Thanking my “lucky” stars:

An extraordinary celestial event one night in the spring of 1998 saved my life

Georgia NeSmith

--

SOME BACKGROUND

One of my own near attempts at suicide happened when I became frustrated with a medical system that was completely unresponsive to me. I had been in therapy for nearly two years, having started primarily to find ways of coping with the pressure of teaching a heavy load of classes in my first full time job, and working to finish my dissertation. And in the middle of all that, I also began recovering memories of childhood sexual abuse.

Complicating that, I was unaware that I was coping with ADHD (diagnosed a few years later, at age 45, after reading Sari Solden’s Women with Attention Deficit Disorder.) My “stress reduction” therapy, however, ultimately led to revelations of repressed memories of a traumatic childhood, and that took over my life, overwhelming me.

That night I knew I was on the verge and I called around trying to get help, but nobody took me seriously. A few weeks before that I had voluntarily admitted myself to a psych ward as the pressure of dealing with recovering memories of my childhood became intense. What I needed most of all was someone to tell my story to, who would listen to and comfort me in a knowledgeable way. The 50 minutes I had with my therapist every two weeks was inadequate. But all hospital therapy is directed toward returning the individual to functional behavior, not with any form of healing. Indeed, I felt my experience that weekend to be seriously alienating.

It was on the weekend and there was only a skeletal staff. The recreation room was locked because there was no one to supervise it. So there was nothing to do except watch television — the choice for what to watch determined by the majority. And they wanted to watch horror movies like “Pet Sematary.”

I couldn’t understand why anyone dealing with their own internal horrors would want to watch horror movies. I could easily dream up my own horror movie. I wanted to get away from that. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to bring in any books or magazines — they were concerned there might be “triggering” articles or photos. (Why horror movies wouldn’t trigger anyone is beyond me: I certainly would have been!)

--

--

Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.