Loneliness

I’ve been crying a lot this past week.

It’s hard for me. I’m someone who needs to prepare just to go to a routine doctor’s appointment. And now I’ve been faced with regular appointments and hospitals and tests. It drains me.

It’s been a waiting game these last few days. I went to the hospital Thursday for my CT scan and ultrasound. For two and a half hours, I pushed my anxiety down far enough to get through each test. I didn’t mind the CT scan. I couldn’t see what was happening — not knowing in the moment was comforting.

The ultrasound was another story. I could hear the sound from the blood rushing through my arteries. I could see the red colors flashing across the screen. Red was good. Sound was good. It meant that the blood was flowing. But then as the tech went further up the left side of my neck, the sound dissipated. The loud rush turned into the lightest whisper of sound. The red color flashes were blocked by blackness. Something didn’t feel right, but no one could tell me anything. You have to call your doctor.

I managed to make it out of the hospital with a brave face. My therapist had me commit to calling a support person after the appointment, and I’ve only been able to trust a few people there closely enough to reach out to them. I walked over to the coffee shop and called the nurse. She didn’t answer, so I left a voicemail. I’m not even sure entirely what I said, but I know I started out with “I’m sorry” and ended in my usual “I’m okay”.

She called me back ten minutes later, and I hesitated to answer. I did answer, but as soon as she asked me how I was, I started to cry. I was scared. She asked me to tell her what happened but I could barely make sense. I remember her saying you can’t change it now, it’s done, you can’t change anything.

I wanted to change everything. I wanted to rewind my life to a point where I never had to feel pain or know sadness, or sense fear, a point in my life when I had no problems. But that point has never existed.

I went to work later that day and ended up crying again. My boss asked me how the appointment went and I just cried. I don’t understand. I don’t have high cholesterol, I don’t have high blood pressure, I don’t eat junk. Why is this happening to me? I don’t understand. I’m scared, and I don’t understand.

In that moment, she comforted me. She said it was okay to be scared. She said she’d be scared, too. She wanted to be there for me, through the surgery, through whatever I needed. She told me to call her this weekend just to talk if I needed.

But I never called her. Even in the moments that I found myself overwhelmed with fear, sadness, and loneliness, I couldn’t pick up the phone and call her. Why? This woman was genuine in her offers of support. This wasn’t the first time she has been there for me. She took me in on Christmas when I had nowhere to go and no family. She made me a part of hers. But when everyone gathered together to take the family photo that night, I sat out. I’m not part of this family. I felt like an intruder. A welcome intruder, but an intruder none the less.

And I still feel that way. I can’t call her because I’m intruding. I’m bothering. I’m being a burden. It’s a barrier I still can’t seem to break down. She has her own family. All of these people I know have their own families. And I am not part of that. Even the people at PHP keep telling me they are there to support me, but I can’t do it. They have other things to do, other people to support. I don’t matter. I am KJ, party of one.

The hardest part of all of this hasn’t been the appointments or hospital visits or the anxious wait for answers. It’s the loneliness that exists through it all. It’s going to appointments alone. It’s sitting waiting rooms alone, looking around and seeing others with their spouses or older children or friends. It’s laying in a hospital bed and staring at the empty chairs beside it. It’s the uncomfortable silence that occurs every time someone asks for an emergency contact. There is no one. No spouse, no children, no parents, no siblings. I am alone.

It’s times like these that remind me how alone I am. I should have my family by my side at my appointments. I should have a mother to hug me when I’m shaking in my bed at night because I am so afraid of what else could be wrong with me. I should have my father’s shoulder to cry on. But none of that exists, and it never will.

I cry alone. I shake alone. I worry alone. I bear the pain alone because I’m so afraid to share my burden with anyone else.

My tears are not from sadness. My tears are from loneliness.

I don’t want them to drown me.

Advertisements

Why?

I’m exhausted, but I’m too scared to close my eyes. I’m afraid to go to sleep.

Last night was horrible. Nightmare after nightmare. At one point I woke up doused in sweat; my skin felt like it was on fire. It wasn’t even hot in the house. The heat was coming from inside me, like a fire burning whatever was left of my soul.

Whatever sleep I had was ruined by the nightmares, the memories, the pain. The day hadn’t even started and I was already drained. I cried walking to the bus stop. I cried at work. I cried on the bus going home from work. I cried at home. The tears don’t even help. They can’t take away the pain in my heart. They don’t stop the memories from invading my mind. They just give me a headache.

I don’t have time to cry. I have a job to do. I have essays to write. I have bills to pay, money to pull from the sky, and people to check on. There’s no time to cry. Suck it up.

Why can’t I just get over it?

Tears on a Thursday

I cried a lot today.

I cried at six o’clock in the morning. I had just woken up and I already wanted to go back to sleep. The amount of effort and energy it takes for me to get out of bed and go to the bathroom is draining.

The pain in my foot is excruciating in the morning, to the point that I cannot put any weight on it. I cannot even balance myself without holding on to something; as soon as my foot touches the floor, I am hit with enough pain to topple me over. One morning, I fell over and managed to at least fall into the wall, so I was able to push myself back to a standing position.

Since then, I’ve managed to slide out of bed and onto my desk chair every morning, roll myself all of the way over to the door, open said door, and take about three or four minutes to pull myself up and slide myself into the bathroom and onto the toilet. Sometimes I don’t even make it to the bathroom on time. That is how pathetic I am right now. I am 30 years old and can’t even manage to walk to the bathroom on time.

I couldn’t tolerate the pain anymore this morning. As I rolled myself back from the bathroom to the bed, I just started crying. I couldn’t stop. I just wanted the pain to go away, but I knew it wasn’t going to. I just have to deal with the pain. It’s what I’ve been doing all of my life.

After a while, I managed to calm myself down and stop crying. Then my mind started going into anxiety overdrive. What if I go to the doctor and it’s not a simple fix? What if I’m not able to work? I’m really fucked. Then I started crying again. I called several doctors in the last week trying to get an appointment. Every doctor I was calling had the earliest appointments at over a month out, until I finally found someone who would take me next week. But I am still so afraid to go.

I feel that this isn’t going to be an easy fix. I’ve had some really fucked up foot issues, including massive multiple bone spurs at the top of my foot. This, however, is by far the worst foot pain I have had in my life. That worries me. I needed surgery for something that was far less painful than this is, so what does that mean? Another surgery? How am I going to live if I can’t work? Disability takes (in the shortest) a month to get. I can’t financially handle not working. So I just kept crying, imagining all of the possibilities, imagining all of the horrible shit that could come from this.

I actually cried myself to exhaustion. I tried to distract myself from the anxious thoughts and I ended up falling asleep, which was probably a good thing anyway. I woke up and still didn’t want to do anything, but I knew I had therapy in the afternoon and had to get moving. I took some more pain relievers, wrapped up my foot, told myself I wasn’t going to cry anymore, and hobbled my way to the bus stop.

My therapy session started out alright. I knew the focus was going to be on my graduate school conundrum. I told my therapist before that I was likely going to drop out, as much for financial reasons as for the drama surrounding the anonymous reporting. I told her again that I just didn’t think it was going to work. I didn’t think through all of the financial shit before I jumped into starting this grad school. It’s not cheap, and there are less expensive options out there, although the quality is likely lower as well. But I really don’t have any other options.

I don’t remember exactly what set it off, but I felt the tears coming. I tried holding them in and that lasted for about thirty seconds; then I just started crying. My therapist noticed and asked me what was going on, and how I was feeling right then. All I could say was “nothing”.

My go-to answer, as usual. I don’t have feelings. I’m okay. Nothing is wrong. Why can’t my therapist just go along with that? Why must she insist that I connect with these feelings?

Then it all came out. “I made a huge mistake coming here. Why did I think I could make it by myself? I should have stayed. I wouldn’t be in this mess if I had just stayed.”

“You’re not being physically and sexually abused here. If you had stayed…”

By that point I just started drifting in my own head. I know what I escaped. But that was my normal. When you’ve been abused for so long, it just becomes your normal. I’m not sure the damage could have gotten any worse had I continued to endure it. When faced with overwhelming challenges, we go back to what we know. And that home is what I know.

I started having short flashes of memories from the recent past, reminders of how I made myself numb to what my mother was doing to me. Then I started to cry even more. What is wrong with me? I know what I went through and yet I still ask myself why I left, I still want to go back in time and forget I ever left.

My therapist told me that if I had stayed, it would have killed my spirit. “My spirit is already dead. That wouldn’t matter.”

“I don’t think that’s true. I still see the spirit in you.”

That’s not spirit. I don’t know what that is. After all of the shit I have been through, how could I have any spirit left? Shit, I don’t even know how I’m still living.

I think I cried for most of the session. By the end, I had a hand full of used tissues, neatly folded into little squares. I’m not sure why I kept on crying. I really try to keep that under control.

Perhaps it’s the physical pain I’m in. Perhaps it’s the sense of hopelessness once again creeping up on me. I don’t know for sure, but I do think I’m dehydrated now.