To all the people I’ve hurt or pushed away, this entry is for you. This entry is more for me. I owe us all an apology and an acknowledgment at the harm I caused others and the harm I caused myself.
I didn’t know how to act starting college. I was in a new place and I could be whoever I wanted. I thought it was a fresh start. I didn’t know who I was but I desperately wanted to have friends. I didn’t understand that they would accept me for who I was or understand what I’d been through. I didn’t understand why I was experiencing so much stress, I just knew I was. Every time I went to a party, I would get extremely anxious. Yet every time something went wrong in college, I would just want to go out and party. Yes the logic was extremely flawed. I did not know how to process my feelings and so I just partied and some of my best memories are from that 18 month period of heavy partying but I still felt very alone. I felt like I had no one to talk to or no one who’d understand and I just wanted to forget everything. I wanted the flashbacks to stop. I wanted to enjoy sex. I wanted to be free. And so I acted carefree. I did whatever I wanted without any thought to how it would hurt me or those who cared about me.
I remember one day, I was at a football game and in the middle of the tailgate, I got a massive flashback. I drank so much that day to try and forget. It was absolutely reckless and to the friends who were concerned and took care of me that day, I am sorry that you had to witness me like that and to my body I’m sorry that I didn’t value you enough to not try and poison you. The flashbacks were so vivid that day and I panicked and that’s ok. I’m learning to accept the past and move forward. It’s a long journey.
I’m also learning that I cared for my body so poorly for so long because I didn’t think I was worthy of love and not thinking I was worthy caused me to lie and isolate myself from those I was close to. I would push people away constantly telling them that I’m fine and that everything in my life is fine. When I would make reckless decisions, I would push people away saying “I’m just wild and can’t you accept me for who I am”. I would constantly allow myself to be hurt because I didn’t care about myself. I remember another night. I went out and hooked up with a guy barely remembered it but for me that was normal at the time I didn’t care. But after that I found out someone had filmed me and you could see my tattoo in the video. I remember distinctly being so terrified. I was scared about my reputation. I was worried people would laugh at me or whatever. But when people asked me about it, I laughed it off. I said they were concerned for no reason. I pushed people away instead of letting them into my fear and sharing my emotions. I felt so violated but instead I just went out the next night with my friends and laughed it off.
I never processed these emotions because I was scared. I was too afraid to process all my feelings. I was afraid of being alone, of people not caring, and so I pushed everyone away. I let my schoolwork go. I was overwhelmed. I would never talk to anyone about what was going on. I wanted to not care so badly. I wanted to not care about myself, others, my passions, or my feelings but I couldn’t. I cared and thats what makes me sad about this time. I tried so hard to abandon my passion for healthcare access, for my relationships but I just couldn’t. I was a passionate and strong person who just couldn’t let go but I still didn’t know what to do and I still just wanted to forget everything. But I couldn’t. I was getting more anxious. I was getting more frustrated. I was getting more reckless. I was getting short tempered.
I felt alone but I started to do one nice thing for myself a day during the summer. I started to care about my body and it began to keep me calm. I still wasn’t really sure what was going on and was not ready to let people in but I knew I needed a change. While I wish this was a simple solution it most definitely wasn’t. This act of kindness allowed for me to begin to remember that my body was worthy of care and that I could also care for other people. While working out didn’t cause any healing, it gave me energy. Energy to care about myself. Energy to even think about my feelings but mostly energy to survive. To cause me to feel like I was not constantly being crushed. I began to feel slightly better. It didn’t solve my flashbacks or make me feel any safer but it gave me hope. I still had no idea what to do and I felt alone but this energy gave me hope. It allowed for me to learn about myself. It allowed for me to care for others. It allowed for me to have something in common with those around me beside partying. I FELT LIKE I finally had an escape, a rest.