My monologue from last year at Sea Tea Improv in Hartford, CT for the Write On! Program, a writing group specializing in young adults in recovery of mental health problems. I shared a lot about myself…
My name is Freddy and I would like to share my story so you can better understand how I envision recovery. Maybe someone out there can relate to me. Who knows?
I was pain. That’s all I was. Everything else, every chance given to me, every promise I’d made, all of it was pain. What use is pain? What use is being just pain? It’s not dignified. It’s not kind. And if it’s not dignified and it’s not kind, then maybe it’s not worth anything. Maybe it’s better off as nothing. Gone. Dead. Ashes. Rising. Breath. Rebirth. Freedom.
I try everyday to find my own, valid definition of the word “Freedom.” This is my journey, and just because it had a rough start and then got worse before it got somewhat better, it doesn’t mean the negativity has to be a be-and-end-all. I don’t have to define my life with “heartbreak” or “trauma.” The DSM-V suggests that I have Major Depressive Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Bipolar II (“the sequel”). The DSM-II would have mentioned “Depathologizing Homosexuality” in my case study if I was born prior to 1973. There’s no need for me to label it and generalize it based on a few instances in my life that were quite less than pleasant.
I’m not going to apologize to my mother because I failed to reach her perfect, cookie-cutter expectations. I’m not going to apologize to my ex-fiance because I was the only one out of the two of us that was even capable of love! I’m not a failure! I’m not a coward! Society tends to chastise men for expressing emotions because, supposedly, it’s perceived as weakness. But I am not weak! It takes a lot of strength and resilience to talk about memories I’ve repressed for so long. To face these memories that yearn to break the ice of every conversation I shared with anyone, just to receive any kind of sympathy. I am so much stronger now than ever before! I once was the scared, little boy cowering in the corner, fearing for my life. No more! I gaze into the filthy mirror in my bathroom, and I embrace the man I have become!
I lived in a halfway house at one point in my life. Sleeping in the next room over were registered sex offenders, gangsters, and drug addicts. The whole ambience of that place made me feel anxious and hopeless. One day, I sat on the window sill of my assigned room on the second floor. I looked down and after some consideration, I jumped and I broke two bones in my lower vertebrae, an act I pay for with chronic pain every day of my life. I recalled, afterwards, thinking “shit! I should have jumped off from the third story or even from the rooftop. Why only the second floor?! What a fucking wimp!”
My injuries are a constant reminder that life may not be for the faint of heart, but it is worth it. The near-fatal injury led me to physical therapy which then inspired me to get into yoga. It’s been three years since I began doing yoga. It took some getting used to, but now, I can do splits, backbends, cartwheels, and I can press my whole palms on the ground from a standing position without bending my knees. The chronic pain is still there, but it’s not as severe.
The fact that my suicide attempt eventually lead to my aptitude in flexibility and an entryway into a whole subculture where I’ve met so many great people and accomplished so much – is quite extraordinary.
My mother kicked me out on my 18th birthday because my lifestyle went against her religious beliefs. Homelessness was the best present I ever received. For so long, I thought I was going to hell simply because that’s what she told me every night. She was afraid that some boys at school would bash me one day because of who I am. It’s ironic that she was the worst part of my childhood. She tried so hard to make sure my life was planned safely and accordingly. The Muslim faith insisted that my fate would be tied to a girl I grew up with. Her parents befriended my parents long before. My 18th year was meant to be the year I would marry her. But that arranged marriage never happened the second my mother found out I was gay. It’s sad how a friendship between two kids would end so catastrophically simply because of such high expectations being placed on it.
For a long time, I blamed myself for all the pain I caused. I thought hell was my only home. After several years, the pain has finally ceased. I choose to believe that the destination of my afterlife is still undecided. I can believe in anything I want.
When I was 21, I came so close to marrying a Narcissist. I avoided a lot of emotional and psychological abuse when I called off the engagement. For a time, I was in such a rush to give my heart away to someone who didn’t deserve it. He would say that everything that went wrong was my fault. His word was law. Apologizing was not in his repertoire. A sense of grandiosity would placate his identity until apathy took its pound of flesh. Empaths and Narcissists don’t mix well at all. The Empathic-Narcissistic relationship is a silver cord wrapped between two souls, the Empath rendered immobile and helpless as they try relentlessly to ease the Narcissist’s pain that is hidden so well. Energy is siphoned from the Empath into the Narcissist willingly, at first, until the Empath is used up completely, squeezed dry like a sponge, wanting nothing more than the sweet, gentle release of death by only the Narcissist’s hand. At least that’s what I desired, what I felt I deserved. I thought I knew everything. But the wisest people can admit that they know nothing. Now I relish in this uncertainty. The only thing I knew for sure was that I had to leave him. I had to walk away from someone that I was still madly in love with.
I just wanted to die. I was in shock. It felt like he died. I wanted to join him, wherever he went, even if it was hell. If I had suddenly developed cancer during that time, I would have felt relieved. I grieved over him, even though all he did was break my heart and leave to find something else to do… someone else to do… his next victim. There were so many questions left unanswered, but maybe it was better off that way. Sometimes, I try to force myself to believe that he was just a figment of my imagination. But once in awhile, a family member of mine asks me about him. A part of me dies inside when I hear his name. It took me a little over two years to finally force myself to go back into the world of dating.
Today, I pay my own bills working at a job I don’t necessarily like, but appreciate. I go to college to pursue a career in Psychology. I don’t need anyone to tell me how to live my life. I’m doing just fine. It’s okay to not be okay sometimes. Yes, my life is a lot better than ever before, but there are still days when panic attacks and anxiety ensue. I enjoy the independence. Just me and my cat. Yes, sometimes, it gets lonely. Yet I refuse to sell myself short for someone who doesn’t deserve me. I’m not ever going to alter my morals and my beliefs just to be accepted. I will never pretend to be someone I’m not simply because I’m deemed socially deviant. I will be the loneliest man in the world if it meant that I can just be myself.
I was pain. That’s all I was. But now, I accept that it all happened in the past. The past happened. It happened! Why feel any regret or guilt on things I can’t change? Why should I let myself suffer when the source of the pain subsided long ago? I am safe. I am wise. I am loved.
Hello to my reclusive fallen angels! It seems I’m always chastised for being the only one whose honest. I’m infatuated with him. I don’t know him that well yet to have legitimate feelings but I’m aware of a few things about him that aren’t bad at all. He’s caring, artistic, funny, smart, and he’s one of the most beautiful men I have ever known. He enjoys playing video games and he knows his way around cosmetics. The thing is that I was a DCF kid. My childhood composed of trauma and abuse which led me to growing so accustomed to The System that I never learned the social skills needed to interact with Normies (people who were never in The System and is sane enough to appear normal even if they’re not). I believe that I never fully adapted to the real world; I never successfully transitioned from a hospital ambience to the community setting. This theory would definitely explain why I’m so socially awkward. I have a habit of making people feel uncomfortable and actually taking pleasure in it. You see, in psych wards, talking about depression, suicide, rape, and the like were topics of conversation. We made humor out of it because they were the only things to define our lives. It’s why I have a very dark, warped sense of humor. I know it’s hard to take me seriously but I use humor as a coping/defense mechanism. If I stop laughing, I’ll fall apart. It’s why I feel all alone in the world. I know I talk about loneliness a lot but it’s my only reality. I don’t know how to allow my crush to take me seriously; that I’m not a joke and that I’m not only interested in sex. I didn’t think he was into me until I found out he volunteered to do my makeup for the drag show I spoke of in my post, Drama Infestation. I don’t know with him. He’s wishy-washy. I don’t want to put my hopes up too high but I can’t wait to see if our O’s will become X’s soon. I’m not afraid to be honest. Maybe at least one of my fallen angels will read this and muster up the courage to be honest too. Have a wonderful day! Over and out.
Feel free to like or comment on this post. I will always reply back to comments! And please check out my eBook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012BSPFCQ/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_awdm_EgmSvb1FDR2EB Thanks for reading 🙂
Before recovery, my life was…
hopeless, frustrating, and lonely. My family was very negative and constantly putting me down. Getting kicked out was a blessing in disguise.
My thoughts and feelings when I first started recovery were…
skeptical and pessimistic because people always told me that life will get better. I thought it was nonsense until I started believing in God and realizing that hardship is the only way to strengthen the soul.
What would you say is different about yourself now that you are in recovery, compared to how your life was before?
Positivity tends to come to me naturally now. I am a lot more self-aware and resilient as well. I have less people in my life these days, but at least I know now how to extract negative people from my social circle.
What are three ways that you maintain your recovery today?
b. Physical Fitness
c. Keeping Busy (working out, attending college, going to church, etc.)
If you had the opportunity to tell another young person why they should seek recovery, what would you say?
Life is too short to be ashamed of your mental health problems. If you ignore them and leave them untreated, you will always be in misery. Life is not a video game either. You don’t have multiple lives. You only have one and it’s fragile and precious. We all have the ability to better ourselves and convert our trauma and hardship to our advantage.
Hola! What adventures will you embark on today? Anyway, lately I have been getting the feeling that nobody genuinely cares about me. Boo hoo! Lol But in all seriousness, I have been in the system since I was 14 years old. No, I’ve never been arrested. 14 was the year I first tried to commit suicide. Since then til last year, I was in psych wards, state hospitals, alternative schools, group homes, residential, and transitional homes. I had my fair share of therapy and psych medicine. Although I have come a long way in my road to recovery, this gnawing feeling of inhospitable loneliness clings onto me everyday. I never had a stable home or anyone I really considered family. I had a lot of services throughout the years though. Don’t get me wrong! I’m very grateful for my therapist and additional services I receive from DMHAS but I doubt it’s the same as having a family. I watch a lot of tv and I see these shows like Modern Family or The Middle. Family seems like a burden and they may be annoying as all hell but at the end of the day, they have each other’s backs. Besides one day of the week, my therapist is off the clock. I had the same therapist for years but I doubt she considers me family. She has a family and life of her own and I’m simply just a client. I accept that for what it is. What does it feel like to be a part of a family? The idea of family repulses me to no end yet maybe that’s because I find it to be co-dependent and weak. At the end of the day, I know if I fail to pay my bills, I will homeless again. If I get arrested, no one will bother to bail me out. If I run out of food, no one will give me any. That’s life. At least that’s my life. Family would sure help but I’m so independent and a lone wolf simply doesn’t have the luxury of dependency. Sure my therapist or my job coach could help me if I needed a bus pass or a laundry card but that’s not like family. There’s a procedure and paperwork that has to be done in order to keep me serviced. It’s not out of the kindness of their hearts. They get paid to help me. I’m grateful but I have yet to know what’s it’s like to be cared for. It seems the only way to have a family is to marry into one. I would have to allow myself to fall in love and share my life with someone else. That’s frightening. My brother has no sense of family either. He married into a family but by observation, he will never officially be an addition to his wife’s family entirely. They don’t go out of their way for him. They do a halfass job just to make him think he’s any importance to their family. It’s sad but my brother would rather tolerate that than face the fact that I am the only family he has left. That he is just as alone as I am. I, myself, can’t live in denial like he can. But to each his own, I guess. In retrospect, maybe marrying into a family isn’t a secure option either. I’m contempt with being alone. I have my services, my confidant, very few friends, and my coping skills. I must continue to live regardless of the cards I was dealt. Have a wonderful day, my fallen angels! Over and out.
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