Whatever Gets You Through the Night
This blog was written by Adults Sexually Abused by Priests (ASAP)
Last week, I read something another survivor posted on Facebook. It was truly sad. This person was searching for answers. Why me? What have I done? I have always been good and people have been horrible and have hurt me. Why does God allow this? What is wrong with Him anyway?
Basically things to that effect.
And reading what she wrote hit me in so many different directions. Part of me wanted to say….”It’s not so bad, don’t be so glum….the sun is shining and you’ve got your health….and you know, your face is going to freeze that way and nobody is going to want to play with you.”
Or something to that effect.
And by the way, kidding aside, those are like the worst things you can say to someone who is upset, depressed, distraught, or grieving. You may want to help and lift up their spirits, but what ends up happening is they end up feeling like you aren’t taking them seriously and you just don’t understand. Instead of feeling comforted, they will feel more isolated.
I worked for two years as a suicide hotline volunteer. They always taught us to steer towards the pain. Ask questions that show you are really hearing what they are saying. For instance, instead of saying “Aw, it’s not that bad”, or “You must have misunderstood”, try instead saying, “You must have felt so hurt when they said that. I’m sure you were trying your best. I’m so sorry that happened and I can understand why that would upset you.”
It sounds counter productive, but encouraging them to talk about what is bothering them is more helpful than trying to cheer them out of their funk.
In the same way, if you think someone may be suicidal, or if someone talks about wanting to harm themselves, we learned that it is more effective to keep them talking about their feelings and if they have a plan or a time set in their minds as to when they want to hurt themselves or take their life.
It is called “getting through the moment”. Sometimes a person just feels better talking about what is bothering them to someone who will listen. They have gotten past that point where they want to harm themselves and have decided instead to listen to some music to lift their spirits. Other times it was all about talking to them and getting their name and address so you could help save a life that was in the balance.
Let’s face it. Life can be hard. And hearing that the sun will come out tomorrow doesn’t help much when you are feeling so much rage and helplessness and despair that you just want it to stop. Now.
I have been to that point. The feelings don’t get any better as I’ve grown older, but the experience of having lived through….well…shit….and come out of it eventually does help somewhat.
But how do you get yourself through the moment? We have them. Moments of anguish and moments of self hatred. Moments of hatred towards someone else that you just legally cannot express. Loss. Grief.
I’m not suggesting that we can get past or get over everything. But there are times when thoughts and feelings can…through our own thoughts or through something outside of ourselves that we cannot control…..make us reach a tipping point and the day to day activities of life and things that usually make us happy seem to hold no meaning. When you are engulfed.
I bet you think I’m going to suggest you do something healthy like (shudder) exercise or something equally good for you.
No….I want you to do whatever it takes to get you over the hump. I want you to eat a roll of cookie dough…..or roll it up into little balls that you can throw….hard…against the wall. I want you to go for a walk with the intention of never coming back home. Just walk for a good ten miles. I want you to scream into your pillow. Beat your pillow. Cry. Feel. Turn on some music really loud. Call whoever will listen to you. Write.
I don’t want to suggest anything really reckless or dangerous….and I won’t. I picked up a pack of cigarettes when distraught and it took almost two years to quit again. I’ve gotten drunk. I’ve had risky sex. Luckily I don’t do drugs. But there are quick fixes we reach for that may not be good for us, but may help to bring on some endorphines to get rid of the pain, if only for a moment.
I’m not going to suggest anything risky. But whatever you do to feel better….whether searching for the bottom of a tub of chocolate ice cream or climbing under a blanket and re-binging the entire series of Game of Thrones…..whatever it is you have to do to hang on until tomorrow, or the next day….don’t hate yourself for it.
Then you are going to keep circling the drain.
When I read the survivor’s post on Facebook. I felt many things. I felt like saying….I get it. It makes me so angry when life isn’t fair and people have to be jerks for no other reason than just to be mean to people.
I’ve gone through times in my life when I have seriously wondered why I was here. Was I a mistake? Why did other people who were good people die and I was still here? Still here and still making mistakes. Still thinking I found love and finding another person who wanted to control me, or wanted me to help them financially, or they were just playing a game because they enjoyed hurting me.
I’m sick of learning these stupid lessons. I’m sick of life being so hard.
My Dad used to say that people aren’t against you…..they are just for themselves.
It’s stuff like that you have to read and ponder. Pondering the good stuff helps a bit. Music has always been healing for me as well. And writing. I can’t keep thoughts in my head. Getting them out helps me a lot so they don’t get all crowded up inside there forming a compost pile of crap that wants to eat all of my functioning brain bits.
And once you are past the moment…..a moment you are going to forgive yourself for…..because you are……because you are a loving spiritual being under all those layers of lies you believe…..get help. From a group, from medicine, from therapy….from art and nature and animals and…yes, I will say it….sunshine.
Because there will be many moments. Because life can really suck sometimes. And there is so little we have control over. And the news is really depressing.
But when you crawl out of your Cheetos coma and into a nice hot shower, don’t have regrets. You survived. You are a warrior. You did it. You got past your moment.
Now scrape that cookie dough off the wall, and start again.
Read more at Adults Abused By Priests.