Day 17 – A Journey of My Spiritual Experiences (Listen while you read)
Agoraphobia – This word conjures up (in the minds of those who have suffered) a life of such great hardship it would seem almost inconceivable to believe that life could ever be good again.
Yes, it was during my time with my first husband. The life of ‘trying to stay up with his drinking’ brought me to a place of such personal pain; I can hardly recognise that woman as being me. She was me, and yet she wasn’t. I had become ‘a nothing’ in my eyes and I’m sure, in the eyes of my husband. I had long given up the hope of having a pleasant life and had accepted that life for me was going to be a horrid affair; that one day, thank goodness, would end.
I can remember when it became all too apparent that my life was over.
I needed some groceries. I could no longer pretend anymore; I couldn’t bring myself to go. He said he would drive me. I trembled and shook and asked him not to force me, please.
The gutter seemed enormously high as I reeled inside my body and tried to navigate across the road. There were so many things in my vision; in my brain. The cars; the people; there were so many people; too many people. The gutter approached, and I wasn’t able to judge how high to lift my foot. I stumbled. He held my arm and took me safely to the shop window. I pleaded to go back; please take me back. “No,” came the reply, “You are going to go to the supermarket so that you can realise there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
No, there was nothing to be afraid of; however, I didn’t see it that way. There were people; there were rows and rows of shelves; there was noise; there were people; there was the inevitable loss of breathing; there was the need to speak; there was the overwhelming fear that gripped me. “Please, take me back.”
Until this moment I had been able to pretend, to a degree. I had been able to pretend that the fear wasn’t all that bad. I had been able to hide when the panic started. I had been able to stop the car and wait until my heart slowed; my breathing calmed; my head stopped pounding; but no more. Now I could no longer pretend. I knew then nothing could ever be the same; I couldn’t get out of my home anymore. Life was over.
There was so much happening at that time. My husband was constantly drinking, and generally drunk. My child needed me, and I was unable to be there. I needed someone or something to intervene in my life, and there didn’t seem to be an answer.
The gun was on his desk. He was in the front room. I picked it up and placed it to my head. I knew it was loaded; he wasn’t at all careful; he always left it loaded. I pulled the trigger. He came running into the room and grabbed the gun from me. I dropped to the floor; it hadn’t gone off. I then ran for the bathroom. This was a place where I could be safe; there was a lock on the door. I had enough consciousness to understand that I needed help. This help was not going to come from this man. I cut my wrist and brought enough blood to the surface for my need. He was bashing at the door. I opened it with some calm resolve. “I need to go somewhere,” I said. “I need for you to take me somewhere; I’m not well.
He took me to a mental institution. They admitted me. I told them I needed to be away from him for a while. They told me I was suffering from anxiety depression, that the wards were not a place for me. “Please let me stay for one night, please.”
The ward was indeed very scary. The patients were quite scary. Most of them were so full of pills and tranquilisers they didn’t seem present. I slept next to a woman who I thought may kill me as I slept, and yet; this was safer than being with him. He was scary and smelly and unpredictable; and gross. Yes, I found him gross. His drunkenness degraded him and I wasn’t able to function anymore. Yes, being in a mental institution was a far better place to be.
Two weeks later I was driving to the clinic. Whilst in the mental institution the doctor had advised me there was a clinic where I could be helped. I rang them and they told me to come in straight away. How could I; I could no longer drive. I was so desperate I got myself to the car. A thirty minute drive took 1 ½ hours; but I got there. I was beaming as I entered the clinic; I had driven my car all that way. They seemed to rejoice with me as I told them how victorious I had been; I’d just driven my car all the way from my home; that was such a momentous thing for me to do.
They admitted me and I calmed; knowing that (at least for now) I was safe.
Carolyn Page – ABC of Spirit Talk