head just of laughter, a sick laughter that goes on and on until I switch the TV off. It’s not good enough just to put it on standby, it must be switched off at the wall. When I see/hear these reports I feel as though the evil laughter in my head is just one final way of reminding me that even the innocent happy memories of my childhood can be tarnished so easily.

One part of me reacts to it all angrily – very angrily – and I find myself sitting here thinking that all men are complete wankers, that I will never have another relationship because at the age of 31 I’ve had so many bad experiences with men that I genuinely do not believe I could ever trust one again. Even in the last week I have seen yet again just how much they can leave me feeling dirty and ashamed. I got talking to a guy online and after a few nights talking online he asked if he could have my number. Like a fucking idiot I gave it to him and he called me for a chat. It was pretty awkward at first as I sort of clammed up and didn’t feel like I had much to say for myself – I fucking hate phone conversations, they make me feel really anxious when it’s someone I don’t know. But I stuck with it as I’d had my medication and waited to see if I would calm down a bit and be able to chat away to him. Eventually I did start to calm and we talked about loads of different things. It was him who said he had just seen someone posting one of those stupid sick jokes that always go round when the media report that well known people have been arrested on rape or abuse charges. He asked me what I thought of it and as I’d already been honest about my mental health problems I figured I’d try telling him the truth. So I told him I hated hearing about it all as it triggered a lot of memories from times I had been abused. He sounded a bit sad when I said that and asked me what had happened. I didn’t go into great detail about the adult experiences but told him I’d been abused by an older cousin throughout my childhood. He began to ask a lot of questions and I thought it was just his way of asking to understand what I’d gone through, he sounded like he was asking it in a caring sort of way, and even though it felt a bit weird to be having such a deep conversation with someone who was still a stranger it also felt nice to be able to be open from the start with someone. He began to ask more details – how old was I when it first happened? What did he make me do to him? What did he do to me? How did he get me to keep it a secret? I answered the first couple of questions feeling OK but the more questions he asked the more I started to feel a bit uncomfortable. I could hear his breathing going funny when I was talking. At one point I thought he had fallen asleep as the breathing became so loud. And then it dawned on me what he was doing on the other end of the phone. I didn’t want to believe it but I couldn’t ignore it, I had to ask him what he was doing? Why was he breathing like that? Had he fallen asleep? How I wish he had fallen asleep because I was completely unprepared for his upfront answer that he was “getting off”, what did I think he’d do if I started “talking like that”?

I hung up immediately and burst into tears, went over to the wall and stood there banging my head against it over and over until the tears stopped. I had allowed it to happen. I was to blame. I made him aroused by telling him about some of my most painful experiences. I felt so stupid. So fucking stupid. But it is just another incident to remind me that apart from my Dad and my brother, I must look at every man like he has the potential to hurt me even if it starts making my head go crazy. I’ve been getting these rushes of ideas going through my head, things that could land me in serious trouble if I were to act on them, like carrying some kind of weapon so that if I ever get caught off guard I’d be protected. But obviously that is highly illegal in this country. Usually when I am in some type of depressive or paranoid episode I prefer to go out during the night when nobody is around. The dark makes me feel safe and protected, the day time busy-ness makes me paranoid and anxious. But this time it’s different, the daytime busy-ness protects me and keeps me safe. At night time I am vulnerable and terrified. I might not be allowed to carry any type of weapon to protect myself but I do let one of the dogs off his lead and walk with it wrapped tightly around my hand, I hold the thick metal end tightly as images rush through my head telling me to make sure I’m ‘ready’ if anyone tries to hurt me in any way. Thankfully there is only one walk a day that I have to do when it’s dark but it is getting harder and harder because I have to stay so alert to anyone else whose around. I can’t relax, my heart beats so fast I can hear it in my chest and I keep one of the dogs next to me at all times because I know they will bark like mad if anyone approaches us, especially in the dark.

When I’m not thinking of all possible scenarios whereby a man could hurt me I am thinking about all the possible ways I could hurt myself. It’s not enough just having these violent thoughts towards potential ‘abusers’ – my thoughts race off in another direction telling me that I clearly deserve to be hurt and abused because it’s happened to me by so many men at various ages throughout my life. I must attract it somehow. They must be able to tell just by looking at me that by slipping something into a drink or by acting all caring and sweet to get me into a conversation with them that they’ll be able to make me do things for their perverted pleasures. They must just be able to tell by looking at me that they’ll be able to use me for what they want then fuck off and leave me to pick up the pieces. I told my support worker at Rape Crisis all of this on Wednesday and she told me it’s not uncommon for women who have been abused in some way to go on to have a string of abusive relationships or experiences. I think the sick fuckers can smell vulnerability and just have to try their luck. So yeah, along with the thoughts of wanting to castrate every man who has ever hurt me there are also a lot of thoughts and urges to self harm. I want to see the rivers of blood trickling out of me, I want to grab a blade and cut and cut and cut. But I don’t want to go to A&E, my legs are still in an absolute mess from the last self harm episode, I’ve got an area on one of the cuts where I think I’ve done some kind of nerve damage as there is a bit about the size of a 50p which is completely numb, I can’t feel a thing when I press down on it, even with something sharp.

It terrifies me to have thoughts about hurting other people and I have to keep telling myself over and over that I’m just being overly alert and that it IS safe to keep going outside. I know I would never act on them unless I was put into an extremely threatening position by someone. But then one part of my head screams so loudly that I deserve for another man to hurt me, I deserve to be used and abused and left even more broken than I am just now. And that just feeds the images and the urges to self harm again, because I believe I deserve to be cut, scarred and to look as disgusting as I do. I should look even more disgusting than I do now, I should be covered from head to toe in self mutilated wounds. Then no-one would ever want to come near me again. By making myself less and less attractive I can protect myself, or so the racing thoughts and occasional voices blurt out to me.

What was the quote I started with again?

“Do you know what I’m really terrified of? The wrong side winning. It’s as though my mind has split in two and I have no control over it. And the thing is, I’m beginning to get confused about which side is right and which is wrong.”

Which is the wrong side? I guess it’s the thoughts of hurting someone. I can’t control the thoughts, but I can control my actions. I think. And like the quote says, I truly am terrified of this side winning.

So which is the right side? I wish there was a side which believed that one day I will recover from all of this and achieve some things with my life. I wish I could believe there is a right side and it is going to be a place where if not happy, I’m at least content. But I don’t believe that is going to happen so instead I have to wonder if the right side is actually all these thoughts and encouraging voices telling me to hurt myself? Hurting myself feels right. It’s what I do. It makes me focus on a different kind of pain, a physical ache feels so much better than an emotional one. After all, I can see what is causing my pain when I can see that I’m covered in stitches and the variety of wounds all at various stages of healing.

I simply do not believe that I am ever going to escape these intrusive thoughts or escape from the self harming behaviours. I have been self harming for 17/18 years now. The voices have come and gone so many times I’ve lost count over the past 4 years or so. Feeling different in every way from every one I know has been a part of my life for too long now, and whilst I may have avoided any psych hospital admissions for over a year, my head is still very messed up. I don’t feel in control, I feel like something dark and sinister is controlling me, something that only gives me very occasional glimpses of feeling normal or even the tiniest glimpse of happiness, and then snatches them away from me… coming back every single time to ensure they can torment me a little bit more.

I still have so much more to say but I think I better end this post now, it’s got pretty long and the more I write the more messed up my head gets. I was also going to mention that whilst I did go to see my support worker on Wednesday, I phoned up with an excuse not to see CPN#2 on Friday. I think I just didn’t want to take the chance of opening up and all of the above pouring out because I already know what her response will be. It will be the usual bollocks about how I “will get better” and “will get through this” I just need to “learn coping techniques” that will work for me and then my life will somehow miraculously be cured of any mentalness. Plus there is the risk if you mention even having violent thoughts towards others – even if you know you wouldn’t act on them – that they still might get concerned enough to start assessing if you could really be a risk to others. And I’m not… well so long as no one tries to hurt me I’m not. Isn’t that a complete contradiction? I don’t want anyone to hurt me yet the only way I know to cope is to hurt myself? It might not make a great deal of sense to anyone apart from me.

On that note I think it is time for bed. I might try and write some more tomorrow if I feel like I can write something that makes a bit more sense. I don’t know if any of the 2500 words I’ve just written even make any sense at all. But my medication is kicking in and I need to try and sleep… I’m sure I’ve been writing this for over an hour now.

Goodnight folks, and I hope you’re all having a good weekend xx

3 Responses to “00:21 – Terrified of the wrong side winning”

  1. cjschlottman May 12, 2013 at 02:01 #

    I just finished reading this post and am very moved by your courage. I will be following you as I have a son,43, who is schizophrenic and bipolar 1. He is not forthcoming with what goes on in his head, and your frankness may make it easier for me to understand him. Thank you for your honesty. I will have you in my heart, hoping for healing.

  2. Christopher Andreae May 22, 2013 at 23:31 #

    I have a philosophy based on the one thing I believe to be true – the only thing we can control in this world is the way we react to things. The philosophy, in a roundabout way lead me to a 2 question system whenever I encountered anxiety over choice, which could also be seen as our reaction. The first question I ask is if, at the end of the day, I can even do anything about what concerns me? This is especially useful if the choice/reaction involves attempting any kind of manipulation of people or the physical world around you. We have absolutely no control over these things and therefore our answer is an automatic “no.” Since you can’t do anything about it, feel free to let it go as hanging onto it is the most common form of madness. If the answer is yes then getting to the root of the problem, the very lowest level of abstraction of your torment, is the next step. When you have identified what truly upsets you about a person or situation it is time to ask question number two – do you really want to do anything about it? If so, proceed on a course of action. This is easier said than done for those of us with mood disorders since the desire to remedy something can change in a heartbeat, so outside help is often welcome to keep us on track. If you don’t want to do anything about the problem, let it go.

    The point here is limiting the amount we believe we can change in this world, and the truth is very little. While our ailments constantly try to pull us away from the reality of what we can or cannot do (my unfocused manic episodes are exceedingly good at doing this) the goal is to limit our reactions and take action according to realistic scenarios.

    I once tried to worry for the world. It nearly killed me.

    Thanks for such a great post. Cheers,

    Chris

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  1. This Week in Mentalists – Rush Inducted into the Hall of Fame Edition | The World of Mentalists - May 18, 2013

    […] MCBL struggles with intrusive thoughts and memories and feeling like her mind is split in two between right and wrong. […]

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