I'm Samantha, a recent graduate of UMASS Lowell with a degree in psychology. I also have my associates degree in Liberal Arts: Writing. My hope is to get my masters at Lesley University in expressive arts therapy. I think using different forms of art can be the most healing especially for those with trauma. I currently work in a group home for transitional aged youth who are struggling with mental illness and co occuring intellectual disabilities. Improving the lives of others is something that I am passionate about. In my spare time I can be found reading a good book, or watching Netflix, with a glass of wine.

Counting the Specks

Mar 03, 2018 6 years ago

I still remember the smell of his skin, the stench of cheap brandy on his breath, and the specks on the ceiling that I counted each second hoping that by the time I counted them all this nightmare would be over. I remember the exact moment I thought my life would end. The look of hatred in his eyes as he took away my dignity is something I can never forget. I had never been too religious but if there was a God, now was the time to make me a believer. Between counting the infinite specks on the ceiling and countless “Hail Mary's” it finally ended. I remember my lifeless body being moved upstairs. My head ricocheting off the walls in the narrow stairwell. Who cares that this girl was just violated? The party must go on. I'm carried into the bathroom and thrown in the tub. I wake up empty and full of shame.The memories of the night before haunting me, my body aches.I wake up wishing my life had ended in that moment. I look in the mirror and can't recognize myself. I find my purse and use my concealer to hide the bruises, hoping it can somehow mask the shame. I find what is left of my clothing and cover myself up as best as I can. I make my way through a maze of people who are passed out all over the floor. I wonder if he's still here, or if there's any more of me among them. I think that if I pretend it never happened that it will all just go away. The pain, the shame, the hurt, the disgust- maybe it will all just disappear. As I walk home I tell myself “it never happened” over and over. By the time I reach my house I almost believe it. I make a promise to myself that no one will know. I promise myself that I won't let him win. I will put on a smile and walk the halls at school pretending that nothing bad has ever happened to me if that is what it takes. I promise myself that no one will see my cry, except the shower as it perfectly camouflages my shrieks. But lying to yourself for months is hard. Keeping up your image is hard. Pretending you're ok when you're not is hard. Looking behind you to make sure he's not following you home from school is hard. Seeing him in the hallway, at the store, in your nightmares- is hard. School is hard. Sleeping is hard. Living is hard. I will take a pill each time I remember what he did to me, what he took from me, and what he made me. I will lock my door at least seven times just to be sure. I will stop going to school, unable to cope with seeing him. I will stop leaving my home out of fear that it could happen again. I will know what the human species is capable of doing to one another firsthand, and I will stop living. I will merely just exist. Between constant high and the night terrors that have me screaming out in my sleep, my mom knows that something is wrong. But I can't tell her. I can't tell anyone. “I can't live like this.” My mom constantly tells me. I have become a burden that she has to bear. My mom puts me in therapy and I sit there in silence each Thursday for forty-five minutes. Silence has become my specialty. I don't even acknowledge the existence of another person in the room. Instead in am trapped within the thoughts inside my head. “it's all your fault.” “Why would such a young girl go to a party?” “Why would you drink so much?” “Are you stupid?” “Just end it all.” Each day I become closer and closer to gathering the nerve to kill myself. The thoughts in my head have me spinning out of control. Some weeks I don't even leave my own bed. I lay there in a catatonic state wondering if my death would even mean anything. I write my suicide note about once a week. Each one starts the same. “I'm sorry.” I can't have my family blame themselves, it's not their fault. The silent therapy sessions just weren't cutting it- and the therapist tells my mom I'm not progressing quickly enough. But how are you supposed to progress when you're broken in two, when you don't care if you live or if you die, and when it seems like suffering is all you now know. When the shame takes over, and emptiness and disgust is all that fills you. When you dream about death and are discouraged to wake up and find out you're still alive. I tell this all to my therapist. I break my year long silence. I break my promises to myself, and I tell her everything. I tell her I went to a party I shouldn't have went too. I tell her I drank myself into oblivion. I tell her I was raped. I tell her that over the past year I haven't gone a single day without using and that most times I hoped I would just overdose. And I tell her that right now there is a suicide note tucked underneath my pillow. I leave my therapy session and go home to pack enough clothes for “about a month.” I'm being sent to a treatment center that specializes in trauma. I was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder. I never thought a label would give me so much comfort. After a year of living alone with my demons, I feel relief. Relief that it's not a secret anymore, and relief that the silence is over.

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