It’s in the darkest of places that we learn the most. About ourselves, about others, about the joys and sorrows of life. Cloud cover quickly dims the sky and forces an appreciation of the expected daylight. When we think we are clear of the pain or the heartache, there is no certainty that it will remain gone. And this, my friends, became my reality over the last week.
He’s trying to contact me, or I think he is, and that, quite honestly, is close enough to the real thing that I’m more cautious than I have been in quite some time.
Imagine that you feel safer on the Internet, where any and everyone can chime in on your life. People who know my true identity come to attack or support, and others who randomly find me also share their opinions. Every time I receive a notification about a new comment, I prepare myself for pain, because I’m allowing people inside the storm. But it’s safer here, where I’m easily criticized, because it’s not a real place where I can be found.
Imagine, just for a second, that your home is now a bunker. The front door is always locked with the deadbolt and chain. And when you go to sleep at night you lock your bedroom door, too. The phone is on the bed, alongside the mace. And you’re going to buy a gun when you get paid again, just to be certain you’re safe. And even then you don’t really feel safe. You do everything you’re told to do, and you still can’t help but feel as if the world is suffocating you.
When a computer in front of me, I know that there is documentation of the events that happen and the fear they cause. So when he tries to hurt me again, or if I become the murder victim’s face on the six o’clock news, there is a slight chance that the truth can be found. While it’s an unlikely outcome and I don’t think it’s something I need to worry about right now, it is something that is causing worry.
Just when I thought the biggest struggle I’d face this year was my own thoughts and recovery process, I’m reminded that he could return if he really wanted to do so.
Don’t be alarmed for me. I have a safety plan. I have even gone so far as to tell my department head at work about my past, so that there are people around me at all times who know what to be looking for when and if I say, “It’s time.” I’m writing this to give you a glimpse into the hard days. The ones where I don’t feel safe. Where life doesn’t seem worth all the obstacles and safety measures, because they’re exhausting. Where the traffic inside of my head is at a standstill, and my heart is pumping harder so that I know it’s still there. It’s days like these that my fingers hurt from the anxiety and typing reminds me that I’m physically reacting to something that my brain is telling me might be a reality. Things are fading to black.
But I’ll come here to type anyway. I’ve promised to be honest, and I certainly can’t ignore that even in the times when I feel the most healed and successful, there are days when I feel the most scared. I’ll wake up tomorrow and lock the door to my bathroom while showering (yes, even though the front door and my bedroom doors are both locked) in hopes that I’ll hear him break through one of the barricades before it’s too late for me to defend myself.
I wonder what his new girlfriend would say if she knew that I lived my life this way? I wonder if she’d make the same excuses for him. I’m different. I can help him. He’s done so much work to improve himself, it’s not going to happen. He’s a man of God now. She was the one that made him crazy. At 30 months removed from the situation, will she be creating blockades within her apartment, too? Will she be scared that he’ll find her, even though he has no idea where she moved? Will she unblock him from Facebook, only to inventory his friend list and make sure there are no mutual friends who can spy? Will she buy a gun?
Relentless thoughts only stir unresolved feelings. Fina, if you were dating again, maybe you’d have a boyfriend who would serve as another form of protection. Maybe if you weren’t so scared all the time, you could begin dating again. They aren’t all like him, you know?
My brain doesn’t stop when the first alarm sounds. And, unfortunately, to beat him at his game I have to think like him (a psychopath).
This will all figure itself out within the next week, but until it’s over I’m on high alert. I’m not seeking comfort, so please don’t provide it here. I’m digging around in unresolved fear, to be sure that you can see what it’s like inside of the mind of a survivor, on the days when she feels like a victim.