It started in October 2017 when my basement flooded. In hindsight, that was the beginning of the end. I lost everything that was dear to me: my husband, my job, my home and my sense of security. I only remember bits and pieces of that summer. The other bits and pieces I don’t really want to remember. It feels like my brain is protecting me from something awful. It must have been bad. These days some of those close to me walk on eggshells around me, and some don’t even speak to me. I don’t know why. So, I’m issuing a massive apology for the summer of 2018.
I’m so sorry. I was not in a good place.
No one told me that divorce has a honeymoon period. The first month felt like freedom. But when I moved in with my parents, the grieving began. Months of darkness and nothingness followed my divorce. I totaled my car while working my ride-sharing job, and was back on the road in three weeks. I never gave up.
That car accident felt like bottom. I smile to myself, now, because I had no idea how hard life would become, and there were many bottoms.
Thankfully, I landed a good job a year ago, and soon after moved into my own place. I was out on my own for the first time. This is when the healing began. I thought that I’d no longer put an end date on recovery. But I have one now. It’s the moment when my soul leaves my body and my last breath is sighed. I pray that it’s a long time from now, and I pray that the last words I utter affirm the Oneness of God.
Life was good, hamdulillah. I even took a crack at halal dating. I was grateful, I paid my bills on time, and I never missed rent. Success at work was really hard, and I’ve been stumbling through it ever since, learning on the way, and incredibly grateful for all the experience. I’m even grateful for all the ass-handing served to me. Things were great. Life was hard. But things were great.
Then the pandemic hit. Then things weren’t so great.
I struggled through the isolation, the anxiety, the depression, the loneliness, the fear, and the grief. It was just too much. I didn’t want to harm myself, but I wanted to die. I even made a Facebook video with a last will and testament. I started telling people that I wanted to die. I made peace with it, and even made peace with the fact that all I have to show for was my name and my belief. Thankfully, my name means faith.
The last person I told about my desire to die asked me to get help. I heard that and I listened. When it was suggested that I go to the ER, I didn’t think about it. I agreed. And I’m so thankful that I did. That was also the first day of Ramadan. By the sixth day of Ramadan I was in a treatment program.
Yesterday, I graduated from the program. Not much has changed in my world. Globally it’s actually worse than when I began the program. But now I have skills to help me survive the pandemic, and hopefully thrive in this world.
If you take anything from this piece, I hope it’s this. If someone you love tells you that they want to die, tell them to get help. Look for the symptoms, ask if they have a plan, and call an ambulance if it’s an active attempt. Here’s how you can help someone else. The number to call is 1-800-273-8255, and the website has a chat. I told countless people, though my brain is protecting me from remembering that information. Don’t be afraid to ask if they’re having thoughts of harming themselves. And if they aren’t, remind them that you’re glad they’re alive.
Thank you isn’t enough for the support I’ve gotten from friends and family. I’m saving it for the next life. The debt of gratitude I feel towards them gives me a reason to ask God for a long life, so that I may pay it forward. This is blog is the first step.
When I went public with my abuse, the advice I was given was this: don’t do it for you. If you’re going to do it, do it so that you can help people.
I laughed when I heard this. I told the advisor that the only way I am able to help myself is the hope that my experiences, even the ones that harmed me, could be used to help others.
After this last round in the ring of recovery, my window of distress tolerance has narrowed significantly. The only thing I know how to do now is to share my experience, hopefully through this blog. Writing has always been an outlet for me, and I’ve always written for an audience of one. This is me taking you along for the ride. I’m still finding my voice, but I’ll always be Emansplaining.