When I left my abusive marriage, I left because I didn’t want to live in fear any more. Obviously, there were many reasons but those reasons all came under one big title: Living in fear of what was next. Whether it was being pushed, punched, verbally assaulted, whatever he was going to throw my way to help him gain control.
When I left him, the abuse continued through the courts and I have had reprieves here and there but just as I got to the point of feeling safe and secure, he would hit me with another law suit or not pay his child support or a letter would come in the mail. Something was always around the corner. The last attack was only 5 months ago.
What I am finding with this pandemic is that the trauma is still very real. I don’t feel safe because I work in a hospital and that is not to say the hospital and myself aren’t doing everything possible to keep safe but the person in the next room the other day with whom my patient shared a nurse, was being tested. So no matter where you are, even if you are not in the front lines, you are still vulnerable.
What I am finding is that every piece of normalcy I have in place for myself to feel safe and comfortable is disrupted. My usual conversations and walks with my boyfriend. ( we talk on the phone and walk), my Fridays nights with Laurie my best friend from high school where we get dinner and do a movie, my craft days with Laura, my summer festivals with Laura, my usual group exercise, all gone. The usual support systems have been pulled out from under and I am not okay.
My children are unable to understand the enormity of going to work when your health is in the line of fire every day. They are unable to understand that going to the store puts you also in danger. The older one because he is invincible of course. The younger one because he hasn’t left the house since this started. I can give props to the younger one who recently came and hugged me and said thank you for all you are doing. I know it is hard.
Every single day is lived in fear like when I was married. I don’t have a boat or a bike to escape on. I walk the campus of the hospital for peace. When my boyfriend can walk and talk I am driving on my way into work usually but our connection is broken right now as he is an essential worker as well.
I think it’s important for those of us who have left, and those who are quarantined with their abuser to understand and admit that this exacerbates the trauma we have lived or are living.
If you reach out and you don’t get a response, like I did today, then reach out to someone else. It’s okay to need to vent. It’s okay to admit you are not okay. I am not okay. But I will be. And I can tell you, as my life continues to be turned upside down, I will have many days of “I am not okay.” The time between will shorten and I’m prepared for that or at least I am trying to be prepared for it. I am prepared to deal with my resentfulness at not being answered or feeling alone. I know that I have a right to feel that way but I also know that people are doing the best they can. I can eventually reconcile that in my heart and mind. I just can’t do it today.
So, what am I doing to protect my mental health? I am joining in on as many exercise classes being broadcast live that I can. It is not the same but I’m trying to adapt. I am meditating whenever I can especially when Deepok Chopra is live doing a meditation. I am continuing to keep my lines of communication open with those who are important to me even when I feel ignored because I know they have their own stuff they are dealing with but that being said, I am also not anticipating communication nor looking forward to it. I can’t. I have decided to have no expectations and that they need to drop their expectations of me. Why? Because I’m that person that is always available and at times like these when my need is great and others are not available, it hurts. So, I will just drop my expectations and expect them to do the same. I am also reading, writing and trying hard not to have regrets about how things should be and how they are not.
The positives? I’ve always known life is too short and now it has solidified it for me even more. When we get through this, and we will, if you are not completely motivated to do what you have always wanted to do and to be with who you want to be with, then you missed the lesson in this whole pandemic.
Life Lesson 2020:
You should have a job you want-a lot of you are already living without, make your change now
Be with the person you want to be with-why wait any longer? Life is too short to wait.
Love one another and be compassionate, kind and empathetic-love your neighbor
Be mindful-be present
Enjoy your freedom, your babies, your loved one’s imperfections-a veteran fought hard for your freedom
Stop taking things for granted. Like her love, baby giggles, your grocery store, your health care worker-all essential workers, your spring flowers that come up every year and you’re too busy to notice…
Those of us who deal with trauma, we will be okay. I am in self care mode now. I suggest you do the same and reach out when needed and keep trying until you reach someone who is willing to see you through that difficult moment.