The Benefits of Expressing and Opening Up
By Lori Finnila aka Lori Jean
It had been a bad summer for me. My dad had died and I was misdiagnosed and betrayed by the medical profession that brain injured me - not knowing that this was normal format for a malpractice case. But I still sometimes can’t stop thinking; if I had only kept driving by that house of danger, I would not have suffered more abuse?
I grew up in a rural town. After my surgery in New York City had not gone well, I had thought to go home. I thought I would get a lot of support and love and kisses. Not only was that not what happened, but I was in danger there. I was not safe at all. Not only was I not getting love and hugs, I ended up being hurt badly.
When I went home I rented from a friend of a friend. Yet time was still getting close to me when I would have nowhere to stay. I wasn’t using my money wisely due to the drugs that were somehow being administered to me at this place. The place was sketchy in its activity with the men staying there. They weren’t the kind of men that I would deal with on a regular basis. The familiar scent of burning drugs in street corners of New York City was beginning to become constant there. My phone calls were being tapped and the more I tried to phone out for help, the less success I had. I remember trying to pace up and down the halls to get out of me whatever was in my system; It was frightening. With no money and the longer time to process decisions, there was no way out for me. It may not have been completely apparent to others, but I could at least see that clearly.
My friends began to come by with necessities for me. Soap, toothpaste, brushes, and even clothes were a few among them. I felt so grateful that I wasn’t very aware of their actions toward me at the time or the effect they were having on me. “Here are the clothes I wore when I was pregnant,” was one of the statements from a close friend as she was laughing at me. I hadn’t thought too much into it. I was told by another not to tell anyone that I was disabled, which I was slightly disabled at that point; there were no indications when or if I was going to get better. Even though my diagnosis seemed bleak to everyone else, I was completely unaware of its effect or the depth of it on anyone’s actions onto me.
I was withdrawing more and more. I was becoming physically exhausted of the fight to maintain my senses. I learned how to keep quiet. I didn’t know how much worse it would get, or I would have found another way out of this, I am sure. I had shut down from others and my common sense was put aside because of the treatment upon me from others. Even with all this, the sadness of the situation wasn’t acknowledgeable to me.
I would get very sleepy at times and remembered men climbing in bed with me when I slept. I remember in my mind trying to fight them off but I couldn’t move. Nothing was done to me, but I would wake up very groggy. Then the worst started when I would wake up and my body was very sick. I would start to feel burning sensations in the top of my head. I would call the police but I wasn’t talking well and they couldn’t understand me. This was a lost cause.
I eventually had to leave that house and move in with the very friends who were hurting me emotionally. I got even sicker. I was finally on my own when I saw a house of a friend, or I thought her to be, and I thought to stop by. A very scary man was in the door and my first reaction was to keep driving. I could feel a weird pull of sorts bringing me back to the house; I don’t know if it was the effect of the drugs and/or poisons I had kept being given in my foods, but I did eventually go into the house. This man’s look was so scary; I felt that is was vital for my safety to enter.
Once entered, I ended up in the same path of drugs in my food. I could feel the horrible poisoned-drug feeling that was so scary and familiar to me. But this time I went into survival mode and made sure I fought it physically. I made sure to get rid of the food that was hurting me. I tried to get away from the house completely but I couldn’t. I was too badly hurt. I became a slave to this man and his friends for many years. The man in the doorway to the house now carried the answers to what had been happening to me. It all came together now. The familiar voice, his friends coming about now that I had seen, and the mysterious phone calls when I was drugged. It was all right in front of me now; I had to live it out.
I did go into that house and I was hurt. But I survived. Not only did I survive, but I made it through years of torture from this man, all awhile helping others. I met and related with many women who had been or had gone through the same or similar things that I had been through. I realized how dumb and naïve I was, all awhile not realizing the realities of life. Through my own danger I learned to find myself.
It has been quite a struggle both physically and emotionally. I never fully escaped. It took years of strength to hold on, a lot of moving, and hiding my whereabouts. I would always be found and have to restart the fight for my freedom from this man again, but it got easier. I knew I had to relive places and times uncomfortable to me to get through to the positive side of life. But now I had learned this had been my life beforehand for many years. Through many years of growth from education, counseling from battered shelters, and love from my son, today I ride my bike down the road and feel the wind in my hair and on my body. I can hear the birds for the first time in my life.