This is not my life.

I am 32 years old. I have struggled with addiction for 17 years now. I'm a self-harmer and a love avoidant. I have attempted suicide 7 times. I have been raped twice and sexually assaulted 4 times. These are just simple facts and this is my truth. I am hoping that this blog might grab the attention of people who are facing similar turmoils and help, even if only just one person, feel less alone.

Christmas day 2018

Here I am strapped to a hospital bed.

I don't remember getting here or when they took my clothes off. How has this become my reality? My normality?

Don't get me wrong, it's the first time I've been strapped down to a bed, at least against my will, but it's it's certainly not my first hospital visit after an "accidental" consumption of a shitload of pills, typically washed down with a bottle of booze, just for extra luck.

I know I don't belong here, but somehow, over my 32 years of living,

I have convinced myself that I only deserve dirt. The dirtiest of dirt. The blinding chaos. The pit and the pendulum. The pain button set on repeat until it is no longer recognizable as hurt.

“I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone's heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.” - Raymond Carver

The only sounds I could hear were the faded hustle and bustle of the emergency room and my own heartbeat pounding through my ears. My vision was blurry and I could barely make out the faces of the six or seven people it took to restrain me. I could see there was a man and I loathed him with all of the fury I had left in me as he pressed his elbow deep into my chest cavity then placed his forearm firmly on my neck, telling his female colleagues "This is how you do it ladies, now grab her arms and legs, this will teach her not to be stupid next time."

Once I had exhausted all of my strength trying to fight off my capturers, I passed out for what seemed like minutes. When I awoke, all bruised up, I felt this crippling pain coursing through my body. I welcomed it so ardently. Finally, some respite from the internal shame and humiliation.

I had no idea what time it was or how long I had been here but I manage to wriggle my tiny wrists out of the straps. The doctor and nurses had already promised me 3 times that they were going to untangle me immediatly but I had no intention of trusting vapid vows I had heard so many times before.

I recognised that condescending, judgmental, almost pitying look of the alledged "carer" towards the junkie. The look that told me: you did this to yourself, you deserve whatever situation and suffering you're in.

On that Christmas day, before it all went to shit, I'd felt hope, sadness, despair and joy. I could hear the human noise. The unbearable pounding in my ears, then, nothingness.

"Addiction is an affliction of the weak and the idle" - I've been told far too many times

I've been an addict for 17 years of my like now. My mother once told me that "if we didn't have money, you wouldn't have a drug problem." You'd think that could've won most ludicrous comment of the century coming from her, but that would mean you had never met my mother.

She was feeling sorry for herself in that moment, she had that look in her eyes she often gets when she's talking to me but can't actually look at me and her eyes are glazed over, looking in the distance as if deep in thought. I knew what she was thinking."if she wasn't so spoilt, she wouldn't have money for drugs" and "Where did we go wrong as parents? My children have always been my priority" I can read my mum like a book, I've been observing how well she pretends since I was 2 years old.

I would just like to put it out there for mums alike, or people who have no clue about addiction:

How wealthy or how poor you are has very little to do with your propensity towards addiction. Yes, people of lower economic status are more likely to be exposed to environmental difficulties which is a prominent factor when it comes to substance abuse. Substance abuse and addiction are not the same thing. If someone starts to drink a little too much because they've just lost their job and their wife and kids left them, that doesn't make them an alcoholic in the same way as someone who suffers from short-term depression due to an event in their lives and an individual who is clinically depressed. To me, addiction is a symptom of trauma. The burning question is...Can trauma be cured? If there was a pill, I would take it.

" There's nothing worse than..."

I haven't told you this yet, but I have been writing these posts from the confines of the clinic I am now a patient at since, what we will now refer to as "the unfortunate Christmas incident". Since said incident, to say that my relationship with my family has been tense would be a grandiose euphemism.

At this moment in time, the only family member who is speaking to me and supporting me is father. My mum did speak to me the other day via text to tell me I belonged on the streets and that it would be the best place for me, and the thing is, I was ready to pack my bags and go just show her. Show her what? You may ask yourself. I asked myself the same question and still have not come up with an answer. Perhaps I wanted to take to the streets just out of spite. I'd go sit by the male-only shelter she passes by everytime she goes shopping and always says " we must do something to help these people", but never does. I'd go sit there and drink the blues away and scream out " HIIII MUUUMMM" everytime I saw here. I don't blame my mother for my situation, I put myself in here and I am grateful to be able to afford treatment which so far has made me feel a tad more positive about "my life". I put that in brackets because I don't know what my life is, only what it has become and what I don't want it to be.

 

I will always remember what my mother said to me after I took her to see Blue Jasmine at the cinema. At some point in the film, the pill-popping/martini drinking character played by Cate Blanchett who is unravelling says " I wonder how long it will be til I take to the streets and start talking to myself", anyway, something along those lines. When we came out of the cinema, I asked her what she had thought of the film and she simply replied " I wonder how long it will be til you take to the streets and start talking to yourself! ha!". I was shocked as to how she could possibly say that to me yet not surprised at all. I found it quite amusing. Still now, as I'm typing this, I have a smile on my face. Eventhough I could not bare to even hear her voice right now without crumbling to bits, I think of her and I smile.

We have this bit, my mother and I where I find a witty rebuttle to one of her favourite thing to say which is " There's nothing worse than..." followed by something ridiculous. Here are a few choice examples:

" There's nothing worse than overcooked fish!"

" There's nothing worse than a disappointing sandwhich."

" There's nothing worse than an untidy house."

" I can think of nothing worse than having to sit through a Brazilian dance show."

" There's nothing worse than a young beautiful girl with long unkept hair."

In all seriousness mum, I can think of plenty worse things than overcooked fish. Your junkie daughter living on the streets would be one of them.

 

BUT DO WOMEN?

Guess what my readers, whoever you may be, boys and girls, gay, straight or bi, individuals not defined by their genitals, I made a friend today!

Actually, it wasn't today, it was yesterday, but if anyone who reads this has seen Elf...well it just sounded a whole lot funnier ( even if only to me) to say today rather than yesterday. My first week here, I had no interest nor strength to talk to anyone apart from a passing vague pleasantry. I kept it minimal with hellos and thanks yous. Writing this blog has proven to be very therapeutic in terms of processing my own emotions, allowing me to then have conversations that lasted the length of an entire cigarette smoke as opposed to just one drag.

 

I have realised whilst editing my last post, thus, having to read through it again, that I come across as a self-entitled, privileged and ungrateful little bitch. Which to be fair, I am at times, or at least I have been in the past, but little known fact to approximately 70% of me readers is that my dad is Egyptian. Myself, my older sister and my younger brother were raised partially muslim, and by that I mean we did not eat pork but we didn't pray 5 times a day, nor did my dad. He always did ramadan whereas, as kids, we were given a pass to a day or two ( I didn't mind the not eating but I used to sneak sips of water when brushing my teeth.)

This is not the part of the story where I launch myself into a diatribe on my father and the ways in which we were brought up, on the contrary, I want to focus on the privileged part. My dad came from nothing and moved to paris when he was 24 years old to make something of himself. And that, he did, plus a whole lot more.

A hero in my eyes, whom I've always placed on the highest of piedestals.

His kids were, and still are everything to him and he gave us all the experiences and material things and education that he didn't have the privilege of having growing up. We travelled the world during school holidays and often went to Egypt to visit my dad's family and my thousands of cousins.

 

By now you must be thinking " I thought she was going to discuss this new friend of hers"....well here is where she comes in to play. She is also of arabic descent. We chatted for hours, exchanging stories. I told her about my being raped by my 18 year old cousin when I was 10 years old and visiting the family in Egypt. Something which I completely blocked out for 17 years of my life. I told her that I had forgiven my rapist and that I could speak of that violation, stating it merely as a fact, but what troubled me were the surrounding factors, the unanswered questions swept under the rug, eating me up inside yet a smile plastered on my face like clown's make-up. We bonded over my hatred of my Egyptian family and her hatred of her culture, where, in both, the men certaintly do not protect the women but what is more heartbreaking is that the women don't protect the women, or their children.

Dr Gabor Maté on the relationship between early childhood trauma and addiction.

If we don't assert our truth, it may again be relegated to fantasy. But the truth won't go away. It will keep surfacing until it is recognized. Truth will outlast any campaigns mounted against it, no matter how mighty, clever, or long. It is invincible. It's only a matter of which generation is willing to face it and, in so doing, protect future generations from ritual abuse.” ― Chrystine Oksana, Safe Passage to Healing: A Guide for Survivors of Ritual Abuse

Have you noticed how a can of coke is never completely empty inside? there always remains a few drops stuck deep down inside the bottom ring and under the top of the can, begging to be drunk. Before the unfortunate Xmas incident, I felt utterly void of meaning. I thought all that needed to be said had been said a long time ago, I felt like an empty can of coke with nothing more to give. I was exhausted of constantly having to fight the urge to numb myself only to give in and be left with a sense of relief followed by a surge of emotions I did not want to feel. The cycle kept repeating itself. I am finding out that, similarly to the can of coke, there remains droplets of hurt, squashed down by the use of drugs, which are bursting to come out.

 

One of the worst moments of my life was when I had to sit down with my dad anf tell him what had happened to me when I was 10. It was just myself and my mum at home, I asked her to be there for support. My younger brother who did not live at home at the time was meant to be at work. What followed when I told my dad was a series of angry phone calls in egyptian, the sounds of which still make my skin crawl. I didn't understand what was going on as I don't speak arabic.

That's when my brother walked in. He speaks egyptian and gathered what was going on from what he overheard my father screaming down the phone to his family members. I told him not to get involved that this was meant to be a private conversation, but he dismissed that entirely and instead, conerned me, his body towering over mine and his mass protuding forwards, assuming an intimidating posture and said : "What's this stuff about? Was there even penetration or what?!" He broke my heart into a million pieces that day.

 

We haven't spoken about it since. Neither my brother nor my father have aknowledged my rape simply by uttering the word itself. This is not a fantasy I have concocted in my imagination. I remember being a happy child before my first rape. I can no longer neglect my truth. I need for the droplets to spill out for my sake, only then will the process of healing begin.

 

 

" I'm not going to fire him, that way as his boss I can keep an eye on him" - Said by my closest cousin on my mother's side, after I was sexually assaulted by his employee.

Two of my cousins live in Dubai. I have always been close to my mother's family and my cousins but particularly Ollie We are only a few months apart in age and have always shared the same sense of humour and thruthfulness when it comes to talking about our disfunctional family.

The incident I'm about to recount happened maybe 5 or 6 years ago whilst my mother and I were on holiday in Dubai.

 

The day started off with a boozy brunch which carried on til the afternoon, afterwhich, my cousin took me to this party held by his colleague who was a local to dubai and had a house on the beach. I did not know anyone at that party apart from my cousin and his irish friend who we arrived with. I was wearing one of my favourite dresses and, as I wasn't one to go out much due to anxiety, feeling positive about the evening ahead because I always had a good time in Ollie's company. As soon as I walked in the door, I was introduced to the owner of said house, my cousin's employee, a local emirati, who instatly made me feel welcome and plowed me with drinks. " My house is your house, have as many drinks as you want", he said whilst he gave me a tour of his giant beach front villa, thinking I would be impressed.

 

As the night went on, my cousin got absolutely plastered and along with the irish guy and the emirati, they decided we should jump into the pool. I was a little merry at this point and thought it would be good for me to let my hair down and jump in the pool as everyone was egging me on. I didn't want to ruin my dress and there was no way i was going in the pool in my underwear, so the host went and got me an oversized t-shirt to put on instead. I got changed and jumped in the pool where we got on each other's shoulder's and had a water fight. After a while we got out of the pool and my drunken cousin ran to the beach to get in the water along with his friend.

When i got out I realised the t-shirt i was given was completely see-through. I felt humiliated and, in a panic, went to look for my clothes.

When I finally found them, they were not where I left them but hidden behind a corner of the house and as I grabbed them hurriedly, the emirati pushed me violently against the wall. " Look at you, I can see your nipples through that shirt", he said as he grabbed my wrists to restrain me and used his knee to try and open my legs, " Don't act like you don't want it, you're in my house, drinking my drinks all night", he said aggressively, as if I suddenly owed him something. That's when I managed to knee him as hard as I could in the crotch and run.

I was in tears and shaking and went looking for my cousin saying we had to leave immediatly. I found his irish friend and explained to him what had happened begging him not to tell my cousin, for fear that there would be a fight and the police would be called. We were in Dubai, and i was afraid of what could happen to my cousin. After finding him, we left and went back to his place to calm me down. Still being drunk, my cousin was furious and desperatly trying to get a hold of the cunt who sexually assaulted me but with no luck.

 

When I left his place, I asked my cousin not to tell my mother what had happened. I told him that she would worry but that ws not the truth. I didn't want my mother to know because I feared the first question out of her mouth would've been "How drunk were you?"

Til this day, I still don't understand why my cousin didn't fire the man who attacked me the very next day, the day after, or the day after that...

 

It is so overwhelmingly conflincting and hurtful as Ollie remains one of my favourite people in this world.

 

" I hurt myself today to see if I still feel I focus on the pain the only thing that's real." - Johnny Cash

The following events occured in July of 2014, after my cousin Ollie's beautiful wedding. My mother and I were staying with my nan, along with Ollie's mother, for some post-wedding bonding time, or so we thought.

 

A couple of days after the wedding, high on drugs and alcohol, I broke a glass and finding the sharpest piece rather appealing, decided to stab myself with it. It wasn't so much stabbing as it was slowly pushing the piece of glass through my skin. The pain afterwards was unbearable, very unlike the sense of relief and calm I was used to after self-harming. I tried to sleep in off and when morning came, my blood stained sheets and the pain I could no longer disguise testified to the events of the previous night and I was rushed to the hospital. It turned out that I was in so much pain because the piece of glass had inserted itself all the through and travelled down to the inside of my right armpit. It was churgically removed and back to my nan's we went.

They were desperately searching for solutions and outside help as they knew I had been struggling for a long time now. Despite my skepticism, they took me to see a hypnotherapist, hoping he could uncover what was going on in my psyche and what secrets my conscious brain was perhaps unwilling to deal with. The session was surprisingly mind-opening. I saw a lot of very vivid and detailed images but was unable to piece them together. The hypnotherapist then explained that I had been very receptive, meaning that blocked memories were willing to be brought into the present. He told me that the worst was yet to come and to prepare myself for an unpleasant, yet necessary, emotional and physical time ahead.

He was right. Aside from the tremors, headaches, nausea, dissociative episodes and emotional meltdowns ( which was my conscious brain desperately trying to push away the memories I didn't want to confront or accept) , I had never been so terrified of sleeping in my whole life. Considering I saw Silense of the lambs when I was 8, that's saying a lot.

 

One night, I waited until everyone was asleep and gathered all of my pills plus all the pills I could find in my grandmother's medicine cabinet, took everything and went to bed, hoping I would not awake in the morning. My nan and my mum went out for the day, wen they came back to find me still in bed sleeping and barely coherent when asked what I had taken, they again rushed me to the hospital. The doctor wanted to keep me overnight on suicide watch. So i settled into a bed waiting for the psychiatrist to come see me. I signed a piece of paper stating I was in fact not suicidal and they let me get into a taxi at 2 in the morning to go back home to my nan's.

 

I was relunctantly taken to my very first clinic shortly after. Upon arrival, my mother and I met with the director and head psychiatrist of the clinic. After I listed all different drugs I took on a daily or weekly basis in front of my poor mother, he decided I belonged in the depression/anxiety department where they would treat me for the latter and bring down my cunsumption of xanax. I was then taken to my room.

 

The noise from the corridor and the chatter of the nurses' station was already too much to handle and the knock on my door felt like a thousand spiders crawling under my skin. " Hi, my name is Rod", he said as he presented his shaking hand to me, " What are you here for?" he asked.

Hmmm... Let's see...I've been depressed and anxious since adolescence, medicated several times, struggle with substance abuse, I've tried to kil myself several times, I'm a self-harmer, two weeks ago I stabbed myself with a piece of glass and a couple of days ago I took and overdose of pills.

 

I decided to respond with a shorter and what felt like a more appropriate answer " Depression and anxiety". "Right", the gray-haired man said back to me, "we are on the same program so perhaps we can work together."

Programs. I never quite got the concept of people in the clinic belonging to different programs. At the end of the day, we were all here for the same reason. We were self-destructive and helpless.

 

The first few days were the toughest. I had willingly agreed to go to the Priory for my own safety but mostly for my family's piece of mind. If I hadn't agreed to go, I'd probably be dead by now. A thought which didn't scare me at all. I didn't care if I lived or died. But my family did. I often found myself wishing I had no family, or at least one that was eager to let go of me. I was in pain, but so were they, and that was all on me. I was, and still am, this giant scar on my family's body which refuses to heal, an unstiched wound oozing with disappointment and grief.

 

I didn't want to be there, locked up, with a bunch of people who were very compassionate, yes, but fucking depressing and dull. I didn't want to be part of this special little group no one wants to belong to.

I found myself wishing I had been admitted as an alcoholic, at least their group seemed a lot more cheery. On top of that, they had all the booze. Hidden under mattresses , in their toilet cisterns, in bottles of shampoo...So much for The Priory being a place of recovery.

 

On my fist day there, they took away my tweezers in case I used them to self-harm but I was free to bash my head into the bathroom mirror or tv if I wanted.Or slip one of the knives from the cantine under me sleeve. That was one of the many contradictions when it came to the rules at The Priory.

We were also surpervised during "art therapy" sessions by a therapist is case we wanted to use scissors. I use quotations marks as all art therapy consisted of was a bunch of defective people sat in a room with with classical music playing in the background, writing down affirmations and positive quotes on pieces of paper with colourlful crayons which they could later show off to their families during visitation hours. They could see how well we were obviously doing when presented with the masterpieces we created that boiled down to a bunch of rainbow coloured bullshit sayings such as " Everybody has a little bit of wrong in all the right places.", bits of coloured in collages and pathetic lumps of shapeless clay.

Needless to say, I left after 2 weeks and called my coke dealer on the way back to london. The memories of my rape had fully taken shape in my mind by the end of my stay and both my body and mind were screaming out for escapism and self-destruction.

 

 

 

"Sometimes quiet is violent" - Tyler Joseph

I haven't posted or written anything in two days now. I'm still detoxing, and for the last couple of days, have been feeling a bit low, constantly exhausted and not that enthusiastic about my situation. I should've known this darkening was waiting for me just around the corner.

I was feeling way too upbeat and  positive about my daily routine here and about life in general. You see, it scares me whenever I start to feel better, even, dare I say, good, because it is an unfamiliar domain to me which leaves me feeling uneasy and on the as what's to come. Because, inevitably, what goes up, must come down. And I came crashing down. In those cheerless moments, I must try my hardest to busy my senses because the silence ( especially when I'm using) can be deafening to the point of making my ears bleed. So in these moments of lethargy and cravings, I force myself to put my earphones in at full blast and go for rapid walks around the parc we are lucky to have here.

 

I think the catalyst to this gloomy phase was a session I had with a doctor where he was trying to explain the duality he saw in me, telling me that I fiercely protect myself from pain but at the same time I don't, because I take on everyone else's pain as my own, that I was emotionally very open and giving but that my body; having stored all the abuse it had been put through; physically warned me of potential danger, thereby protecting me from further pain. He finished by saying he saw me as somewhat of a contradiction, to which I replied "yes, I feel as though I fear nothing and everything all at once." We left it at that and I have been ruminating on that thought ever since. How will I ever get through this and find the right balance when there is a split inside of me subconsciously ignating opposite actions and emotions?

 

When I'm in a good place, I don't mind the quiet at all, I even sometimes welcome it, sitting on a bench with no distractions but the sound of the birds flying above, left to my own reflections. The brutal noise inside my head I was left with after that session was imploring me to run as fast as I could towards any distractions, outside noise or physical pain so that I could perhaps, eventually, regain a sense of calm.

 

The song below perfectly encapsulates how I feel when the darkness engulfs me.

Twenty one pilots - Car Radio

"There's no hiding for me
I'm forced to deal with what I feel
There is no distraction to mask what is real"

"Complete or fragmented traumatic amnesia is a common memory disorder found in victims of violence or childhood sexual abuse. They can last several decades and lead to amnesia for entire sections of childhood, with almost no retrievable memory, which results in a painful impression of having no past, nor landmarks." - TRAUMATIC AMNESIA a dissociative survival mechanism by Dr. Muriel Salmona

 

 

Yesterday, I finally opened up a brand new note pad that came with the clothes my dad brought me when he popped round for a visit last week.

I wanted to scribble down some thoughts I'd had during my morning walk around the parc and was surprised to find a note from my mum, along with a picture of me when I was about 6 years old, smiling and posing for the camera. This is what the note said:

 

Look at this darling little girl every day and tell her

"It's okay, I love you and I'm going to take care of us. I got you"

Give her the best life you can, the one she so deserves"

 

Reading those words brought tears to my eyes and are having the same effect on me as I type them. I also truly dislike looking at pictures of me pre-rape as I fail to recognise the smiling girl in the picture.

 

You see, there is some form of fracture where I have divided my life into two parts: before and after the rape. I know that it happened to me but there is some form of split whereby I can mentally accept and acknowledge that I was sexually abused at the age of ten but I'm somehow unable to connect emotionally to this little girl I once was. Perhaps I purposely yet subconsiously dissociate in such a way because I am unable to protect that little girl from the hurt she will inevitably endure.

 

I was once in a trauma therapy counselling group, presenting what we referred to as a trauma timeline. I was describing what was to me, the most sensitive part of my story to the group ( ie my first rape) when another patient turned to me and said: " Oh, so you popped your cherry when you were 10?" I looked at him in utter dismay. How could he liken the rape of a child to - willingly-  losing one's virginity. I knew the comment came with no malice whatsoever and  what first manifested itself as anger on my part, soon transformed into empathy towards a fellow patient who had become so disensitized through the sexual abuse he had suffered as a child that he had come to equate rape to sexual relations with older people with a slight implication of choice. My sentiments towards myself and what had happened to me displaced themselves onto this other person who in my mind must've suffered an atrociously violent childhood to be able to speak in the manner in which he just had.

I can speak of my first rape very matter-of-factly as if it occured to a child I have huge empathy and a great deal of sadness towards but I haven't yet found a way or mustered up the courage to grieve for myself.

 

Addiction as an attempt to solve unbearable distress or pain.

"Negative and/or otherwise inappropriate responses by family members to a victim/survivor can have many profound negative effects on the victim/survivor, and can lead to a shattering of family relationships, communication and functioning." - Dr Sarah E. Ullman

My sister was the first to know of my sexual abuse. Then my mother and consequently, all of the family members on my mother's side. After a lot of therapy, it was decided it was time to tell my father, also leading to my brother simply hearing what had happened but not believing his own sister over a family member he maybe saw once every 4 years, apart from when he went to stay with my sister in Egypt for 3 months. She was living and working there at the time.

 

The sickening thoughts which arise in me like a geyser of burning hot water when I think of the possibility of shared moments between my brother and sister and my rapist are too putrid for my tainted heart to handle. Of course, they didn't know at the time and have always had a fondness and attachement to their egyptian family and roots which I unconsciously rejected.

Having said that, after knowing, the two of them went back to Egypt a few years ago for a holiday of sorts which left me feeling betrayed, confused and neglected.

 

I often regret having confessed my rape to my family as I feel responsible for shattering our dysfunctional yet loving family; what once felt like home, into a giant clusterfuck of resentments and distrust.

 

The thing is, and this is what perturbes me the most I think, is that my cousin the rapist had previously been caught having violently undressed a 13 year old girl he had just raped. The girl, who was employed by my egyptian family ( thus essentially by my father who provided for his entire family abck in Egypt, and still does.)was fired on the spot for bringing disgrace upon the household and my cousin was merely punished with the slamming of my grandmother's shoe against his head.

 

On a seperate occasion, my 15 year old cousin was sexually assaulted by him too, only she managed to fight back and get away. She immediately told her father who wanted to grab my cousin by the ankles and throw him off the balcony, but my dad, not believing my cousin, and being the head of the family ( not because he was the eldest but simply because he was/is the richest) managed to reason with his brother, and, yet again, the offender, my rapist, got away with just a slap on the wrist.

 

My dad has always my hero and I feel responsible for the amount of guilt he carries on his shoulders, knowing what he now knows. Ever since I can remember, I'd always placed him on the highest of piedestals and it is intolerable for me to have to be honest with myself and face the fact that I have been harbouring torturous feelings of anger verging on hatred towards him and his lack of action. I despise that I can no longer look at him in the same way I used to, with love, admiration and a certain twinkle in my eye. Nowadays, when I do muster up the courage to look him in the eye, it's either strenuous, with a heavy heart or with abnormally dilated pupils.

 

Daddy's little angel turned into his worst nightmare. PART ONE

Flashback to my early twenties. My friends and people we'd gathered along with us along the night, arrive at the after-party at this stunning London home. The host, an older gentleman; wealthy lawyer who enjoyed the company of pretty young men; made his home turned his home into our drug-fuelled haven as he made himself scarce, exchanging drugs for sexual favours. Only his bedroom was out of bounds. The rest of the house was ours to enjoy, unencumbered by the watchful gaze of an overly prudent master of ceremonies.

 

I lost my best friend in the crowd of subdued junkies and found myself upstairs, sitting on a bed with two newly acquired friends. "Friends", at this point, meant anyone high enough to follow an utterly random drug-induced conversation, or anyone carrying drugs.

I was sat on the bed with my two new best friends. A guy ang a girl I had never met before this very night. The guy, much to our delight, produced a bag of drugs, annoucing with pride and excitement that he had some cocaine for us three to share. He proceeded to rack up some fat lines. Being cautious, I wanted reassurance that it was in fact cocaine, to which he replied " the best you'll ever have."

 

After snorting the biggest line I'd ever seen, I soon became comatose, lying on the bed, unable to move my arms or my legs. It was ketamine, not cocaine.My brain was on overdrive with panic and I wanted to flee but my body was not registering the urgency.

 

I felt the two other bodies on the bed creep closer to mine, they were caressing me, everything was happening in slow motion. I tried to move my lips to talk but no words came out of my mouth. I was in a hole. Their bodies grew closer and were surrounding mine. I tried to scream but no sound came out, I tried to move, to push them away but my body was but a lifeless mass.

Soon, without even touching my lips, both their tongues were slowly darting and lingering in and out of my mouth.

 

I have no idea how long it lasted until I regained control of my body and crawled off the bed and down the stairs, slurring my best friend's name, trying to reach her in an attempt to find some comfort and safety in familiarity. When I found her and explained what had happened, she tried to calm me down but she was too high to muster up any kind of outrage and instead, let me leave the party alone so she could carry on using and because " I would be fine, I just needed to walk home, get some air and sleep it off."

 

I didn't and still don't blame anyone other than myself for anything that happened that night.

I WONDER WHAT SAFETY FEELS LIKE.

Daddy's little angel turned into his worst nightmare. PART TWO

It was four in the morning and I was half asleep when my phone buzzed. I had been out that evening to a party where this guy I was sort of seeing was djing. Throughout the evening, I got the message from getting from getting next to no attention from him that it was time for me to go home.

When my phone buzzed and I saw it was him, I felt like a school girl with a ridiculous crush, ready to jump through any hoops in order to be with him. He was semi "famous" in east London at the time, he played bass in a band and their faces were plastered all over the walls of shoreditch. He had a kind of Jekyll & Hyde thing going where he'd be very sweet and caring when it was just the two of us spending time together, getting high and having sex, but as soon as any of his usual entourage was present, he became dismissive and cruel.

 

The text message apologised for his earlier attitude blaming it on the job that was now finished and begged me to come join me at his house. He said he really wanted to see me and would send a taxi to come pick me up. It didn't take too much convincing until I agreed, got out of bed, got ready and waited for the taxi.

 

When I arrived, I was disappointed and anxious to find there were three other guys there and was soon made to feel like my presence was only required to assert this guy's ability to get women to indulge his every whim.

This event happened before the one I just recounted in part one and is an indication of why I was so cautious regarding ketamine, eventhough at the countless parties before, I had experimented with many other drugs.

I got anxious when they got out a bag of ketamine but the pressure of the group made me join in. One of the other guys dropped some one the floor and the guy I was with; let's call him A for the sake of the story; said it was a shame to waste and that I should snort it off the floor. I got down on my knees and did as he suggested. They all laughed.

Back on the couch, sandwhiched in between these strangers, one of the other guys ( let's call him B) started flirting with me, which seemed not to bother A in the slightest. I soon started feeling unwell and paranoid. A thought it was funny and commented that he didn't think I couldn't take my drugs. I went to lie down on his bed, partly because I felt lightheaded and dizzy and partly because I was hoping for some alone time with him, the only reason I got out of bed at 4 in the morning to come in the first place. He came into the room and mocked me for being needy and teased that whilst sex would be nice, the football was on, then left the room to join his buddies. Then I heard him say to his friend "she's in there and up for it if anyone wants a go". Laughter insued and when B soon followed into the bedroom and closed the door behind him, my stomach churned in fear. Thankfully, he only wanted to check that I was okay and rejoined his clan soon after I convinced him.

 

I was brought up in a nice home, with a loving family. Growing up, I was the apple of my father's eye. His little princess. He always told me I was the most beautiful little girl and the most intelligent. He spoilt us rotten. Coming from a background where he shared a bed with his 4 sisters and brother, had no running water and often didn't eat, my dad gave us everything he never had growing up. He introduced us to the luxuries of the world from a very young age and was always so proud of how I behaved in public. He would often show me off to his friends and family as his perfect little treasure. In his eyes, I only deserved the very best life had to give.

 

The outrage it would conjure up in my parents at the sight of their daugther allowing herself to be used and degraded in such a way, sitting in a filthy flat as the sun rose, sniffing ketamine off the floor like a dog was somehow thrilling to me. Their perfect little angel. Down in the dirt. This was the world I belonged to.

 

The abuse I allowed myself and others to put me through. The abuse my younger self would be repulsed by and idignated to witness. The abuse I still crave to put myself through. The life I've told myself I belong to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"A second is no more than a second, a minute no more than a minute, a day no more than a day. They pass. All things and time will pass" - James Frey

This passage from Frey's book A million little pieces particularly speaks to me at the moment. I am having a really rough time with this detox. Every time, it gets a little harder. I can cope with the mind-numbing headaches and the tremors, but the groundhog day routine of sleep, wake up, puke my guts out, take medicine, feel better for a short while, eat, puke and repeat is hellish. It goes on in this loop, which, when stuck in it, feels never-ending. I've put myself here again. In this mess. I knew this would inevitably come yet I did it anyway. The double-edged sword. The medicine which soothes all my sorrows and kills me at the same time.

 

At the moment, the only reprieve I get from this hell I've brought upon myself is sleeping, and even then, the using dreams are so vivid and intense that when I wake, it takes me a few seconds to remember where I am, followed by the relief that I haven't actually used.

 

Just for today, as they tell us; but the days seem to stretch into these intricate labyrinths I get desperately lost in, so for now, I can only manage one minute at a time and need to constantly remind myself that everything passes.

The morning after the rape.

When the sun rose, we were awakened by the screams of the lamb being slaughtered for our lunch. My mother and my sister were pale with sickness hearing the screachings sounds of the lamb.Their faces mimicked the expressions of someone who had just seen a ghost.

 

As per Egyptian tradition, the lamb mechoui is a feast which takes hours to prepare and, after smothering the meat with spices and placing its entire little body in a large closed pan, is left to slow cook by digging a hole deep in the sand and burying the pot.

 

As my mother and sister cluthed each other in horror, I went downstairs to politely acknowledge the effort my family was putting into creating this special dish just for us.

I had learnt how to dissociate and had by now conditioned myself to represent as my father's pride and joy, his perfect little blonde-haired angel who, unlike the other females in our family, would respectfully and dutifully sit next to him at the lunch table with the decorum of an aristocrat  as we were being tended to like royality by the rest of our egyptian family. We always ate first. My father was the prodigal son, the king, who literally financially provided for an entire village, and thus, was treated as such.

 

So I sat, and I smiled, and I ate, and I forgot that I had been raped.

BREATHE