TW: The below article contains references to abuse, sexual assault, and overdose that may be upsetting to some readers.
Two months ago, I made a call I’ve never wanted to make. I called 911 for medical aid. I overdosed.
I have never shied away from speaking about my mental health, including my history with suicide. This is no different, almost. Despite the obvious conclusions that could easily be made, this was not a suicide attempt.
In the weeks leading up to my overdose, I was stricken by repeated flashbacks of abuse and sexual assault that occurred in a past relationship*. Flashbacks invade your mind. Smells, sounds, glimpses – things you desperately want to forget, are weaponized. They can evoke emotions you never wanted to feel again, putting you right back in the moment that caused them. Your own mind becomes your enemy.
Differentiating between reality and not had become almost impossible the night I overdosed. I thought my abuser was there, in my home. I was repeatedly reliving something I shouldn’t have had to experience even once. I didn’t want to die. I was desperate for it to stop. Death was a risk I was willing to take to not feel him touch me again. To not feel the belt again. To not go through it, again.
I am incredibly lucky I woke up.
Assessed by VRFA medics (who were wonderful), I was “taken by private ambulance to MultiCare Auburn Medical Center.” After an anxiety-ridden 36 hours, I was medically cleared. Only then was I able to speak to a social worker, who determined I could be discharged.
If you’ve noticed the decrease in publishing, this is why. For the past two months, I have been processing everything. There have been days I just sit, questioning ‘what the fuck’. There have been days I’ve had amazing life-affirming experiences like jumping out of a plane and feeling the peaceful solace of flying. And there has been crying. For the love of Vodka, the crying.
It is so easy to focus on the negative. In this situation, it would have been almost expected, likely seeing me drown in the abyss of mental illness. Instead, I was grounded by a community I somehow didn’t realize had my back.
The kindness and care I experienced has not been extraordinary, but has been immensely meaningful to me. It’s been things like being given refuge in the backroom of a small business. It’s Officer Williams showing up because I wasn’t answering, then getting Athens because I also wasn’t eating. It’s fellow Kiwanians coming to the ER to see for themselves I was alive and okay-ish. It’s not being questioned when I tell long-time contacts they can’t touch me. It’s Chief Brad checking in on me, ensuring I was OK and had resources.
The community I’ve experienced has been neighbors checking in and professional contacts turned friends ensuring I knew I wasn’t alone. It’s a City Clerk doing their job, as a human. It’s being shown kindness, and how to throw bladed weapons (what are they thinking!?). It’s Chief Brent teaching me about blacksmithing and a Kiwi listening to a friend share over burgers and held back tears. It’s being told “we aren’t going to let you go down this or any other similar road again.”
It’s been Auburn.
I don’t know that without the continued support of you, the readers, that I wouldn’t have given up the Auburn Examiner. And while I very much wish I was sharing all this as a lead in to thank you for your patience and say ‘I’m back, let’s
rock and roll report the news!,’ it’s not. The decrease is going to continue (worry not blotter buddies), because changes are afoot at the Auburn Examiner and I think you’ll like ‘em.
Again, thank you all for your continued support and patience. Auburn deserves a quality news source. It deserves a better Auburn Examiner. And that’s what I’m going to give you.
Every 98 seconds, an American is Sexually Assaulted
The American Medical Association has called sexual assault the “silent, violent epidemic”
43% of Sexual Assault Survivors Didn’t Report Because They Thought Nothing Could be Done
Sexual Assault Survivors Are 13 Times More Likely Than Non-Crime Victims to Attempt Suicide
Only About 6% of Rapists Will Ever Serve a Day in Jail
I know that some may find what I have shared to be improper, taboo, or an overshare— it’s not. I am not ashamed of what was done to me. Read that again: done to me. Survivors are silenced by our abusers, even after the relationship ends. Consider this the next time you think an abuse or sexual assault survivor should ‘get over it’ or shouldn’t share their story.
*As many readers know him or of him – this absolutely was not my ex-husband.