I once watched a Stephen Hawking video where he discussed black holes and quantum mechanics. My brain had trouble grasping some of those concepts. But I’m smart in other ways. College degrees, a 35 year medical career, a history of quite an adventuresome life in these last 50-some years…and even street smart. I’ve weathered many storms, bad relationships, divorce, loss of loved ones, work issues. I can reason and process, let it go, and move on. I thought I was tough, strong, impermeable. I thought I could read people pretty well. Sounds great in theory, but in practice it didn’t work out that way.
On June 26th 2018 I was raped. Raped by someone I knew for at least two years and someone I thought I could trust. We had been intimate in the past so I thought when this happened I could think of it simply as a miscommunication between two people during a private moment and move on. The next day I fell apart. I Cried for two days. I took a week off to pull myself together. I dealt with it, processed it. I was ready to go back to work, which I did. I’d handled this, and I was fine.
Two weeks later he shows up at my door, wondering why I hadn’t returned his texts. Despite the fact that after the rape I spelled it out to him very clearly what had happened and what he had done, he still didn’t ‘get it’.
The next morning on my way to work I started crying. By the time I got there, I called my boss and said that I was having ‘a bit of a breakdown’. Knowing what had happened, she said that I needed to take some time off, as much as was necessary, and to call and see my therapist right away, which I did.
I sobbed uncontrollably in my therapist’s office. My diagnosis was severe situational depression. I was in the black hole. I was in it so deep I couldn’t see my way out. My medical background, my history of surviving adversity, worthless. I wasn’t a well educated, strong, medical professional. I was just a person, a regular person, and a patient. I actually thought I could outsmart depression. This whole time I was sinking into the black hole and didn’t even realize it. I had just conveniently stuffed the trauma away, but our bodies know. Sooner or later it will make its presence known and it did.
After a month it is still dark. I’m not the gal I used to be- always out with friends, full social calendar filled with fun things planned. That’s gone. All I want is to be alone. People stop by, I send them away. I don’t want to see or talk to anyone. I don’t want to be looked at. I don’t want to walk the neighborhood like I used to do. I’d rather sleep. I do push myself to swim every other day, which helps, but then my energy tank is empty and I want to go home.
With time and help from caring and loving family, friends, and wonderful medical professionals, I will start to climb out. The more we talk and share and listen, the more we will realize that SO many people are going through mental health issues, one type or another. We need to accept that it is part of our journey and it is ok to share and cry and feel and seek help. It is what will help us heal and help us to see that light as we climb out of the black hole.