MDMA and LSD Therapy in the Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a Case of Sexual Abuse
M.O.: Born in Medellin, Colombia, August 15, 1958.
I came from a family who never spoke about heritage. Our culture was Spanish, our tradition unique and this was all that mattered. All I knew was that we were not Catholic and that, unlike all my friends, I hadn't been baptized and would not have a First Communion. We were a minority in a country where 90% of the people are Catholic.
As I grew older, thoughts about where we had come from became very important to me. At home, we never spoke about emotions or thoughts that bothered us. My father had been raised never to show his emotions or speak about them, and my mother was too busy as a child taking care of five younger brothers and sisters while my grandmother worked, to ever think about having emotions. I learned very fast not to ask questions and always pretend that everything was all right. Looking through old trunks and reading old diaries I came across my father's heritage. His father and mother had gone to Colombia from Spain. They were Jewish and had to leave everything they had behind, including their lives as part of the Jewish race. They had suffered a great deal and maybe in an attempt to forget the past, they had never spoken about it.
My father was the only one to move away from the capital where they all lived. He lived in California and Florida for some time and returned to Colombia with a head full of Western ideas. Education was to him the most important thing and he worked very hard to see that my brother, my sister and I could attend the best English-speaking private school in the city. He believed that knowing other cultures and languages was very important for a good education, English being the most important one. Today I believe he was right and I am thankful to him for having given me the opportunity to learn English.
The English language became the focus of my own education. The United States and the stories my father told about it were fascinating to me, and the thought of some day coming to the States (a trip promised to me when I learned the language well) was alluring.
For many years, even as a young child, I felt out of place in Colombia. My grandmother on my mother's side was traditional Colombian with the exception that her family was also a minority, being Protestants. I was very close to her and learned a great deal from her. She was a strong woman, proud of being a Colombian, and I adopted a lot of her beliefs. Her husband had come to Colombia in a boat (no one knows where from). The boat experienced some trouble and had anchored in a small town on the Pacific Coast where my grandmother lived. He was nineteen and was adopted by a Colombian family who gave him their last name. My grandmother married him shortly after that. All my grandmother knew was that his first name was Oliver. She never asked any questions in regard to his past and he never volunteered any answers. They were married for ten years until my grandfather died of cancer at the age of thirty-two.
So basically the only culture given to me was from my grandmother. I also studied the Jewish history and felt very much a part of it. It seemed to fill a great emptiness in my identity, but it also made me feel like an outcast since no one else in my family shared my inclinations.
I came to the States in 1970 at the age of twelve and lived with a family, friends of my father's. For the first time in my life I wasn't disappointed by my expectations. I loved the snow, the architecture, the language, and the people. I adjusted to the culture very well and even if it was difficult being away from home at that age, for a whole year, I took advantage of the language and tried to learn it as best I could. The only thought in my mind when I returned home was that I wanted to live in the States. I was soon enveloped again by my own country with one great difference: I had something to compare it to. The poverty , the corruption, the ignorance, and conformity of my people became impossible for me to ignore. I had learned that showing your emotions and speaking about them was not a sign of weakness. Back in Colombia I was once more faced with the idea of ignoring everything around me and pretending that everything was okay.
I became rebellious against my family, who had always pretended to be well-balanced. I saw the reality of it, how we respected our father out of fear instead of love, how my parents never showed any love for each other and were married simply for the sake of the family. I saw my mother's suffering because she didn't have her own identity. She had been married at the age of fifteen to a man twenty years older, whom she saw as a father, never really as a husband.
I began to live by the motto: "You are a true revolutionary only if you truly love," Che Guevara's words. I loved my family and my country and felt that only through revolution would it have a chance to go forward. I was a true idealist who thought that love conquered every problem and was willing to give my life the name of true love. At the age of seventeen, I left school and home, not having gotten any results at home; instead, I caused great chaos and pain to my parents. But instead of understanding and love, I found corruption and violence. My idealism was rapidly replaced by a horrifying reality. I came to believe that love itself was just an idealistic word that could destroy me, and felt that the only way to live was by ignoring all emotions (precisely that which I had for years fought against).
In an attempt to save myself and no longer my country, I returned to the States with the hope to forget the past. I lived withdrawn, not allowing myself to feel pain or sadness or happiness, spending my time studying in the hopes of finding something that would fulfill me in some way. I got a scholarship to go to school. But after the first semester, realizing that learning was not everything, that I couldn't fulfill myself, that I couldn't ignore the rest of the world, I tried suicide feeling that there was no other escape.
I had failed at being a good writer and a good artist, both being my most important goals. I also failed at suicide and was put in the hospital for a month, where I learned the true meaning of indifference. I felt that people there only cared about the superficial self and that it was too much trouble to really find out what was wrong. I played their game and left the hospital, "cured."
The next few years were dedicated to my studies and I tried to be the best student that I could possibly be; always trying to keep my own ideas about literature and art. I had wonderful teachers who encouraged me to paint and write, giving me good constructive criticism. My work fulfilled me and I saw these as the best years of my life.
The problem then was that I was blinded once more by idealism and didn't think as to the practicality of my career. Upon graduating, I was faced with the uncertainty of how to make a living, realizing that I couldn't make it with my writing or my art. So I had to leave aside that which had fulfilled me and try to find a job that would support me.
So now, at twenty-five, three years after my graduation, with a feeling of restlessness and emptiness, I struggle to find a job which can fulfill me. I know that I can dedicate myself to my work if it means enough to me. That in itself would be enough to give me courage to face everything else around me.
My idealism? It is still there, refusing to die, but even though I blame it for all the pain I have felt, I must admit that it has been idealism which has given me hope, and hope which has helped me cope.
1st Adam Trip: 125 mg March, 1984 MDMA
It is difficult to speak of emotions, especially when those are painful to remember. Often I have avoided my own thoughts for fear that they would crush me, and have lived in an oblivious state for months at a time until one day I collapse and have a nervous breakdown. The has been my life since I can remember.
Never having taken any kind of psychedelic drug, I was very reluctant to try Adam, mainly because I was afraid of losing control of my mind and allowing my emotions to take over. My decision to finally take it was partially from curiosity and the hope to give a good experience with Ron.
At the time, we were in a hotel in Washington, D.C. I took the Adam at 11:00 p.m. (125 mg) About twenty minutes later, the effects started working but they seemed purely physical. My legs felt as though they had fallen asleep and my head felt very heavy. My eyes focused on the wall immediately in front of me and it took great effort to move. All of a sudden I began to cry, not knowing really why. I wanted to speak but didn't know what to say. My mind was filling up with the past memories and I felt the need to start by telling Ron my life story. Not a very happy one I might add, having been very ill as a child with a lot of physical pain and being kidnapped at the age of four. There were so many things that I wanted to say that often my sentences were not coherent and I would jump from one thing to another, later realizing that I hadn't finished my sentence.
At times I felt I was an observer, the words seemed to be coming from another self yet I could identify with them. There was a lot of pain reviving memories that I had wanted to forget. One of them was my terrible fear of cockroaches. When I was kidnapped, I was tied inside a bag which had cockroaches , leaving me with a terrible fear of them. But at the same time I felt a tenderness towards Ron for just being there listening. It was hard to remember the horrors of the past but I didn't feel lonely or lost. Ron filled the room and that was all that was important.
The feeling of tenderness and peace helped me to speak of fears that before had been too great to even think about. I was faced with reality and at that moment my greatest fear was that of losing Ron. I didn't want the night to end, despite the fact that there was so much pain and I couldn't stop crying. My biggest fear was the thought of facing the next day, the reality which existed outside that room. I wanted to be assured that the closeness wouldn't end there, that the tenderness was real and not evanescent. I was living the pain of the next day and realized that the suffering was so great because the love in that moment was so strong.
Sleep was impossible, even though I was totally exhausted by 5:00 a.m. The experience had left me vulnerable and I felt a great sadness. Thoughts of the night kept drifting into my mind and I realized with horror that the most vivid memory was that of wanting to die. This is me was nothing new, wanting to die has been on my mind since I was very young and I have tried suicide twice, when I was fifteen and again at twenty. But now I could see clearly that I had been ignoring my depression for months and that nothing really had changed since the last time I tried suicide. I wanted still to die more than anything. Linking my past with my present was horrifying. I couldn't find a place in the world. I couldn't relate to anything around me and there were no alternatives.
The next day, I wanted to stay in the hotel and talk to Ron. I wanted to understand our relationship better, feeling that the night had only been the beginning of the unraveling of our own confusion. But we had deadlines to meet, life had resumed, and facing it seemed a greater challenge than before. We drove to New York City in a snowstorm. I wanted to keep on driving forever, to never arrive in New York, to simply hold on to Ron and stay that way. I didn't feel capable of dealing with anything but our world inside the car.
The next morning I was left alone while Ron went to work. We were to meet back at the hotel at 3:00 p.m. to go to the airport. My loneliness had arrived at a point of despair. I walked the streets with no destination. I went to the museum hoping to be consoled by the paintings that so often had inspired me but found no courage to look at them. I sat on a bench hoping to simply die. By this point I was determined to kill myself and my immediate decision was whether to see Ron one more time or just leave then. Being sucker for punishment I couldn't leave without seeing him one more time. I felt that he should know my fears, and that I owed it to him to try to explain.
It wasn't easy trying to explain why, at the age of twenty-five, I wanted to die. I told him that this time I honestly thought I had reached rock bottom and that I couldn't survive anymore. Ron was so worried and his eyes were full of sadness, I should have left without explaining. He had only one request: to wait a few days and call him and his friend Rick. At the time his request seemed too much, just facing the next hour was torture. Leaving Ron to go get my plane was the hardest thing I have ever done. To me, this was the last time seeing his face. I felt already dead.
The rest of my trip is a blackout to me. I don't know how I got home or why I was three hours later, according to my friend who was there to pick me up. He saw me and thought he was looking at a ghost. All I could say was, "If you really care for me, help me die."
I have little recollection of the next five days. I was taken to the hospital where they gave me tranquilizers. The doctor spoke about depression being an illness that could be cured with medication. He asked me to rest for five days while taking the tranquilizers and "anti-depressant" drugs and to come back to see him. At the time, nothing seemed better than to take the pills and forget the world, which is just what I did, refusing to eat or get out of bed. My time was spent in thinking of ways to die. I realized that I had never had a meaning for living except that of not hurting those who cared about me. But I didn't want to lie to myself anymore. I had been in hospitals and taken anti- depressant drugs before. All these had done was help me cope with an everyday life on a very superficial level. The drugs had made me feel numb to the extent that I wasn't even feeling sadness for my mother having cancer. The idea that I was looking at everything in my life as though it really didn't belong to me, as though my own mother was a total stranger whose death wouldn't affect me, was more horrible than death.
I was not willing to continue in this way. I was weak and felt that there were only two alternatives: to kill myself or to go see Rick like Ron had wanted me to. I remember Ron's sad eyes and decided to call Rick.
I arrived in Sarasota, FL a few days later, being often confused as to why I had come. All I did was cry. It was hard being with Ron's friend in a house where we had been together. The memories overwhelmed me with pain because I felt that they were gone forever. But somehow, because Rick knew Ron and he seemed to understand, I started confiding in him. There was nothing but tears and sadness but Rick was there to listen. In a way, my hope was for Rick to understand my reasons for not wanting to live, accept them, and later explain to Ron. But Rick's reasons for helping were deeper than that. He wanted to help me find reasons to live. At this point we came to the conclusion that it would be better not to take the anti-depressant drug and try to face and get to the bottom of my fears and suffering.
2nd Adam Experience: 125 mg April 14, 1984 MDMA
After a week of pain and trying to think of nothing but my emotions, Rick suggested taking Adam again and I did. I knew that for me it would be painful, but also different than the last time. Now we were dealing with lifelong emotions and not just my situation with Ron. I was afraid I didn't want to relive the bad memories but now that my emotions were so vivid, I wanted to get to the bottom, to be able to combine all my new emotions with the past and try to understand my life and my depression as a whole. It was my last attempt to survive and I had nothing to lose.
I took the Adam at around 5:00 p.m. Rick and Flo were with me and again I felt a wonderful closeness and trust in them. They helped me up the stairs. My eyes were closed and even though I felt that I was falling off the edge of the stairway, I trusted them totally and was never afraid. This was a wonderful moment.
My perception was very keen, I seemed to be a lot more aware of that moment. Like the first time, there was a flowing of emotions and I started to cry. Flo and Rick's presence gave me reassurance and I was able to trust myself to go deeper into my past and speak of painful aspects of my life. I knew that they were there to help me and I felt the need to pour out my agony. My emotions were becoming too much too handle, they seemed to be poisoning my veins.
By this time, I was scared to keep going deeper into my past. Rick asked me to be silent for ten minutes and think and feel what was happening to me. It took a long time before I could do this, always fearing that I would simply go mad. When I finally accepted it and did it, I could feel the pain take over my body so that the suffering was physical as well. I was alone in this suffering. I felt that I had to go through it if I was to accomplish anything. This was an important challenge because after ten minutes of too much pain, I was able to trust myself to speak of what was once too painful to remember.
I spoke of rape which occurred eight years ago. For eight years I have kept the most horrible aspects of that day hidden in the back of my mind, and it was only then that I realized how the little details that I had wanted to ignore were eating me like a cancer. We can ignore cancer but it soon takes over. The memory became very vivid in my mind and the suffering more intense, but still I wanted to talk about it and felt that I could deal with the pain, that this was a start to try to defeat the cancer. Rick and Flo's presence and the Adam made it possible for me to speak and try to see things from a different view.
By talking about it, I was able to face the fear of the experience and to understand what it had done to my life. It was frightening to think that I had tried to ignore that day to the point where I didn't know where the pain came from, nor did I remember what had happened. I had gone through life having nightmares and feeling guilty, telling myself it was not normal to be affected by something that had occurred such a long time ago.
I spoke of my guilt. All my life I have felt guilty for one reason or another; for my parents for not loving each other, for being ill and inflicting pain on others, for not being able to do anything for my country, for being selfish and too sensitive. Guilt had made me an outcast and I walked around alone and depressed and found little meaning my life.
When I was raped, what I now remember most vividly and as the most dangerous and destructive feeling, was a sense of emptiness. I didn't feel love or hate for the people who had hurt me. I didn't feel anything toward myself and even less for life itself. This is the reason why I don't like the anti- depressant drugs, they make me feel the same way. I continued living because I didn't even care enough to kill myself. I remember crossing the street and thinking, "If a car hits me, fine. If it doesn't that is fine too."
I had given life its chance, eight months before the rape I had run away from home because I couldn't stand just living without a meaning, starvation seemed a better way. In search for meaning I had trusted people who later raped me and left me with the threat that they would one day find me to kill me, not wanting to kill me then because they knew that leaving me alive was far more torture. It's much worse not to feel anything than to feel something even if that something is sadness.
I decided if I was to continue living, the only way to do it was to be isolated from the rest of the world. A complete change in life became a necessity. My own country was too much of a reminder of my existence, so I left with the idea never to see my country or those I loved again. I wanted to find a place where no one knew me and where I wouldn't have to talk to anyone. I came to the states and accepted a scholarship to study Literature and Art. Books became my only companions. I went to classes Monday through Friday, never speaking to anyone and on Friday I would take Valium and sleep until the following Monday. Convincing myself that this was the best way to live, I continued in this fashion for another year, a total of two years after the rape. But this too became too painful and I just couldn't understand why I was living anyway, so I tried to kill myself, taking an overdose of Valium.
I was sent to the hospital for a month where doctors make me feel worse by telling me how many things I had going for me and how many people were so much worse off than I was. I'll never forget their phrases, which seemed to hurt me like daggers: "You have so much to look forward to," "What do you know of suffering if you are only starting to live?", "There are so many people who love you," etc. My only feeling then was that if I didn't know about suffering because I was too young, I never wanted to find out about it. My feelings of the hospital were that the doctors and counselors only cared that I remain alive. To them this meant success, it didn't matter how I lived as long as my heart was beating they had done their job. I remember my counselor telling my parents how well the anti-depressant drugs were working. I got a pill in the morning and another one in the late afternoon, keeping them under my tongue until I was away from the nurse, then throwing them down the elevator. They were helping me a lot!
With the doctors' feeling of success because I promised not to kill myself or take the Valium again, I left the hospital to face the world again. Living a type of vicarious life, I went through school and in May of 1981 I graduated with a B.A. in Literature and Art, and returned to my country feeling the obligation to try and help the people there as best I could. I taught for a year but returned to the States with a feeling of hopelessness. There was nothing that I could do to change the country and I couldn't live there ignoring the poverty and the corruption. I felt defeated and guilty. Back in the States, I taught for another year, but teaching made me a hypocrite because I wasn't able to teach what I believed in and the way I thought best.
So finally once more my emotions caught up with me and I was closer to death than I've ever been before.
Adam has helped me look at all this suffering, see my life, as a whole and understand it better. It has given me the courage to face the fears instead of ignoring them, to know that the most important thing is to struggle to trust myself. I don't know what my life will be like now, or how much I want to live, but I do know that the experiences I have gone through even though painful, have also been full of trust and tenderness and there is not the feeling of emptiness. I am not leaving a hospital with a prescription for anti- depressant pills in my hand. But rather, I'm leaving a friend with the hope to see him again and the courage to try to face my fears and life.
LSD Report: Saturday, April 21 300 mg with 65 mg MDMA
It was the experiencing of many deaths that is helping me live now.
A few days before taking LSD, when I had finally decided to take it, I had a dream about three people who went through different deaths coming back to life in a cycle, always staying for a shorter period of time. I was an observer, yet a participant as well, but because I was an observer and knew everything that was happening to these people. I was unable to warn them about danger or to change their destiny. Two of the people in the dream had struggled with their love for each other, always being together but death always separating them, until their return to a different life where they had to find each other again. In their last cycle one of them was a flower and the other seaweed. They were together and it seemed to me that finally they would be together in death forever. They had to suffer horrible deaths and be separated but at the end they got their peaceful " heaven." As a participant I struggled with the different lives and felt great pain, but as an observer I was calm and accepted these cycles. There was the knowledge that no matter what I tried to do or say the cycle was to continue its regular course. My task then was to accept and try to understand. It would be much easier then to fight the cycle.
I mention this dream because it has a lot to do with my experience three days later, when I took the LSD. My mind was advising me what to do to make things easier, yet I wasn't aware of this until after the experience. Now I know that if I hadn't tried to fight what was happening to me it would have been easier.
I took the LSD at around 1:30 p.m., thinking that things would get back to normal by sometime around 8:00 p.m. Sometimes it's better not to make assumptions, I didn't get to sleep until 10:00 a.m. the next morning. About twenty minutes after I took the drug I started feeling that I was no longer in control. Having prepared myself for the worst or the best, I had organized all my belongings, all my clothes were clean, I finished the book I was reading, "Woman in Love," had written letters to people dear to me and had brought with me my pad and paints hoping to be inspired and paint my last , best picture. I was preparing myself for death, a physical death, but had never imagined another type of death. When the objects in the room came alive and everything seemed to be breathing, I panicked and told Flo that I had gone too far, that I wasn't ready for this. I couldn't believe they had allowed me to do this to myself. At this time my nausea began, a terrible nausea that stayed with me until late the next day. I wanted to go back in time, to start all over, but like in my dream there was no returning.
Rick asked me to lie down. Everything seemed to be falling on top of me. My eyes were fixed on the window which was getting larger allowing me to see the sky. The sky looked beautiful for a minute, but then the little specks on the window became large insects smiling at me, and the fan above me a helicopter making an incredibly loud noise that made my ears tremble with pain.
I started to experience different deaths simultaneously. It was as though there were screens all around me, all showing a different movie, a different death, my death. I was a participant in each one of them and the person on the bed was the observer feeling the pain of these deaths. Feeling the pain of one death was bad enough, but feeling the pain of four at the same time seemed more than I could bear. My attempt to explain what was happening at once. I could only say short phrases and ask for help. The best way in which I can explain the events is to separate them into different screens and experience them now as separate entities.
Screen One: I was in the desert, very hungry and hot, someone was making me walk and I kept falling on my knees. There were airplanes flying above me, their noise becoming intolerable. The desert was so vast and lonely, there seemed to be no type of life around and the sun which has always meant life to me, was now my enemy burning my head and the soles of my feet. The people there were trying to starve me while they ate gourmet dinners. They were laughing hysterically and pointed at me while I was burning and starving to death. My body was swelling as though being bitten by a snake, I could feel the venom in my veins burning me; finding no escape. I wanted to vomit but was unable to. The burning was too much to bear and I felt I was losing my mind. My associating with this death is the fact that ten years ago I ran away from home and went to a very hot city where I didn't eat for two weeks. I remember vividly losing my mind to the point that I no longer knew who I was.
Screen Two: I was totally deformed. My feet were elephant feet. My face was melting into my shoulder, I couldn't move, I could feel the skeleton of my body, the hollows around my eyes, the mocking smile my teeth created. I tried to speak but my tongue was ten times its size and was pasted to the back of my mouth. My eyes were crossed so that everything else looked distorted. Rick's face was melting and his eyes were getting larger and larger until his whole face was an eye. Flo's face seemed to reproach me, she was smiling but her smile was that of a dead person, it was becoming a skeleton as well. I couldn't stand looking at them, but couldn't take my eyes away. Something in the back of my neck was pulling me beyond the bed to some horrible darkness. I was struggling to remain on the bed, but there on the bed were horrible insects that turned into deformed fetuses with long tails. There was nowhere to turn to.
Screen Three: I was looking for my grandmother. She died three years ago and as she was dying she was explaining what beautiful things she was seeing. Her only wish for many years was to die and go to heaven. There was never a question in her mind that there was a heaven. She believed in it with faith and even though she wanted death thirty years ago, she waited patiently for her turn to come, suffering a great deal while she lived. I was looking for her death because I believed there I would find peace. But instead I became her in life. In her actual life she had suffered great depression when two of her sons were killed by the police for not having military cards. They were killed within weeks of each other. One of them was 17 and the other 20. She was not allowed to see them and the police reported that they had been shot at in self- defense while they were trying to rob a house. This was more than she could bear and her anger was such that she lost her mind and refused to leave the police department until justice was done. The government institutionalized her and it took a month before my mother was able to get her out. She suffered a great deal in the hospital where she was put in a cell with very ill people and dirt all around her. She was fed very little and was not allowed to see her family. I was experiencing her suffering and anguish in this institution. The hopelessness and fear, the rotting of my body and worst of all I experienced going through electroshock treatment. In trying to find my grandmother's peaceful death, I had found her moments of torture and greatest pain. I realized with horror that my grandmother's death was not mine, that dying didn't necessarily mean peace.
Screen Four: This was the most vivid and real death that I was experiencing because it led to a real event in my life. I was being strangled by someone. His strong hands around my neck were making my nausea worse and were preventing me from vomiting. I couldn't see anymore and my strength was leaving me. I was terribly cold and felt totally alone. In the distance I was crying for help and could hear Rick's voice telling me that if I allowed the hands to kill me I could go beyond that. It make sense to me but I was unable to stop fighting. Then I started to experience what had happened almost nine years ago. I had totally blocked this incident out of my mind, all the time being very afraid when people put their hands on my neck but not really knowing why. It was all coming back as I was being strangled. In the actual event, I left work at 6:00, Mario (a man who later raped me) was waiting for me, he was drunk and angry because I had refused to see him a few days earlier and had told the porter of my apartment building not to let him in. We had been good friends, but he and his girlfriend Joan had been pressuring me to take drugs and sleep with them. I wanted to avoid them but they were very persistent.
Mario started hitting me and dragging me through the street. There were people watching but no one dared to do anything despite the fact that I was saying that he was trying to kill me. He was dragging me to his apartment where he said he would kill me. I noticed that he had a knife in his back pocket. When we got closer to his apartment I panicked and grabbed a little girl who was playing in the street. By this time Mario started strangling me and I could feel my grip letting go of the girl. I was losing consciousness but could hear the girl screaming in the background, everything seemed so far away. There was a lot of commotion and the voice of a man telling Mario to let go. There were other hands on my neck and I could feel his hands letting go but then his teeth bit into my neck. The man was asking for a stick to put between Mario's teeth. I fainted then and when I woke up I was lying on the bed of the girl who had saved my life with her screaming. I thought I was still being strangled but realized that I had a wet cloth on my neck and that Mario wasn't there. This was the beginning of a horrible month. And in this day, the beginning of a horrible night.
All the while, Rick and Flo's presence seemed to be getting farther away. I was no longer inside my body and was looking at them from a few inches above. My only link to them was Flo's hand on my foot. I remember Rick telling her to massage my foot. Their voices were so far away and difficult to hear because of the noise of the airplanes and the screaming of people. I knew they were trying to help me, but their voices didn't make sense. I couldn't grasp the meaning of their words. It was as though some evil inside of me was preventing them from helping me. I could sense their frustration as they repeated themselves. Rick was telling me to go along with it, to allow myself to burn, to be strangled, to die and then move on to something else. I was trying to be rational, to understand his words, but they were more than I could cope with. I was drifting farther away. From above, their eyes blinking in slow motion. I could feel myself entering their eyes and feeling what they were feeling. Their eyelashes magnified all around me. Flo's face was glowing in the sun. She seemed to symbolize peace, yet I couldn't reach her. I could see her and Rick close to each other, Rick's eyes full of love but I couldn't grasp their love and their peace. It was too frustrating seeing them there while I was suffering so much that I had to turn away from them knowing that I was turning away from the only peace there was.
About two hours after I had taken the LSD, Rick asked me if I wanted to take Adam. I would have tried anything at this point and thought that the Adam would help me cope with the pain, so I said yes. It didn't ease the pain but it helped to open up my emotions that were bottled up inside. I no longer was in the desert or in the mental institution, or was my grandmother. I was there in Rick's room. All the screens came together into one and I started to relive my past experiences. The room was filled with different people. People from my past and who had hurt me, and the people who were trying to help me. Rick's voice became Ron's and I could feel his warmth and presence somewhere in the distance. Rick's eyes seemed to be calling out to me, but then all of a sudden he started to transform into Mario. His toes and legs were Mario's Yet I knew that it was Rick. It was horrifying seeing him as the man who had caused me so much pain. Ron's presence was drifting away and Mario's was becoming stronger. Ron represented the one part of me that Mario hadn't taken, it represented my last hope, my love, but Rick was telling me to look closely at his toes, to really see that even though they looked like Mario's they weren't. I knew that they were not Mario's, I was not afraid of the body hugging me because I knew it was Rick's. But Mario's presence was taking me back in time to the day he and Joan raped me. The only reason I could deal with it was because Rick was so strong in being Rick that even though his body was Mario's , Mario could not take over his mind and I could turn to him for support.
I started feeling the horror of that day and started vomiting. Getting sick was more than a physical illness. I was vomiting from my soul, getting rid of pain, of an evil that had been
destroying me. I felt then, the need to tell Rick what they had done to me, having always kept it to myself because I thought that by not speaking about it somehow eventually it would be erased from reality and all would become a horrible dream, a part of my imagination.
I felt that it was too late to pretend that it hadn't been real and feared that Rick was going to hate me. I don't know why, maybe because I have hated my own body, it being a reminder of evilness and corruption. But Rick didn't feel disgust towards it, he didn't see it in a different way. I was trying to see it through his eyes, to understand that it was not impure, that it didn't have to be a reminder of cruelty. All these years I have hated looking at myself in the mirror because all I have seen was what was left of me when it was all over; a body full of bruises and bites with broken bones. I remember the first time I looked at myself a few days after it happened. I couldn't recognize myself. The girl that I had known was lost forever and this that was left was an empty distorted body with no soul. I was surprised when people came to see me and knew who I was. I felt nothing, not even the physical pain, and accepted the fact that Mario and Joan had taken whatever beauty I had had.
But this day was not the same day and though I felt the anguish vividly, my body was whole with no bruises and I was in the room with only Rick. Rick was telling me that they hadn't taken everything, that I knew how to love now, how to trust. It was this small part of me that they hadn't taken, the part I was fighting for, the part Ron represented, the part Rick was trying to make me see. My body wasn't disgusting to him, even after he knew all that had happened to it, and I didn't have to blame myself for something others had done to me. I realized that my guilt and shame came from the fact that I wasn't strong enough to push them away, that I wasn't careful enough in trusting them, that I hadn't gone to the police because I felt pity for them. I have had to carry the guilt of thinking that by letting them free they could have done the same thing to someone else. Back then I really didn't care. But now I knew that I was not to blame, that if I could confront the Mario that was there in Rick's body, I could hate what he did and I would know that he hadn't taken everything.
I felt I was getting stronger with Rick's help. Mario was grabbing me inside and wouldn't let go. I wanted to vomit so badly, feeling that if I did I could be rid of Mario, at least he would be outside and no longer be a part of me. But I needed more strength. Then Rick asked me what were the things I like in Mario. This was a shock to me and my mind went blank for a second. It was harder to remember than the pain itself. I thought of the first time I saw him playing with his dog, feeding a starving dog on the side of the street. He was kind to animals and seemed to understand them well. I remembered how he helped me free a chicken who was tangled in a wire and how he had nursed it back to life. It was when I thought about this that I started to vomit. There was so much pain in the thought that the same hands that had been so delicate helping the animals were the same ones that had almost killed me, that the Mario and Joan who had walked into my apartment with all intentions of violence were the same people I had loved because of their tenderness. Vomiting was the most painful horror. I felt their hands gripping me inside, destroying me, but I didn't care if I died because I knew that by throwing them up they would no longer possess me and I would at least die without them inside me. I think that I was able to vomit because I was denying nothing, not even the fact that I had loved them.
Later I felt that I had gotten rid of so much but I still felt a nausea, there was still a burning lump in my stomach. But no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get it out. It seemed to be the only part of them that remained. Maybe it will always be there and I will have to learn how to live with it. But they don't have to dominate my life.
My physical discomfort interfered with the peaceful moments that were also part of this experience. They seemed trivial compared to the pain, but now I hold them close to me and they help me cope.
Rick was holding two sticks of incense, he gave me one and we both were moving them to the rhythm of the music. The music was peaceful and the patterns and colors of the incense were beautiful. I wanted to remember them so that I could later paint a picture of them. My attempts at doing this have failed. Every time the sticks touched I felt that it meant trust and there was a bond between us that was wonderful. Then I was giving Rick a foot massage and it felt so good to give him comfort that it gave me comfort too and was helping me cope with my discomfort. Rick suggested a warm bath because I felt so cold and my skin ached. The warm water was soothing and I was able to rest a while.
At around 5:00 a.m. , without realizing it, I started to chant a Buddhist prayer and felt the devotion and faith of Mitsuyo, a Buddhist friend, who had introduced me to Buddhism. I had always admired her faith and spirituality and how I felt I was with her and couldn't feel the faith that she had spoken about for so long. This too was a beautiful moment.
I then felt that it was so painful to love, that knowing that I could still love was what had caused most of my suffering. But the emptiness and pain of not loving was so much greater, without love there is so much beauty that we can never experience. I felt that I had to hold on to the love instead of fighting it and that I had to try deal with the pain that it caused me because it is better then emptiness.
At around 8:00 a.m. I was exhausted and drained. I was getting used to the lump in my throat and the awful headache. It was no longer driving me crazy. I didn't feel very much, I was too tired to even move.
Days later, when Rick asked me how I felt, I told him that I felt empty as though my veins had been drained of their blood and as though my soul had been taken away. I thought that maybe it was my mind trying to tell me to give it a break but Rick said something that I couldn't forget. He told me that maybe I was empty because I had let all that pain out and now it was up to me to fill the emptiness.
It seems hard to do, but maybe there is a chance that I can fill that emptiness with new life. It scares me and I feel very lonely. But this experience has made me realize that death is not necessarily the right answer, or the most peaceful alternative and by realizing this it has given me the courage to at least try to find meaning and reason.