I speak French, but not as well as I did three weeks ago.
I play the guitar and the piano, but not nearly as well as I did before I downed 50 pills.
I’m fairly eloquent, but it’s not nearly as impressive as it used to be.
It turns out that overdosing and two comas can have some lasting effects.
I notice them when I’m trying to talk and suddenly my words are backwards. It scares the hell out of me when I’m driving and suddenly one or both of my hands have lost feeling. It’s insanely frustrating when I’m trying to remember a simple word in French and it seems I’ve lost half of the language.
This is not the life I imagined living, nor is it the one I truly want. When I was younger, I had this plan – I would be married by 21, have at least one baby by 23. I would have a stable job, home, and a completed degree. Currently, however, I am in a much different place. I’m involved in a completely non-committed relationship. I go on random dates here and there, but this one guy is my constant even though he is not a permanent. I recently moved in with two friends and am living in their spare bedroom with my dog. The lease ends in just a couple months, so I’ll be on the move again soon enough. My job, while stable, is constantly presenting new challenges that I sometimes struggle to wrap my head around.
And my hands are numb, so I struggle to hold onto even a pen some days, so I think to myself…how can you ever hold a child? And I struggle to speak clearly, so I wonder…is my job secure? And now my treasured language is leaving me, so I know…these side effects will have a lasting impact.
This suicide attempt will never leave me.
That could be good – maybe it’s scared me enough into never trying again. It could also be the worst possible outcome, because maybe it’s enough to drive me back into that dark place where the only way out is down.
And…it breaks my heart.
Because all I want to do is live and do good for others and one day raise a family…but I’m haunted by the assault and the abuse. I have yet to forgive myself for my mother’s death. There’s this ball chained to my ankle and it’s holding me back and I swear everyone can, at the very least, sense it.
It doesn’t matter, though. It doesn’t matter if these side effects never wear off or if I don’t have a baby by the time that I’m 23 years old. There’s a lot more to the world than all of this, even if drives me crazy on the bad days. If I can survive the massive tsunami that tried to take me just three weeks ago, I know that I can survive whatever the world throws my way. Even if I can’t protect myself with a left hook, my right hand can still do a hell of a lot.
I have to tell myself every day now – head above water. So, I’ll tell you, too. Keep your head above water, no matter how high the waves rise to be. You are strong and brave and it doesn’t matter if the world tells you any different. I have faith in you.