I had written up my daily check-in, but not posted it. I'd wanted to get a little more Spanish study in to fill out the points. I sat down with my iPad, some seedless grapes, and an bottle of water, and noticed new mail had arrived from Trouble in my inbox.
"Jade, this has a trigger in beginning, thought I would give you heads up. The remainder is worth seeing if you are enough of a fan of the genre."
He didn't tell me what genre, but forging ahead, I took a deep breathe and sat to watch something that turned out to be a terrible mistake. What he'd sent for me was the new Thomas Jane Punisher piece called #dirtylaundry. Below is the video, DO NOT WATCH IT IF YOU ARE TRIGGERED BY ANYTHING OR HAVE PTSD OF ANY KIND. Nevermind the obvious trigger he'd warned me about (a rape, as you can probably guess), but the rest of the video is nothing but horrible violence full of the powerlessness of the victims. Don't get me wrong, from an artistic perspective it IS a great piece, but I would no more have chosen to watch it than I would watch Girl with a Dragon Tattoo (I read the book, and knew a film would be well beyond what I could tolerate). I kept waiting for it to get better, less violent, but I couldn't turn it off. And when it was over, I was shaking so badly I almost couldn't stand up.
My iPad was thrown to the couch as I ran for the bathroom. There I stood, shaking, crying, and wretching over the toilet as myriad dark images flickered behind my eyelids. Screams lay unvoiced, itching under my tongue, as I tried to contain it lest it consume me. AgtOrange came in from having a cigarette and asked me through the door if I was okay.
"No," I wailed.
"Are you sick?" he said.
"Kinda." I opened the door to his inquiries and had him fetch my fuzzy blanket and my teddy bear. Most days it sits on a shelf in the living room. I managed to explain to him what had happened. He'd seen the video, but admitted that despite his usual obliviousness he hadn't posted it to his Facebook wall because he was afraid I would watch it.
I lay on the bathroom floor for awhile, my back to the cool tile, clutching my bear and looking up at the masquerade masks I'd put up not so long ago. Their empty eyes felt strangely comforting as they looked blankly down at me. I'd already shut the door in AgtOrange's face because I couldn't bear him looking at me, or perhaps he would do the unthinkable and try to touch me in that instant where the only hands I could feel weren't ones I wanted on me.
After awhile I started the shower and crawled into it with my clothes on. My underwear was piss-soaked anyway. I had taken the pants off already, but I couldn't bear to be naked not even for a shower. AgtOrange gave me my night meds on my request. If they made me sleepy enough, hopefully I'd calm down (or pass out) and I wouldn't have to go back to the hospital. Because I didn't feel safe. A monster screamed inside me and I longed to bleed it out, cut it out, kill myself, do anything to shut it up.
I lay on the floor of the tub with hot water beating down on me, cupping my hands over the surgical dressing so it wouldn't get too soaked. The doctor had said showering was okay, but I don't think she meant for an hour. AgtOrange made me chamomile tea and finally I crawled out, still incredibly shaky, when my cell rang and the first of the death threats started.
It was a restricted number, which I normally wouldn't answer. A harsh, scratchy whisper said, "bitch, go into the kitchen now or I'll kill your mother". What? Now this was purely comical. Anyone who knew me would know that wasn't much of a threat.
"Go ahead, make my day." Only they kept calling back, with different variations.
"Bitch, I know who you are, I know your name (only they didn't say my name), I'm going to kill both your parents, I'm going to kill your whole family. I'll kill you." AgtOrange told me to ask them if they took PayPal, so I did, but it only confused them (causing another hang up).
And I said my usual line when someone threatens to kill me (should I be worried that I have a 'usual line'?) which was "go ahead, put me out of my misery, you'd be doing me a favor" which I also think confused them.
And then they called me back one final time, more garbled than ever, and apologized and hung up. I'm guessing it was a wrong number.
And after all this was said and done, not only was I much calmer (nothing like a bizarre crisis to snap someone out of a flashback), but I'd also remembered that I'd had a therapist appointment I had entirely missed, on account I'd forgotten it was Tuesday.
Comprehensive List of Tasks
- grooming & wound care = yes
- eat healthy meal = Had my smoothie this morning, with pizza for dinner. Good enough.
- Spanish = studied lesson 16, failed it, I should go back and do lesson 15 again
- coping = yes
- paperwork/emails = absolutely, moving all those files was a pain, plus I organized some, plus I moved my Bucket List from Facebook to Pinterest (now it has pictures!) and read a bunch of emails
- Movie review = finished watching a movie and did the review for it, but didn't start anything new (2/3 pts)
- fun reading = yes
- meditation = In lieu of meditation, I watched part of a program on Buddhism. (1/2 pts)
Medication = yes
Sober (no drinking/drugs/cutting) = yes
No Compulsions = no, I've been busy adding clothes to my wishlist, because what I need is a bunch more clothes
No Strenuous Acts = yes
Plenty of Fluids = no, I could really do better
TOTAL SCORE = 11/16 = 69%
I will need to be a much stronger person if I am to help others. Of course, we can all do our part to help each other out now, but I really have to buckle down and concentrate on gathering my strength, because the more enlightened a person is, the more they can help.
You don't win by retaliation. You win by overcoming your fear. The problem with vigilante redemption films, and capital punishment, is that the victims don't feel better jut by knowing the perpetrator is dead. Sure, they feel relieved, but it doesn't bring a dead loved one back to life, it doesn't undo the harm that was done. You don't get that time back; you can't uncause that suffering. And to kill someone who has harmed you implies that you still fear them, they still have some powerful attachment over you that you mean to break. It is when you render them ineffectual that you gain a measure of power back. When they no longer can frighten you. And maybe for some people that only happens after they've witnessed their abuser die, but I don't think it would help me any.