I despise the pain scales. How many times have I circled those stupid numbers? It never made sense to me. After all, it’s all completely subjective. One person’s 4 is another’s 10. Besides, what are you supposed to compare it to? Your worst day ever or someone else’s worst day ever? Some days I feel like it’s a 9. I never say 10, because I assume that there’s always something more. Frequently, I wake up in the middle of the night because my whole body hurts. My hands and feet are throbbing, my hips burn. Perhaps my right hip hurts more, so I turn over and give my left hip equal time. And I pick up my phone and open Facebook, wondering if there’s anyone else out there who’s awake and hurting. But, it’s just me and my pain.
At times like these, I remember what it was like to lay in bed next to my husband. Sometimes when we went to bed and he had been particularly cruel, I’d turn away from him and whisper to myself, “I HATE you. I HATE you.” Tears would run down my face, but I wouldn’t let on. I didn’t want him to have the pleasure of knowing that he was getting to me. It would only last a couple of minutes and then I’d just feel numb. He would fall asleep right away. From rage to sleep in 0 to 60. I’d lay there, waiting for sleep to come. Praying for God to help me.
How can someone say such horrible things to you and then say they didn’t mean it? At some level my husband had to mean it or he wouldn’t have said it over and over. I was married for almost 15 years, and heard the same things. “You contribute nothing to this marriage.” “I’m the best thing that ever happened to you.” “You’re a fucking bitch.” “You’re a whore.” “You’re a whore and your kids are whores.” “I want a divorce, tomorrow you need to find somewhere to go.” Often, he would take off his wedding ring and throw it across the room. Then, the next morning he would act like nothing happened.
Maybe they should have an emotional pain level. Somehow, I feel like I could quantify that better than physical pain. After all, emotions are supposed to be totally subjective. I’ve had many “10” moments in my marriage. Hurt so bad, I felt like I couldn’t stand it anymore. There must be some sort of physiological response to hurt that deep. Whenever I hurt like that, I can feel it in my head, from the inside out. Like a burning warmth that spreads over my entire head. But, never for long. I wished I could feel it longer than I did. Then maybe I would have been more motivated to do something about it. The numbness would inevitably set in, sooner than it should have.
There were days I felt like the only way out of the pain would be to kill myself. But, of course, I would never do that. I couldn’t leave my kids to fend for themselves. And, I wouldn’t give my husband the satisfaction of knowing that he made my life not worth living. Every once in a while a story would come on the news about a woman who killed herself and her kids. People would comment on it, “How could anyone do that?” But, I understood. I didn’t condone it, but I understood. The overwhelming sense of despair seems to take over. The blackness that threatened to swallow your whole being. I would never let it. Every time, I’d climb back out of that hole and keep going.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the worse emotional pain, I’d say I’m at a 6. I feel victory that I’m on my own and surviving. My counselor and I were just talking about the difference between a victim and a survivor. He told me that once I left my husband I went from a victim to a survivor. Frankly, I want to be so much more than a survivor. I want to be an overcomer. A conqueror. But, I’m not there yet. The healing process has just begun. For the first time in 15 years, I have hope. I keep in mind the bible verse my mom wrote on a piece of floral stationary, her writing shaky, when she was dying from cancer,
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “