Trigger warnings: Mentions of CSA, depression, flashbacks
Hello, I am Albion Spiritviolet. Actually, that’s a just a ridiculous pseudonym, computer-generated so as to bear absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to any name I do go by.
This is the story of the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.
Academic Year 2014-15:
I am a senior in high school. Life is looking up and my grades are in order for the first time since… actually I’ve always been a D student, even in elementary school, where they don’t really give grades.
For instance, I spent two thirds of third grade in the “choices room”, distracting myself with daydreams, because my teachers had no idea how my little autistic brain worked(-s), and it made them angry.
My course-load is actually reasonable, contrary to my expectations from last year. I just need 1.5 English credits and a few miscellaneous electives to graduate. (You might want to remember that detail.)
Strange things have been happening this month. Just at the edge of my memory there seems to be a small hole that I can’t quite focus on. I can remember a small handful of times when I tried, but I always quickly gave up on the endeavor and simply didn’t let it bother me.
I think about mentioning it to Friend. It doesn’t seem important enough.
For some strange reason, this little hole keeps reentering my thoughts. I come at it from a different angle. It seems to be a dream, and an old one at that.
I want to mention it to Friend. I type out a message, but delete it. They probably won’t care.
It’s eating away at me now. There’s something in my mind that I don’t know about, and it’s actively avoiding my gaze.
I chip away at it for a few days. It seems at first to have been a nightmare.
But there’s more to it than that.
It’s too hard to think about what else it might be. Before I can complete my thoughts, they’re broken up and confused by something just under the surface of my mind.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014, Morning:
I’m chatting with Friend on the way to school in the morning.
I type out a message about it. I erase it. I type out a new message, with less detail. Rinse and repeat. Eventually, I send this:
Me: Has there ever been something that you would, on a cognitive level, like to talk about, but on a deeper level, you can’t bring yourself to even come close to talking about it?
It takes me fifteen minutes from start to Send.
Me: For me, a lot of things are like that, to a much lesser extent
Me: My default mode is nonvocal, I can’t ‘think aloud’
Me: Everything I have ever said was passed through a huge array of mental filters
Me: I don’t even know why most of them are there
Friend gets distracted for a moment. I don’t let myself stop just yet. I have a plan. I can’t override the filters myself, but the other thing I can’t do is leave someone hanging.
Slowly, I keep talking.
At this point, the chat log speaks for itself.
Me: As you might have imagined, the previous conversation is not what I was intending to talk about
Me: That was the action of those mental filters, attempts to override them often end up being redirected to talking about them themselves
Friend: What did you want to say that got filtered?
Me: I wanted to talk about a memory
Friend: Care to share, or rather not?
Me: A very old memory
Friend: And what was it of?
Me: I’ve never spoken of it to anyone, ever, no matter how much it’s bothered me not to
Friend: Are you going to keep repeating yourself in different words slowly adding small details about the memory itself instead of telling me what it is the memory is of? If you’d rather not say it, I won’t push you, but if it bothers you not to say it, then just out with it, hon.
Friend: I won’t judge you.
Friend: I won’t hold anything against your or think any less of you.
Me: I also have absolutely no confirmation of its accuracy
Friend: Common with memories.
Me: I am attempting to back myself into a corner and force myself to say it
The next minute forty passes by the slowest of any in my life. I put everything I have into the next message. More, even, it seems like. I have absolute conviction that I will send it, subconscious defense mechanisms be damned.
Me: I believe that, in either the first or second grade, I was sexually assaulted by a high-school-age male acquaintance
In this moment, I have brought it out into the real world. There’s no denying it anymore. I have forced the repressed memory into plain view, and overridden the filter. While it still gives me pause for a few more weeks, it’s failed in its purpose and eventually ceases to exist.
Me: Such a strange feeling, to finally put something in words after so long being unable to
Me: It’s one of my oldest memories
Friend: That’s awful. >.<
Me: Well, I finally said it
Me: It took a massive amount of will
Me: And class is starting
I get a peculiar feeling now, which doesn’t quite go away for a long time.
The process of breaking down that mental wall took something out of me. I later describe it as feeling like I tore off a mental scab, and it started bleeding.
I have vivid, involuntary flashbacks for at least a week, and I am depressed for more than two. I’ve never been depressed before, nor since. Having spent all my energy breaking through the wall, I had none left to deal with what was locked behind it. I barely remember anything from this time.
I have said barely anything about what that actually entailed. Breaking down that barrier was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It wasn’t neat, either, it had all the care and grace of a sledgehammer. It took so much mental energy that it completely redefined “willpower” in my mind, because never before or since have I exerted so much of it.
It took so much from me that nothing even registers on the same scale as it.
It’s not twice as much willpower as the next hardest thing. It’s not ten times as much. Rather, it seems more similar in scope to all the other mentally draining things I’ve done added together.
I lack the words to express it, and I don’t believe they exist at all. The experience of exerting as much mental force as one can muster to literally break a piece of one’s own mind is entirely unlike anything else, and wholly unpleasant, too.
It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.
With significant difficulty, I tell a few more friends.
I’m trying to create a support network. It’s nothing like the first time.
Now the hardest part is deciding whether it’s a good idea at all. I require absolute confidentiality from my friends. I am not ready for this to get out.
I’m still not, a year and a half later. Who knows when I will be. But until then, I can handle being “Albion”.
Mid-late November, 2014:
My friends have managed to keep me afloat for a month, but it’s clear that normal high schoolers are not equipped to provide the kind of help that I need.
On the advice of one of my friends, I contact RFAS, which I was only vaguely familiar with prior to this point, and ask to be put into contact with someone on The List. This is possibly the best decision I have ever made.
The next few months are terrible, but I make it through them with significant support from my new friend from RFAS. School and recovery are hard to juggle, but senior year is much less stressful than junior year and it works out for the most part.
My English teacher assigns the last book we’re doing for the year.
It’s called “The Kite Runner”.
That book deserves its own post, so I won’t go into it here. Eventually I’ll write another post under this pseudonym talking about it. And possibly another one describing the event itself, if I don’t cover it in the other one.