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Drowning In a Sea of Sin

And a women's escape from it.

By Leeza CooperPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 10 min read
Top Story - December 2023

I watched the world go by in a blur outside the taxi window, I knew that only I could save myself. There was no one else to catch me, hold me, help me. If I had a family to surround and support me, a good mum or mother-in-law, then one or other would have looked after my children, put me to bed and perhaps I wouldn’t have felt so alone and lost, needing to make such a huge decision. But my own mother was long dead, and my mother-in-law may as well have been for all the love and assistance I’d got from her. She had never, ever lifted a finger to show me any kindness, help, thought or gratitude for having given her four beautiful grandchildren – all of whom she totally ignored – and been a loving and supportive wife to their son.

I didn’t have the support that so many other young mums have. I never had that support from anyone. The truth was I wanted to check out of life, even for a short time, because the pain of all the affairs was too much, the abuse, the neglect, the shocks, the weird, erratic behaviour of my husband had finally taken me down, down to the depths of hell.

I was tired, so tired, and I was in so much pain part of me wanted to die. The conflict was that it was only part of me, the part in which I was associated with my husband which wanted to die. The part of me that involved my children, my work, my friends and my society, was truly wonderful. So I really didn’t want to die! I just wanted to expunge my husband from my life so the pain to go away. But he wouldn’t go, well not entirely. He loved to play games. One minute he was complimentary, the next was attacking and hostile. One minute he was there pretending to love me, and the next he was off on some crazy adventure rounding up potential mistresses and god knows what else. Therefore, I ran away from it so that I could meditate into peace, in a sanctuary where I didn’t have to fear his homecoming, his emotional violence, his bursting through doors with murder in his eyes.

I understand first hand the pain that suicidal people experience, the loss of self, the layers of filthy crap, and the feeling of complete hopelessness. There are no words to describe it, none. Unless you’ve been there you will never know, and I pray you never will.

Promise me if you ever feel the way I felt back then, that you will go into robot mode like I did and just call a cab and go straight to a caring mental hospital, admit yourself and put your mind and body into the skilled hands of those who are there to help you. Don’t overthink it, ignore it, or hope it’ll go away, because it won’t. And by the time you realise it, it could be too late. Just go. Book yourself in. Don’t think about anything else, don’t analyse it, judge it or worry about it or worry about anyone else and what they might think or say– just think about yourself for once, your needs and the reason you’re here.

My life had become too painful, too excruciating and too exhausting a place in which to exist. The bright, bubbly, effervescent, happy-go-lucky girl that I had always been was reduced to an anxious, pale, anorexic, fearful, agoraphobic and tearful walking-dead non-person. Like a zombie, my husband had literally sucked out my soul and left nothing but a carcass.

My was soul was choking, drowning, and I was slowly disconnecting from my body as the world around me grew cold and black. My throat chakra had been restricted for years and now my fears were aligning with my reality. As the taxi sped along the busy streets en-route to the hospital, I remembered back to the time I did drown. I was only five years old. No one saw me as I fell head first off the rocky edge into the deep blue ocean bath. I also remembered telling myself not to breath; "don't breath, no matter how much you need to take a breath, don't do it"! I hung on for what seemed like an eternity, and then I blacked out. I was rescued, eventually, when nearby swimmers saw me floating underneath the water. My mother wasn't watching me, and my step father wasn't looking either. Of course I was shaken to my core and I have never ever forgotten the pain or how terrified I felt.

But this, this pain was a million times worse than anything I had ever experienced before, this time I wanted to die for real. This time I hadn't slipped, this time I had been pushed, and there was no one to rescue me.

I signed the paperwork admitting myself willingly into the mental hospital under the Mental Health Act. This meant I could also leave when I felt I was okay; I still needed to keep some control of my life and if I was willingly booking myself in, I sure as hell wouldn’t be releasing myself early if I still felt the same way.

My baby girl was taken into the ward for women with post-natal depression. I was led away to the ward for mentally ill adults. I was terribly upset, as I did not realise I would be separated from my baby. I would have to walk to her at feeding time and then leave her alone all night; it also meant I would have to sit among the women suffering post-natal depression. Witnessing this was an eye-opener in itself, watching the women yell and shout and scream obscenities at their partners and even at their babies! Wow. And despite the desperation of the women who’d been traumatised after having given birth, their men still supported them! They weren’t off having affairs or complaining or yelling or leaving! These loving husbands, desperately concerned about their wives’ welfare, their faces drawn and haggard from working all day and trying to help with a baby at night, as well as being shouted at and cussed. And yet here they were the diametric opposite of my husband.

That was the start of my understanding of the reality of my marriage, and how wrong it was to be treated the way I had been. Not only of how unsupported I was, but how my husband had actually become my enemy.

After feeding my baby girl and leaving her with the nurses who specialised in post-natal depression, I reluctantly went back to my room, where I tried to sleep, but nightmares of drowning continued to plague me.

I had to wait for three days before I was booked into any counsellor, and to be honest it was a total meaningless, hopeless complete waste of time. I truly don’t know what he thought of me, whether I was some fabulously wealthy socialite just wanting a shoulder to cry on, or whether I was unnecessarily throwing a pity party for myself, or if I was a fantasist, but I got no empathy, no sympathy, no feelings of support. It was actually really quite bizarre and confusing. I felt like standing up, telling this medical specialist to switch places, swap my clothes for his white doctor’s coat and give him a few tips and pointers about his own profession!

‘You know, Leeza, you really do love your husband’ was the line I carried away from that hour-long session. Great. Fantastic. Yes, the truth was I did, but the reality was that the man I loved was the man I’d thought I had married, and not the man he’d become, or was. A man not just incapable of returning any genuine affection, but whose violent mood swings were capable of putting me and his children in the mortuary.

So if this shrink had inadvertently started my healing process, it certainly wasn’t from any talent of his, nor from his medical qualifications, and certainly not from his emotional intelligence. Perhaps his purpose was to be a sounding board, nothing more and nothing less. The truth was I had kept my dirty families secret for well over a decade and now I could no longer hide it, so in that regard it was a good release.

The facts were that no amount of me loving my husband was ever going to be enough. Nothing was ever enough for an emotional vampire, nothing. The air he breathed, the food he ate, his bodily satisfaction, were all in self-gratification, self-satisfaction, self-entitlement and superiority.

My epiphany that day was that I could not stop loving my husband. Okay, that was something I accepted. But I sure as hell was going to stop feeding it! It was okay to love him. That was who I had been, a loving, devoted wife, a supportive wife. But from that moment onwards, I would put my beautiful love into a little box, tie it up tightly and put it away into the darkest part of the cupboard, not look at it, not unwrap it, not admire it, not feed it, and slowly it would fade away, die.

What you do not nurture really does die even I could feel that.

I nearly died. It was me who was starving and malnourished. I was a whisper of my former self, a bird plucked of its wings, a body without arms or legs.

Now I was taking my life back, my heart back, my soul, my body and every atom of my being back. I was taking back every single thing my husband had stolen from me and then some. That day, I walked into the canteen where all the adults had gathered to eat. Mostly they were Vietnam veterans, and soldiers of war.

I sat and listened to their horrific stories, their darkest fears, their hopes and despair. Then I told them my own story, but the difference was, even though I was depressed, somewhat suicidal, unhappy and lost, I didn’t want to be in that frame of mind. That’s why I’d admitted myself. I needed help.

I told these soldiers that my life had become the way it had, and I had admitted myself into hospital because of one man! One man’s behaviour and treatment of me! One arsehole! One mean rotten bastard of a man! Not an unseen enemy trying to kill from the air or the sky or hidden behind a dugout or in some tree in a jungle, but an enemy I had to face every single day, both to defend myself and my children.

And I knew that if I had never met my husband, I would have been perfectly fine! I was fine before him! More than fine! I was joyous and fun and effervescent! Never, ever had I experienced any abuse or domestic violence in my two prior relationships. So if I was this fine before him I could be more than fine without him!

All these war veterans were stuck and could not erase or remove the years of trauma from their minds. But I wasn’t in that place any longer!

It cemented my resolve. Just listening to these wounded men going over the same experiences time and again, their ruminating thoughts, their daily fear at remembering their lost comrades. They could not rid themselves of a now invisible enemy and the damage it had caused, and that truth was what healed me. I didn’t have an army to fight, I had one pathetic man child throwing tantrums and yelling abuse. Who was I to cry out in pain when these poor men had suffered such evil monstrosities and had actually lost arms and legs, and even their minds.

And for that realisation and epiphany I thanked them. What appeared to be a time of unutterable trauma had actually become a classroom, a learning experience, a gift. The truth was I wasn't drowning at all, it was my narcissistic husband that was drowning and he was determined to take me down into the abyss with him. I wasn't going to allow that to happen, I had children to raise and a whole life to live! I wasn't going to drown by being dragged into the icy cold water with him, I would only drown if I stayed there.

I already knew what it felt like to drown and I wasn't going to tempt fate twice! Suddenly a new breath of life had found its way into my body.

I would treat it as such, I would thank the universe for throwing more and more shit at me so that I would finally ‘get it’ and leave!

Be strong enough, be brave enough to let him drown instead.

To understand that I had not loved me enough to protect myself from the love I felt – to protect me from myself!

That very day, I fetched my daughter, packed our bags, and signed myself out. It was time to swim to shore and never look back.


About the Creator

Leeza Cooper

Leeza Cooper, a devotee, artiste, creator of published literature & poetry; Studied Degree CU, founder/president of Wheels & Dolls SMC; raising funds for DV, lover of travel, nostalgia & anything vintage.

Ms Australia International 2023.

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  • Sirena Carroll - The Blind Single Mom4 months ago

    Holy raw, girl. This is just... wow. If this is based on personal experience the way it reads, then first, thank you for sharing such a monumentally personal glimpse into something so personal. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Thank you for affording us wisdom and advice born of incredible suffering. I deal with this sort of behavior in a very peripheral way from someone in my life, but this person's significant other deals with much of what you've mentioned here. What leaps out at me as exceedingly profound is your realization that you may never stop loving the man he was, but you stopped feeding love for the toxic person he'd become. That was my take away; please forgive me if I'm communicating it poorly. The depth to which this story touched me defies words, so it's something of a chore trying to phrase how impactful it was. Outstanding work. Truly raw, real, and wonderful.

  • Novel Allen4 months ago

    I just finished talking to my friend, almost the exact story. Only she is still in the situation, I pray that she finds her way out and swim to shore. I am so happy yu ar eon your way...or have found your path. Congrats on TS.

  • Yash4 months ago

    So relatable . Many have to go through such situation . But the fact is finding yourself back again whatever it takes . Congratulations on making yourself out of the situation.

  • Tressa Rose4 months ago

    I really relate to a lot of what you said. I checked myself in under similar circumstances. I took back the reins to my life as well, and am now in a much better place. I'm glad you made it out of that situation. Congrats on top story, well deserved! New subscriber!

  • Kendall Defoe 4 months ago

    This is getting to me. It is the kind of work I enjoy reading... "What you do not nurture REALY does die" - perfect!

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