Coping mechanisms: TV addictions and other disasters

  There is this moment today, when I have a panic attack, yet again. The panic comes from the fact, that the natural progression of taking few months to recover, is a lot of work past deadline, that I feel ashamed for not finishing. Either way, I am so panicked, that it’s absolutely besides me to be able to work well.

     But today, I choose differently. I take the evening off to relax, and leave the solving for the morning, when I have clear head.

    The regular part of me feels I should be ashamed of putting off work yet again, but I realize with a surprise I don’t quite feel that way. Lately, I can finally sleep through the nights without nightmares and throwing up, and without watching TV series. It was a while ago, may be a month ago, when I leave aside the TV series that I have been taking to bed with me for 2 years.


     At first, the idea doesn’t sound just hard, it sounds ludicrous. Are you kidding me? I’m supposed to sleep on my own? No person next to me? No movie to take my mind off things? My mind is holding onto the idea for so long time, so desperately, I can’t believe it’s possible to stop myself. I have become this…incubator of raw emotions, and I can’t stop myself.

     But then, I look at myself in the mirror and I think about it. I have earned the right to take off the training wheels. I have went through the crying and the throwing up and the non-eating and the nightmares. I, sometimes willingly, relived my nightmare, to get to a better understanding of who I have become. And I have damn right earned the right to be better. I have earned it, with every fiber of my being. I have screatched and dragged myself through the mud, willingly, so to say. Because I knew, I saw, that I wasn’t done with that nightmare in my past and I had to go through this to live a free life. I am free now. And I have very well earned that right.

       I’ve earned my right to a better tomorrow.

        I go backwards. It was hard. The first night when I come home, 2 months after the rape, I’m so exhilarated to be home. There are all my favorite TV shows on my laptop, and I miss them ridiculously much. Fast forward. Besides all nights in university where I have been either too sick, too drunk, or too exhausted, I started falling asleep with a TV show. 1, 2 episodes…and somehow ended up not being able to fall asleep without watching 2 hours at least.

         Wasn’t really for TV shows, to be honest, not really…but I can’t face another morning, so I try to hold on to the night, I try to make it not end, and to think of other people’s lives and problems, and keep my eyes open as long as humanly possible, so I won’t have to wake up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding in my chest and through my whole body, beating like a drum in my ears, making it impossible for me to sleep. I’d rather not fall asleep at all. But I do fall asleep eventually, and I always wake up, in the middle of the night, with my heart pounding, and the desire to scream.

         Even knowing that, I can’t let go of the TV shows, because it is part of the old me, and I’m not ready to let go yet. This whole recovery deal, I have chosen on my own, and I hadn’t really expected it to be easy, but I damn right hadn’t expected it to be so hard. It leaves me feeling like I have no backbone for months. I feel helpless, weak, sick most of the time, unable to see beyond this or raise above it, unable to get a grip and make a decision for the life of me.     

     Recovery is dirty, and messy, and draining, and horrible.  More horrible than the rape, because I didn’t chose the rape. I chose to willfully take a break to recover.

     And yes, it was dirty, and messy, and draining. It took a long time for me to have the desire to even talk to people or get out of bed. It took a lot of nights of crying until I had no voice, and watching TV series with completely empty look. And let me tell you something- that crying, it has nothing to do with normal crying. That crying digs through your stomach, takes away all your strength. That is the kind of crying that leaves you voiceless, because you have scratched your throat so much that you can’t cry anymore, but you keep shaking in cruel, dry attempts to continue crying, because the pain eats away at you. And it’s not enough, and it’s not fair, and it doesn’t end.

         It’s not a 60-second scene in a TV show. It’s faceless, bottomless pain, coming from the very depth of your being, the one the eats away at you so slowly, so carefully, that you don’t notice there’s nothing left of your soul, until you look for it and it’s gone. Until you need something to get you through the day and you find nothing, nothing but the hazy blurry memory of his hands touching you everywhere…. So, I watched TV series instead. Because they were convenient, and colorful, and different, and because they covered that faceless, bottomless emptiness left after that guy had taken all he wanted from my body, and after I had threw away all that he left of my soul.
        I’d like to say the day that I stopped watching was a happy day, but it wasn’t. I was an addict. I fought with it and relapsed, and I bet it was better than being addicted to drugs, but it was still hard, so hard that I was shaking as I went to bed. So hard I started once again waking up with my heart pounding, wanting to throw up, wanting to wake up someone, talk to somebody, cry until that bottomless pain and need to cover it up was gone.

        But I fought my way through those nights. I fought my way through the mild discomfort of having a habit bite back at me. I relapsed back to watching few times, and was glad that this was all I was relapsing to. May be I will relapse again, I don’t really know.
       And so today, I feel that despite the mess I have made of the work I have to do and all the piled projects which deadlines I have missed, I do feel I have earned the right to a calm relaxed evening with a book in bed.

       I have earned that right, I have dragged myself through everything possible, to get that right, and to know I will sleep through the night, and if I wake up I will be asleep 5 min later.

       I have earned the right to be proud of that. So tonight, I rest.

      Something positive: I went hiking this weekend, and it was a wonderful time. I was with an old friend and a new one, and it was great to get out of the city for a day, and do something different.


2 thoughts on “Coping mechanisms: TV addictions and other disasters

  1. Jessie says:

    What a tremendous effort! Well done – a well deserved, and well earned rest.

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