Teela Hart

Surviving Domestic Violence


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The Night the Lights Went Out *Trigger Warning*


I’ve been working on this post for several days.  It is the single most difficult post I’ve made.  It is my hope that in the end you will have found it to be encouraging.

Raw unadulterated emotion reduced me to a fragmented heap in every sense of the word as *Jon’s* lawyer ripped what was left from my heart and soul. He condemned his prey to death with the stealth and viciousness of a Leopard; I could hear Jon’s words creep like the grim reaper from his lips and into my thoughts exacting a cruel and hefty price for my defiance. The courtroom, packed with onlookers, stifled the air. They needed no oracle to see all of the destruction; the gruesomeness overpowered their urge to turn their heads.

Streaming tears gave way to guttural groans; breath escaped me; heaving and gasping my composure fled. My defenses hemorrhaged onto the stand, as the predator circled and clawed ferociously ending me with ease. Gravity weighted me to the seat, I couldn’t stand under it’s supremacy. I buckled under the pressure and gasps escaped from the (now) audience in the courtroom

 

Granted supervised visitation, I met with my children every weekend. The release I’d felt when I left my abusive environment quickly turned from hope to hopeless.  My health and mind quickly declined; depression settled like a black stormy cloud. The gnawing, deep seeded pain, no longer tolerable, drove me down into the hell of hopelessness. The wish for a shove or a slap and even death replaced the desire to survive. Alone and rejected by everyone I relied on, I screamed into the void, my voice went unheard. In my mind, recourse did not exist. I’d failed at every attempt to retrieve my children and now the desire to rescue myself no longer existed.

 

I couldn’t divert my eyes from the bottle of pills on the coffee table. It somehow drifted into my consciousness incessantly, calling my name. The harsh unrelenting words and actions of Jon over the past 19 years cut like a knife. The memory of his attorney’s assault invaded my senses and I questioned my sanity. The cries of my children and their inability to cope formed the final bullets of death.

Separated, mind from body, I took the bottle into my hand, I stared into it’s eye and it stared back at me. It understood what I had to do, it invited me. I twisted off the cap and 20 or 30 pills spilled into my hand, they seemed to sparkle like jewels. I answered their call and swallowed them down a few at a time and then 30 more. I did not seem to be in control of my body, it was moving through the actions without my consent.

 

Three days later, I found myself drifting in and out of consciousness unable to move. My hands, tied to rails on either side of the bed, ached. A respirator effected the rise and fall of my chest. The hospital room was cold and sterile and the machines played a lulling song. I could hear my own heartbeat on the monitors; silent tears rolled down my face.

I returned to my mother’s a week or so after my suicide attempt and still I never sought help.  I returned to Jon and my children a few months after that. I grew angry and insolent as time passed and even contemplated another suicide attempt. I didn’t follow through because of one simple act of kindness. Someone reached out to me and spoke living words into my heart. Those words ignited my hope into a fire that would give me the courage to ask for help.

I went to a rehab/shelter, told my story and it was heard.  I knew then that if I’d reached out to the right people I could have prevented such an awful act of violence against myself along with untold suffering.

They called outside resources to come in and provide counseling concerning Domestic Violence. I was given a plan with local resources, the hope to fight and the strength to win. It was a welcome reprieve, a place of strengthening, encouragement, and acceptance. I was safer and freer than I’d been in a very long time.

Three years later, one year ago, my children and I walked out for the last time. We received therapy and I’m blessed in their presence and living the life of a survivor. Many good and bad things happened in that three year interim and I reached out for help.

While the reasons for our pain may be different, one fact will remain the same; heartache is, at times, intolerable to bear without help.  The choice to reach out to someone in my desperation saved my life and the lives of my children; I hold firm to that belief.

I’ve included a national suicide hot line link here. I also have resources and help links at the top of my blog page for those struggling with Domestic Violence.

Don’t suffer in silence.  Reach out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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