I say I’m ‘fine’ or ‘hanging in there.’ …Only by a thread, I don’t add.
Nights are the worst.
Nights used to be my most creative time. When my husband was alive we’d watch movies or play games together. I'd stay up late writing and reading.
Nights are also when the most traumatic things happened to me. When people would cross those lines and do unspeakable, unforgivable things.
Nights are when I feel most keenly my loss of innocence, of pleasure, of enjoyment of everything, of capacity to fall asleep and feel safe, the loss of a home where I feel safe and okay, the loss of those who loved me as I was, the loss of my capacity to imagine and tell myself stories that made me feel better, the loss of altered states I could put myself in through imagination and stories and music and even drugs—which I don’t miss, but I miss feeling better.
Nights are when I feel, and this hits harder every day, trapped, a failure to get out of this life, and the fear that I will never get away from this black hole of a hell. I look out the window and I see endless trees, the prison of my childhood, where I was dragged away from friends and isolated out in the woods, so far away from anyone or anything. Even before the abuse ramped up I knew moving out into the woods didn’t feel good. No one ever asked me, because by that point my feelings already didn’t matter.
These days, for a while I can hold it together during the day. I can distract myself with writing, blogging, hoopwalking, reading. Then it’s like the stress and terror gets to be too much as the day wears on. Eventually pain is filling the world from edge to edge and there’s no amount of venting or expressing that can get it out. Because it’s being continually fed by my surroundings, my feelings of captivity. Being restrained, blocked in, isolated, trapped, held down, locked away—my childhood nightmares, my adult traumas, the thing I fear and hate most. There’s no one who can get me out of here. I’m doing everything I can, have done everything I can, and it’s not enough to get out. Powerlessness. Helplessness.
Dream of Nomadnes
Part of me wants a little Airstream trailer or a conversion van, some mobile living space, so that I’ll never ever be trapped in a lease with neighbors I don’t feel safe with. But it seems unrealistic. Disabled people who aren’t supported by family members often wind up still being impoverished. It costs a lot to buy even used trailers. I don’t know that my hybrid Camry could tow one. I would still have the financial responsibilities of repairing anything that broke and some camping or utilities fees wherever I was that would be pretty steep.
Living as a nomad feels like it would be a strong way to give expression to the trapped me that wants to run and run and run and run and get away from here and have the opposite experience of being tied down (sometimes actually literally tied down, like with restraints) for a good long while until I’ve finally spent myself of all the horrors of years of being trapped. Or maybe the rest of my life, I don’t know/care. It’s just that even in a best case scenario where I win disability benefits, I don’t know that I could afford to nomad.
Here are some other fears.
I’m so terrified I can’t even begin to search for the answers (for fear of what I might find out), which is what I usually do when I get afraid. If by some miracle I won Social Security Disability Income I don’t know how much it would be. I don’t know if that would reduce or discontinue my food stamps or state-funded mental health care. I’m told that I would automatically qualify for Medicaid, but I really don’t trust these systems. I fear that all my income would be going to food and therapy and I couldn’t even get out of here, I couldn’t even have a home.
I don’t know if I got SSDI if it would be enough to live on or if I would still be losing money every month. I’m told that if SSDI income isn’t enough for me to live in I may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income, but again, I don’t know if I can trust anything I hear. There are so many disabled people living in poverty. As far as I know there’s no reliable, trustworthy way to educate myself about what the reality would be right now since I’m told the amount of SSDI varies. Which makes me nuts. Poverty makes me more nuts than I was to begin with!
It’s not just this RV and this neighborhood, I want to get out of this state and this latitude. I want and need warmer climates for my health. Winters make me almost nonfunctional with the pain of cold. I want to get away from all the traumatic memories and the fears of ever seeing those people again, and get to a place that has better support for my activism and disability. In better times I’ve browsed online for temperature averages and disabled artist communities and other supportive and appealing aspects of an alternative location.
But I don’t know that even in a best-case scenario I would be able to afford to relocate, even to something like section 8 housing in Tampa, Orlando, or Austin. The waiting list for that housing here (that I’ve just been put on) in Raleigh is 3-8 years.
Trapped in other people’s houses
Twice I’ve gone to stay with more economically privileged people in their houses. And twice it has become a special, humiliating, abusive, boundary-dissolving nightmare of its own. I’m loath to ever try that again, particularly when they have total financial power over me and I have no power at all in the relationship to enforce my boundaries except to leave. It recreated a lot of scenes from my childhood I never want to revisit.
Five more days to ROOTS Week
At least I do have the respite of the subsidy I got to attend ROOTS Week and spend four liberating days in Kassi-heaven, among artists and activists, filled with life and passion and inspiration, enflamed with courage and belief that there are people who can help create change.
But when it’s over I will come back here, so far away from any kind of atmosphere like that, in which I’d love to live forever.
And then it will be ticking down the days to the imminent hearing on which my survival hangs.
Get me out of here
I’m afraid that I won’t get out of here. No one can reassure me that I will; there’s no guarantee even with the best possible outcome. I worry that even if I somehow get the means to get out of here that I’ve been so crushed and crippled by this lengthy stuckness and a history of captivity that I will be unable to logistically and physically get out of here. It’s an extremely unlikely future, requiring much money and arranging a place to go, which is not guaranteed by any means.
This personal hell has been getting more and more intolerable to live in by the day. There is no medication or coping skill that can overcome or keep me distracted from the AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA that is all around me. This is Trigger Hell. Every day I live in fear of losing foodstamps or something happening to my car or computer or the RV, or some other financial disaster that is greater than the money I have left to live on that dwindles away.
No little band-aid of an activity, DBT coping skill, pill, expression of my feelings, or even the blessed four days at ROOTS week will solve this problematic situation. Not even a companion animal would be enough on its own anymore. Nor will any income that is insufficient to get me out of here for good.
Even staying shut up in my nest I made isn’t enough anymore. I can’t shut out the overwhelming reality that steamrolls over me every single day. It hurts to be stuck here. It hurts so bad I can’t take it anymore. I’ve taken way too many words to get to the core truth which is that: it hurts so bad I can’t take it anymore.
And I have no better choices. I have nowhere better to go. It would take a miracle, and my life has been long on nightmares and short on miracles.
What do I need?
I need a guaranteed place to live, alone, somewhere warmer, safe, with services I need all reasonable drives from home. I need enough income to cover this and my basic needs (and a buffer for emergencies would be nice). I need all this to not depend on another person or on something I’m not able to do or sustain (like a job).
Well, if wishes were fishes, beggars would ride.