Dancing with the Devil
‘What do you get when you weave the soul of a girl who - with pure intentions - only wanted to get the most out of her world with all she had experienced and wanted to feel the adrenaline rush again?
Who wanted wealth but not money.
Who wanted success but not fame.
Who would cry when feeling peoples’ pain and who wanted to soothe those who could not soothe themselves?
A girl who searched for acceptance and feared her own strength. Who admired others, lost her boundaries and who felt her identity drain away. A girl who felt power but did not know what to do with it. A girl who felt scared of the person she was becoming and felt she had no control. A girl who felt she was living someone else’s life and who did not like to breathe alone.
You get a girl who was once a three time Australian Softball Champion, four times NSW State Softball Champion and five times NRL Cheerleader with Parramatta Eels and North Sydney Bears – who worked on beautiful Australian islands with amazing people, skydived for fun, and partied!
You get a girl who is alone, broken, lonely and consumed with the thought of death, her own death. How to do it, where to do it and when? What scared her the most was at what second she would do it?’
All she knew was that when you think all is well in your world, what do you do when it crashes like a wave? One which does not let you get up to breathe, and before you know it - another one hits you, and another and another and another.
Tasting the salt from the tears, feeling the sting in my eyes, I just wanted to know how to nurture the soul of a girl who was struggling to stay alive and release what pain was left in her so she could fight for something, something bigger than herself. Life!
I wanted to wring it out - whatever it was! My soul was suffocating. I could see it, feel it and I wanted to save it, but I had no idea how. I wanted to talk to an Aboriginal Elder to help me through this pain, maybe just to reconnect with Mother Earth, as I knew this was bigger than me, it consumed me and it was frightening. I wanted to know what he or she knew about the spirit world and to help me heal this pain and give my soul light. I wanted to know the power and not surrender to it, and how to cope and keep what little faith I had. If I surrendered, what would happen? It was something that I did not want to think about.
It was now that I understood that there was something deeper than just existing day to day. I was aware of it. Something spiritual, magical, soulful was happening at times, and then the black hole would swallow me up and I would be left grasping for breath - a choking feeling - but I was still hanging on.
The days I lived felt old to me as my body ached, my heart banged and my soul screamed out to escape. I wanted to know ‘was there someone pulling me away from this life, to another?’ I wondered why my life had been turned into a tug of survival slowly being engulfed by hell. The question was always on my mind. What will happen if I surrender? Where will I go? Where will my soul go and will I ever be saved? I wanted to know is it because I have done so much in my short life – was that the reason? Was it time to go?
Being a Virgo did not help the situation because as intense as I get, I analyse everything, break it down into minute parts, and so this situation was at times me being the ‘enabler', not the ‘pity me victim’ - however it never lasted long.
It was in these moments that I knew nothing about life or what it had or could offer. It looked helpless, vacant and dull. What possibly could have been any worse? My back had voiced its fear and I would have preferred that people see me bleeding on the outside just so they knew I was in pain on the inside. But I was not bleeding on the outside; instead I was feeling tormented, twisted like a car wreck and feeling that the devil just wanted me to surrender. I felt hijacked by something more powerful than me and it would freeze me, like it was sucking me dry from the inside like a vac bag!
Suicide. A Latin word.
I never had thought about it till now.
It sounds quite blunt. It sounds finished. It sounds beaten, lonely and dark. And that is how I feel.
In my diary I wrote -“I don’t know who I am anymore and I don’t know where I belong. I look at myself in the mirror trying to see the old me and all I see is a shell - skin, hair and a face that I don’t know anymore. I don’t even know what is real anymore and I just write. It is like verbal diarrhea. What am I breathing for? To keep being in pain when all I want to do is stop it. To face another day of torment, wondering, waiting, pacing and crying. I am exhausted,"like an old man with bleeding feet, a streetwalker, there is nothing working, just a heart that beats”.
I had moved so many times and 14 was the number that I had calculated. Not feeling stable, incomplete with nothing to give, nothing to contribute, just empty and I wondered many times who had taken over me and my body? I wondered that my ability to play, dance, live, love was taken away from me and what lesson was I to learn? Was I being tested? I did not want to go to church because I knew I would cry. I wanted a solution to my problems, I wanted to look beyond and not feel trapped. But I just did not know where to start.
Housemates, my sister Kylie and friend Kelly both worked full time. I worked casually with Kylie and I guess that was the downfall. I had time to think at home which was the worst experience. So much silence on the outside, so much noise on the inside.
The doubting of who I was and the fact that I was losing my inner voice crushed me, and what hurt me the most was that it seemed I had lost all connection with life. I felt I was nothing, disconnected and I was starting to ask the silliest questions. I grovelled to be accepted in a place where I already was. I was second-guessing everyone and what they thought of me. My whole outlook on life was deteriorating quickly. I hated me, the pain, where I was and I just wanted to die. Just die and be at peace. Somewhere where there was no heart banging or soul screaming. I wanted to go to a place where my heart and soul would be set free, but could I surrender?
My hardest realisation hit when a month had past and I knew it was no dream or nightmare that I was experiencing. These were real emotions, real pain, real confusion and I could not wring me out to dry, I could not shower and wash away the cracks that were appearing, nor fill them up with putty. Was this the new me? I was fighting so hard for it not to be. Whoever had hold of me was winning.
Days were a blur and the only respite I had was when talking to my boss, Bianca, at the Breast Screening unit in Parramatta. I could talk to her and she understood my pain, my non-existent future. I cried a lot.
I don’t know how I got any work done but the ladies, Carmel, Di, Jen and Jenny, who I worked with, were mums and very supportive and they too comforted me. My role there was to enter breast screening results into the database.
Whilst there I often would have to stop and say to myself on the bad days ‘these women clients may have breast cancer. They could lose a breast or both or even die!” But the thought did not stay too long as I thought about my back injury. The suicidal thoughts were just as bad. And then I felt guilty and selfish to think that, when I knew they must be going through hell! I actually felt terrible for thinking such a thing. Here they were - women trying to preserve their life and hoping and praying that they did not have breast cancer, and here was I, wanting to die.
Some days I tried to live like nothing was happening and I would often hope that I could ignore the pain and fear that was rising inside me. I walked with Kylie in the night and laughed on cue but I could not tell her what I was really feeling. Kelly would always come home with clothes that she had just bought and I would head for my room. I could not bear to see what she could buy when I was struggling just to live. It was not her fault; it was just that it reminded me of what I was going through constantly and what I could not have.
I felt incomplete and questioned ‘why me’ with my back injury. I had never felt such pain and I did not know what to expect, how I was going to feel the next day, what would happen after going for a walk, or dancing or even playing ball. Every day my thinking had to change. I had to now think, “Oh can I do this?” and then go on from there. It was humiliating; I was only 27 with this revolting injury, and it made me feel useless and foolish. No one understood the back pain, not even me. Once the sciatic nerve joined in, it was like all hell had broken loose in my right leg. The burning searing pain that would shoot down my thigh and my ankle was unbearable and my back would seize up and I would be walking sideways. Not my favourite look. A small window of time would open up and I would have a minute to get my heat bag, drugs and lay down until the pain subsided, with complementary screams and the odd cursing.
The thought of dying was easy. It was how to do it which was bugging me. Who could I ask? No one. It was not like I could ask the librarian - now that would be ridiculous! I played it over in my mind. I would walk in and see the lady with the glasses at the counter and say ‘Hi, I want to die today. Do you have a manual for that?’ Nor could I ring up the late love line on the local radio station, request a song and ask ‘How can I die?’ I could not ask anyone. It stuck with me for so long as I had known no one who had taken his or her own life. I mean why would you? Now I know why.
When the time came, the ingredients were ready to boil in my belly and hopefully put me to sleep whilst still hanging onto a bottle of Jack. I knew this had to be it. I loved Jack so it was he who I chose. The pills were from the kitchen, my bag, a collection of Digesics, Panadol, Disprin and Valium. Mostly were mine for the back and sciatic nerve pain. This would take me away I hoped as I was dead inside already and I needed to put this aching body to sleep for good. It was the only thought I had, as nothing else mattered anymore.
What I do recall from the moment was the patient hand. I held everything with no shake, no shimmies, and no rattles. I was calm and I was concentrating with each pill that I swallowed, as this was a huge task to do. I usually gag when swallowing pills and I did not want to waste one pill for the fear of not doing the job thoroughly. I sat on my bed in the dark. I was alone and knew that I would not be seeing the morning and I was ok with that. I would sink into another world and not breathe, nor see the morning sun and I was embracing that. It made me happy because I did not have to fight what or whoever anymore.
I felt at peace, my body felt free as if for the first time and I do not know how long I was there for until I ran to the toilet. I had lost all that I swallowed. Violently it left me and all I saw through blurred teary eyes was the inside of the toilet bowl. All I remember is the shaking, trembling, the heat that was coming out of my mouth and the sweat that appeared. Choking, screaming and thrashing. This was not want I wanted. I cried for minutes curled up on the toilet floor, not wanting to move, and then violently vomiting again. I felt I was in hell at this very moment.
Visions of what had just happened consumed me and I wailed. I had failed and I hated me more. What went wrong? Is it because I ate my last meal as well? Should I have taken the pills on an empty stomach? My stomach ached, my throat was burning. My body weak. Did I not have enough tablets? Why did this happen? Did I really want to die?
I felt angry, useless and irritable. I was supposed to be dying right now, feeling peace and surrendering all within me. Now I just wanted someone to shoot me! Looking at myself in the mirror, my hair looked damp, limp, lifeless and strangled. My face grey. My eyes barely there and searching.
I thought of Jason, a beautiful friend who had been stabbed and murdered last month on his 26th birthday by two 19 year old males and one female at the General. I was elsewhere with friends at a club - a place where we would go to drink and dance until all hours of the morning. It was around 7am when one of the guys who was at the General, came to the club and let us know what had happened, but he could not remember the guys name. I left with friends pretty soon after that. I knew that Jason was at the General celebrating, but I was in no way expecting the news that we received later. So young, so talented, amazing and fun, Jason had not long ago healed from a waterskiing accident in France. He was representing Australia and fell off his skis. I felt so selfish now and thought of his brother Damien, the family. It made me feel very guilty. And so whilst I cleaned up, I thought of him.
I took a crying shower and then stood in front of the mirror to try and find me under the layers of skin. Who was I now? Where would I end up? What was going on with me?
I felt so sick and hobbled to the toilet every five or so minutes. Now it was this that I concentrated on, trying to feel better. How was I going to explain this in the morning? I cleaned up the mess and myself - that was a real effort! Hid Jack and the tablet sheets into a bag to dispose of them far away, burned some incense, put on the TV and laid on the lounge until I heard them walk in. I babbled on about being closer to the toilet because I was ill and needed space, the lounge room bigger and the TV took away my feelings, thoughts and my desire to die. I knew it would be an all-nighter and that did not impress me one bit!
Around 3am the girls rocked in with Macca’s in hand, and told me all about their huge night! Kylie mentioned there was a bug going around at work and so that’s what we agreed on, why I was violently ill. I went to bed feeling numb and just wanted to sleep off this awful night. The plus side to all of this, the tablets and Jack had numbed my back pain. Brilliant!
It was not long until I started wondering how I could die again. That was my intention. I knew you could die by gassing the car up and I had no idea how to do this. I got a banana to see how thick the hose had to be in the exhaust pipe and because I could not think straight, I came to the conclusion that this was not going to work for me and it just made me sadder. My mind was just locked on dying, simple as that. There had to be another way.
Image: Choboroy - Deviant Art