I know how easy it is to say that and I'd say the exact same thing. The problem is that I remember every single time I've done that in the past year or two.
First, let me say this. I'm not trying to make excuses. Really. Every time I've left I've felt amazingly good about myself and I said to myself, "All you have to do is do exactly what you know is right. Do the right thing and nothing bad can happen." That seems like such a good philosophy...it worked for Reagan. So, in a good mood, I would walk away, glad that I was doing the right thing and proud of myself for setting a good example for my daughter, who really is the main motivator for me. She has kept me alive this far because I wouldn't do anything that would hurt her. So, it isn't as though I don't think about anyone else, I do, to my own detriment at times. I wish I could explain exactly how good I feel about myself when I walk away, maybe I have to be walking away to describe it. Anyway, my point is, I have my moments when I know damn well what I'm supposed to do...and I have the strength to do it.
One day I walked away with a couple of small bags and went over to my father's house. I said, "Dad, could you please help me while I have the strength to do this? All I need is a ride." He told me to take the bus so I did. But seriously, right at that moment, his help could have made the difference between my leaving with a tiny bit of hope, feeling somewhat worthy of help...or leaving with no help, feeling unworthy of a father's love. But, I did leave that day.
One day I was trying to leave and a miracle happened. Somehow, my kids all decided to stop talking to me after talking to a man they've never met. I have no clue what he said to them and to tell the truth, it doesn't matter. There isn't anything that anyone could say to me that would erase what I know to be true. Anyway, I wanted to leave but I didn't know what to do. Out of nowhere, my daughter called. She heard what was going on in the background and she told me to get out...NOW! She had no idea how much her support meant to me that day. I did thank her for that even though she probably didn't grasp exactly how important that was to me. I went to a motel down the street and stayed there for 2 days trying to figure out what to do next. I did and I carried out my plans. I forget exactly what happened that time but as usual, something happened and I ended up back here.
I can remember the times that I left and I remember the outcomes, I just can't match them all up with each other. Nevertheless, one time I went straight to a homeless shelter. I could have dealt with the rats. I could have dealt with having to leave everything I owned behind me. I could have dealt with the other people because most of them, to me, seemed rather decent. But what I couldn't handle was the night-time activities of the shelter. There was one lady with many, many problems and although I could walk away during the day, at night we weren't allowed to leave the "dorm" after lights out. The lady with problems spent her nights hollering. It was like being locked up with a bunch of scary people and I have enough trouble sleeping, I couldn't handle being locked in a room with a racist black lady who shouted out nasty things about white people all night. Even if I could have fallen asleep, I never could have stayed asleep. I just laid there in the dark, afraid and wide awake. You can't leave your stuff in a homeless shelter during the day. They get you up before the sun and you have to leave until 4:30 PM when you are allowed back to be locked up with the nut lady. I didn't have a shopping cart so I couldn't go far with the stuff I had with me. I gave up early that time.
Once I went to a relatives place, happy to sleep on the floor. But I saw people doing drugs that I had never seen before and it scared me because, contrary to what people have said about me, I don't do drugs...unless of course you count weed. I'm not afraid of weed, but I am afraid of drugs that people kill for. I had to give my relatives boyfriend all but 20 of my xanax the day after I got there. When I asked where the closest pharmacy was, that was it. My pain pills and my xanax were fair game and the guy was a scary guy...I couldn't say no. I didn't want to be anywhere near that situation when the cops finally came. I'm sure they would have been there eventually, if I was lucky enough to avoid a shoot-out in the meantime. I gave up and came back again.
I went to another relatives house once and as soon as I got there, she moved in with her boyfriend. One afternoon after he had spent the day drinking, he asked me to pay the electric bill. I asked for the phone number so that I could call the electric company and that just made him angry because he wanted the cash. He was acting like such a jack-ass that my relative walked away, leaving me there with a drunk guy who wanted my money. After a few threats, I didn't know what to do so I called the only person that I knew would come and get me...and I ended up here again.
I went to a domestic violence shelter once and within a few days I had a huge seizure. They took me to the hospital and when I got out, they wouldn't let me back because they said they weren't prepared to care for me. I found out later that they were violating rules designed to protect the handicapped but by then, it was too late, I had gone back.
One night I tried to leave and I ended up with a busted hand and a bad back injury. After that altercation at the door, I barricaded myself in the bedroom and stayed there from Friday until Tuesday trying to figure out what to do. By Tuesday I gave in to the constant CIA like tactics and I said, "You're right...it's all my fault. None of this would have happened if I had my medicine so will you take me to the doctor to get it?" The doctor saw the injuries and called the police. I ended up in a domestic violence shelter where I sat, feeling hideous about myself. This is when my kids weren't speaking to me. I knew that they would speak to me on Christmas but when they didn't, my idiotic self couldn't handle it anymore. I swallowed a LOT of my heart medicine and was hospitalized until I was sent to the cuckoo's nest. I actually felt good for a while there. They changed my meds and it was working. They discharged me and set up an appointment at the outpatient clinic where I went to get my first month's worth of meds. I took them and then went back the next month, only to find out that the state pays for the first month out of the hospital but after that you need insurance of some sort. I couldn't afford the $750 medication and that was that...all the progress I had made was abruptly halted. I found out later that I had Medicaid the whole time but I didn't know that then. I was still trying to get the Hillsborough County insurance but I didn't have Florida state ID.
(The ID story is another big mess, I went to get a Florida ID but I didn't have my birth certificate. I tried to get that but I needed a state ID with my current address on it. All I had was my Georgia ID and I had lived in two other states since I was in Georgia. I could write for a week about this mess alone. As I was told many times, "It's not you, New Jersey is a hard state to deal with.")
Other stupid little things have messed with me as well. I went to court one day to be there for a bail hearing. The judge said that I had been subpoenaed to a court date and never showed up. At that point he told me not to talk because I might be arrested for failure to appear and he needed to protect my rights. I had never been subpoenaed but I couldn't talk so I couldn't do a thing but walk away, afraid that the cops were now going to lock me up. This past week, I was again told that I missed a court date that I had been subpoenaed to appear. Once again, I never received a subpoena. Not only didn't I get a subpoena, I was actually told that the hearing was nothing but a "dispo" hearing that I needn't attend.
At my best, I could probably handle this crap. But I haven't been at my best for some time now. The only people who don't listen to the lies about me are the people who have heard what's really going on here and unfortunately, that's not many people. I found a place that I could stay for 12 bucks a night, but I don't have enough money to put out for that. If I took the rest of my cash and went to THAT place, I'd be out of money rather soon and back in the same situation. Of course, being robbed of $300 didn't help at all. Actually, it did more than $300 worth of damage. It added to my knowledge that I'm an idiot.
I think about things and decide that only a true loser would be in my situation. I don't have a car, I don't have anyplace to put my stuff and I just don't know what to do. Then I think to myself that I'm a drain on society and the depression, anxiety and other health problems add to the fear.
Now, during all of this, the one person who will help me is the person who tries to control me. He tells me how this is all my fault and that I've done it to myself. After a while, I start to believe that because there isn't anyone else who is telling me anything different. So...guilt sets in. That just feeds the rest of my problems and then you have what I am today...a woman afraid to move a finger for fear that something else will blow up in my face. And I KNOW I should leave. I KNOW it's the right thing to do. I KNOW that every day I don't leave I'm making things worse. That knowledge does nothing but prove to me how weak and pathetic I am. I think of what I've accomplished in my life and I remember a time when I could do anything that I wanted to do. I put myself through college while raising 3 little ones. I'm a published writer. I'm a nice person and a wonderful grandmother. I'm not even a bad mother, I've made some mistakes but I have wonderful kids. They may not speak to me but I know that they are doing well so I try not to be selfish and I just leave them alone...no matter how much it hurts.
But...after all of that, my daughter still cares and I can't let her down.