Radio Silence

Since I was a child, music had been inside me. It is what had saved me all along. It rescued me from many bleak moments and situations with its fighting lyrics and beats. It was what blocked out the inner horror of the childhood I had been living. It blocked out scary noises and bumps in the night and somehow corralled every terror and fright inside me and quieted them. I could be a different me if I focused and sang. I could feel myself be lifted away from the hell I was in and carried to a lighter place inside me. I used music to escape my life. Every song was like a little story in itself. Each one could either make you happy, sad or melancholy. There were songs you could scream along with when you were angry and ones you could cry to if you were sad. I listened to music in my room, on my headphones and in the car, I would fall asleep listening to the sounds of the top 40 and at 6 a.m. music would gently wake me.  I knew classic rock, pop and country. I would play disco and the “Battle of New Orleans.” I had my favorites of and I knew them all by heart. Notes and lyrics would carry me away and for three minutes I was somewhere else, in a world of my own creation. It was a place inhabited only by me and the only place I knew I was safe. No one could follow me in, I had a secret door and I was the only person who could open it. I know that the reason I survived my childhood was because of music. It was always there when I needed it to take me away so I could escape for a while. It was my ONLY coping mechanism. Besides forgetting..

After my second admission, which was technically for bipolar depression- but I think the hospital’s decision to admit me probably had a lot more to do with my admission that  my husband had hired someone to kill me and that they had been following me around for days trying to find the best place to perform the deed than that I couldn’t stop crying. This statement drew quite the look from my sister in law, who had kindly driven me to the emergency room and agreed to stay with me for the time being. I’m sure the stories were flying around her dinner table that night and for many nights after. I’m sure they did because I still get the looks now. They don’t say anything to me about me being”sick.” It’s just the looks they give me, like nothing I say can be trusted. Same old, same old…..

I’m not sure I came out of the hospital alive that time. I couldn’t smile, I couldn’t feel anything inside me. No feelings- not sad, not mad, not happy- just blank. I spent time staring at the walls, rocking in my seat, talking to myself, acting just the way the patients at ST. Mary’s did that freaked me out so badly. I had told myself that would never be me..Never say never…I spent a lot of time trying to discern what was fact and what was fiction in my mind. I did need my husband to take care of me during that time and he was patient and kind and observant and gave everything of himself that he had to give. I needed him. I couldn’t form my own thoughts, I couldn’t remember to get out of bed , clean my house or brush my teeth. I needed to be reminded to do anything, everything. There was no more music in my life. I wondered why people even wasted there time turning on the radio. There is no real music now anyway. Not music that means anything. It’s all just fluff. Riding in the car, I rode in silence because anything extra was just too much noise in my head. My mind was so busy with itself that any extra noise was more than I could bear. I could call them the silent years, but there was more noise in my head than any orchestra could make. I just couldn’t hear what it was saying….

Last year-after 5 long years- in 2017-the music began coming back. It started coming through to me in my sleep, every day waking with a song lyric in my head. Finally I began to get up and play the song I woke with, then it was songs from my childhood the 70’s, classic rock and some disco, then the music from my teens-Prince, Bruce Springsteen. Then it was Pink songs- and slowly, oh so slowly, my life began to come back. Then I grasped onto it like a lifesaver and held on for dear life, knowing that the music was going to pull me free. With the music releasing my spirit, somehow I began to get flashes of memories and to feel an inkling here and there of who I used to be. I didn’t realize how silent it was until the sound began to come back. The memories that it brought were not always happy. More often than not they weren’t. They were dirty and hard and traumatic. When I get the flashbacks now I get them written down in the hopes of exorcising them.

I didn’t realize until recently that there are other times I’ve lost music and with distance I can see that the times I did were not good times. No matter what my family thinks, whether they think I am well or crazy, whether they think I’m wasting my time writing or should be doing something they consider more productive, I will take it with a grain of salt and know that I am on the path God put me on. It will take something a lot bigger than some second guessing of me by my family to deter me.

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