I remember…

That feeling of never wanting to come down. Not just ‘not wanting to’ but being utterly defiant. Through sheer denial. There was no down. Down did not exist. Down was terrifying, petrifying even. If the slightest inkling of that down reality shone through the cracks in my self built belief system then desperate measures ensued.

Begging, borrowing, stealing, misleading, selling, exploiting…anything & everything and it would not stop. I couldn’t hold it off. It was the size of a heard of elephants.

I would literally hold my breath until down was gone…until down was far enough away, that I could exhale. 

A line was drawn and one deep breath went in…and pure relief breathed out. The fear was dead for another few paid hours. For another few paid hours I could spend time with people who made me sick to my stomach.

People with whom there were no downs because if there was, we could not look each other in the eye. People as scared of down as me…or people who sometimes, were not as scared. It was just the sheer honesty in my desperation and destitution helped them to feel comfortable.

Like watching Jeremy Kyle on your day off work.

The times when I would run out…the times when I’d begged, borrowed & clawed my last penny, my last tiny line. I would climb the curtains and pick at the carpet for a crumb. A crumb to make the pain go. A crumb that would delay the down by a minute.

I would cry but no tears would come out. So I would whale desperately, for someone, something to please put me to sleep. I would smoke cigarette after cigarette…pour whatever alcohol was left down my throat. No comfort would come.

It was just me and the mind crushing insanity of withdrawal clawing at the insides of my head like nails down a chalkboard in a timeless infinity. Down was coming. Someone please…please put me to sleep.

Exhaustion would set in. Not soon enough. A day or two later I’d wake and for moments I was unaware of myself. If only I could bottle that. I’d have poured that down too.

Down was here. 

Crashing through my mind like a high speed train through a house of cards. The cringing, crippling shame of the days passed. The things I had done & said… How little sense any of it made. Why didn’t I go home 4 days ago? On Saturday night? When everyone else did? Why couldn’t I do that? 

For the days that followed I promised myself. No more would I do this. No more would I lower myself to this depravity.

I would look in the box where I kept my money with dread, knowing it was empty but just hopeful this time, this time I was wrong…How could I be wrong when I searched 100s of times while I was tearing the house apart looking for something, anything. I would have to find more money. 

Everything was gone as fast as I had earned it and I hated it. I hated what I had to do. I’d tried everything. I tried the dole, I tried applying for jobs, I tried legitimately making money any way that I could. It didn’t work. I didn’t work. So I would be back out by nightfall.

Drawing a new line. With this one came little relief. Only despondency. Like a battered wife cleaning her husband’s shoes. I didn’t have the usual delusional thoughts of ‘one last time’ or ‘just this bag tonight’ instead I thought…

‘Please mess me up. Make it so bad someone has to take over. Take me off this merry go round. Cause me enough damage I can escape this without dying’

‘Because I can’t live here…and I can’t live there either’

I had to do it myself eventually. It was a difficult thing to wake up from as I had not done a very good job of appearing serious about it. Down was almost preferable on this occasion. But it felt over. I’d given myself up. The whole game was up.

I dropped my weapons and fell to my knees. I surrendered myself. 

Please love me even after what I’ve become? Please tell me you still love me after the things I’ve done? Please make me good again? Please don’t tell me what you know? Please pretend you never saw? Please tell me I’m still your same girl? 

And they did pretend…