A Breath of Panic (Trigger Warning)

It came as a small scratching at the door. The wind and rain pounding on the outside making it easy to ignore. The cats sat staring at the closed curtains, each bristling. Then came the howls of the neighbor’s dog. It was snarling with rage. Even still, it could’ve been ignored. It was an eventful storm, loud and showing the wrath of nature. Nature screaming at the impending violation of his presence? The words brought me to pause, literally as I was watching a movie. “Oh (expletive) the door is locked.”

Immediately I sprang into action, my immobile body trapping me with the slowness that comes with adrenaline. My hands shook as I dialed first the Security office at the apartment, then the police. Someone had tried to enter. I couldn’t tell if it was my Ex. I knew it was. The cats ignore most strangers but fear him. In fact every day I still find new shades of things he has done. Today I learned that William answers to curse words.

The operator for 911 asked me to stay on the line. I appreciated that, I felt like I was going to pass out from panic. I didn’t tell her. If I said it, it acknowledged the part of me that had to wait. She had answered the phone before and remembered my voice, and that alone was comfort. Another bang came, and I heard the van driving up to the front. There were some thuds… then he was inside. It lasted for a split second, I never even saw him. The Security officer was there, and the police came as quickly as they could. The storm slowed them. I listened to the howl and watched my cats rage.

What happened? Using his key he broke into my storage unit, then he forced the door to open with brute force. The cats hid, and I risked pain by rolling off of my spot and crawling behind the wall space. I didn’t cry. I will probably when I lay down. I can’t yet. Everything is still to fresh. It’s been five hours and I just sit here. I finished my movie, I called people.

There is of course more to this story, but, he came again. I had just started to feel safe. The police told me I may not open my windows or doors, they will be watching the apartment as they can but any other crisis will pull them away. This will last until I move. I know too, now that there are two warrants for his arrest. I asked if I could write about that, and they said “Sure. If he reads it he may turn himself in, which will make his punishment much less.”

He did get away with some things. He took a few of my wheelchair accessories but not the wheelchair. I had started to feel safe. The complacency of having a moving date in mind and being about to pay my deposit via the help of my friend M, it left me feeling safe. I am still imagining. I am not just staring at the walls but I am browsing online stores and imagining what items may look like in my home and my yard.

I am (expletive) terrified. I should be. The idiot (yes I am just going to call him what he seems to be) first broke into the wrong apartment. The neighbor’s dog went after his balls and he may or may not have a serious groin injury. The neighbor did not see his face but was fairly certain it was him. They also called the police. Other neighbors heard the barking and looked outside. A total of six different neighbors and myself called in but he still escaped.

I do feel safer knowing that they didn’t ignore it. I have some balls I got for free with a bag of catfood, I am not sure why they were giving dog toys away but, I had been intending to give them to a service dog I know. Now they will be one less. The officer hand delivered the tennis ball for me, because that dog saved my life. I would’ve ignored it. I’ve felt like a crazy woman jumping at every sound.

It has worn me down so far, that I cannot even comprehend saftey. It feels like this distant dream. The concept that I could be safe? It’s a sweet torture. I can’t stop imagining it but now it feels like the worst idea ever. I do not want to sleep in my bed, it smells bad and I am afraid, one of the neighbors reported a gun.

Because he entered the storage unit and only he and I have a key, it was deemed beyond a reasonable doubt that he broke in. The police are going to make my landlord fix my door first thing in the morning, and security is parked out front. I know they will protect me but, I cannot stop the fear. None the less, I know I did the right thing. The police were impressed with my ability to protect myself. I will be feeling the effects for days.

In fact I never would have known he had entered the storage shed if I had not leaned on the door to keep my balance. I felt it shift and we all heard the lock click. I checked because they suspected he was hiding in side, but no such luck.

I do know this will help me with my restraining order. I go to court Wednesday at 9:45 AM. If he reads this maybe he will show up. He can tell them it’s all in my head.

I keep replaying the moment where he penetrated my home, there was a crackling sound, the door still closes now but he forced the locking mechanism through the wood, which was already damaged enough it looks whole. I felt myself stop, the cats were bolting away so I rolled and felt the most pain I have in a long time. I know nothing is broken that wasn’t before, and I will be bruised but, if I had been in his line of sight I might be dead.

I can’t wait to move. The good news is my friend who is helping me with the rent and deposit this month, so I can get out of Dodge has also replaced my waterbed mattress and has given me bedding. This means when I move I will sleep that first night in a bed that is full of clean instead of the decrepit filfth. I may even leave the mold filled waterbed here with the bags of his belongings. I no longer plan to try returning them to him. I will abandon it.

If you are wondering how bad the bed is, let me just say that the smell fills the entire house, and both K and myself have been taking benedryl so that we can breathe, the cats too. When I lay down it crunches, and sometimes it stabs me hard enough I can’t find a spot to rest on. I have no bedding as it is, and the poor man wound up having to replace everything except my bed frame. My ex found a way to ruin everything he could.

I will eventually post the wishlists here, though I may hide my really outlandish jewelry wishlist from you all. I decided to just make a list of anything pretty I may someday want, ignoring the fact most of it is over priced and I would never buy it.

Thank you all again for your support. I want to use this moment to draw your attention to a blog post that reminded me that this would’ve been way better if I wasn’t disabled. I wouldn’t have to fight for any police response. Tonight has been the major exception and not the rule. I had probably the best officer on the entire APD show up. So, here it is. This too has a trigger warning but it’s worth it.

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8 Comments

  1. Oh dear, this is such a horrible situation!
    I’m really happy you have plans worked out how to get safe and plan to move.
    Also, a bit unrelated, do you think we should add explicit trigger warnings on top of graphic posts?
    We’re trying to make the blog as accessible as possible, so any feedback how to make it better is greatly appreciated.

  2. I suspect he does read your blog because when he read you’d be moving he broke in so soon after. I hope you saved the duct tape etc., because coupled with his break in when it finally all goes to court he might get more time. If he’s smart he’ll turn himself in like the law enforcement officer said.

    I am so sorry you are still having to put up with all of this until you can move. I pray you will be safe as long as you must remain there. The neighbors also will probably be on the lookout and I’m glad so many of them called. You are not alone!

  3. It sucks that this happened.

    Don’t ever get rid of those cats. (Okay, I know you’re hanging on to them anyway.) And pay attention whenever they snarl.

    I once knew someone whose dogs saved her life from housemates who were attacking her. I’m glad that you’ve had your own positive experiences with companion cats and dogs helping to protect you.

  4. I never would. I was willing to risk breaking a lease to keep William. Sprite is my service animal. I am trying to get ahold of some treats so that when I move I can stop in and let my neighbors know. My neighbor is a chronic insomniac and he has been patrolling himself, adding to the layers of security. His reasoning? I’m nice to him.

    Honestly, if that isn’t proof that there isn’t enough kindness in this world I don’t know what is but I am glad to give it.

  5. Ditto to all of the above. I hope he reads this, after I leave he can come get his stuff as the letters to the apartment said. I am leaving his crap behind (some of it literal xD). I hope he enjoys reading about how happy I am, because really despite the stress and fear he has inflicted, I am increasingly happy. I suspect when I can just sit outside in my front yard getting a horrible sun burn I will no longer be depressed at all.

  6. I am lucky that I have dependable people in my life. Some of them even surprised me.

    I think so, anyone can technically be triggered by anything but a large amount of disabled persons actually do suffer from PTSD, as many of us have already been in institutions, may be there now, or fear going into one. It’s a valid fear. Institutions are usually the source of a lot of problems for people as you know, and with this being an almost universal plaint for disabled people I think it is a valid action.

    The main topics I try and trigger are any with a description of pain; specifically meant to give my readers a clear view into my actual pain, torture or abuse of any variety (mental, physical, emotional, financial), Desperation, and of course Rape. There are always others that if I think someone may be triggered or based on requests I have seen on other blogs or had myself I add in.

    This gives my readers a chance to brace themselves, because most of what I write can be very intense.

  7. Great post!
    Its very intense.,when I read the content my mind keeps on thinking what would be the next thing to happen in this event of the post.,It makes me pause when I read and seldom re read the content.,i just stumble around here and its amaze me,thnks.

  8. Thank you.


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