I ponder limits in this moment, as I look over the emerald green ko’olau mseeountains. One time I was told the mountains are shaped as a woman running her fingers through her long hair
Majesty. Dizzying possibilities. A child of the wild, the woods and the open sky are more a home to me than any four walls could ever be.
I think of limits because my injured leg is aching. Because I nearly blacked out 6 times over the past few days. Because there is a bruise and a needlesharp pain in my arm where my chi was drawn out into glass tubes.
Because the brokenness is so much deeper than the physical aches and pains. Because I know that just behind my eyes, the horrors wait to spring at any tiny chance to drag me back to that basement, that bed, that room, that theatre.
When I talked about my experience with mental illness, rape, and sexual abuse for the video, I didn’t cry about it. Rather as I looked over the footage afterward I thought “You know it’s really not all that bad. I have food, a place to sleep, and people to see and talk to.”
Of course the new scarring over my forearms tells a different story. My letters to the boy who will never come back. My futile efforts to get over him and everything else as I cycle endlessly, the rising tide, the lull, the crash
The golden sunlight retreating over the mountains. A reminder of the beautiful life I fought for.
But as I speak to my friend in the driver’s seat, I hear something that scares me.
I am saying that I have faced so much but I have a clear limit. I am saying that if I chose to let my mental illness have free reign I would die, because that is the sinister endgame. Like any virus worth its salt, mental illness is driven to kill. It attacks the immune system- the family, the vital relationships, setting off flares of depression, aggression, and “dudgeons” to drive the victim from help. It whispers that it is a harmless little cough as it tightens its black claws around their throat.
It takes over, earning recognition by familiarity. You are so used to seeing yourself as not enough that now the voice guides your self perception, causing one to devalue their life. It pulses, a slow toxin through the blood.
And then the pain. Like a meth addict trying to claw the pain out of their body, the victim cuts, burns, cries, and hides, ashamed of their weakness and inability to cope. Pain causing so many more problems. Rage. Fear. Despair.
I know all these things.
But how can I show you the unseen. My body is not outwardly ravaged. How can I share the unspeakable.
I have become accustomed to the pains of hell. In fact if God offered to heal me in one day I would say no. There are no words for why, just as the mountains of ko’olauloa stand as they are. Silent. Soulful.Timeless.
I am laying on a mat with a heating pad over one leg, eyes bleary, head spinning, stomach rumbling.
But I am still here. And if my story saves a rape victim even a tenth of what I experienced, it was worth it all.
Remember who all this was for
As the first video is coming to it’s conclusion many thoughts come to mind about the day to day life with PTSD and mental illness
The phantom feel of the rapists presence has dogged my steps again, has haunted my bed again, has made me gag and run to the toilet again to wretch and purge.
The only part of the filming where I cry is where I talk about losing my dog Angel during my worst period of mental illness. The violence, the rape, the car accidents, the other deaths and then on top of that bullying, suicide attempts, hospitalizations, all of that, I could describe calmly. But not losing the dog
That was my limit.