I’ve a friend who’s going through a hard time right now, and when we said our goodbyes last night, lots of things were going through my head. I thought about the person I used to be not so long ago, and I thought about all the times I’d been that friend to kids and teenagers online, when I sometimes found myself the only thing standing between my young friend and suicide. I still don’t know how I managed to find reasons for them to live when I have so few for myself (A/N: I know you can’t see me, but I’m pointing heavenwards right now). I’m grateful, though, and honored, to have been that friend for them, for however long that ended up being.
There’d be all kinds of reasons for it: emotional abuse, bullying, overly-critical parents/peers, divorce/missing a parent, loneliness, nihilism, etc. Sometimes there’d be the more material sorts of abuse, like physical, (overtly) sexual, or financial abuse, but across the board, those emotional hurts would be present. What’s more, they’d be the primary reasons that would drive them to that point, those other abuses being supplemental to their suicidal depression. I don’t know if that’s what psychologists would say; it’s just what I observed more often than not to be the case.
This has been very much in my mind lately, the sometimes deadly impact of emotional harm/abuse, with my family crossing the line recently by coming in contact with me.
When I reported all that, I learned the detective I was working with has left without a word to me, meaning my case has been passed off. Again. So I have to build up a trusting relationship with a new detective at some point, tell her/him my story, and hope to God she/he is kind, which is usually a shot in the dark. Again. I can’t help but wonder whether or not my parents were watching to see when that detective left, seeing a window for them to step over the line I and the police made. In my mind, from my experiences, they can and will jump at any chance to take control, creep closer.
All kinds of frightened thoughts filled my head, memories of my destroyed mental and emotional boundaries overtaking everything. Everything was torn down and ripped open for them to wound and/or manipulate however they saw fit, often in the name of “love”; I have a hard time thinking what felt worse than that, that there was nothing of me that they couldn’t take, nothing given that didn’t have poison in it.
I didn’t make a secret that I felt like I was back on that invisible battlefront. My doctor remarked, “I didn’t know we were at war,” when I came in, full of mistrust, asking him whose side he was on. He replied he was on God’s side; good answer, if it made me automatically wonder if I wasn’t on God’s side, though from what he said in response, he seems to think so. I hope so; I sure try to be,
even if things like the Fourth Commandment still likes to bite into my ankle with a cold steel shackle.
This conversation happened today, and yet I have a hard time remembering which part of that discussion I started to cry, where we came to what he called “the heart of matter”. I wish I could pinpoint it; I feel like it’s important. I mostly remember reasoning that I asked that question primarily due to how I’ve had so little instances where I have not been abandoned or betrayed, how my integrity has been under attack all my life. I can still hear it: “Liar. Sneaky. Overdramatic. Ungrateful. Spoiled. Insane. Evil.” It won’t go away, not forever. It’s usually what drove me to the edge, to leave these scars on my skin. The small scar where I cut on my face is a little more visible to me these days, or maybe it’s just that I notice it more.
I had the thought that if people could see my wounds as physical injuries, they’d wonder how on earth I’m still alive. I’d tell them if I knew (A/N: pointing up again).
I can understand the difficulty in understanding the depth of emotional wounds. We are material beings live in a material world; of course things that are unseen, unheard, and intangible are harder to understand. The mystery of course is the knowledge that not everything of us is, in fact, material. This is why we have problems, like some not understanding why I could have PTSD when I’d never served as a soldier. Peter Kreeft described the war between the angels and angels-turned-demons before creation (still going on today with us in the middle), like a “war between paralyzed telepaths” – not a single shot was fired, not a single blow was landed. Angels and demons are pure spirits, and thus are unable to cause or experience physical harm in any way. Regardless, it was/is nonetheless the most violent, passionate, traumatic, and devastating war there ever was/is. I’d argue the same in the case of us humans, sharing in that angelic nature while living in this material world.
I was listening to music on my walk today when I stumbled on this song by Skillet, “The Last Night”, the first lines immediately grabbing my attention. This song (like a number of Skillet’s songs) is a conversation with God, this one being from His point of view, speaking to someone who’s suicidally depressed, at that brink of losing all hope. It sure sounded like He was speaking to me through this song, especially in the chorus with, “This is the last night you’ll spend alone/Look Me in the eyes so I know you know/I’m everywhere you want Me to be.” It brought back today’s session, when my doctor insisted God loved me, is here with me. He offered a way to improve my prayer for God to love me, to suggest I ask Him who I am to Him, seen from the eyes of love. I thought, too, of those precious few times I’d been told things like what the song said when I didn’t want to live anymore.
…I don’t know what I’m doing. I feel very lost in life right now. I don’t know what kind of work I ought to be doing now, where I’m needed, what could enable me to keep living here. The sudden reappearance of my family in all this just casts a deeper shadow over things. I’m unsure who I can turn to, who I ought to turn to. I hate waiting for answers. I can’t see straight. I can barely breathe. I feel trapped, chained. Certainly, one of those invisible scars would be those left by the manacles of their psychological abuse, the grooming, the enmeshment/destruction of my boundaries.
But I can’t give up.
If I’ve learned nothing else about me, I learned I’m a fighter.
My bokken will be coming in the mail tomorrow. White oak, not red. The color of purity, of clarity. My enemies are immaterial. Darkness is absence of light, like cold is absence of heat, or depression of hope. As I practice with that white oak sword, I hope to slice through those things hiding in the shadows. When I hold it, like I’m doing right now with my shinai, I hope to remember those night lights, the moon that brightens the dark sky.
I’m not sure what saint medal I’ll attach to the ito (hilt wrapping), but I think I’d like Our Lady of Ransom. The day of my baptism was, again, a feast day honoring that specific role of Mary, as she who breaks the chains, and the chains and shackles from the past, the abuse, feel so heavy now…
Couldn’t hurt to try, right?