(Follows on from JAGGED #9 – Crazy Daze)
JAGGED! What a journey!
As I claw my way back into life I have come to realise that I cannot just leave JAGGED hanging on that terrible moment of despair … that moment when I genuinely believed that continuing to be here was just not worth it. To just leave things hanging on a blast of darkness is not fair to those of you who have been supportive and who have read and commented on the content of my mind and early childhood experiences, and the written version of that content as represented by JAGGED.
JAGGED will never be finished in any conventional sense. How could it be? It is an unfolding personal story that will continue to play out for as long as I live. There is no neatness of finality attached to it, there is no succinct summation of lessons learned, there is no statement of salvation attached.
You cannot go through the wish for and the actioning of suicide and come out the other side as the same person. In a very real sense the person I was did die in early August 2020. As I was I was not sustainable. Which probably leaves both you and me asking well who is Keith Edwin Thomas Davis now?
Still a human being of course, still breathing too. I’ve started to come out of the well of darkness appreciative of real things, things that money simply cannot buy. Love, family, friendship, breezes that ruffle your hair, the fact that my eyes can still see, the beauty of silence and calmness, the happy wagging of a dog’s tail, the feel of sun on skin, a justified love of the iconic split-windscreen Kombi. Not a long list to be sure … but certainly better than the old list that consumed me.
I haven’t written anything at all over the last few months. I’ve had nothing to say. Probably because I needed to come to an understanding of who am I now, who is rising from the ashes, what bits of me are going forward and what bits are being left behind. All a bit of a self-segue I suppose.
One part of me is being helped by mental health professionals. The public health system kicked in big time … a psychologist visits me in my home roughly once a fortnight, and I go to see a psychiatrist who is organising a weekly series of psychotherapy sessions that will run for a year … how amazing is that considering there are no fees attached, bless the public health system, and especially considering the fact that the Catholic Church refused to accept responsibility or even consider sending any form of remedial therapy my way.
Also, I organised my own Mental Health Plan through my GP and I see another psychologist every other couple of weeks or so. I have got over my absolute fear of anti-depressants and I slip down a capsule of Elaxine SR 75 each morning with that vital first cup of coffee. I am starting to feel better, I actually even found myself cracking a smile yesterday … not for any grand reason, just simply because I could.
Miracles don’t happen and the flicker flicker of my abuse experiences and the legacies of same still flow through my mind, but not as powerfully, their clarity is muted, and there are days now when that particularly nasty movie does not run across the inside of my forehead at all. Millimetres of progress in that area are millimetres of progress … to me they seem like huge strides.
The women of this world are beyond value. My daughter, once she found out what had happened, offered to come back from London and spend time with me, I asked her not to end the journey of her lifetime, and she is very much on the creative journey of her lifetime, and so we connected on WhatsApp and now video and audio talk once a week … fathers and daughters … special special special. My female friends, again once they realised what had happened, pulled ferociously and lovingly in behind me, no judgement, no chiding, just flat out targeted love and support. You can spend your lifetime feeling unappreciated because of depressive legacies and it is gold to find out that indeed you are appreciated, and more to the point, always were. A male Survivor has also been there quietly in the background over the last few months … he doesn’t say much … he doesn’t have to … I’ve felt the support.
Hopeful delusion is a luxury I can no longer afford. Hoping for justice and fairness from the Catholic Church, and trying to deal with their brutal smack-down of my claim, led me to wanting to kill myself. None of that is worth a re-visit. I will fill out a form for the National Redress Scheme, it is just a form, they’ll do with it what they will, I’ll send the form in, and then forget about it.
You can probably all read between the lines where my pursuit for justice from the Catholic Church is concerned. I held the mirror up to them and told them that their rape of me was wrong, their mental cruelty towards me was wrong, their physical abuse of me was wrong, and that their response to me as an adult was wrong. Their re-traumatising of me nearly killed me. It is not worth a re-visit.
As for writing? There have been some stirs of late. I’ve started an article on the Re-imagining of Australia … on what sort of nation we could become post-COVID. Why not? Chances to re-form our country do not come along all that often. It will take some time to write it.
Meanwhile I’ve been getting down and dirty in the earth, getting soil under my fingernails, and building things. I’m laying a paving path for a friend and I’ve done some marine wire work on her steps … therapy comes in many forms.
So, good old dear old JAGGED. An incomplete book written by who I once was. Now … I live. I think. I love. I accept help. That is an appropriate end to the telling.
(Ed: To read Keith’s story in full, you can start here with Part 1).
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