Thursday, May 28, 2015

Post ER (part 2)



Where I left off in the last post was the last time I wrote in my mission journal... I will have to fill in the rest from memory. Before I do I just have to sort of add a little precautionary thing in here. This post might be a little disturbing... If you found any of my previous posts super disturbing, than this post might be a good one to skip over. But I do have to say that these are all real. The journal entries in the last posts, the stories I share, they are all true and real. Posting these still bring back lots of anxiety and feeling about it all, but I know I need to share it. And I know that I feel much better each time I do. It's a relief. 


So with all that said, here goes the rest of my story...



The last couple days out there were a blur. But I'll rewind to June 8th... It was a Sunday, and (funny story) before I left on my mission I had promised my mom that I would shave once a week. Shaving is a huge chore for me, so that was a big promise, but I kept it my whole mission. I was showering with the door open and Sister Eames had given me the razor. I had already taken it apart once, so I took it apart again and made one thick cut on my left thigh. It was like I was watching myself do it... It was a total out of body experience, it was freeing! The physical pain made the mental and emotional pain go away. I felt like I could do something about my self hatred! I felt like my head was the clearest it had been in a long time. Never once did I freak out. Never once did I say "oh crap! I'm going home now!" I don't even know what my thought process was after I cut. I think I was so down and mentally messed up, that I didn't even care... 

That one act, still angers me. "If I could have had a little more self control..." I told myself that over and over again the next 9 months! But I HAD made the cut! And once it was done I couldn't stop...

I dug out a pair of nail clippers, and gave back the razor, so Sister Eames wouldn't suspect anything. Then I scrapped the nail clippers into the same cut. And then when we went out to work after that if the thoughts started to become overwhelming again, or if I was feeling really really down, I would just push really hard on my leg, it hurt, but it cleared my head... I still don't know what I was thinking, I don't remember thinking! I think I was past thinking, I was so desperate to FEEL normal that my ability to think clearly, my moral thoughts were completely clouded! I hadn't felt the spirit in a few weeks, so not only was I disconnected spiritually, but mentally as well!

Over the next 2 days I made similar cuts with the nail clippers, as well as a thumb tack I had used to hang up some of my pictures. I tried to wear darker skirts, or slips so that if I pushed on the cuts, my companion couldn't tell if it bled through... 

Then Tuesday night, the night before we were to drive to Florence for our Mission Presidents last Zone Conference before he went home, Sister Eames was inspired to ask if I had hurt myself... I didn't answer for a long long long time... I think she had thought I had fallen asleep, then she heard me crying. She asked me again, and I had to say yes. I couldn't lie to her. I had been 100% honest with her. I told myself that was the least I could do since she was stuck with the worst companion in the history of the church! She started to cry. She turned on the lights and asked to see where I had cut, I pulled up my shorts to show her the 4 lines, one was bleeding, I had been pushing on it really hard. I knew she was trying to be strong, but she looked so sick and so disgusted... I felt like I had been punched in the gut when she said "We had just 2 more days Sister Williams! You couldn't have made it just 2 more days?"

Then she asked how long ago I had cut? I think she had realized her question had hurt, but I didn't blame her, of course I couldn't, that would be any normal functioning human beings reaction... I knew I was the farthest thing from normal. I told her I had cut for the first time on Sunday. She just shook her head, she looked angry... I think I asked her if she was mad at me. She then said that she was angry at herself, she had been feeling like she needed to ask me if I had cut since Sunday, but she was too scared.

I remember when she said that I finally felt like I was waking up from a nightmare, but into the same nightmare, I was just more aware! I started to realize what I had done! I had broken my promise to her, to President Holm, and I had broken my contract I signed at the ER! I started to shake! I was hysterical! 

Then Sister Eames said "You know I have to call President now, right?" I shook my head! I felt the terror and anxiety well up inside me but I was NOT going to make her do that. We were seeing President tomorrow morning, before the meeting started I would tell him. I had gotten myself into this mess, I wouldn't make her be the one to tell. Besides, I felt like if I told him, there might be a glimmer of hope of me staying out here still... I promised her I would tell him tomorrow. I don't know if either of us slept that night...

The next day I couldn't even look at Sister Eames. The whole way down I was pushing on the marks (she had taken the thumb tack and the nail clippers away), on my leg. Sister Eames kept telling me to stop. I felt like I was going to throw up... We arrived and usually I am so excited to see other missionaries, especially since our zone was a fun group of missionaries that transfer. President and Sister Holm weren't there yet, so we were visiting and hugging all the other sisters. I felt empty inside. I felt fake as I pretended that nothing was wrong...

President arrived and we were all pushed into the Chapel to begin... I glanced once back at my companion who tried to nod at me encouragingly. I walked up to President and asked if I could talk to him really quick... we walked into an empty classroom and I told him what I had done. He asked to see my cuts, I showed him. He told me to stay here, and that everything was going to be alright. I felt so reassured by him, I really wanted to believe it as all going to be ok. He called Sister Holm in, as I could hear everyone else starting to sing the opening song. He asked me to tell Sister Holm what I just told him. She asked me to show her the cuts. Then she said "I don't think Salt Lake will let her stay now, will they?" Presidents answer was firm, "no, this is their protocol, it won't change..." He then told me that we would discuss a plane ride home after the zone conference was over. He said I wasn't to tell anyone that I was going home. He said I was still a missionary and therefore had to act like one. He promised me everything would be ok. He said after the meeting me, him, Sister Holm and my counselor would meet. He said not to worry. And then he lead us into the chapel...

I walked back in and sat by Sister Eames, I tried to act normal, but I felt so hallow and so empty. I didn't know what to say. She asked what he had said. I couldn't just tell her, we had a bunch of other sisters sitting all around us... I just said, "It's what we thought it would be..." Then we both started to tear up. I told her we had to act normal, that I was still here and that I was still a missionary. I told her to stay in the now and not worry. I said it more for myself then for her. But we both were shook up...

That day was so hard, I look back on the pictures that I took on that day, I look sick, I look fake, but I don't think anyone else could tell except for Sister Eames. We were surrounded by a bunch of other missionaries all day, so we couldn't discuss what President had actually said to me. But I didn't really want to, it still didn't feel real to me. And if it started to feel real I would push really hard on the cuts, Sister Eames would shove my hand away...

The closing song of the meeting was "God be with you till we meet again." It was meant to be for President and Sister Holm... Lots of missionaries were crying because they didn't want them to leave... But I thought it was the most cruel hymn ever! To this day I still don't like it! Sister Eames and I bawled! President told us to come back in an hour or so...

So we drove to Brewster's (my favorite place to get ice cream)... I don't remember what I got, I don't remember eating it... I still had that empty, hallow feeling in my gut. We talked, and I explained what president had said to me. We cried a little more, I remember Sister Eames begging me to stop pushing on the marks, she said I couldn't do it around President for sure, I agreed. Then we had to go back to the church...

President called me in alone, I still didn't like the idea of leaving Sister Eames, even if it was for an interview with President. But in the room was Sister Holm, my counselor, and Stake President that lived in the ward I was serving in... President told me he had been on the phone with Salt Lake, and with my Stake President back at home. He said I would leave in 3 days on Saturday morning, with another missionary. He asked me to tell my counselor my story again... I did, and I showed her the cuts on my knuckles from punching the wall. I didn't cry much, I just felt stunned... I felt afraid... I was going home, it didn't seem real.

President then called Sister Eames in, our Sister Training Leaders were outside with her, they didn't know what happened but they knew I was going home... She started to cry as President told her what the plan was from there. I remember looking at her and seeing the hell I had put her through and hating myself all over again.

Then the Stake President thanked me for serving in his ward. He then told President that he was going to hug me, I gave him a big hug back... I would hug many more people over the next 3 days, of both genders before going home.

That night we both fell apart.

I don't remember a ton of the next 3 days, I remember saying goodbye, I remember feeling so pressed for time to get everything done. I remember I didn't want to pack, I just wanted to work until the last possible second!

I will never forget, however, when Sister Eames dropped me off to ride to Columbia with the AP's where I would stay overnight at a senior couples home, then I would meet with president and fly home... She would go with the Sister Training Leaders to our area. We had said all our goodbyes and got all our crying out before we got there. But I remember watching her get into the car as we drove away. I felt ripped in half and I felt a huge wave of anxiety hit me... And it didn't go away for a good week or so. I felt so anxious and so alone, more than I had ever been! I told myself I had to be happy that she was getting a normal companion, that she wouldn't have to deal with me anymore...

Before I had left she made me swear I would write or email to her every week so she would know I was ok...  After President told us I was going home, she kept saying "You are going to get the help you need now." And she said it with confidence... I wanted to believe her, but I couldn't. I felt hopeless and crushed.

The next day, June 14th, 2014 my mission president handed me his iPhone and told me to call my parents, he said they new I was coming home, but that was all they knew. I had kept it together really well after leaving my area, but when my mom answered the phone I fell apart. I couldn't tell her everything, I only had a few minutes, I told her my itinerary and told her that nobody was to be at the airport but her and dad to pick me up... She tentatively asked if my siblings could be there too... I didn't want it, but I agreed... I had to hang up. And for the first time it felt real, I had the tickets in my hand. I was walking out of the mission office, driving to the airport, leaving South Carolina... I felt completely hopeless and alone.

"I'm going to get the help I need." I kept trying to say, I felt like if I said it enough... then maybe I would eventually believe it.



-The Lyme Warrior