TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT/DEPRESSIVE THOUGHTS.
It’s been a weird month. On the one hand, I’ve been playing open mics at this one bar often enough that I’ve started to get to know the people who frequent it. On the other, I’ve been having depressive episodes again and I was assaulted outside of work.
The thing I find most frustrating about having a depressive episode is that I’m self-aware enough to know exactly what it is but am completely unable to stop it. I can be sitting in my kitchen having tea and suddenly feel like there’s absolutely no reason for me to be alive and I should probably just go ahead and kill myself. Or I can be on the way to work and think about how easy it would be for me to get off at the next station and jump in front of a train. No note, no warning, no explanation.
I feel like I’m not a part of life. Like my existence affects no one and means nothing. There will always be someone else to fill whatever tiny void I might leave behind me. Even my family would eventually heal and move on. Sometimes I draft suicide notes to leave just in case one day the urge proves to be too much. I usually end up throwing them out because I wouldn’t want anyone to find the note and think I was actually planning something.
Everyone I know seems like they’re a part of something. I feel like it takes a lot of effort for me to even put clothes on and venture outside. The things I love seem to lose their flavor and it’s a massive chore for me to do anything except lay down on my couch and watch Netflix. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve narrowed it down to self-worth.
I don’t feel like I’m worthy of anything.
I was assaulted by a drunk dude outside my workplace. I was on a break around 8:30PM, standing outside smoking, when he came up to me and started talking. He was being aggressive, yelling at women on the street to keep their “head and tits up” and calling them cunts when they didn’t respond. He asked me why women were bitches. I was afraid of him, so I agreed with him even though it made me feel sick to my stomach not to stand up for my fellow ladies. When he got closer and put his arm around me, I shut down. Parts of my childhood came back and I remembered that in order to avoid angering the people who assaulted me when I was a kid, I would let my body go still and try to think about something, anything else to avoid facing what was really happening.
He seemed to think I was comfortable with him in my space, so he kissed me. He also buried his head into my neck and slid his arm down to my waist. Inside, there were alarm bells going off and I was frantic but I was so terrified of this stranger that I stood completely still. When he called his friend over and I was flanked by two strange men, I finally snapped into action and went back inside my cafe.
“You’re just going to leave me out here?” one of them cried.
“Sorry,” I explained. “I have to go back to work.”
That’s right, folks. I apologized to the man who touched me without permission.
I thought I would be fine when I reached the relative safety of my workplace. I wasn’t. I went into a full scale panic attack, complete with cold chills and shaking. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t bring myself to. I began to feel like these things happen to me because I deserve them. The little kid who was shoved into a basement and assaulted eighteen years ago deserved it. The laps I was forced to sit on, the hands that went places I was too young to have discovered yet — I deserved all of it. Because I’m worth nothing.
But even as I write this, I know intellectually that it isn’t true. Bad things happen to people who don’t deserve it. Nobody deserves to have something like this happen to them, no matter who they are or what they’ve done. I don’t deserve to be assaulted, or beaten, or treated like shit and I didn’t ask for any of this. But emotionally, in the twisted labyrinth that passes for my mind, it feels very true.
I know it could have been much worse with the stranger outside my cafe. I’ve been in much worse situations before. But that doesn’t make it OK and it doesn’t make my reaction afterward any less valid.
So it’s been a weird month. In spite of my depressive thoughts and dark moments, I remain hopeful that things will get better. Maybe soon I’ll feel ready to seek help for this.