October 13th, 2014
It's not often that I use a Taylor Swift quote to sum up my life, but fuck it. My journal, my rules.
If you're reading this, congratulations. I'm probably dead or wishing I was, turning red from embarrassment knowing someone is reading my innermost thoughts.
My public-health-funded psychiatrist says I should be expressing my feelings through writing. That somehow, through writing all the bad shit in my life in a cheap black notebook from the Dollar Store will somehow fix all the damage these past 18 years have done to my psyche.
It's not quite my idea of therapy, but, it's part of my 'treatment plan' since I visited the mental health crisis ward, aka, the looney bin, the month prior.
Dr. Maria Morgan is smiling and full of promise to my face, but occasionally I see the mask slip away and see she's just as dead inside as I am. A slight indent and a pale strip of skin on her left ring finger tells me she's a divorcee, or plans to be one soon. A faded manicure and roots of brown in otherwise perky-bottle-blonde curls tells me she's probably skipping her 'self care routine' too.
I turn my attention back to the cursed black book, the perfectly lined pages staring back at me. I feel my pulse quicken and am suddenly noticing how heavy the pen in my hand feels. I swallow the mass of mixed feelings in my throat and struggle to write the basics about my miserable existence.
I suppose I should start at the beginning. My name is Faith Elizabeth Samuels, I am nearly 19 years old and have recently graduated high school.
In a moment, I remember late nights, crying over a lined notebook, copying equations, bible verses or English essays. The lump comes back a second time and I force it back.
Well, my name was Faith until I broke away from my fundamentalist helicopter mother and started going by Luna.
Another flash, I'm writing in my childhood diary about how I wish I could be enough. How maybe if I just prayed a little harder or got better grades then maybe Mommy wouldn't yell so much. I feel like my chest is going to collapse in, but I try to maintain my composure. I'm sure Dr. Morgan will be reading this; the sooner she thinks I'm back to normal, the sooner I can go back to life as usual. I fidget with a stray lock of hair that has found it's way out of my ponytail and again try to shove down the wave of self-loathing and fear.
Well, seeing as how I'm stuck for another half an hour with the idiot across the room, I might as well spill the contents of my brain into the pages of this little book.
For as long as I can remember, my mind has been both my only friend and my worst enemy. Mix one part shitty childhood with two parts perfectionism, pessimism and a dash of fear of intimacy and commitment and you get my damaged ass.
Thankfully my sister, Kris, keeps me sane. Well, technically, she's not my sister by blood or by marriage, but she's the closest thing I've ever had, we sort of adopted each other. Her family accepted me when my mother grew tired of my 'rebellious spirit' I wanted to wear makeup and maybe talk to people my own age that I hadn't grown up with in the church. A few months ago, I bailed the fuck out of dodge and came to live with Kris and her older brothers. Life has been exponentially better ever since, however, 18 years of abuse versus a few months of reprieve leaves mental wounds. Kris says it'll fade with time, but I'm not so sure. One doesn't just start shitting rainbows immediately after escaping their abuser.
Oh look, my half hour of hell is up.
Till next time, shitty black book.
I set my pen down and shut the notebook closed with a satisfying thump, letting out a breath I didn't realize I was holding. I did it. I gave Dr. Morgan enough to psychoanalyze, but not enough to toss me back into the hellscape that was the Crisis Center. Sliding the book across the scratched surface of the desk that separates me and Dr. Morgan, I lean back into my seat and wait.
She scrutinizes the notebook with a neutral expression, but something feels off. The minutes crawl by like a geriatric snail and I start to play with my nails, hair, pills on my oversized sweater, anything within range that isn't too obvious. After what feels like a short eternity, she begins to speak.
"It's Luna now." Her brow furrows when I interrupt her, but she continues on in a firm monotone, as if I am a petulant child.
"-I worry that you're not being completely honest with me, or yourself." She adjusts her silver frames and peers expectantly at me. I shift uncomfortably in my seat and shoot her a puzzled look. I open my mouth to speak but she cuts me off before I get the chance.
"You blame all this self loathing, all this 'trauma' and anger on your mother, but your mother wasn't the reason you were admitted to a crisis center and your mother didn't make you harm yourself. You are placing all this blame on other people and not taking any accountability for your own personal failings."
With that, what little faith I had in the 'power of counselling' shattered into a million tiny pieces. The lump in my throat was back and so was the pounding of my heart. I felt the tears prick my eyes but I willed them back to try and preserve what little shred of dignity I still had.
The overlapping scars that mar my skin are not my mother's doing, nor was my attempt at slitting my wrists that landed me in the Crisis Center. But she didn't exactly help, either.
Dr. Morgan's words bounce around my skull and many snappy retorts die on my tongue, my body feels hot. Waves of guilt rise up and crash over me. Before I know it, I'm shaking with an emotion I can't place and my scars burn, begging me to open them again.
I stand, abruptly, and shove my hair back behind my ear. "I'll keep that in mind, Thank you. Looks like my time is up today. See you next week."
I'm halfway out the door before she can berate me further, shutting it behind me and racing down the hallways as if all the hounds of hell were on my heels. I make it past the lobby and into the parking lot before the tears finally slide their way down my cheek.
When I make it to Kris' car, I'm full on sobbing. She looks at me with alarm and concern as I hop in the old minivan and shut the door, tossing the notebook into the backseat. I can't breathe long enough to speak and my words come out as fractured, hysterical gibberish.
"Luna! Luna, please honey, calm down! What happened!?" Her hand on my arm does little to stem the waves of panic crashing down on me. After several moments of hyperventilating, I finally compose myself enough to speak.
"Its all my fault.." I whisper.
Kris is on my case in a millisecond. "Absolutely not. DO NOT blame yourself for what happened with your mom. Your mom treated you like shit. What did Dr. Morgan say?"
After a few shuddering breaths, I emotionally vomit everything to her. The stupid black book, Dr. Morgan's commentary on my writing, the flashbacks, everything. Kris, as always, is patient with me, allowing me time to breathe and get out everything on my mind. She is my rock, and I have no idea where I would be without her and her family.
I think about my next words carefully before I tell her the most pressing thing on my mind. "I don't want to go back, Kris.. It's too soon and it hurts.."
After a pregnant pause Kris starts the ancient minivan and it it weakly comes alive, belching exhaust and making less-than-comforting noises as we slowly begin our journey back home. Her face is taut with barely contained rage towards Dr. Morgan and she collects her thoughts before speaking to me.
"We need to find you a new therapist."
"No. NO! Please don't make me go back. Please." I can't control the desperation in my voice.
Kris gives me a rather stern look, but her voice is soft and comforting. "Look. I love you, and I know it's hard to hear. But Luna, you don't have another option. Part of you getting out of the Crisis Center was you agreeing to scheduled therapy and medication."
Those damn pills. Sure, I don't want to kill myself as bad, but the nausea, dizziness, fatigue and fogginess are no walk in the park, either. I hate the way they make me feel, but as Kris said, I don't have much say in the matter.
Kris' face softens a tad and her voice fills with emotion. "I almost lost you.. I can't risk that again. We can try to find you a new therapist, but in the meantime, you have to continue to see Dr. Morgan until you start feeling a little better." She blinks away her tears as she stops at a red light.
I start to argue, but she's right and I hate it. So I settle for looking out the window and trying to will my tears to stop slipping down my cheeks.