Was She Asking For It?

bad memory rapeWhen D came home, he set his gray, thermal lined zippered lunch container on the kitchen table. It was pay day. This I knew. I was a little antsy wondering if the inside of the gray container contained empty Ziploc bags from the remnants of his lunch, or a full Ziploc bag encasing rocks of crack cocaine.

I dreaded pay day Fridays. I was always faced with decision to use or not. I wished there was a place I could go. A friend’s house. But I didn’t have any friends left. I needed a way out. It’s not easy being an addict, living with an addict, and trying to stay clean. Once I started using, I was trapped and I knew it. He knew it. Which is why he wanted me to use with him. He wanted me to go through all the bullshit with him so I couldn’t point the finger of blame at him. Of course, I could blame him for bringing it into the house, buying it instead of paying the rent, but if I sat there and smoked that entire bag with him, I could only do so much blaming.

As I sat there staring at the unopened lunch box, I was only pretending to listen to his voice. My nervousness took precedence. I was anticipating that first hit, but hoping to god that box contained nothing more than empty wrappers. That first hit is what sucks you in. It goes down smooth and it feels good. It’s like a wave of cool rolls through your body from the head down. You’re on a cloud and floating. Your head is weightless. For a minute you close your eyes, lean back, and smile because it feels so good. After that it’s just chasing the first hit. Nothing feels as good as the first one. If you have enough dope you can only get as high as your body will let you. But if you don’t have enough, the rest of the time is just stressful as you ration down the size of your hits. Not fun. That’s when the part of your brain kicks in that either tells you to quit and let yourself come down, or find a way to get more. I was the former, D was the latter.

He opened his lunch container. He pulled out a sack of familiar white chunks. He opened the kitchen cupboard and pulled out a large purple dinner plate. The darker the plate, the more visible the rocks. He opened the bag and I heard the familiar clanking sound the rocks make when they land on the plate. Oh my god, I thought. My head fell into my hands as I tried to decide my fate. I wanted to say no. I wanted to run. Why didn’t I? I really had no where to go. I was so angry at him for doing this, but god I wanted to feel that first hit. I sat at the kitchen table, paralyzed and wide eyed, watching him get everything ready. This is usually when I would want to take over. Getting the paraphernalia ready is like a ritual. Some people care more than others. But for me, it had to be done just right. I liked everything clean and organized.

He handed me the loaded pipe. I took it. Put it to my lips. Lit it. Inhaled. Pulled the lighter away. Exhaled, and fell onto that cloud. I didn’t care about anything anymore.

I have experienced a lot of trauma from the sexual encounters that would take place at this point. Well, not at this particular point, but rather, when the dope was nearing an end or was gone. Often, knowing there was a possibility of being mistreated, I refused to engage in sexual activities when we used. I just wanted to sit there and enjoy the high. And I would state this in the beginning, begging him not to get sexual. But sometimes, it just happened. I hated porn, and do so even more now. I could handle a little soft girl on girl action. But watching girls get reamed from behind and giving blow jobs to men with huge cocks was not my idea of fun. Drugs do strange things to people sexually. It turned D into a freak. I detested the things he would do, and more so how long it would take. He wouldn’t do anything too crazy at first. In other words, he was gentle. He would be watching the porn and then ask me to do what they were doing. I hated it, but I did it so as not to anger him.

When the dope was almost gone, along with his erection, he insisted on ‘finishing.’ This is when I knew I was in for a few torturous hours. With fear in my eyes, I watched him walk toward me. His eyes were hallow. The D I knew was gone. Something evil occupied his being. Sometimes, I was already in bed trying to fake sleeping so he would leave me alone. I had gone to bed long before while he was in the living room making non-successful attempts to get more dope. On these occasions I pulled the covers tight up to my chin and curled up into a ball. He pulled the sheets off me and forced himself on me. I would beg and plead for him not to. I sometimes could fight him off with my legs, but sometimes I just couldn’t fight him off.

I found a spot on the once white ceiling where the three walls met in the corner to my right. That spot was my escape. It’s where I went until the nightmare was over. I can still visualize it. The whole thing. The corner in the room, and what happened in that room. So many times. And up until a few months ago, I slept in that room every night and saw that corner as a reminder. I remember looking at him and seeing the devil in his eyes as I writhed and wriggled to get away. I told him he was the devil. I said it over and over and over until he got off me and left the room.

It’s not easy for me to admit I once was a drug addict. I know it’s not an excuse to say “Well I could stop and he couldn’t” although that is the truth. I didn’t want to be placed in those positions, and I mean than both literally and figuratively. I tolerated the porn and the abuse it bred out of fear. When D was high he was a completely different person. I could see him transform in front of my eyes. It’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Everyone react to drugs differently. I didn’t really change. That’s what was so scary for me. I never knew what he was going to do. One time I found myself being choked and smothered. Another time smacked to the floor and my face stepped on. I have the permanent reminder on my lip. Another time I was forced to sleep a drug dealer on my own couch out of fear of both of them. D was in the bedroom while I was getting fucked so HE could get high. This was all arranged without my knowledge. What was I supposed to do?

I think now my friends from my old Martial Arts Gym now understand why I was there.

I went to see a new Therapist today and not much to my surprise I have a “to the T” diagnoses of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s no wonder I quit my job and moved. And I prefer not to be around people. I am doing the best I can to get well. I am shocked at how long this has taken. I thought I was better, but I guess I need to process all this before I can move on. Some of it I will tell, some of it I will scream, some of it I will write, but it’s all coming out.

I’ve seen a lot of Rape in the headlines lately. Mostly articles about the political standpoints from Republicans, who are a challenged breed with little or no understanding of female issues. That being said, it doesn’t matter what I was doing at the time, whether I was high or not, or what I was or wasn’t wearing. It doesn’t even matter the relationship I was in with the person who did this to me. What matters is that I was forced to have sex against my will. Screaming “No” and fighting to exhaustion. I didn’t deserve it. 

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The Man With The Stroller

adictionWhile driving along Pacific Highway today (this stretch of road continually appears as a source of bad memories for me, but a good source of writing ideas)  I saw a man probably in his 40’s pushing a stroller along the sidewalk.  Something immediately struck me as not being right.  Not to assume or jump to any stereotypical conclusions, but this man was clearly unkempt and most likely homeless.  As my car slowly passed him and I was able to take a quick look back, and to my relief, the stroller did not contain a child.  It did, however, clearly contain all of this man’s belongings.

As  I continued on Pacific Highway, each cheap and likely dirty motel,  quick loan pawn shop, and heavily trafficked intersection I passed, only deepened my sadness.  It is beyond a doubt devastating when one loses everything they once possessed.  One doesn’t see this coming.  It’s not like the stop sign approaching meters away which gives you ample warning to slow down and then brake.  It’s more like barreling the intersection without a stop sign only to see a Mac truck passing through giving you no option but to slam on the brakes, close your eyes, scream, and hope for the best.  Whether the reason being a person’s house has foreclosed, they became addicted to drugs, they lost their job and family due to severe mental illness, it is still heartbreaking to see such ruin.  I know upon seeing some individuals, we can’t help but think one deserves it more than another. There are some things we bring upon ourselves and others that coincidentally happen.  I can jump off the nearest cliff and spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, or a tree can fall,  landing on me while I am out for my morning run leaving me in a wheelchair.  Two completely different circumstances.  Same result.

When I saw this man pushing the stroller, not only did I feel sad for him and whatever life’s circumstances brought him to this moment, but at the same time I had a vivid flashback which pained me.  My ex admitted to me years ago, while he was smoking crack cocaine, he took the kids with him on a ‘mission’ to get more dope while I was at work.  Not only was I mortified when he told me this, but seeing this man pushing a stroller drove a chill down my spine and brought a wince to my face.  When I think about it, I vigorously shake my head back and forth like a child who refuses to eat their peas at dinner. I am doing it right now because the thought of this is like noise in my head I can’t bear to hear.  I often place my hands over my ears as if that is going to silence my own thoughts.  I’ll stop with the tics now so I can write.

Years ago when my daughter was about 5 and my son 3, my ex (I call him D for anonymity reasons), during a relapse decided it was necessary to make the long trip down to our credit union.  Under typical circumstances, this is not a long trip.  But these were not typical circumstances.  We had a car, but since D got on the bus for this adventure, our dealer had the car.  D would loan out the car in exchange for dope.  He smoked it so fast, he needed to call the dealer multiple times a day so he could deliver more dope.  This only meant the dealer could keep the car even longer.  We went through 4 or 5  vehicles  in a year that D eventually just handed over to whatever dealer he had at the time.  That’s right, he gave the cars away, car seats and all, for a handful of crack.  He was that desperate.  This being said, I should clarify that when the car became an object to barter with, every other option had been exhausted.  First cash (a payday often triggered a relapse).  An empty space stuck out like a sore thumb where the stereo receiver and DVD player were once stacked.  The camcorder and digital camera were at the pawn shop as well.  My wedding ring and every other piece of jewelry had been sold, sometimes to a pawn shop, but more often to the dealer himself.  Our food stamp card went next.  I hated this because before I could even protest he had made arrangements with the dealer over the phone and had been in my wallet to steal the card.  This meant very little food in the house for an entire month.   It is amazing the meals I could make out of cans in the cupboard I didn’t even know were there.  I would try to get groceries before D got to my card, but I was only so lucky half the time.  He eventually sold me without my knowledge, but I’ll save that for another story.

Although both kids were of walking age, we had one of those cheap strollers which was perfect for our son because he got tired so quickly when walking.  His little legs just couldn’t keep up with the rest of us.  D put him in the stroller, led our daughter out the door and  walked the couple blocks to the bus stop.  D had been high and most likely coming down and stressed from being out of dope.  I am sure the dealer didn’t want to hear his voice again until the next day.  Although I worked just around the corner at the dry cleaners, he didn’t dare come in and ask for money like he normally would because he had the kids.  Often they were at one of our parent’s houses when the using took place. I was working an 8 or 10 hour shift and had no idea he was using with the kids in the house.  He would put them in the bedroom to play, set them up with DVD’s and give them a box of Goldfish.  He wouldn’t use in front of them (I don’t think), just lock himself in the bedroom.  So if the kids were gone, that freed him up to walk around the apartment with his crack pipe.

What normally took 10 minutes by car, I imagine took a few hours round trip by bus to get to the bank.  It pains me to imagine him on the bus with his little girl by his side and his son in the little stroller probably asking where they were going and what the surprise was.  Taking a bus ride wasn’t a typical adventure.  D, I am sure, informed them that they were going on some exciting trip and if they were good and could survive the duration, they would get a sucker at the bank.  The bus ride took only 25 minutes.  After that, however, was a long walk from 1st Avenue to 4th Avenue.  It doesn’t sound like a long walk, but the dusty train tracks made for a bumpy and long walk, especially for a child.  My daughter was probably wondering where the car was (for years after all this she would look out the window and feel scared if the car was gone, it was a sign something was wrong).  So D pushed the kids to the credit union with some idea up his sleeve.  It always amazed me the bullshit he could pull when he wanted to get high.  He could manipulate the smartest people out of anything.  Addicts are good at that.  I don’t know what he did or said this time, but he managed to convinced the bank teller to give him money we didn’t have. He called the dealer from outside the bank.  No more stress. All smiles.  Two kids with suckers, and a dealer on the way.  He got his dope and headed toward home.  More train tracks, another bus ride, a short walk home.  Get the kids settled, and load that pipe.  Just another day for him getting what he wanted.  He stopped at nothing.  He would walk for miles and miles to get dope.  And he has.

When I came home from work that night, I reached the top of the stairs and saw toys scattered all over the living room floor.  I knew he was using.  That was a telltale sign.  The kids were in their room and he was in ours with the door locked.   I learned to hold my breath while walking up the stairs after work.  The unknown that awaited me had become such an anxiety.  It’s amazing how our brains work.  My brain protected me from completely losing my mind due to this stress.  Which is why I can now let it all out.  My brain doesn’t have to protect me from him anymore.  When I envision him taking our kids on a “mission”  as he would call it, my heart hurts.  Yes, I am angry he would involve the kids.  But, it also saddens me that he would need to do such a thing.  Why couldn’t he wait?  Make other arrangements?  Or just stop?  I am not defending him.  But I understand addiction.  So when I saw the man walking with the stroller today, the memory came back as anger and sadness together.   I hope that man is going to be okay.  He was skinny and unhealthy.  Maybe he was on a mission of his own.  It looked like he had been ruined by meth.  I see a lot of that now.

My heart will always hurt for those afflicted by addiction. It’s a lonely place to be. It hurts. Not only the person using, but everyone around them.  And the pain, memories, scars and consequences last forever.

Stuck in my Head or Stuck in my House

frustrationJust sitting here in my own living room is unbearable to my state of mind right now .  Even though I am surrounded by people who love me and whom I love in return, I am fighting an urge to run back to my room and bury myself under the covers.  Last night that’s what I did.  Everyone was watching the new episode of Bones.  I prefer season 2, which is where I am on Netflix. Watching the new episodes ruin it for me.  And it’s not even about that, it’s just the uneasy feeling I get sitting here in the quiet.  I want to scream sometimes.  I want to be loud.  I want to listen to commercials.  They don’t bug me.  They irritate everyone I live with.  Fine. I am learning to deal with it.  When you love people, uncomfortable silences aren’t supposed to be uncomfortable. But right now for me they are.

My daughter is in my lap, we are both reading.  I would be content to take her with me to escape to the bedroom. I love cuddling with her.  I love reading with her in the big red chair, which was originally intended to be my red chair. It’s only a chair, I know. But it has become a resentment in my head.  It’s big. The resentment and the chair.  Olivia and I both fit.  We both love to read. This is the chair everyone in the house wants to occupy.  We all adjust and accommodate each other.  For everyone, it’s working. I think.  It’s my head that isn’t.

I have no idea if my heightened depression is situational or chemical.  Just the other day I posted a writing about depression versus bipolar disorder because I have been recently diagnosed as bipolar after thinking my diagnosis was clinical depression since 1997.   However, I have been morbidly dark and sad since early childhood.  As of late, my frustrations and depression have been exacerbated. I don’t know why.  I am frustrated. I am at the end of my rope.  Maybe it’s chemical because I have been having suicidal thoughts and musings for a few weeks. They are worsening. Last night, when I went to my room alone, I thought of all the meds I have and played out in my head what would happen if I took them all.  However, I would NOT contemplate it because my children would be motherless.  They are basically fatherless.  And unfortunately, because our laws are so archaic and fucked up, the love of my life who takes care of them, would probably lose them because she is a woman.  So, I am here to stay.

I just feel like I am going to explode or implode at any moment.  Just yesterday, the kids’ friends came over. While their parents were here, whom I think are great, the kids and the parents were all talking at once. I suddenly felt like my head was in a vice and I crouched down on the kitchen floor so one could see me.  I grabbed my head and squeezed so hard. I pulled my hair as if that would make it better.   I made that face you make when you are in excruciating pain. This kind of noise is probably normal to everyone else, especially parents.  But to me it was magnified 1000 times.  I felt paralyzed.  What am I supposed to do?  Scream and yell for everyone to shut the fuck up?  No. I can’t do that.  That would be rude and inappropriate. Two things I have never been.  I had to come up from the crouched position off the floor with a smile on my face and pretend to be normal like everyone else.

One day, a couple weeks ago,  I was alone here at home except with my love.  My frustration got the best of me, as we are both aware of my mental illness and it’s apparent progression. She is prepared to work through this with me, and knows that I may need to release some emotion from time to time (As per my therapist).  After all, that is what is going to help me.  I screamed and stomped on the floor as hard as I could.  It felt good.  She asked if I would like to be alone.  I said yes.  I am going through a transformation which is not always pretty.  So far, this healing has not been able to unfold. I can’t do this in front of other people.  Well, I guess I could, but I will not. I do not like making other people uncomfortable.  I place other’s feelings ahead of my own.  Well shit, maybe that’s how I got to this emotional state in the first place.  So my frustration has doubled.  Which leads me back to the question…Is what I am going through more situational or is my chemical issue worsening?

Depression is the loneliest fucking place on earth. I feel like a vacant hotel.  So many rooms, corners and closets in my head.  They are overflowing with tragic information and memories.  However, vacant is the only word I can come up with up with.  I am so full, but feel so empty.  The red, staticy flashing ‘vacancy’ sign is on my forehead.  However, there are no more rooms available.  If I become slapped with anything else, anything at all, I think I am going to snap.  And won’t that just be fun for everyone here in this house.  Then again, if I feel this snap coming on, I’ll most likely keep it inside.  And just blow later.  NOT GOOD!  I am so irritated with everyone and everything lately I can’t breathe.

I actually fantasize about being taken to psychiatric hospital, a loony bin, if you will.  I feel as though I would be at home there.  They would understand me.  I actually have this wish all the time.  Living day to day life is just too unbearable.  I have felt since adolescence that I shouldn’t have been born.  I just don’t fit.  Anywhere. And anything I do, it’s just not right, not good enough.  I feel like all of my attempted accomplishments have been like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.  I want a name for whatever the fuck is wrong is me.  I know I have received them from doctors.  But there are co-occurring issues involved as well.  It’s like the chicken and the egg…what came first.  My mental illness or my addictions?  Did one cause the other?  I don’t know. But they definitely work together, or against each other I should say.   I am getting worse, that’s all I know.  Hopefully, this Lithium will kick in soon.   I don’t need anyone to try and fix me, I just need to vent.