Some people question why anyone would try to take their life and challenge God’s gift of being human. The truth is until you are pushed precisely to an edge where you see no other way to escape than jumping off, you won’t understand. You can listen, though.
I was 14 when I first tried to commit suicide and that was the beginning of the end. I was severely depressed, angry and raging. Some of the kids at school must have thought that I was fucking nuts cause you’d know when I was angry, kicking doors and punching walls, always getting into fights. I wasn’t able to defend myself when he was beating me so my outlet was school and anyone that crossed a line, but of course, no-one apart from the family knew what was going on. I became physically unwell developing reproductive issues from quite a young age, some diagnosed and some psychosomatic, a result of sexual trauma and spiritual dis-ease. I was sucked into this gaping black hole and I started to lose me. I became unrecognizable to my family. I was constantly taking risks, living quite dangerously and walking a fine line luring death into my corner. I didn’t want to die because I never appreciated being human, I wanted to die because my experience left me with incomprehensible pain- a pain that I never understood. You see, when pain gets a hold of you, you feel it in every inch of your being; and to numb that many people fall into the trap of addiction attempting to escape and free themselves even for a moment from their burden. My addiction was suicide.
I experienced quite a traumatic childhood, one filled with emotional, spiritual, physical, sexual and mental abuse. I was manipulated by a man I was meant to call father and as a child when this trust is betrayed in the worst of ways; when it is taken from you along with other precious things valuables. Not only are you violated but you die an unseen death so horrible, you’re alive but you aren’t here, you just exist, a hollow empty shell. There are times I still question certain events, I still have lots of doubts as to whether this could have happened to me but it did and that’s my reality, my body is living proof. Now the real challenge is the journey in healing these wounds. I’m starting to find that often when we experience trauma in our lives, there’s this doubt that lingers as to whether it happened to you, it’s so big that it’s easy to distance yourself, separate even and watch it from over there feeling puzzled and confused and all kinds of emotions. It’s okay to feel that, it’s normal and it does get better even when it doesn’t feel like it.
There came a point where my family became so broken, we existed in the same house but we were so far apart and away from each other. Locked away in our rooms, trying to lose ourselves from our ugly reality. My older sister at times didn’t want to hug me because there was so much darkness lingering around me, inside of me because she was afraid of what took me away. I find myself now at times becoming so paranoid when I’m around people because I get scared of them seeing what she would have seen, so I isolate myself to try and contain that heaviness. It can become a tiresome walk but by God’s grace I’m doing it regardless.
My abuse was the trigger to me wanting to end my life unconsciously, not one, two or three times but four and many half-hearted attempts in between. After the fourth, I started to have a lot of night terrors, distorted flashbacks, many spiritual attacks and indescribable depression, and anxiety. It’s a thing to feel all this shit and not know what the hell is going on, what it is or why. I’m sure a lot of the drugs I was taking along with the other substances I overdosed with triggered a massive chemical reaction in my brain because life was NOT the same after that. Life became very weird and confusing. During this period I spent most of the time isolated, too afraid to leave my house, too afraid to sleep, too afraid to think, afraid to talk to anyone, shit too afraid to live! A lot of my friendships fell off, I stopped liking the things I did before and completely lost my ability to connect with everyday things. What’s funny is that no-one seemed particularly bothered about why all of this happened, what I was feeling. Why I would commit such a sin was hard to fathom… FYI being black and suicidal is taboo but in other words, I was weak and needed God amongst other things.
The older generations tend to see things one way or the highway, predominantly in African and Caribbean cultures. This is what’s holding us back, this is one of the many reasons why our younger generations are going astray. If we don’t look at what’s currently happening, see things for what they are and call it that. If we keep putting our pride first and allowing the truth to be swept to the back, more lives will be destroyed, people will continue to suffer in silence and we’ll only have more broken men and women, boys and girls. The cycle will continue and what would we have achieved?
People tend to look at the actions but never the reasons behind something and that’s a problem, we try to fix instead of trying to understand. Fixing something doesn’t necessarily mean that you are healed from it, it’s just fixed and it can come out of place again. When you begin to understand something, you can look at it from many perspectives and then choose the best course of action to approach the issue over time. But give yourself time and trust you, that’s important. I still struggle to write subjectively at times about my abuse because it’s easier to disassociate, it’s the only way I can control my emotions at the moment and not have to deal with so much of the feelings that come with it, particularly anger.
There was this book called The Courage To Heal that my counselor had brought in last year to go through and work on and I found myself distancing again, not wanting to face the things that I knew about myself. Seeing it, however, in front of me, reflected back in black and white caused this big lump in my throat. Then it was just a moment of “shit, this is me, this is Danae and this is my truth.” We never worked through it, because I simply wasn’t ready but today I’ve found the courage to order a copy and I plan to work through it over time, bit by bit.
Sometimes we won’t understand, we aren’t ready and sometimes we become confused at the things that we feel or have experienced or are experiencing. It’s okay, it’s alright… just take your time and seek the help and support that you need. Be patient with yourself, nurture yourself, cry when you need to, eat the ice cream and the cake when you need to, scream into a damn pillow of you have to, go for the walk when you need to but be patient with you! Developing the courage to heal from any trauma or abuse doesn’t just happen in a snap light bulb moment, you garner the courage slowly, gradually building up to a place where you feel safe enough to go back to that wound, open it up, look at it for what it is and to then love and heal it. Doing that with the support of people you know, love and trust is a hell of a lot easier than carrying it on your own, but I understand that sometimes people aren’t there. There will come times you are on your own but you aren’t by yourself and just know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, there are others just like you and I and you will get through.
Where ever you are on your journey. Be courage x