I found this on my computer. It’s amazing how well we can write in the middle of an emotional crisis.
I am trying to understand my fears. In order to overcome them, I need to face them. But how can I face fears that are based on a one time traumatic experience? How can I face them when they are completely illogical?
I am afraid to sleep alone, without the safety blanket that is my husband. Life must, and does, go on, yet I find myself to be stuck in a pit of unreasonable anxiety. The only good thing is that I know what my fear stems from. I know what it is based on. Little does that help.
Now, though, instead of the horror that would replay on the inside of my eyelids, I find fear in other places. When I close the blinds I am afraid to look outside for fear that I may see someone out there. Her, a murderer, a pair of glowing eyes. I no longer feel safe. I am no longer secure.
My fear is no longer based on logic. I was not afraid of the dark before. I was not afraid to sleep by myself. Now, though, I feel as if I were a child. I try to convince my fragile-as-glass psyche that these things are not to be feared. There is nothing there that will harm me and it truly is all in my head. Yet it’s paralyzing and not something I can explain so that anyone will understand.
I have a new enemy that plagues me daily. I have never been a good sleeper. Now, though, it’s on a level I could never have imagined. I am now so exhausted, physically and mentally. The littlest movement from my husband stirs me from my slumber, if it can even be called that. At this point it seems I close my eyes, see her face post-jump, and I open my eyes again. Hit repeat. This has been going on since it happened. Now, though, when I close my eyes, I no longer see her falling, I don’t hear her screaming, I no longer hear the sound of her hitting the pavement, but I see her lying crumpled on the pavement, twisted. And her eyes. I see her eyes.
I think they may haunt me for the rest of my life.
I have been told that I am grieving. Though it isn’t for someone I know, it is still grief. I am mourning the loss, the visual, brutal, horrific loss of a human being. There are steps I have to go through. Anger, resentment, sadness, all the natural steps of the loss of life. In what order they go, I honestly don’t know. Nor do I know, from one day to the next, where I am going to be on those steps.
Today, though, it’s pure exhaustion, helplessness, anger. I am not sleeping well. I close my eyes, I open my eyes, and then I keep my eyes open, with the lights and radio on, until I am so exhausted that when I DO close my eyes, I fall into sleep. And then, when I have a dream, be it weird or normal, I wake up and it is still night. I look at the clock and realize that it has only been 20 minutes. I try closing my eyes again, wondering how long until I can fall asleep for another 20 minutes.
This continues all night. And the next night. And the next night.
I no longer feel like my husband’s partner but now his cancerous, feeble, pathetic wife who can no longer care for herself. I feel like a burden.
Currently he is at work. I have been able to get over this hurdle, of his being at work and not having him here as my security blanket. But tonight is different. Tonight I am supposed to find the courage within myself to go to bed without him.
Tonight, as I was closing the blinds, I was afraid of the darkened back yard. What is back there? Certainly nothing that isn’t there during the day. But I am afraid for my safety. I now understand agoraphobia and how it can manifest itself into something so debilitating, so all encompassing that you literally cannot breathe at merely the idea of going outside your comfort zone.
And right now, my comfort zone is my house, with my husband in it. My comfort zone is anywhere that he may be. And I feel like I am hindering him. That I am whining. I have been trying to tell myself that is has been just over a week since it happened. Surely no one, even the strongest of people, comes away from this unscathed.
I am scarred. I need to accept that this has damaged me. All my life I have built a wall around my pain. When I lose a loved one, I mourn for them and then lock the pain away, never again to face the pain that I have felt, never again facing the fact that I am, indeed, human. I will remember them fondly but never face the pain of losing them.
I was an expert at building this wall, using my tears as the mortar. Perhaps seeing her kill herself has shattered all that. Perhaps I am no longer as strong as I had required myself, forced myself, to be. And that doubly increases my fear. This wall is what has carried me this far. I need to rebuild it in order to continue further still. I need to be strong, not because life requires me to be, but because I need myself to be strong. I am afraid of what is behind that now damaged wall.
I grew up in PEI where I could walk the streets night or day without fear. I moved to Toronto at 17 and brought that same sense of self with me. When I was sexually assaulted on the TTC, rather than cowering in fear I went to the police, but not before I punched the man and sent him flying across the subway platform.
I was sexually molested when I was a child. I faced my molester time and time again after that, never telling anyone our terrible secret but looking him in the eye, reminding him that I knew he was going to burn in hell. Forcing him to look at the child he damaged, forcing him to look me in the eye and find not fear but complete hatred. I looked at him with defiance and courage, anger and calmness. I learned from him that to put trust in other people is to put your very soul in a war zone.
When I was ten my father left us for his mistress. I learned from him that no man would ever truly be required in my life for no man is truly trustworthy. I would give only of myself what I felt he wouldn’t shatter to pieces. It was a long and difficult road to get to the path that led me to my husband.
My fear is based on childish fears. I think what is worse for me, though, is that I am no longer brave, unafraid of whatever life may throw at me. Two weeks ago I felt confident enough to walk through any street in Toronto. Now I am afraid to walk to my darkened bedroom.
I have been trying to understand her, as well. I have been trying to understand how a person could be in such pain. When I went back to work, all of her coworkers came to me, hugging me, crying, giving me words of condolences, apologizing. It was healing for all of us. It was hard to be there, hard to have them all come over to me. I just wanted them all to go away. It was hard enough to be there but now on top of it all they want to ask me how I am, if I am okay. I’m sure they don’t want to know the truth. No one really does. We see people and ask how they are but do they really care? If you started telling someone your problems, would they want to listen?
I lied. I told them I was okay, that I was getting better, that going to work was the first foot and surely the rest would follow. In truth, though, I wanted them to leave me alone. I needed to face being there first before dealing with their own guilt and concern. After awhile, though, it became easier to deal with them. It became a Lindsay Love Fest. I cannot imagine what they could be going through. They had perhaps made strides in learning to deal with it, her loss, her suicide. And then I came back, bringing back, to them, their own grief yet again. I am their reminder that life is terribly fragile.
How, though, does one climb over a windowsill, walk ten feet and then look over the ledge? How do you come to terms with the fact that you are about to jump from the 27th floor? Where does that selfish courage come from? And I can’t help but think that if she had the courage to jump then surely to god, somewhere within the depths of her soul, she had the courage to move on. She had the courage to walk back those ten feet, climb back over the windowsill and close the window. She just chose not to.
Then again, I wish she had just killed herself at home and not fucked with my head. I wish she had not crippled me with her own pain. My kids now know there’s something wrong with me. My husband worries about me more than he should have to.
I am disabled. Disabled with fear, anger, resentment, and confusion. I no longer have the energy to bother with household chores. I no longer have the patience to deal with my son’s ADHD or my daughter’s Autism. I no longer have the sympathy towards anyone else’s petty issues. I am no longer able to be the supportive and loving person I was before.
I witnessed a woman kill herself. Let’s not mince words. She didn’t commit suicide, she didn’t take her life, she killed herself. It was horrid, it was brutal, and it was downright revolting. It haunts me and I am angry with her for it. I am sorry that she was so deep within her complete sense of loss of herself that this was the only road she felt was worthy of travelling. I am sympathetic to her depression, truly I am. But I am now haunted, a prisoner in my own mind and shackled by my own fears. And I am deeply angry with her for it.
Bodies will not fall from the sky but this is now my fear. I had never even thought about such a thing before this. I had never considered this to be something I should worry about. Now, though. Now I am afraid. Even while lying in bed, next to my husband, I am afraid that bodies will fall from the sky.
Yes, it’s illogical. But yes, this fear is absolutely real for me.
When does this end? When will she stop haunting me? She now haunts me in other ways, ways I could not even fathom a week ago. I need to learn to let go of it all but I don’t know how and I wish I did. I wish I could slough all this off like dirt from my hands.
I wish I could not care and I wish I could rebuild my wall.
* * * *
Everyday is a new journey in life, more so now than ever before.
Yesterday, when I wrote this, I was so mentally exhausted that I was irritable. Things such as coffee mugs not being in their proper spot reduced me to such anger that I had to get out of the house. I couldn’t find the cheese grater and was upset to find it dirty in the sink. I was irrationally angry.
I have not been that mentally exhausted in years and it was scary.
I am not the type to take my life, nor am I even brave enough to do it. In fact, the thought of dying, of leaving my husband and children behind, scares me. There’s just so much that I need to do on earth. So much I still want to accomplish.
I am just experiencing something so tragically new that I feel the only way to get past any of this is to write it down. And as with most of the things I write, I just type and let whatever may come.
Today is a new day. I walked to the school during the beautiful afternoon weather and I regretted not going for a walk earlier in the day. I love to go for walks. I love walking with music playing. I am hoping tomorrow will be just as beautiful. I am hoping that while my husband sleeps I can walk and appreciate what this beautiful woman gave up.
I am not a religious person. I don’t believe in organized religion. For me, I give thanks by being in awe of everything around me. My daughter’s wonder at seeing a butterfly, my son and husband’s awe at their first meteor shower. I am in awe of humans, animals, trees, the ocean. The mundane, the incredible, the beautiful. I am in awe and I appreciate all the things that surround me. I give thanks by appreciating all these beautiful gifts.