I left for Salem early Tuesday morning. I didn’t tell my Dad where I was going but I did leave him a note. When I finally found a half way decent Hotel it was late afternoon before I could call him. He wasn’t happy and I had to hear about his stomach being in knots and how he won’t be able to sleep. I immediately felt guilty and sad. I thought about leaving.
My sister called and told me not to leave. She thought it was a good thing that I did this on my own and to ignore our Dad. She told me not to talk to him except to say I was safe because he’s projecting his anxiety on to me.
The Hotel was horrendous and that’s being kind. Salem is getting worse every time I visit it. So the next day I decided to go to a place I knew I could relax and enjoy The Stonehedge Inn & Spa in Tyngsboro. As soon as I opened the door to my room I felt happy. When I saw the bathroom I wanted to cry tears of joys. I stayed there for 3 days 2 nights.
In this time I didn’t jump or become startled, I didn’t cry, I didn’t stutter, I only felt relaxed.
I even ate alone at the fancy restaurant they have. I will say that I have no concept of how other people perceive me as a woman. This can make situations uncomfortable for me at times. I’m used to a tall 270 pound body with bleach blond curly hair, a round face and squinty eyes when I look in the mirror.
What’s actually in the mirror now is a petite 133 pound body with straight shiny burgundy hair half way down her back, cheek bones and blue eyes you can see.
I’ve always worn make up and tried to dress well, I still do. I just forget that people will actually see me now and I’m not invisible. So a man sent a drink over to me. Even when I drank I hated when anyone did this. This time I’m sober, in a Hotel restaurant and alone. I was a little afraid. Not to mention he sent over a $20 drink with Absinthe in it where they only allow you to have 1 because of the ingredients. Part of me wanted to tell him off. I wanted to ask him what he saw when he looked at me. Did he see an easy mark? Because I used to drink a bottle of Firewater a day when it was 90 proof but then I realized I’m not that person anymore. I have nothing to prove.
The server I had was a young guy who was extremely nice to me. I told him I didn’t drink but I didn’t want to offend the person who sent the drink. He just slid the drink behind a large glass bottled water they leave at the table and told me the guy wouldn’t even notice and in a few minutes he would take it away.
The problem was I got two more drinks from two more men. I was starting to feel panic set in. I’ve never been in a situation like this or if I have I don’t remember. I have no sense of self. They all sat there untouched, they were pretty to look at but I was more interested in the gourmet Gluten Free menu selection.
I came home Friday afternoon. I was happy to see my dogs and my Dad. It didn’t last long. Saturday the anxiety was horrible, I jumped twice when my Dad came in the room, and the feeling of being hopeless and worthless started to creep back in.
I’m back to where I was. I can research all I want about Mental Health and Illness, I can go to every Doctor and Therapist in the U.S. and none of them will agree 100% on my diagnosis or course of treatment. Several will even say I can’t be treated.
That’s the truth of Mental Health. The story I just told you isn’t one of a lunatic or a monster although I have the diagnoses of people who have been called those same names.
The story is of a woman who doesn’t know where she belongs and never has, a woman who has had more violence done to her than any one person should ever have to go through. It’s also a woman who is in great pain and only wants what most people want, to be loved and accepted for who they are.