I often wonder if it would be a burden to share pain.
Since Christmas, especially, there have been these bouts filled with a memory that feels like it’s ripping me in half.
And it’s like, all of this pain, this anger over this episode, this memory.. I feel like I can’t trust myself. Because when I remember it… It is so unreal, so ridiculous, that sometimes I wonder if I’m remembering it all wrong, if my mind has somehow made it up. And I keep chewing it over and over, and it makes me feel sick.
But then I remember why I knew what happened was all wrong. Why this person in my life… I was in counseling for it at the time. Because it wasn’t the first fucking time. They taught me what was wrong. They taught me how to say no. They never said it could be… That person.
So it feels very wrong. Like I’ve made it up, because I know that if I hadn’t been taught I wouldn’t have known it was wrong. So I didn’t say anything. How could I have?
And now everytime I see this person, or hear him, there is this deep revulsion in me. Because of everything else in this “relationship” with this person is so estranged.
But after Christmas, watching him laugh, noticing over and over again how much privelage he has in our life.
I feel like I’m being ripped apart. I cannot figure out if this is fucking… real. I’m so good at letting go. I just want to forget, but… This person just gets to… be there?
I feel like a liar. I feel so rotten. Like it can’t be real. But why can’t I just forget it? Why can’t I just let it go? I keep telling myself it wasn’t even that bad. That maybe I did make it up. What does that make me? And my mind just hurts, it hurts to keep going over it.
And he knew! God he knew what happened to me before. I don’t understand.
Is it fair. To speak about this. I don’t want to make waves. I don’t want drama. I just don’t want to have to .. feel like this.
It’s strange the things that can make you suddenly small and… How to describe it? Like you’re made of glass, fragile and with sharp edges, and you’re just covered in these spidery cracks. It’s like you’re on the edge of that table and you don’t know why..
But I’m addicted to this feeling. I can’t decide if it’s a hormonal swing of despair and wistfulness, or my mind playing things back, keeping things in check and reminding me to ask, “why?”
But it doesn’t really pay to stay stuck in the past. I’ve gotten good at letting things go.
And then there are these times where I get overwhelmed, all over again. I miss my friends so much I feel like I could die. Like-I wonder why I always lose them. I know people grow apart. But growing up I think I always attached myself to friends, since I.. Why does the past creep up on us?
For me, I guess, sometimes that pain is so sweet, so bitter and dark and easy to return to. It’s the drink that fills up that fracturing glass. It’s the pressure against that fragile barrier.
I should probably give up my long-time habit of making metaphors for pain. Foolish
Medical Journal Entry #1
I was advised by a neurologist I met a few weeks ago to keep a medical journal, to use for material and motivation. This meeting was just another one of those miraculous things that happened because I stopped to admire a dog in the snow, and suddenly I have a medical admissions officer as a mentor, who wants to do yoga research and get my name on a published paper… The world is crazy.
It was the first unit that I chose to visit, one that I enjoy greatly:6A, Neuroscience. I didn’t get a hit until the second nurse mentioned the woman in 15-2. I turned and walked down the hall to wash my hands, and the nurse caught up to me to say, “And she’s a psych patient, so she’ll say things." I nodded and smiled, washed my hands and headed towards the patient’s room.
There was a man in the room already, I watched as I put on a protective gown and gloves. He was talking to her. I waited until he left, smiling at him on his way out. I was a little bit put off by his lack of greeting or acknowledgment, but I didn’t blame him, he is a neurosurgeon resident. So I turned as he was about to walk away and asked, “Is she up for a patient visitor?” He was kinder in his reply, saying simply, “Yea.”
I knocked, entered, introduced myself and noticed her half eaten breakfast in front of her. She said she would like some company and indicated a chair for me to sit. She looked young, the light was behind her head, and in the shadow her skin looked smooth and soft. I remember thinking she had great lips, they were shapely and when she smiled her teeth were straight and beautiful in a round face. Her hair had a redish hue to it, that she later explained was not natural.
Immediately she told me that today had been her 49th surgery in nine years. She had had a number of infections, complications, and problems. I could tell she just wanted to talk, and remembering skills that I learned in my psych counseling class in the summer I only spoke with my eyes, nodded, responded with “Mhm,” or “Yes.” Things that encouraged her to go on.
Not five minutes into the conversation she started to tell me about the man she dated when she was 18-20. How he beat her, raped her vaginally and anally. How he humiliated her and tied her up and smeared shit on her. This almost didn’t seem to bother her. It’s hard to describe. Looking back after the whole conversation, I realize that now that I think she thought she deserved it.
A lot of this encounter went back and forth.. She started to talk about how she had gone blind in her right eye. For four months she had been completely blind and had tried to kill herself since she had no sight. This really bothered her. It was hard for her to speak, she started to tear up. I started to touch her arm, just softly, telling her to breathe, just to exhale, let it out. She kept talking, the breathing helped.
Some of the events she described, the sheer number of them made me think it was almost too much, like it was made up… But what reason would I have to doubt her? I could see her suffering, and no matter the cause I couldn’t not care for her, not love her, not bleed my heart through my eyes.
She ate some of her omelet, which was cold, and she drank lots of apple juice to wash it down. She talked about growing up without a father, how she finally got to meet him on a television show that reunited people, how she had mashed her face into her mothers sweater, crying when she saw him. She said she had tried to say, “Moooom,” but the muffled mic on her mother’s shirt made a loud “Mooooo,” and the audience laughed at her. She told me how her father lied on the show. That he later told her, “You’re not mine, and even if you were, you’re not worth the five minutes it took to make you. You’re a bitch.” She talked about other attempts to try and reconnect to him. Again the stories about her father were resigned, almost sarcastic this time.
She talked about how she was worthless, how she was not important. Again I reached out as she tried to cover her face. I cooed soothing things, got her to breathe again. Told her that she was important. She said she couldn’t stand to be alone, or in the dark. She didn’t sleep without lights or TV.
At this point she pulled out a warped, wooden cross and explained how she only shared it with people who believed like she did, that she felt comfortable with, because she never wanted to be preachy. There were times when she would laugh, or smile. Every time she spoke, she would pause as she tried to think of a missing word, her eyes would close, her lips would part, and her head would tilt back towards the pillow. It was like she was falling asleep. But then suddenly she would pull forward and continue the sentence as if she had never paused.
Nurses came, gave her medication. An hour or so had passed. I told her that I could stay for two more hours and she couldn’t believe that I wanted to stay. I told her “Yes, absolutely, let’s hang out.” She was happy, and then got kind of sad again, and I told her it’s because she is important. I asked her to look at me, and I smiled.
She asked me who I was. I said my name was Kristen. She talked a little bit about God, about how she didn’t know how she was still here, that he must make mistakes because she shouldn’t be here. I told her there was no mistake. Again she looked at me, and I just met her stare.
There were more tears. There was more eating of the cold omelet. I asked if she couldn’t have it reheated. She thought that was a great idea and called a nurse who took it away and then brought it nice and hot, with more apple juice.
She talked about the man she had started dating in may, how she couldn’t understand how “Anyone would want to come into this chaos” she said, as she covered her face again. But she hadn’t heard from him in five days, he wasn’t responding to her calls. Again she worried, this time she was upset. I didn’t know what to say, but again tried to just be there. Just to listen to what she had to say. So I kept quiet and rubbed her arm, asked her to breathe sometimes.
She wanted to know more about me. She seemed concerned when I told her I wanted to work in medicine. She was curious (although she sounded very skeptical) about yoga when I told her I was an instructor. She tried to express her desire for me to listen to patients, she told me that they are their own best doctors and that I had to be a listener. I looked at her, looked around, leaned closer and said, “That’s what I want. Things need to change. I want to do that.” She looked at me again, uncomprehending for a moment and asked “Who are you?”
She asked about a boyfriend, I said “yes.”
"Is he the one?"
"I’m so happy that it doesn’t matter, I can’t imagine it being important." I felt guilty after I said that. I shouldn’t have said that.
Afterward she told me about a man she loved since she was twelve. How he married his high school sweet heart who cheated on him. He was an airforce man stationed in Germany. He came home on leave and asked to come over, asked to sleep in the same bed. They had only cuddled, and she described how happy she had been. He asked her to move to Germany the next day after he had returned, so they made plans. He called to let her know he was going on a mission, however. He would be gone for 8 weeks, no word, no destination. He would come back, send word, and they would get her moved over. “Eight weeks passed, then ten, then twelve, then fourteen, then sixteen… Nothing. His mom would have told me if he’d died… I thought I lost him. Turned out he married some Russian woman.” Again she had this almost sarcastic resignation about her.
The two hours passed with so many things said. More tears, more comforting. She talked about how amazing her mother was, how she took care of her expenses, how when she was a young girl she would sneak her in to the hospital where her mother worked as a nurse, so that she could see the new born babies. She talked about how her mother had been there just last night, sitting in my chair. She cried again, thinking herself unworthy. She stopped me, eventually, saying “Why do you keep saying I’m important?” I simply said, “Because you are.”
We talked about trust. She asked me what I would do if I found out she killed herself tomorrow. I told her I would be upset. Then she asked how I would cope, and I replied, ” I don’t know.” I looked at her and said, “I’ll have to trust you, won’t I?” She liked that, because it was what she had been saying, all along.
Eventually it was close to when I was leaving. She was exhausted by this time, but didn’t want me to leave. She made me promise over and over again that I would listen to patients, that I would trust them.
When I was leaving the nurse was there, I leaned and, clasped her hand and told her that I was trusting her. She thanked me again, and I left. Feeling like I needed to go and be grateful.
So I’ve been sick the last couple of days.
And now I have new wants.
I’m still moving closer to all of those goals, they inch closer as I cross others off the list.
But food. Something has happened. My relationship with it has become dangerous and pointless. All pleasure.
I need to eat for fuel again. I need to stop watching tv while I eat. I need to DO more yoga, not just teach it. Who knew that could ever be a problem? I need to destroy these finals. For now, I think my grades are projected for A, A, B, B, and a C. Funny. But I can live with that. I might be able to pull one more A, but I might also end up with a C- instead of that C, and that would set me back a lot of time, and a lot of money.
I want to be more active, got I want to. I miss being determined, drinking that full bottle of water right when I woke up to hydrate, oatmeal for breakfast, lunch already packed, productive. Dinner has always been a mystery, something I need to fix.
It’s good to reassess. To reexamine goals. That’s how I’ve come this far.
And I need to be honest with myself. I’m falling back into some dark habits, stealing time, tiny white lies that are foolish excuses. I promised to try and be honest a long time ago, to live honestly, but god, it get’s so hard.
But I know that they are becoming numerous, because I have to be careful about what I say, treading with caution in conversations to remember what was said to whom. This is me being honest with myself. I’m tired of excuses. Tired of living like this. It’s not bad, but it is dishonest, exhausting, fulfilling and haunting.
I have all these titles, things I’m outwardly proud of, but not if they are empty. I think I’m a little too content, while yearning for things that I’m not willing to work for. But now I feel that hunger….. As always, it returns. And I need to do something about it.