Copyright© 2017 Rebecca Jane
All Rights Reserved.
Author's Note: This was was a very difficult chapter to write, so I urge you to observe the cautions with this part. Even though I still feel the need to share this part of my story, secretly I hope no one reads it. ~Rebecca
Chapter 4-Failing to Navigate the Darkness
Most people probably never have to come face to face with their own personal boogyman, I unfortunately was not so lucky. I met mine a week after I had tried to come out, and was introduced to him by none other than my own mother. I had been promised that he was going to help me, at 12 years old I unfortunately misunderstood the ‘help’ he was going to administer.
Nothing had been said to me about meeting Mom as Rebecca, and the only time I tried to bring it up I was sent to my room the rest of the day and seemingly forgotten. I learned quickly not to bring it up, unless I wanted to spend the rest of the day in complete and utter solitude. So you can imagine my surprise when I was told to get in the car, because Mom had found someone that had promised to help me.
Meeting Dr. Bill the first time was actually a pleasant experience, he seemed to be a jovial older man with a warm smile. I immediately liked him, at first. Our first session he had told me what my Mom had witnessed, and even asked if I wanted to be called Rebecca. He had also expressed that what was said in our meetings was secret and we both promised that we’d never tell anyone else what we talked about. I was ecstatic, this nice old man understood and was going to help me, so I of course told him yes. The first couple of sessions was about opening up and telling him everything, he had said for him to do his best he needed to know, so I gladly obliged. I couldn’t ever imagined how he’d have used what I told him against me in the months to come.
After I had completely opened up to him, he had suggested that the only way to be sure if I was really a girl was to try to be a boy. After that point, the more I tried to insist I was Rebecca, the more and more frustrated he would get with me. At the end of the first month he had prescribed some medication for me, he had told my mom it was for my anxiety. He had claimed I was being unruly in our meetings and it would only make me more relaxed, and also make it easier to help me.
The prescription was immediately filled and I was started on it that night. At first I thought it wasn’t working because I didn’t feel different. About a week after I started taking the meds, I noticed that occasionally I’d read whole paragraphs in one of my books only to not remember what I had read just seconds earlier. I also started finding it harder and harder to focus or concentrate. The entire time though our sessions continued.
When I would start trying to insist that I was a girl, Dr. Bill would get me easily confused, and flustered. I couldn’t recall information that I had read from the medical journals, and then Dr. Bill starting using the memory of my Dad against me. Since I had already told him that Dad was a minister, he also started using religion against me as well. Even had I not been drugged I probably couldn’t have withstood his onslaught.
At the beginning of this part of my therapy he used my Dad’s calling to make me feel ashamed of not living up to the man of God that was my father. He then used that shame to make me believe that if I prayed hard enough that God would cure me and I could live up to what Dad would have wanted. When the prayers failed to work, it then became my fault, because I obviously didn’t love and trust God enough. Otherwise I’d have been cured by now… This is how it went on for several months.
About five months into ‘curing’ me, our sessions took a much darker turn. I know that sounds hard to believe, after all at this point I firmly believed that my Dad was looking down at me in shame, as well as my Mom and Step-Dad. I also believed that I was weak because I wasn’t worthy enough for God to cure me, and to top it all off, that because I was so weak that God hated me. Still though it got much darker.
He started bringing up how God punished the wicked, and that’s how God saw me, a wicked little boy who thought he was a girl. He then started twisting the things I had told him, to ‘prove’ how much God had already punished me. The reason that my parents had been poor in the beginning, why I was always being bullied, and then there was the kicker. To save such a holy man of the cloth from the shame of having to be around a girly boy like me, that God took my Dad away. His death was my punishment for feeling the way I did. All because I couldn’t just be happy as a boy, God supposedly killed my Dad. Being drugged up, and overwhelmed by what he was saying, I couldn’t argue back, I couldn’t deny what he was saying, so I just nodded and absorbed it. It was that moment that my resolve was broken, as was my will. Another five months with him, he finally declared me cured to my parents.
Needless to say my parents were happy with the news, they were so excited that I was cured, but they didn’t see how truly withdrawn or despondent I had become. I guess in a way you could say I was cured, I mean I didn’t want to be a girl anymore, I desperately wanted to be a boy. I hated the thought of being a girl. It still didn’t change the fact that down deep I knew I still felt like a girl, so that simply caused the anger and self loathing to start building up. That’s how that kind of therapy ‘cures’ people, it doesn’t, it just make you hate yourself so damn much that you’d do anything to keep anyone from finding out the truth so you look like you’re cured to the outside world.
I was 13 by this time and in the second semester of 7th grade. Due to the medications effects my grades had significantly dropped, I had gone from a mostly A student with an occasional B to a mostly C student with an occasional D. With me being supposedly cured, I was able to come off of the medication and the fog started lifting. The only problem now was I no longer cared about my grades, or much else. My parents had let my grades slide while I was undergoing treatment, but now that it was over they expected, no demanded, I return to an A student. It never happened, so I stayed grounded until I was 16 and working. Being forced to stay at home, other than being able to attend school, or church functions, wasn’t punishment for me though. Where I was at, mentally, being forced to stay at home was a blessing.
Coming out of the therapy I was at such a dark place, but I knew that if people found out how depressed I really was that I would get sent back to therapy. That wasn’t going to happen, so I learned how to put on a happy face no matter how much further I sunk. I was also afraid, not of just being found out, but of people I cared about being taken away, just like my Dad was. I stayed distant from people, I mean I would talk to people at school but didn’t strive to form any close friendships. I couldn’t do that to them, being a friend to me would just be too dangerous. To protect the people around me I chose to retreat further into my shell, the shell that people saw, my armor had started forming. It was also when the thought of how much better off people would be if I simply disappeared, how much safer they’d be, started to permeate.
There were other things that I had to do as well, to try to fit in and n0t draw attention to myself. I became an avid observer, not out of fascination but for survival. Because I still didn’t understand how most guys thought, or the reasons they acted the way they did, my life started becoming all about percentages. Probably not what you’re thinking, but I couldn’t make any decision or action without running the percentages. I had to weigh each and every thing that happened to me, and respond how I perceived the largest percentage of guys would. In my earlier days, I guess you could say it was fairly comical but I probably came across as a nerdy spastic kid. That was okay, it kept people from actively trying to be a close friend. The way I saw it was at least that way they were protected, from me.
By the time I entered high school I was beyond a mess. At least internally, externally I think most people just saw a goofy kid that while socially awkward was mostly happy. I was perfecting my armor, and while it wasn’t foolproof yet, it let me survive and function. At this time my parents had given up grounding me for my grades, I think they had sort of given up as well. I guess I did fairly well considering how little effort I put into school. I was an average B/C student at this point, only because I never did homework or study. I also hardly ever slept. Another result of my therapy were my nightmares, it was basically a play by play of the worst moments in my therapy.
My not sleeping was probably the only trouble I got into with my parents, they’d have to pass my bedroom when they got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Most nights I’d get yelled at around 2-3AM, that was when they’d make their pilgrimage to the toilet. They’d see my light still on and me deep into a book. Reading and playing my video games were my only reprieve from my thoughts. There were quite a large number of days that I’d go to school with less than 2 hours of sleep, if I got any at all. That was basically how I lived my public school life, I went through all the motions and silently just endured.
By the time I turned 16, I was told to get a job, it would make me more responsible my parents had stated. I started working at a grocery store part time, simply because it was expected of me. This was before any labor laws were in effect for teens, so I was trudging along working 30-34 hours a week and attending school. Since I wasn’t able to escape as much through reading, this was when I learned my other survival method. Keep moving, and keep busy, from the time I woke up till the time I laid down at night I was constantly doing something. It kept me from thinking about my internal demons as much, while not as effective as getting lost in a story it worked mostly.
It was also at work where I developed a couple of friends, at the time I thought it was great, until I realized their motivations a few years later. Sadly I was just entertainment for them, I know that now, my social gaffs would be amusing to them. The other benefit for them was that, I was their scapegoat with their own parents. It’s funny, the first time I every tried drugs, or got drunk was with my ‘friends’, only to find out later they had told their parents that I was the cause of it.
While I didn’t care for the drugs, I found out I loved who I was when I was drunk. I no longer cared what people thought of me when I got trashed, and it was about the only time that I could stand my own company. So at 17 years old, I became a functional drunk. Passing out at night was preferable then going to sleep naturally, because I wouldn’t dream. I knew it wasn’t healthy, but it worked…
I had hated school so much, than even with my less than stellar grades I was only one credit shy of graduating after my junior year. I attended summer school for that credit just so I could escape, college had to be better or so I had thought. So what should have been my senior year, was my first year in a community college. My parents had given up their dreams of me becoming an engineer. I loved working with my hands, and anything related to aviation, so I started technical school to be an aircraft mechanic. Another benefit that I thought at the time, was that one of my friends who had just graduated was going to the same school, even he was taking different classes. That let us carpool, another benefit for him, was that he didn’t have to spend his gas money that way…
I honestly thought it would have been better than high school, but I was actually treated worse in tech school than the bullies treated me in high school. Most of the guys in the class were already in their early twenties and here I was at 17 in the classroom with them. I made an easy target, but still didn’t stop them from inviting me to a lot of their parties, simply because I was a funny drunk. The year just pressed on.
I had gotten the noticed during the summer after my 1st year in college that the instructor had been fired, but not to worry they would hire another. Then the weeks kept going by then months and they had yet to hire another instructor. It should have been half way through my 1st semester back when I received a call from the Navy recruiter, who promised me everything. I was thinking really hard about it, then Kuwait was invaded by Iraq. In my sense of duty, and thinking this was the way to make not only my Dad, but my Step-Dad proud I enlisted.
I actually loved being in the Navy, for the first time I felt part of something. I liked how everything was structured, I knew what I had to do, and when I had to do it. I trusted my shipmates and they trusted me, it was a huge melting pot of personalities, ethnicities, and religions; we were all different, but the same. Other than the physical aspects, boot camp was also easy for me. Mostly it was a huge mind game, and at this point I was an expert with that, so I sailed through easily. Since I already had college I went in as an E-2 and my Company Commanders recommended me for E-3 upon graduating boot.
I also found out how much working out helped me burn my anger. With limited space available, I couldn’t have my mountain of books, but working out helped. I had gone into boot standing 6ft tall and a chubby 180lbs, two months later I was up to a trim and fit 215lbs. I continued working out my entire Navy career, which unfortunately was cut short… All because of my issues. No I didn’t come out again or anything, I still despised myself too much for that. It was the nightmares becoming more and more vivid. Dr. Bill in my dreams had become twisted, even more than he was in our sessions, and I started sleep walking. A year and a half after the day I enlisted I was sitting back at home on a medical discharge. I had failed, at the only thing I had truly enjoyed at this point.
I was 19 years old at this point, and the only thing I had to show for it was my part time job at a grocery store. I didn’t have school, the friends I did have I had realized only hung around me because they used me for entertainment. While they didn’t show it, I felt that my parents were so disappointed in me for my failures. That is how I perceived myself, as an complete and utter failure. How everything that had happened to me was because of who I was, on the inside. It was just further punishment from God, for not being able to get over it. Those thoughts that had haunted me for so long came to the forefront, how much better it would be for everyone if I just disappeared. I had fallen into such a depression at this point, even my books wouldn’t give me any solace. Just a few months after I was discharged, I made my decision. To protect everyone else, and to escape my own life. I was convinced that I was already going to hell for not being able to stop feeling like I did, I was ready to go, I felt I deserved it.
A few weeks later, I had told everyone I was going on a week long camping trip. Nobody even batted an eye, they all wished me a lot of fun and how they expected to hear about it when I returned. Except I didn’t go camping, I had gone and rented a cheap hotel a few hours away from home. It was where I was going to say goodbye. I had planned this over and over so many times, I was extremely calm. I no longer had any doubt. I had done my research, and I knew with what I was going to take, and how much. I’d simply fall asleep and never wake up, waking up wasn’t an option.
It was on that late fall evening, a few months before I was going to be 20, that I hung the do not disturb sign on the door. I was paid up for the week, so they would never come to check on me until I was a no show at checkout. I had thought about writing a note to let people know why, but I couldn’t do it. Even in that moment my self loathing made me think it was better for everyone else if they didn’t know. I carefully counted out the pills, four times a lethal dose, and said a final prayer. Not for me, but those I was leaving behind, wishing that without me they would be happier.
I then took all of my pills, it took me 6 handfuls in rapid succession, and then laid down to wait. The tears were still flowing when everything faded out.
To be continued as often as I can.
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