Back in March I wrote about my sexual assault and my subsequent suicide attempt. I posted it on facebook, and then immediately took it down. I am a chicken in that way, I suppose.
However, I think even more than being afraid to tell my story and what happened, I have been presented an opportunity in the pause button. You see, I ran away from my experience, which I already established vis-a-vis my earlier post. The new thought is that I ran away from being vulnerable, being open about who I am, what happened, etc. (i.e. removing my post from facebook).
I started thinking about this idea of running away, and I realized a lot of how I think about my life and my problems is deeply rooted in this need to escape.
For example, during college, after the suicide attempt, I was lost and hollow, uncertain of where to go after college, what direction. I was job searching, and panicking that I made the wrong decision about not immediately pursuing grad school. I would get so panicked, one day I sort of woke up and found myself looking at google flights and in the process of booking a ticket to Washington State. I had gotten caught up in getting an internship on a goat farm outside of Seattle where I would have gotten $50 a week for some back breaking labor all for the sake of ‘experience’. What the actual hell?!? I literally was so into this idea (this fantasy) that I had been in contact with the lady who owned the goat farm, and had secured the internship. But before the whole goat farm scenario, I was going to join the Peace Corps and move to Ghana. I had a second interview with the Peace Corps before I slammed the brakes. I can go on and on and on with the examples.
I was looking in the mirror and I saw a face full of denial, because I honestly hadn’t even rationalized what I was doing.
Unfortunately, even after college, the suicide attempt, moving back home, getting my dream job and feeling more accomplished and everything, I still find myself falling into that same headspace.
Just a few months ago I found myself extremely upset at work, I was having a series of tough days that turned into a series of tough weeks, and I did the same thing. I found myself looking at plane tickets for Marrakech, rationalizing that I could find a job and just move away, cut ties with everyone, just sort of melt from existence. I looked into how to get citizenship in Italy, Ireland, and France. I thought a lot about going to sleep and just hibernating.
Moral of the story is, I run away in my brain. A lot.
If you have ever met me, you will know that I am a big fan of books, movies, and TV shows. I get incredibly emotionally involved in them all, and at times they sort of consume me.
When reflecting on my behavior, it becomes sort of evident that I run away into those too. I watch things that bring me comfort, that I love, and I escape into. At the real height of my depression, I sometimes would not leave my bed and just stay and watch things all day. The same thing sometimes, repeatedly. After it would be over, I would still find myself playing out the stories in my head.
I have a repetitive problem with running away.
To come back to my suicide attempt- I am hesitant to call it that anymore. Don’t get me wrong, call an ace a spade; I took a whole bottle of Tylenol PM, drank a whole bottle of wine, and chugged half a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner. Clearly I was not exactly embracing living. But I don’t think that night was entirely grounded in the explicit notion of wanting to kill myself.
I think more than anything, I wanted to just not exist anymore, I wanted to run away from life. Of course, running away from life is kind of difficult unless you cease to exist, hence the aforementioned attempt to slide out of this universe.
In my heart of hearts, I think I have to be honest and admit I have a problem with running away and escapism.
And that is something that is scary because I haven’t really dealt with that. But, I am cautiously excited that I figured that out for myself, because as a healing, evolving, ever changing person, self-reflection and inner character growth are essential for living life on this earth to the fullest, and I definitely want to try to live as my most genuine self.
It is super hard, but I am going to keep struggling to it, being grateful that when I find myself shopping for hijab’s in order to move to the Maldives I am able to distinguish between what is ‘wanderlust’ and what is ‘I-want-to-run-the-hell-away” and stop myself before committing to something stupid. And I definitely have to give myself a high five for that.