Because This Shit Never Really Leaves You: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and How I Ended Up at Rock Bottom For The 1.9th Time

It all started because I had nowhere else to go. Well, technically I was still a resident at that Delray Beach halfway house I had been living at for the past few weeks.

It’s just, my tenant status was about to erupt. And my world —going up in smoke. Right before my very eyes. As if it hadn’t already. Because that’s just it. It was all smoke and mirrors.

You can only fake it ’till you make it for so long. And after failing a surprise drug test, instead of getting kicked out (which is normally how it goes down), the house manager let me stay.

She said she saw something in me that she didn’t see in anyone else. And therefore, decided to put me on probation —rather than kicking me to the curb.

You’d think I would have been happy. I guess a part of me was. I mean normally, when someone fails a drug test, they kick you out that instant. They give you 100 bucks to stay at the cracked out budget inn, but that’s it. It’s like, OK bye. It’s just, none of that happened. I was getting a second chance. But for some reason, I was pissed. Truth is, I was in a full-blown relapse. Wanting —turned into doing and before I knew it, I was getting high nearly every single day.

It didn’t help that my new boyfriend was a straight up junkie. So between the two of us, we couldn’t fucking stop. Well, once everyone found out I was, in fact, living a double life, they said I had no choice. No one’s going to tell me what to do. Because I couldn’t let it go. Because I wasn’t ready to give up my drug of choice. Even after my first rock bottom. Even after the intervention my family so selflessly arranged. And the fact that I had just spent the last two months in detox and then rehab. My family set that shit up too.

You’d think I would have gotten it together. You’d think I would have wanted too. I didn’t.

The only thing I was successfully doing was telling everyone what I thought they wanted to hear. And they did. But they wanted me to want it too. It’s just, the only thing I wanted (and needed) was more pills. Because that’s always how it went. That’s usually how it goes for most pill-popping hoes. At this point though, I wasn’t just doing pills. They were harder to come by these days. So eventually, heroin found me. And then the needle. From there, it went downhill fast. Because I was more than desperate. And the truth is, I was bored with my new life.

Rewind.

More like lack thereof and when I thought there was nothing else to do, I got high. And then, I kept getting high —while telling everyone how happy I was with my new sober life. Nope. All lies. Because my first selfish thought —after the house manager, Tara told me my new curfew was now 8:00 pm (it used to be 11) —was how am I supposed to hang out with Nate (my junkie boyfriend). That’s what I was worried about? Chilling and getting high? Ice cold.

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Once again though, I wasn’t about to tell them that. And I didn’t. I pretended to be happy. I made it seem like I was willing to do anything and everything in order to gain their trust back.

Nope. I lied about that too.

It’s just, sooner rather than later, that halfway house owner ended up finding out everything I was trying to hide. That’s when she and everyone else realized I had been feeding them bold-face lies the entire fucking time. Because that next day, I remember riding around with Nate trying to pretend I didn’t almost get kicked out. I needed to escape. And before I know it, it’s 7:45 pm. Nate had dropped me off on Atlantic Ave. hours ago.

I had plans with my best friend and ex-roommate, Molly (who relapsed and did, in fact, get kicked out; she now lived at her parent’s house in Ft. Lauderdale). I remember thinking it was a good idea to get drunk at this local bar. Apparently, a couple of 40-something men did too. We knew them from around. We were Atlantic Ave. groupies. And since one of them owned a local cafe —next, to this smoke shop, we hung around frequently, we became friends. And the second guy. He claimed to be some big-wig entrepreneur.

I think he was trying to impress Molly and I. Turns out though, he was lying.

I guess we had that in common. He wasn’t, however, lying about the fact that he had a steady prescription for (what do you know) my fucking drug of choice (Roxicet 30s). So one drink turns into two and before long, Molly and I are at another bar drunk off our asses with those 40-something men. I thought it was weird because I usually could handle at least four drinks. I remember saying, I guess these were just stronger than most. But that wasn’t entirely accurate (more on that below).

I mean, yeah we ere also high AF —seeing that Kane (the entrepreneur) gave us both a few pills for free. Except, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. And I was about to learn that the hard way. Because the reason I felt so sloppy wasn’t my fault at all. Because I can handle my shit. I can’t, however, handle Rohypnol. Because no one can. It’s a freaking date-rape drug for a reason. More importantly, remember, it was nearly 8 pm. I had 15 minutes to get “home” before I’d be in trouble. Big trouble. But I was having so much fun.

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I didn’t want to leave. And I can’t believe what I’m about to tell you —but once again, those damn pills trumped my ability to cipher between right and wrong. Because I knew the difference.

But I chose to do the wrong thing anyway. Over and over again.

Needlesstosay, after that night, I was no longer a resident at that halfway house. The ironic part is, I kicked myself out. I say that because no one over there knew what I was doing. And, the drugs they did, in fact, know about would still be in my system for a few more days. Hence why I was being a little more careless than I normally would have. Because technically, I could use for another 48 hours. And if I would have just gone home, I would have been more than fine. But I didn’t want fine. I wanted to get high.

So I’m telling Molly and our new 40-something friends about my annoying situation. That’s when Kane says something like, “Fuck that halfway house. I have an extra room in my Boyton Beach condo, which is right down the street. You’re more than welcome to crash with me for as long as you want. And, if you’re the good girl I think you are, I can probably hook you up with a few free pills every now and again.” I remember glancing at Molly and then at the other guy. It was weird because when I looked over, both of them were giving me some type of evil eye.

Insinuating that I shouldn’t accept his offer. As if they knew something I didn’t.

For some reason though, in my stupid little head, it sounded like the answer to all of my problems. You know when you make drunk plans at the bar. Like you agree to have dinner with whoever you’re with. And when that next day rolls around, you’re like why did I do this. Yeah. It was just like that. Because drugged out Macey says yes. And a few minutes after that, the local business owner guy drives Molly home. And me? Well, I hitched a ride with my new roommate, which is when I text Janel, the halfway house owner that I relapsed again.

I remember saying that I’d have my things out by the end of the week. And that I was sorry. For everything. Because as awful of a person as I was back then, I really was sorry. And then, I turned my phone off. I don’t know why I thought that was a good idea. Clearly, I was not thinking straight. Because this is where I tell you again that Kane was secretly lacing my drinks with some type of date-rape drug. I made my bed but I most definitely couldn’t lie in it. Because when I turn my phone back on the following morning, I had 55 voicemails and nearly 200 missed calls.

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All from my mom, dad and sister —along with Janel, who clearly spilled the beans. Apparently right after I sent that text, she called my entire family, filling them in on what I had done.

So now, they knew I ran away. They were worried.

They didn’t know who I was with, what I was doing or if I was even alive. I ignored them all. In my defense, I was still trying to figure out what the fuck I was going to do let alone tell them. I had no idea what my next move was; so I had to stall for as long as it took for me to figure out a solid plan. I think I snorted a bunch of pills I found in my purse and that’s when I tell myself, “I’ll figure it out later.” Really, Macey? Yeah. Because what went down after I sent that text is something so awful, it’s hard to admit or even say out loud.

Fast-forward.

Before I go into it, let me tell you this. The other night, like a few days ago, I couldn’t sleep, which to be honest, isn’t unusual for me. Instead of counting sheep like I should have, I ended up spiraling. It felt like I was back there —on that awful fucking night. In short, I was in the midsts of a mental blackhole of historical chaos. That’s the easiest way to put it. Basically, whenever I’m still, my mind goes back to some pretty ugly shit. I don’t know why it does that. I guess you could blame P.T.S.D., but I was never one to point fingers.

It’s just, I can’t deny the fact that I sometimes experience episodes of non-consensual flashbacks —probably definitely more than I’d like to admit. And they are absolutely terrifying. Because I can’t always make them stop. In fact, I usually can’t. I have to let them play its course. I have to verbally remind myself that I’m fucking safe. A part of me knows that eventually, it will pass. In the meantime though, it’s pretty hard to sit with this shit. Because I don’t actually feel safe. It’s really strange.

So on that night when I couldn’t sleep, one specific event decided to pop in and say hello.

I wanted to say bye nearly right away, but instead, it started replaying over and over. That right there is definitely a symptom of P.T.S.D. Because I didn’t want to be thinking of this event. Because it’s not something I like to talk about. It’s an event, I don’t even like to think about (seeing that it makes me want to throw the fuck up). So after a few minutes of deep breathing, I realized I wasn’t going to fall asleep anytime soon. That’s when I picked up my phone, unlocked it and (for whatever reason) Googled this particular prick’s name.

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Truthfully, I’ve done it before. I knew of one article from 2009-ish where this schmuck, Kane was accused and then convicted of rape. Because that’s what he did to this 23-year-old woman —who had the guts to report her assault.

I praise her for this because I never could.

And after what I’m about to tell you, you’ll know, I wish I did. Because I do. I wish I spoke up sooner. I wish I spoke up at all. Because like I said, I don’t like to talk about it. So I don’t. I didn’t. Until now. And that’s because of what I found next. Holy fucking shit. Because that same guy who raped that woman also raped me. More recently though, he raped again. And for that, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t report my assault back in the day. Because if I had, maybe that would have stopped her story from starting. It’s just, I was a GOD damn mess.

My side of the street was anything but clean. They would have shot my credibility into the ground. And to have my dirty laundry aired for everyone to see, I knew it would do more harm than good. So I shoved that shit down. I tried to pretend it never happened. But every now and again, it comes back. This time, it wouldn’t leave. That’s why I Googled some more. That’s how I found out everything he did to me, he also did to multiple fucking women. And that’s why I feel so bad, mad and utterly enraged. Because if I would have spoken up sooner, maybe I could have prevented him from attacking again.

Because he didn’t learn his lesson the first time. And apparently, not the second or third time either.

I say that because something else happened (the event I referenced first) back in the early 2000s (before I met him). Basically, after he pled guilty for raping this 16-year-old girl, he fled the country. Like instead of going to jail, he thought it would be better on the lamb. And I guess it was seeing that he was never punished —at least for that crime. It doesn’t really make sense. But I heard he spent like two years in a Puerto Rican jungle instead. That’s when he grew a beard and unplugged from everything and everyone. And that’s how he ended up in Delray Beach, Florida doing the same shit he always did.

Because that’s where I lived. But this time, he had a new name. And he actually told me that story as if it was a fucking joke. Nope. Jokes on you, you fucking prick. Ultimately though, justice was served. Because a grand jury recently gave him a 35-year federal prison sentence for date-raping and sexually violating a heavily intoxicated girl. And while I was reading that article —like of her describing the event, I had chills. Because it’s exactly what happened to me. And that was the scariest part.

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She said she became increasingly unsteady as the night went on. Yup. She also said she “blacked out” several times. Correct again. Because it’s hard to remember exactly what went down. 

I can relate. And I don’t really want to say luckily because it’s not fucking lucky.

But she was able to remember a few important details, which came to her in the form of a flashback (like I was describing above). And these particular flashbacks actually helped her win the fucking case. So in one of them, she remembered several un-consensual sexual acts involving her and Kane. She said by the next morning, she almost thought it was a dream —because that’s what date-rape drugs do. I felt the same way that following day. And after Kane told her about the sexual shit they did —as if she wanted it, that’s when she knew it was, in fact, real.

She didn’ want it. She never did. But like I said, this guy is a fucking creep.

He didn’t care. Because his attorneys claimed the acts between Kane and the girl were consensual. During cross-examination, they tried to discredit the victim’s testimony, pointing out that certain statements made weren’t consistent. Like she said different shit at the trial versus at the preliminary hearing. I mean, DUH. She could barely piece everything back together —let alone say the same thing twice. No means no. And she couldn’t say anything. Why? Because he drugged her so hard, got her drunk AF and then took advantage of a clearly incapacitated young girl.

Her eyes were literally closed and even if she wanted, she couldn’t keep them open. But they failed to mention that. Ugh. So his lawyers made a point to ask her why she stayed with Kane in the first place. Like why would she willingly linger? I can think of one reason. Because she was so fucked up she couldn’t move. Court records tell us that he asked the girl extremely personal questions, showed her nude pictures of women he had been with AND put his private parts in her face before forcing himself upon her.

The girl eagerly replied, “I was not thinking clearly. I was not in my right mind.”

That’s exactly what he wanted. That’s the reason he kept getting away with this shit. Because as gross as he is, he was pretty smart. So on top of everything else, he had solid blackmail to hold over whoever’s head. Because whenever he was done with his victims, he’d take secret pictures (videos too) of the passed out female he had just violated. I mean, serial killers keep an item (some type of trophy) to look or touch, which takes them back to the crime they committed.

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And for whatever disgusting reason, they get some type of sick pleasure from it, which is freaking awful.

That said, the prosecutor (the attorney on our side), asked the judge for a life sentence.

Unfortunately, that was denied. But he fought hard at the claim that Kane’s victim consented. He said it was clear that she was in no condition to consent and urged that Kane was well aware of that information. Now, for legal and privacy purposes, I’m not going to share the actual article with you. I will, however, give you my rendition of what went down. Because the event I’m talking about eventually drove me to rock bottom for the second time.

We can call this rock bottom 1.9 (which I briefly wrote about in my Attitude and Perspective piece. I actually suggest you check that out before proceeding below.

Pressing Play.

I don’t remember saying no because I don’t remember anything. After he was done, I remember finally passing out. I always felt safe when I slept but not tonight. I have a blurry memory of him getting back on top of me. As if he didn’t do enough. But the damage was done. There was nothing I could do about it now. And that pissed me the fuck off. Because it’s hard to piece things back together. Even today, I only have flashes.

I last left off when I was getting into Kane’s car. He was driving us back to his apartment. He said there was an extra room. There wasn’t. But before I even found that out, he said there was a bar downstairs. He asked if I wanted a drink. I was feeling really good and didn’t want my buzz to wear off. So I say yes. That’s when he puts another dose of whatever date-rape drug he had been putting in my drink. Because I went from tipsy to I have no idea how I got here. Because I had one fucking drink and was quite literally blacked out.

I do have a vague memory of some shit. Like I said, flashes.

And from those flashes, I recall leaving the bar and walking up a set of stairs. I wasn’t actually walking through. Because Kane had to carry my limp body the entire way. I remember somehow entering his apartment and him showing me his bedroom. I was too far gone to realize there wasn’t an actual room for me. And that’s when shit got really bad. I think my brain purposely blocked out what went down next. Or, I was simply too blacked out to remember. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure this is when he took my picture.

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I remember him undressing me and then getting back on top of me.

I remember saying no. “No. I’m tired.” But he didn’t listen to a single word I said after that.

From those flashes, it seemed as if he had done this before. And so, he did it again and again —all with me being passed the fuck out. I do, however, remember him touching me in places I didn’t want to be touched. In fact, he wouldn’t stop —no matter how hard I tried to fight him off. All of this makes me sick. And then, a few hours later when he finally finished or whatever, he eventually passes out. When I woke up that next morning, I was even more confused and depressed.

I recall sneaking into the bathroom just before sunrise.

Apparently, some random kid William bought drugs off Kane last night and ended up passing out on his living room couch. No one bothered him. He had a good night sleep. He didn’t wake up aching down there. And that pissed me off even more. What a double standard. Turned out though, that kid Will was actually really nice. I find that out as I make my way to the bathroom. I needed to brush my teeth. I needed to do a lot of stuff. Like, wipe Kane’s grossness off my skin. Luckily, he was still asleep.

I think Will heard me get up. Because that’s when stops me in the hallway. He tells me, point blank, “Get the fuck out.” I don’t think he was being mean. I got the impression he was trying to warn me. He presses that my new friend is not a good guy. I tell him, “I kind of figured that. Some shit happened last night that I’m not even sure of. But I have nowhere else to go.” After I tell him I need to wash up, he says he knows where the clean towels are. Because I needed to shower like yesterday, and I think he figured that.

I also needed to figure out a way to find more drugs.

It was morning after all, and my high had long since faded. I didn’t have a plan. But it seemed like this kid could help? I knew he did drugs. Maybe he’d feel bad enough to give me some for free. He did. Because he tells me, “Take your time in there. Shower. Enjoy yourself if that’s possible. And when you’re done, definitely make a pit stop in the back bedroom.” He said he wasn’t like that. He said I deserved a pick me up. He even said he’d give me a shot or two for free. I thought that was really nice.

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I was so freaking embarrassed about everything. So I appreciated his kindness more than I can even say.

I thank him and then he tells me, “Don’t forget to lock the bathroom door. I’ll see you in a few.” I remember doing all of that and then looking at myself in the mirror —something I tried to avoid at all costs. I mean, the dark circles under my eyes took up my entire face. So I wash it in hopes I’d wash away some of this pain. Nope. It didn’t work. So I stare some more. I couldn’t believe me wanting to have fun turned into this. What the actual fuck. And then, I thought. OMG. What if there were other girls?

The thought of that enraged me even more. 

But I couldn’t help myself —let alone somebody else. I was the one who needed help. Because this kid handing me a clean towel would only go so far. I did welcome it though. I remember feeling a little better after getting out of the shower. And when I unwrapped the towel from the folded position he handed it to me in, I realized that this kid also gave me a clean set of clothes. Grandet they were oversized t-shirts and a pair of boy gym shorts. But the gesture and thought behind it really meant a lot.

Beggers can’t be choosers. And that I was not. I remember brushing my hair with a random comb I found underneath the sink, using my finger and some toothpaste to brush my teeth and then looking at myself in the mirror hanging above the sink one last time. Truthfully, I didn’t recognize the girl staring back at me. I wasn’t like a junkie. I was a junkie. I remember thinking, “What happened?” I mean, I came from a loving home. I had everything I wanted, yet, I never felt good enough —even back then.

Even when I clearly should have.

I never understood that. But I never took the time to understand it either. I’d get high instead. I’d continue getting high until I figured out the root cause —like why was I trying to escape in the first place? What do you know? It had nothing to do with drugs. I mean, obviously, they were a big part of my downfall. But it’s more about the reason I turned to drugs in the first place rather than the drugs themselves —another something I never understood. Until now. Until I paused. Stopped. Until I did something about it.

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Because those pills were all I thought about for a very long time.

Stop.

Because I spent all of my money, all my family’s money, and everything in between just to get more. Because they seemed like the answer to all of my problems. Because I actually felt normal when I was high. It’s hard to explain. But before I even knew what I was doing, I was addicted. And then, I became so fixated on everything I wasn’t. Everything I lacked. Everything I could have been. Because the girl I thought I’d be had disappeared a while ago. So I got stuck in the never-ending loop of picking up and getting high. Because I didn’t realize I was the one holding myself back.

Shit could have changed at any given moment but I didn’t understand that. I couldn’t. Not yet anyway. Luckily, I took that kid’s advice. After my shower, I walk to that back bedroom. I knock on the door —soft enough so Kane wouldn’t hear, but loud enough so William would. He opens it and says to come in. He asks if I needed to talk. He said he was sorry. He said he didn’t know what went down but he figured he knew enough. I said this isn’t me. “I’m not this girl.” But I was. Well, as it turns out, like me, he was also from New Jersey and addicted to opiates.

So he gives me a clean needle filled with heroin and injects it into my right arm.

Damn. I could breathe. After that, he starts calling some of his friends. He said he’d try to find me a place to stay. I didn’t understand why he was being so nice. But I wasn’t about to argue. This is when I learn he lived with his parents who had all recently relocated to South Floria from up north. Needlesstosay, I couldn’t stay there. But it wasn’t all bad. Because one of his girlfriends like a girl he was friends with answered his call and said I could crash with her. Holy shit. She had a one-bedroom condo in East Boca.

So before I found the guts to tell my family what was up, I end up staying with her with about two weeks. But not before Kane wakes up. Because an hour or so later, he made me walk downstairs (there were random little shops beneath his condo complex) to get a bagel and some coffee. It wasn’t an ordinary walk. He made me hold his hand. I think he tried to kiss me. And when I pulled the fuck away —asking what he thought he was doing; he said something like, “You’re my girl now. You need a place to stay? You need more drugs? Then hold my GOD damn hand.”

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I was scared. Like really scared. So I did what I was told.

I remember being ashamed. But it seemed as if I had no choice but to go with it.

I remember walking into that mom and pop coffee shop hand-in-hand with this fucking loser. But I played the part. Inside though, I was dying. In fact, I think I was already dead. Luckily, I was still feeling pretty good from the shot Will gave me. Will even said when we got back, he’d give me another. And that’s when Kane left. He said some important business emergency came up. He said to hang out with Will —emphasizing that I better be there when he got home. I wasn’t.

Because I listened to Will who arranged for that girl to pick me up —basically as soon as Kane left. I grabbed the shit I had on me and never looked back. I never saw Will or Kane again. My story doesn’t end there though. But this article does. I will tell you this though. In the U.S., one in five women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their life. One in four girls will be sexually abused before they turn 18-years-old. And unfortunately, those are just the reported cases. Because like me, most people don’t come forward.

Consequently, if you can relate to any of this, I’d like to say I’m sorry.

I want you to know I hear you. I feel you and I understand. It may seem weird to talk about. But it’s not. It’s actually the best thing you can do. Because it wasn’t until I started talking and writing that it stopped affecting my life. I took away its power. And I know it’s hard to find the words; so let mine speak for you. Because nothing is so bad that it cannot be undone. And at the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate. So, let’s celebrate.

Please stay tuned my next piece, which will dive a little deeper into what happened next and how I was able to turn my mess into a message. Thanks for listening, guys.

xoxo,

macey bee

*names and some details have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved. 

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