So I decided I’m going to attach this blog- all of it- UNCENSORED- to my fundraising efforts for my dog.This is true. Anyways, I prefer to be called Queen or your royal highness/your majesty (I’m not choosy) but Hannah is my given name.
In light of today’s epiphany which is 1. What is the truth of my story 2. How can I help others to see those same truths 3. How can I make it matter to them.
Well #3 is out of my control. Some people are just lame, and they don’t go looking at abstract crazy wonderful blogs on the internet that have llamacorn memes and dialogue about a very real life. I can’t make you do anything. My job, is to put out the information in a super unforgettable way and hope that something sticks in your head.
As for 1 well it is really hard to tell a story and get all of it right.
Also if you’re wondering where I’m writing this from and if my fatigue is shining through, I’m sitting in the kitchen of my beautiful home at 11:11 drinking cranberry juice like vodka because I’m 1. Tired beyond all reason 2. Emotionally drained beyond all reason 3. I can’t sleep 4. SOMEONE named HANNAH decided to RUN SPRINT DRILLS at 10:11pm at NIGHT. And NOW she’s FINALLY AWAKE. 5. That was a stupid judgment call on my part, which I will explain later. I was running a fever yesterday. Yeah. And I’m coughing up a storm. And I’m not sleeping. And my short term memory is shot so I can’t remember what I did today or what I’m supposed to do tomorrow.
Literally my only homework from my therapist today was get some sleep. I was hoping secretly that running myself into the ground would help but no, I may as well have gotten a doubleshot espresso.
As for 2 I’m really thinking hard about it and I’ve been talking to people. How do you show a story like mine, and do it any fairness? Because I am a culmination of all my experiences of yesterday, everything I do and choose today, and my own wishes and choices that will determine where I am going in the future. I am complicated. Seriously. When God made this child Jesus walked up and asked him “Did you use the mold on that one?” And God looks over and says “There was a mold?”
I told my roommate that I’m really glad there aren’t two of me because if there were, one of us would rule the world as a good benevolent queen, and the other one would be the malevolent queen of all evil and they’d always be trying to one up each other.
And you know what it did not surprise her a bit.
My day today: Had a ton of nightmares. Woke up 4 times. Woke up at 7:30 (I think. Memory issues, remember? However I do have my daily schedule written down so hahahaa I got this) and had religion class at 8:00. Do you know I sat next to this guy, who actually seems pretty cool, he’s from New Zealand and I’m going to name him Sam after the hobbit because I feel like it, and he started talking to me and I just snapped at him.
Okay. You be on your period for 12 days. And not get hardly ANY sleep for over a month (not counting the last 2 1/2 years of having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). And then you tell ME what you would tell someone after waking up from a night of that, knowing full well that you still have to get up, go to your classes, and somehow accomplish the miracle of day to day functioning when your body is literally breaking down- and try to have a civil conversation with someone, I just dare you.
He actually told me he guessed that I was on my period. My boyz, if you have not seen me this month, YOU’RE WELCOME. I was trying to spare your life. I am not a nice person when I’m bleeding and tired and upset. Surprisingly. I get aggressive, or I laugh like a madwoman.
I walked with him to the boys dorm because I was bored and my class was cancelled. Granted I could have done homework, but my head was completely shot. I could barely hold a conversation with him, it was bad. I actually talked to him about trying to put together a video and we talked about people. He told me to let go of the people that hurt me because they’re gone and as long as I hold on, it will still hurt.
Like I knew that already, but I do notice when guys say smart things to me, that’s the type of thing I look for. Did you know I have guyfriends that I keep around simply for the purpose of a good logical argument? Uhhuh. Only they have to be careful because I’m the Queen and no matter what they say or do, I take their opinions under “advisement” or, in other words “I listened, but I’m still going to do what I want to do regardless.”
I’m still working on that video and I realized, how can I show this to people? It’s one thing to write about it, or put up pictures, but actual videos? I’m not gonna lie, I do have videos of panic attacks. I have pictures of me in the hospital (probably illegal, but whatever). I have journals. I have pictures of the weight loss, every meal I eat or didn’t eat, all my exercise.
You want evidence? I can
But, my sensitive little snowflakes, I don’t think you can handle it. In fact, I know I can only handle it by getting used to it. Part of the reason I’m so open about it is that 99% of my life, is governed by just MAINTAINING the BASICS that my disability makes nearly freakin’ impossible. I am scheduled around my disability. My disability prevents me from eating food at social events. When I go to a school dance if people get too close around me, I start to freak out and sometimes it will trigger a panic attack so bad I will literally run out of the gym, find a dark corner under a desk or a table or a dark room, and just shake, cry my eyes out, and ride it out for 15-30 minutes.
Also, the cutting (self-harm). The obsessive devotion to exercise. The times when I get so freaked out I space out and I throw away my food and don’t even realize what I just did. The puking. The full on 2 hour crying sessions in the girls bathroom.
You see me, when I walk away from all that. I will literally have a fullblown crying shaking vomiting panic attack in the girls bathroom, and when I come out 15-30 minutes later all you’ll see is that my mascara is smeared around my eyes. And I’ll greet you with a smile.
You don’t see me at night when I go through my whole bedtime routine with music, audiobooks, painting, anything to try to keep my mind off the horrors behind my eyes almost every moment of the day- NOT BY MY CHOICE. The reason it’s so bad at night is because I try so hard to suppress it during the daytime.
You’re looking at me, but you’re not seeing me.
In fact, I have never, ever, ever shown anyone that. And the times when other people have stumbled into discovering me at one of those times- those people aren’t around anymore. I’ve had people actually poke fun at me and called a full on panic attack me just crying over a boy.
SCUSE ME. It’s so cute that you boys think that you matter to me to the point where I’d have a panic attack just for you- but boy, you ain’t that special.
I’ve also had people say that I self-harmed just to get attention… Yeah girl, I just wanted to land your boyfriend, so I sliced my arm open and tried to kill myself to seduce him. Cause nothing screams seduction like a good old-fashioned induction to the psyche ward of the nearest hospital. So, so, sooo sexy that I’m in so much pain that cutting my arms up is literally nothing compared to what my heart feels like.
I’ve always believed that as good as a person can be, they can be just as bad as well. It’s the dichotomy of our two halves, always united and always struggling for dominance. When we push one side too far, the other side shoves back to compensate. I actually think that balance is all about being at peace with the fact that we have two sides, and not trying to completely get rid of all our darkness. The darkness has to be there, or there can be no light.
But here’s the lowdown. Yes. I’ve dealt with bullies most of my life. In 7th grade besides there being some girls who called me names and put things in my hair blah blah blah, there was this Asian kid who always told me every day that Asians were superior to white people. One day he and his friend decided it would be a great idea to stand in front of a door I wanted to go through. They thought they were sooo hilarious.
I hit the door so hard with my shoulder that I knocked both of them back onto the pavement.
I ain’t scared of no bully.
Sam, today, reminded me of a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt
On the bus today when I was coming back from my therapist appointment in Haleiwa, the high school kids from Kahuku got on. And when I say the kids from Kahuku, I mean, it was hard to breathe on that bus. This young girl gets on the bus and she has that “look”. When I have a really hard day, and I don’t want to talk to nobody, and if you do try I’m just going to fight with you, that was her feeling. She put the backpack on the seat next to her like she was saving it for a friend.
These boys got on the bus and came to stand next to her and one of them starts razzing her about the empty seat. She had moved her bag to the outside and had her head down and refused to speak to them. It was plain she’d seen these boys before, and plain that they weren’t leaving her alone even though she was sending every “BACK OFF” signal there was. One of these kids jumped over here and then they started talking to her and one of the guys started waving stuff in front of her face.
She was so upset it was also obvious she’d had a very bad day. And now these jerks were all up in her space. So I used my tone and I don’t get this mad often, but when I do, watch out.
“Hey. She obviously wants nothing to do with you right now so back off and leave her alone.”
They made all these excuses but I just said
“Look, what you were doing, was not friendly. Stop it.”
And one of the kids says in a voice trailing off and says “She’s my nigger, we’re cool.”
Back home, that word would get a white kid killed. In fact, the black kids, and the Asian kids, AND the other white kids woulda jumped you. Either way, these boys were out of line.
Before I got off I saw this girl looking back at me.
You know how many times I’ve been that girl? And you know how many times no one helped me? When I was being raped. When people were calling me ugly or fat or a pig or a slut. You name it, I’ve been called it. There wasn’t anyone there to help me.
Granted, I didn’t always know how to handle the cruel things people do to each other, but I wised up a lot when I figured out my priorities and as I worked on myself.
You put yourself in the cage. Noone can really keep you in it except yourself.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
And when I got off the bus I realized, yeah, I was her. And today, those boys backed off as soon as I spoke up cause they knew they were being jerks to her. They knew full well what they were doing was wrong, but as long as no one was speaking up, they also knew they could get away with it. She wasn’t defending herself either.
When I close my eyes at night, part of the reason I can’t sleep is because I see the faces of every woman I met who told me her story of being raped, sexually abused, beaten up, called a whore or a slut, who had tried anything she could get her hands on to get rid of the broken feeling. Drugs. Boyfriends. Treatments. Yoga. Exercise. Eating Disorders.
I see them. I remember the look in their eyes. Like someone so beyond hope that they don’t even remember what it’s like to have hope. They physically survived the rape, yes, but they live in the memory, they live in the crime scene. Every time they look in a mirror, they see the eating disorder or the rape or the depression, and they despise those parts of themselves and wish them gone forever.
And people like Kitty (caricature for a girl who got all up in my stuff and was a 14 year old girl about it), they can say it’s about attention, they can say that these women should just get over it.
But the whole reason God gave us afflictions and suffering in the first place is not just as a trial for the individual afflicted with mental illness, and memories of horrors beyond description (I don’t have to watch scary movies anymore. My life is plenty inspiring in that department), the other reason is because he expects us to reach out with hearts to love and hands to help. Whatever important thing we think we’re doing, nope. I don’t care if you tune out everyone because of a pretty girl or a class or work or whatever, it’s not the Christ-centered directive. Christ called his men away from the fishing nets to help save His people. Moses had plenty of work out in the wilderness, they were nomads! But God said “Go” and Moses switched careers.
And believe me, sheep were WAY easier to herd than those Israelites.
I compare mental illness to cancer. Oftentimes cancer shows up as a tumor. It’s not something easily seen by the naked eye, but it’s there. And if it’s in the mind, it affects judgment. It causes unseen pain that ranges from mild to paralyzing. The treatments and diagnosis of cancer, as my best friend Maya experienced for so many years before her death. Maya didn’t have cancer, she had a lung disease they didn’t know how to cure- she was treated like a cancer patient. They don’t know the exact cause of the illness, and they just run through medications and treatments, steroids, chemotherapy, special diets.
I used to clean her wispy, black and purple hair off the bathroom floor. Her body was bloated from steroids and of course chemotherapy isn’t exactly a picnic in the park. She was hooked up to an oxygen machine and could hardly ever leave her own home. If you had known her before and after the illness struck, she would be almost unrecognizable.
When someone has a mental illness like I have- namely Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anorexia Nervosa, and Depression. Which I say I have all three because I never do anything halfway. I’m an all or nothing personality type. I either give it all my effort, or I give it absolutely none.
When you have one, it is impairing you. Your judgment is absolutely impaired. By the time I really figured out how little I was eating was on day 3 of partial hospitalization, and they wanted me to eat a WHOLE SANDWICH. Normal, bread and butter size. And I was so upset about it, it was all I would talk about for 3 days.
It’s not a joke when I tell you I feel fat. When I look in the mirror, I see the girl on the left, when in reality, I’m the girl on the right. I can’t unsee it. in pictures of myself, I see her, not me! I walk around pinching my stomach and my back as if there’s any real fat to pinch, pulling at my thighs and wondering if they would look better thinner, wishing my face wasn’t so “fat”.
Yes. I do this. This is a daily, real, part of my life. And when I put food in my mouth when I’m depressed I either want to throw it up or a voice in my head calls me a worthless fat whore. I have to set a timer and prepare all my food in nutritionist approved portions EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And I have to eat all of it. And I have to eat every 3 hours. And my exercise all has to be planned and monitored. AGGGGHHHH
And you want to know the kicker?
I WEIGH LESS IN THE PICTURE ON THE LEFT.
And then you add in my usual off the charts mood swings and the PTSD and the crying all the time in secret and the panic attacks and the obsessive exercise, it is very, very hard to do basic life, and I work, and go to school, and get good grades, and dance on weekends, and work out a few hours a week. Running, basketball, anything.
The point is that yes, as I said in a post before, I have a secret life that revolves completely around my mental illness.
And people tell me not to talk about it. You know that’s the same thing the rapist who raped me said? He told me no one could ever love me if they knew about the rape. He told me I deserved it because I was a woman and I belonged to him because of the priesthood (sorry dad if you ever read this, I didn’t tell you the details in person because I didn’t want to cry in front of you). He told me that if I made any sound at all, or told anyone, he would kill me and rape my little sister.
I was 7 when those threats came out.
I’m here. And I’m talking now. I tried plenty of times to warn others that that man was dangerous, but who is going to listen to someone so young? You’re just going to tell her “You’re being silly” or “be polite. He’s family.” But I have always been like that. I see things other people can’t see. Oftentimes in interactions I respond to people’s deeper emotions or I just know something about them completely unrelated to any conversation I ever had with them etc.
When I was in treatment, just when someone walked in, I could tell you if they relapsed the night before. Sometimes, with no contact, even across the ocean, I could tell you my friend was bingeing and purging.
YOU WANNA ASK ME AGAIN WHY I NEVER GET ANY SLEEP??!
THIS. STUPID. BRAIN. NEVER. SHUTS. UP. If it’s not running through traumatic memories from my own past, it’s reaching back to other people’s lives and stories across the flippin’ ocean, like it has nothing better to do
(It’s 12:59 am now.)
And for all those people who just tell someone with mental and emotional afflictions to “get over it”- you ain’t Jesus. Jesus, can tell people to rise up and be whole. You are not him. Also, I’d like to see you “get over” cancer without treatment, completely by yourself, with no medical care. Also I want people to stand around your deathbed and tell you you aren’t sick and to just “Get over it”. That’d teach you right.
When I walk into a new doctor’s office- and I have a brigade, of doctors and medical professionals on call. You want to guess what the first response is when I tell them my medical history and personal history?
- YOU’RE ALIVE?
- You look so healthy and happy, I almost can’t believe it. Most people like you are dead, addicted to drugs, or in mental hospitals.
Clearly, I can handle my stuff.
Also random not random thought there is a movie coming out called unsane. I don’t need to watch that. I’ve lived it and I’m not going back.
It’s like 12:31 and I know in my head that I need to sleep. But I don’t want to dream about the rape again tonight. I know I’m sick and I need to get better, but after Tongan chapter dance practice, I ran a few laps (and when I say a few laps I mean look at her go that girl’s sprinting like a cheetah). I came home and ate my nutritionist approved snack. I submitted m homework.
I really shouldn’t go to class tomorrow. I have an appointment with the gynecologist because I’ve been on my period for half a month now and I’m on birth control so uh, no thank you. And that’s plenty stressful. And the hula festival is Saturday and I don’t have my lei made or my skirt or anything put together and I have a math test and a political science test. And did I mention I’m sick?
People used to be like “Oh, you never work cause you’re rich?”
NO. I wasn’t working because with my stuff, I’m never off the clock! PTSD never takes a day off. Believe me. And neither does any of my other mental and emotional health issues. They are going at me 24/7 and the fact that I can even eat and sleep, is a feat beyond what 99% of people in my situation can do, and most of those people are older.
And guess what, now I’m working too.
Sidenote before I go lay down on my sleeping mat wishing I was asleep- everyone I’ve talked to, can’t picture me with a golden retriever. They match me with the German Shepherd, every time.
And the poodle service dog option was not even on the table. That wasn’t even a question in their minds.
I think I’m flattered that people think my personality matches a German Shepherd. For me, I know I’m going to fall in love as soon as I look into those beautiful eyes of the angel coming into my life. But yeah. I look cute on the outside, but as demonstrated by my little 7th grade bully experience and numerous other casualties like that, I’m tough and I do fight dirty when I have to.
I was asking around, for the video- last thought I swear- for people in my life to say the first adjective that came to mind when they heard my name.
I thought my friends would say things like pretty or cute or kind but actually we’re getting very, very fierce adjectives. In fact, I bet you someone is going to say fierce at some point.
Anyways it’s 1:07. I’m feeling very very sick so I’m going to try to sleep. I might have to miss class tomorrow. I did everything I had to do today and I need some rest. And AHEM if you think praying makes the nightmares go away, nope. And if you think that I get to feel the comfort of the spirit when I’m laying there at 2:00am trying to tell myself the rapist isn’t here in my bedroom, you’re wrong there. And if you think Jesus just is going to wrap me in His love like a warm blanket- well so far it’s not doing much good.
The whole reason I want the dog in the first place is because I cannot feel emotions of affection/warmth/connection. I am very lonely. My heart feels very cold and empty. And I go through the motions of friendship but I can’t feel anything for any of my friends or family. Something about the way my heart was broken or just the culmination of everything….
Something deep inside is definitely broken and won’t work right. The whole reason I named the fundraising campaign Hope for Hannah is because when I was going through this, the point when I lost that, was when my dog Angel passed away. I feel nothing of love or connection. Ever. from God. From my family. From my friends. There were times over these past 2 1/2 years where I literally held my own life in my hands, to take or to keep. And what turned me away everytime, was the hope that someday, I’d be able to feel loved and connected again.
I’ll be honest. (this is also probably the longest blog post ever). I lost everything I cared about, because caring about other people and being loved in return, was everything to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very blessed and also trying not to have a panic attack because something moved outside and I’m hypervigilant at night and it does not take much- AHEM. What I was saying is that I wouldn’t change anything that happened. But on that same hand, I know that what I was trying in the past, won’t fix the core of what’s wrong. The reason I say hope, is because when I even hold a dog for 5 minutes, I calm down. I feel loved. I feel love for the dog. I feel like a normal person for just a few minutes and I can look into that dog’s eyes and tell the dog any story that comes to mind. And as long as I’m generous with the love and the treats, the dog is happy to just. be. there.
On a night like this is the type of night where if I wasn’t staying up typing my feelings I would be laying in bed so desperate not to feel alone that I just lay there and cry for an hour.
ALLRIGHT. I’M GOING TO BED. THEN I’M GONNA GET UP AND DO THIS ALL OVER AGAIN. LET’S DO THIS.
I GOT THIS.