All Tied Up

by Mindi
(New Hampshire)

I am 34, the mother of two daughters 14 and 11, a loving husband, a basically happy life. I am intelligent, considered very attractive and am generally a competent person. Self-esteem had never been a problem. I've always had the confidence that I could handle any situation and have tried to instill that confidence in my girls. Three months ago an incident shattered that self-esteem and regaining my sense of worth has, I hope, made me wiser so I would like to share these thoughts.

One Tuesday morning in early November, after my husband left for work and my daughters for school, I had taken my usual jog around the block in our well-to-do suburban neighborhood. Upon returning home and stepping into our house I was confronted by a couple of burglars - teenage boys. They were obviously waiting for me because they wanted bank cards, pins, and had brought cords and duct tape. I was trapped, terrified and readily gave them what they wanted begging them not to hurt me or tie me up. Thankfully I was unhurt but they left me very tightly bound, gagged and hogtied face down on the floor of our walk-in closet. After they left I began struggling frantically but soon realized I would not be able to get loose. With my ankles and wrists bound together I could neither stand nor crawl to the door or a phone. The tape over my mouth made shouting for help impossible and I pretty much dissolved into sobs. It was about nine in the morning.
Over the next few hours my fear began to dissipate but it was replaced by anger and embarrassment. I was angry at myself for allowing two kids to tie me up. "Could haves" and "should haves" filled my mind. The thought that my children might find me like this was mortifying. I kept struggling to no avail. I was becoming very achy and exhausted. I tried thinking of pleasant things, tried meditating, tried breathing exercises but I was bound up, miserable and totally helpless. I prayed. I prayed for the cords to snap. I prayed that a neighbor would arrive, push open the door and find me before my daughters came home. I prayed for strength. By early afternoon my body and mind were numb and I began fearing that my children would stop at their friends' houses and I'd be like this even longer. Still, I wanted to be strong for them and tried bucking myself up. Hours passed until the magic hour of 3:30.
I listened for voices, the front door, anything. Finally! I heard my daughters arriving. I broke into "mmphs" feeling relieved but very embarrassed. I was so ridiculously helpless. They found me, peeled the tape from my mouth and, using a scissor, cut the cord attaching my hands to my ankles but my older daughter had to run to a neighbor to get my wrists and legs untied. The younger one got me a glass of water and put it to my mouth so I could drink. Both children were very loving, tender, but I was so mortified I wanted to disappear. My self-esteem, dignity, pride evaporated. I spent a month in a state of depression doing the best I could to keep it from my husband and daughters. I was convinced it would never end. I was the capable, competent mom who let two kids tie me up and then couldn't manage to work myself loose. My daughters would never forget seeing me bound up in a helpless heap. I felt like a total loser. And then came lights. Christmas lights.
I was sitting in the living room late one night watching the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree, feeling sad, thinking of past Christmases when a thought broke through the depression. Those two intruders had incapacitated me for hours. I had been incapacitating myself for weeks. For weeks I had total control and didn't realize it. I had the power of resurrection. I got up, went to that walk-in closet, lay face down on the floor with my arms behind my back and counted slowly to twenty. Then I rose, kissed my sleeping family and went to sleep determined to be my old, whole self again. Although I didn't magically leave depression completely behind I definitely felt the power to conquer it. Four months have passed and I feel wonderful, convinced that somewhere within ourselves we have the power to conquer demons.

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