Within the period of time in question, I had decided to attempt to move away from my childhood home – a setting which had been rife with emotional, mental, verbal, and, at times, physical abuse – after my efforts to improve the situation there did not seem to work. I ultimately ended up temporarily moving in with a previous friend (“previous” for reasons which are unrelated to this incident) of mine. Despite this unspeakably kind act of theirs, I still felt as though I could not trust anyone, like I was only hateable. At the same time as all of this was going on, hostility (i.e., hissing and trying to start fights) between a semi-unsocialized feline – who had suddenly changed environments after her previous owner died and transferred the responsibility of taking care of her to my friend’s family in their will – and other cats was capable of cropping up at any time, day or night. Even after I attempted to break up these moments and encourage her to socialize with said cats by shooing her away from me to keep her from staying around me to stay away from them, they continued to occur. Eventually, I irrationally thought that I could prevent these instances of hostility from happening by getting the cat who had tried to interact with her the most to hate me and stay away from me and, thus, her, all by going to him while he was sitting still and gradually pushing a flask down on the end of his tail. He, thankfully, showed no signs of pain during this moment and anytime afterward, but they stared at me in such a way that it seemed like they were asking me, “What are you doing?” I was horrified at what I had done. The next day, I apologized to his owners and my friend, as well as did what I could to say, “I am sorry” to him, even though he neither appeared to be angry at me nor scared of me, and my apologies were accepted… yet the guilt and shame stayed with me, nevertheless.
Today, proceeding a three-month-long stay at my all-but-physically-abusive grandparents’ house and a brief stay at a homeless shelter, I am back at my childhood home, as I did not have what it takes to sacrifice a lot to create a new life for myself independently. This home has changed in certain ways, though I still interact with my family as little as possible since I cannot bring myself to trust them. In spite of this, I have strived to make up for what I did through altering my mentality by recording my thoughts on each of my days for thirty days in a digital journal, reporting cases of possible animal abuse to my local authorities, notifying my area’s local animal shelter of stray cats who need help before it gets even colder (cats who brought my guilt and shame to the surface after it was suppressed for so long), and thinking about volunteering at an animal shelter. However, I still view myself as a monster who can never be trusted to interact with any animal ever again, nor meet new people/talk to my current friends without feeling as though I am deceiving them by not telling them what I have done before saying anything else to them. I would try to engage with therapy once again if it was not for how my previous therapist never came up with a safety plan, resulting in my choice to be honest with her about the fact that I was feeling suicidal landing me in a dehumanizing stay at a psychiatric ward after she involved my family in my mental-health matters against my will, who heard what was going on from her and contacted the authorities after they could not contact me while I was focused on taking a mind-clearing walk.
At this point, I do not know what to do. I do know that what I did was and will forever be terrible, and I do know that I have taken some steps to be better, but they do not seem to be working well enough. What else can be done?