Just for Today

Just for Today

 

Just for Today, I will Live for the season I am In.

Just for Today, I feel an occurring happening inside me; a Storm is coming.

Just for Today, I will stand straight and Hold my head High.

Just for Today, I am going to serve my Purpose, I will focus on This moment.

Today I am going to Serve my Purpose, even if it seems my purpose is just to cook dinner for my family, to dust and fold clothes, to wash others dishes and sweep their mud off the floor.

Just for Today, I will remind myself that All of these things serve the Purpose of caring for my family.

 

Just for today, I will avoid my husband as he battles his own demons, angrily.

Just for Today, I will remind myself to be compassionate in my responses. I can’t help him with what he is going through, but I have been there.

Just for Today, I will remind myself we all have our own demons, our battles and weapons different.

Just for Today, I am only responsible for myself. I am responsible for my own reactions and my own life decisions.

Just for Today, I will own All my mistakes. I will claim them with no excuses. All my mistakes have led me to where I am. I would not change any of it.

Away

I have to get out of here.

Away from my house and the responsibilites that it contains.

Away from voices.

Away from traffic.

Away from endless chores.

Away from appointments.

It is why I haven’t been able to write.

I can’t think.

I hear the buzzing in my mind.

I feel the urgency in my gut.

I just want to get in the car and drive.

I need windows down and tunes loud.

I need to feel open air and a sea breeze on my face.

I want to taste the salt on my lips and feel it on my skin.

I need this.

I will take my husband with me as a reminder to return home.

I want to walk into the frigid northern Maine Atlantic waters at the same moment my sister walks into the warmer Myrtle Beach Atlantic, just to see if I can feel her awesome strength.

I want to be silly.

I want to laugh.

I want silence.

I want the roaring in my mind to be only the sound of the ocean.

One more day, just one more day…

I don’t want to pack or take anything with me, I want to leave it ALL behind.

I need to leave it all behind…

Lubec looks lonely on the map.

I hope it is.

Don’t worry, I’ll be there tomorrow….

 

The Escape

Religion is a dangerous thing if you have ever been near the psych ward. I guess it’s not ok or sane to believe in something you can’t physically see or hear. If we can’t believe in things we can’t see, how are any of us supposed to believe in our futures? Or that we have one? How are we supposed to believe we can get well? Or survive the ordeals we suffer? If you take away faith, you take away hope.

I have been diagnosed as suffering from Complex PTSD and Bipolar 1- rapid cycling, so yes, I have problems regulating my emotions. The word moody does not begin to describe it. There is no regulation a lot of the time. Most of the time, I don’t think I need to control anything. If I feel it, the feeling must have some basis in fact, right? They tell me this is not always the case but that doesn’t change my reactions.

Speaking of religion is a dangerous thing, if you have ever been near a psych ward.

I have never felt the need to standardize my conduct to conform with society. In fact, my maternal grandfather very much encouraged me not to, ’If you have something to say, say it! Don’t hold back!’, he would tell me. I have always felt that I am who I am and the way I am because God made me this way and that he makes everyone their own way for a reason. I have always believed that everything that happens is for a reason. We just need to pay attention and be aware and the opportunities you need to succeed will be put in front of you. I am NOT saying that my eyes have always been open or that I have always listened to the quiet voice in my head telling me what path I should take. Many times, I could see no path or I just didn’t follow the breadcrumbs but I have always believed that everyone has this voice inside them.

I have great certainty that the only reason I survived the first 30 years of my life is because a strong moral code was instilled in me during my early childhood in which I knew I was loved by everybody around me. I knew Jesus loved me and he would keep me safe when my parents weren’t around. I knew the difference between right and wrong and could become indignant about unfairness. As I grew older, I could argue any side of a debate that was put into play. Every day I heard from my mom and dad how I could be anything I wanted to be and if at first I didn’t succeed to try, try again. I believed that angels watched over me every night. I was taught to share and share alike. I was taught to say my evening prayers and grace before meals. I was taught to treat others the way I wanted them to treat me and to never utter the word “hate”. I was taught to respect my elders and that there were very defined boundaries between what you could and could not say in public. I learned to be polite and to smile and nod at the correct times. I was told that God helps those who helps themselves. These lessons and many more stayed with me throughout my life and I am fortunate that I had this foundation beneath me before evil and sickness walked into my life, many are not so lucky.  I’m not sure that any foundation could have prepared me for what was to come but inside me was a superhuman strength I was unaware of.

I tend to be on top the world one second and the in the next unable to understand how everything could be so wrong. There are rarely muted colors in my emotions, I can go from raging red or playful, spunky neon pink, skip the blues and sink into that black pit of despondence then bounce back to gleeful green in a matter of hours or a couple days. The color wheel containing the full spectrum of my moods somehow spun off the gyroscope and lays smashed beyond repair. I am left, not trying to reassemble, but trying to create some order.

I can push things out of my mind until I have forgotten them and I can easily disassociate from this world while I am on the couch watching the news or a tv show that brings up a subject that is uncomfortable to me. I can close my mind instantly if you make me uncomfortable. This is a coping mechanism that is only helpful in the moment. Life goes on while you are trying to forget it and eventually the memories will catch up with you and must be dealt with in some manner. I have tried many times to remain present and in the moment but it often feels like an exercise in futility. It is too much second nature to me now. I have no control over my own mind. I have had more flashbacks than I can remember and once punched my husband because the face I saw coming in for a kiss suddenly wasn’t his. I have awakened my family in the night screaming to get out of the house, that the house was on fire. I once spent a midnight in the pouring rain trying to shovel up the grass on the front lawn so I could plant flowers. Many hours, ten feet from the side of the road, in the middle of the night, in a downpour. I never did plant the flowers. I wasn’t sleeping much around that time…

I have always had vivid recurrent nightmares. Dreams of falling; off a cliff, off a bridge, being driven off the bridge by those who were supposed to love me. Terrifying hours spent in sleep, searching for my missing family in wastelands and abandoned buildings.  People long dead coming to me in my sleep; urging me to join them. Shadow people silently standing guard beside the bed or in the doorway…Nights spent soaked in sweat in twisted sheets…

God didn’t save me from any of it…

God didn’t save me from any of it. I didn’t see any angels swooping into the room behind my stepfather to stop him from getting into bed with me. No trumpets blared to stop me from getting into a car with a rapist. The sea did not part to make a way for me to get away from my exes. (Well maybe the last time…) There have been many plagues. Nevertheless, I never doubted that he was there. Watching, checking in on me and always gently reminding me of his presence. I won’t lie, there have been times when I ignored every nudge he gave me. I ignored him even when he tripped me to keep me from going the wrong way and would get up, brush the dust off and continue the way I was going just because it was what I wanted at the moment or because the path was more clear or it was what I thought was right.  I spent years fighting what amounted to myself.

I spent my first 30 years victimized. Molested, sent away from home with a sock full of dimes for protection, raped, sold off to my 1st husband basically, escaping him for a drug dealer that had no qualms about beating the shit out of me, (I was raised that boys don’t hit girls, to speak my mind and that if someone hit me I was to hit them back, so I would, although it did not help my situation…) losing my kids, fighting for sobriety…I stopped thanking God that I was alive and for the little things that previously had reminded me he was there. My kids…butterflies, ladybugs, rainbows, the small kindnesses of strangers…I stopped seeing the world in color and was immersed in a world colored by different shades of blacks, whites and grays. I lost the goodness of the world. I lived in a scary place where everyone was out to get you and nobody was your friend. I couldn’t trust anyone to do what they said they would or to mean what they said. I was alone. Then one day that boyfriend punched me in the eye and I heard a loud, determined voice in my head, that sounded a lot like my own, saying, “That is the last time you will blacken my eye.” I don’t know where it came, didn’t know I was thinking anything about it, but I do know that it was a strong voice. That day I stopped using, both cocaine and crystal meth, all by myself, and I never went back. I never had another craving. It was about a year later that I told that same boyfriend that I was taking his car and going to see my kids in Alabama and I would be back in two weeks. I knew I was never coming back to him. I would sooner leave his car on the side of the road, if I must, burned to a crisp. I knew his pride wouldn’t let him come after me, that he would act like it was his idea for me to leave. I once gave him a black eye, during one of our many altercations and he told his friends and family some ‘black’ guy did it. I was so secretly proud of that black eye, smiling to myself every time I heard him give this explanation. Why it had to be a ‘black’ guy that did it, I don’t know…Some people knew the truth but it was still always a secret. He was cheating on me anyway. Loser. My plan was to go to Alabama, a place I considered the armpit of America, and find a job and a place to live and share my kids with their father and make the best of things. Be a mature, responsible adult. A contributing member of society.

Jesus asked,” Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?” John 4:48

At that time my ex and I were still legally married. We were not married in my mind. I had closed my mind and heart and soul to him a long time ago. I intended to get divorced as soon as possible and was sure he knew that. He did not. He thought we were going to be together. We were not. I told him my plan and he informed me that it would never happen. He was never going to let them stay with me anywhere or go anywhere with me. I started to think I needed to get out of there after he called my mom whining and crying that I was not there begging for forgiveness. She informed him I wasn’t there for him but for the kids, it was not a message he wanted to receive. Right around this time, I dropped the kids off at school one morning and went for a ride, looking for help wanted signs and apartments for rent. I went back and picked up the kids from school in the afternoon and went home to make supper. That evening I was asked what I was doing in Jasper that afternoon, a town about 30 miles from Adamsville. It was with a devastatingly sickening realization that nothing had changed in the preceding 3 years, and I knew, once again, I had to plan an escape. He was following me. Spying on me. Trying to control what I did, who I talked to and where I went. I couldn’t keep doing this. Later that night, he called the police and tried to have me removed his house. I stood in the doorway, watching the flashing lights in the driveway, looking over at my children- sitting on the sofa bed that they would later sleep together on, in that one bedroom shack in the backyard of some other family’s house and I knew I was taking them out of there and that this was not going to be their life. They deserved better. I deserved better.  I heard the police telling him he couldn’t keep me out if we were married just like he couldn’t stop me putting the kids in the car and leaving with them. We were married. Share and share alike.

I spent the next week secretly putting outfits in my trunk, one at a time. Mine and theirs. I put toys in my car that wouldn’t be noticed missing, pants and long sleeve shirts that no one was looking for in late August in Alabama. I waited for the moment he said he was leaving. For a moment that I believed he was really leaving. There was no way to be absolutely sure. I had, regrettably, been wrong before. It was on a Saturday. He said he was going to work. He hadn’t been in a week, that I could tell, but he was going to pick up a check so I believed him. I told him I was taking the kids swimming at Oak Mountain before they closed for the season. I put the kids in the car, went to a gas station, filled up and pulled over to the side. I put air in my leaky back driver side tire, got back in the car and turned to the kids,” I think we are going to go on a vacation instead of to Oak Mountain, what do you think?” Heartbroken, I reassured my oldest that his daddy wouldn’t be mad. I told them that we could go see Nanny or go to see their aunt, my sister, in Maine.  We sat at that gas station at that junction outside of Birmingham, and I pondered whether to take 20 and go through North Carolina to my mom or 65 north through Tennessee. I have always entered and returned to Alabama via Hwy 20.

I prayed. I prayed that we would be ok wherever we ended up. I told God that I needed him and I begged for him to be with us. I told him I knew there was no way I could do this without him. I was terrified. I couldn’t do this anymore. I knew there was something better out there for us. A better life for us and please could he help us find it. I told him I needed help, that I didn’t know what to do.

That day I decided to take the scenic route via 65. I had never come north that way and I wouldn’t recognize anything or anyone along the way. A few weeks later, when my ex called me at the women’s shelter where we were hiding, he told me he was sitting on the side of Highway 20 that day, waiting for me, that he knew I was ‘up to something’. In that way, the sea parted for me.

Somewhere on the highway in Tennessee we lost that left rear tire and I put on the donut. The 50-mile limit, plastic tire auto manufacturers used to give you as a spare… We made it to near Bristol, Tennessee that first day. I wanted to keep driving but I couldn’t and I needed a tire. I knew he would think I was heading to my mother’s house in North Carolina for about a minute. Until he got there, anyway. I got the kids some fast food and a hotel room and set them free to jump on the beds and watch cartoons. I asked the desk guy where a Western Union was and called my mom to ask for money. Sundays in the south, in the 90’s, stores were not open. It was a day of rest…I got no tire the next morning but we headed out just the same. Praying mile by mile, repeating a mantra silently, “Please God, take me home, please take care of us…” Mile after long mile…We got here on that donut tire- 1000 miles…I call that a miracle…Funny thing is, that car gave me no problems all the way here but started acting up shortly after we got here, as if its purpose was fulfilled. I abandoned it when I found out he was in Maine, now following me around in a borrowed car, so we wouldn’t recognize him. We were here and, as far as I was concerned, an ocean had parted and made way for us. We got here and then I fell apart in a different way…

I don’t believe I would have made it here alone. I know I wouldn’t have. I had very little faith in my own ability to make it happen. I spent weeks before we left and years after we arrived, on edge. I spiraled slowly down and down, into the dregs of my mind. Old familiar places pounding me with memory after memory, reminding me daily about why I left here. I am not going to lie and say I have never had any religious delusions. I am not going to lie and say that I have never felt deserted by God. I am not going to say that I have gotten everything I have ever wanted. I am going to say that God put me on the right road, literally. I am going to say that if you are ready, if you are open, if you ask and are prepared for the answer to come in any form, that He will be there. I am confident of this and I am grateful every day that I wake up. No matter what mood I am in…

Trying

Conditions must be ideal for me to sit down and put words on paper and, regrettably, that is rarely the case. It is never quiet or easy to concentrate. The dogs will distract me with their wild carrying on. This winter has been longer than usual and they, like their humans, have cabin fever. They jump, growl and chew on each other, always at my feet, in what I am sure is part of a concerted effort to drive me mad. My three-year-old granddaughter brings me much joy but she is at my house for the better part of the week and she has a lot to talk about. There is no time for my brain to refresh after she falls asleep at night and when she goes home, I will sit for hours in the quiet, trying to get my thoughts together until eventually I will fall crash, exhausted in mind and body.

I made a desk of the dining room table and here I sit for hours, staring out the window at the road and the house in the field beyond it, as if it were my muse. In a snowstorm, their cedar shake cabin looks like ‘Little House on the Prairie’, smoke billowing out the chimney, simple and cozy. If I go to the living room in the morning- to the couch and the morning news, I will be sucked in and will spend my day rocking to and fro, right there for a good part of the day, if not until bedtime. If I get up and sit at the table, if my playlist reads my mood, if the weather is nice enough for the dogs to go outside and if I have minimal distractions, I can sit at that table typing all day and into the night. Unfortunately, trying to create the correct atmosphere is enough to send me to the couch. This is a new routine for me and I am trying. I am putting effort into trying and that is more than can be said for the previous 13 years. In my defense, I thought I was trying all those years but the bar is set remarkably low for people like me, which is stigmatizing in its own way. I am also trying to train my family into this new routine, that part is harder. I don’t think it is possible for them to know what this means to me, this writing. It looks like sitting and listening to music to them but to me it is my life, my future and my well-being. This is everything to me. I think my husband’s hope is that this will keep me busy for a while and help me in some obtuse way and he is down for that but, as always, my family expects me to be ready at their beck and call. ‘Do I have clean socks? What’s for supper? I need a ride. Can so and so come over? I want to have a LAN party, we’re having a Marvel marathon-do we have food? Why is it so cold? Are you going to light the wood stove? Do I have to make the trek, from the basement up the hill to the lean-to behind the garage, with that crappy yard wagon and its falling off wheels, to get wood? Can somebody else PLEASE wash a damn dish? Why do we have a dishwasher? Can ANYONE ELSE load it? Turn on the washer? Are my appliances so complicated that no-one else can run them? No-one can crinkle up some paper or strike a match? The dogs are on a schedule- why am I the only one who knows it? The vacuum is not that hard to operate. What do you mean WE are going to spring clean this weekend? No. Is it spring? Can’t we wait till it is? PLEASE!!! What about what I am doing? That thought doesn’t ever seem to enter anyone’s mind but mine. To them, I am always available, all that is required is my presence.

What happened this week is that I slept. I went to bed early and I slept late. Later than I wanted to on more than one day. Earlier than I wanted to on more than one evening. I don’t do this. I don’t like to sleep. My biggest sleep goal is to get the 8 recommended hours. Not 15…My husband is thrilled! Encouraging me to sleep more…” That’s great, baby, you need to get some rest.” I feel like saying- “Screw you-this is how you get rid of me- if I sleep all day and night, you don’t have to deal with me and if I could get a moment’s peace around here, I wouldn’t be exhausted but nobody gives a shit as long as I do EVERYTHING for you people.”

That’s not true.  They do care. They care because they have seen me at my worst and they don’t want to see it again for whatever reasons they have. Their reasons are probably different than mine, but just as real. The fact is, I don’t like to sleep. I don’t like to sleep until 2 in the afternoon and I don’t like to go to bed at 8. I feel like my day is wasted, that there are opportunities missed. I get angry. I get angry at myself and take it out on others. That is exactly what happened this week. I tend to get upset when others take advantage of my time even when I am not in some cycle or another. I was already mad at myself for sleeping too much.

I waited in the parking lot an extra 45 minutes at the school for my son on Tuesday because they decided to start their SAT testing a half hour late but told students they couldn’t use their phones to let their parents know. I do not even agree with SAT or any other ‘assessment’ testing. Wednesday mornings they usually start school an hour later than the rest of the week, but because of the amount of snow days we’ve had this year they have been using that hour as make up time. This week they decided not to take advantage of that but AGAIN, they decided not to tell parents, we found out when the bus did not come at its usual time. I raged at our country store Tuesday, (which I have personally boycotted for years at a time) because, once again, I walked in and there was a line but no clerk in sight. It didn’t help that the nosiest bitch in town was in front of me in line and it didn’t help when she asked me what was wrong, like she cared, and I turned to her, spitting, ‘Don’t f@%$^&^ talk to me.’, to which she responded, “What is going on?”, again pretending to care, so she could spread it around. Then I responded. She got exactly what she wanted. Venom. Word spreads fast in a town of 3,000. I am sure my husband and his family have heard the version she is spreading and they will take her side, because I am just ‘crazy’. That store is boycotted again.

After that, still Tuesday, I got into a huge blowout with my son because I was watching my grand-daughter so he and his significant other could go to work. She has a habit of NOT working. I saw a post on Facebook that she was tagged in, about how for 4 years in a row she went to eat at Fat Boy’s, a seasonal drive-in, on this day. After I picked up her baby at 7 that morning so she could get ready and go to work. She made it 3 days that I know of at this job. It is her average. I love my grand-baby. I credit her for bringing me joy. I truly believe she is the biggest gift in my life. She makes me laugh. I love watching her learn about the world around her and I love teaching her about it. I love her snuggles and cuddles. I love watching her for my own benefit, never mind hers or her parents.  She has all she wants here and we would gladly give her anything she asked for. Everything she does makes me happy. Even when she’s bad. I laugh. She loves me unconditionally and this has been an unintended lifesaver. She has reminded me that the world can be pure.  That there is joy everywhere, in things little and big.

This is NOT the first time her mother has done this to me or my son but it is the LAST time she will do it to me. We should have heeded her own mothers warning, the first day we met, that she was a user and would use him and me and anyone she can. I just thought she was her own ‘crazy’. Clearly, she was frustrated in her own way. There is a lot of winter in this state, and it does its own thing to everyone. I drove to their house after finding out she was gallivanting instead of working, ready to tell her exactly what a piece of shit I thought she was. All the way there all I could think was that she was NOT using me again, and I intended to make that clear. In the loudest, nastiest way possible. Something came over me as I turned onto the road leading to their driveway and I pulled over to the side of the road and tried to take a few deep breaths. I don’t know if you have tried this, but it is practically impossible to take deep, slow breaths when you are insane with anger. I was a volcano and the lava was already spewing. I prayed,” Please God, help me to use the right words because I can’t do this right without you.” That is all I could pray. Anger was driving me forward. I pulled up the next few feet until I was at the end of their driveway. She wasn’t HOME!! I got the message, laughed to myself and said, “Ok, God, I get it…” I drove down the block to my sister’s house, visited for an hour or so, and then left to go home. I did drive back by my son’s house but the driveway remained empty. Meant to be…

I’m still angry but I became more resolute. Put on my big girl panties, so to speak. I had to turn my mind. This is difficult. She was not the original source of my frustration so I must become resolute not only in my dealings with her but with my family. My heart is closed for now. I have done this only a few times during my life. It is not easy to close myself off from people but I must for my own protection. My husband claims it is a visible change, that he can see it in my face. Must be all that disassociating I practiced so well… My son says she needs help and I agree, but if she has ‘issues’ and her own diagnosis, I can’t help her. She needs to want that. Nobody else can do it for her. This frustrates me because I wonder if his patience with her is patience that he learned dealing with me. I don’t want him to need to have that much patience with her. I would rather he cut his losses and try for some peace and happiness in his life. I don’t WANT him in a relationship with someone like me his entire adult life. I don’t want this for any of my children. Is that bad? Is that stigma? The stigma of one mentally ill person against another? Well, if anyone knows about it, I do. At least I am not an uneducated, insufferable fool acting like I know. I know I should be the LAST person judging her, but maybe I see it better…That is not an excuse, I’m trying to reason it out for myself. I have no patience with ignored mental illness. Ignored by the afflicted or those near them. Undiagnosed is one thing. If you are trying your best and you are struggling, great. I’m here for you, I will do everything in my power. Will I watch the ones I love around you suffer because you refuse to get help and all the SHIT gets dumped at my doorstep? NO. For now, though, I will do my best to kill her with kindness, like my Momma keeps saying. I will rally my thinking around those Alabama and North Carolina years in my past and I will smile and say,” Bless your heart…”, with a big smile.

The fact is, all this BULLSHIT will fill my mind until it turns foggy. Until I can’t think or DO anything. Most of this happened on Tuesday but ruined my week. A week I can’t get back.  I become so worn out that even when I am awake, I am sleeping. Then, suddenly, an entire week or month or year is missing from my life and I can’t get it back… I don’t have enough time left in my life for that at this point. Words screamed and feelings run amok, are things that can’t be put back in the can. Time wasted now, doesn’t return later. Sometimes my biggest desire is just to run. Run far and away. I want to get in the car and keep driving until I am somewhere new and all anyone sees in me is just another friendly face. No bi-polar, no PTSD, no checkered past…clean…fresh.

None of this addresses the issue of time that I wish I had. Closing my heart is only necessary when having it open will continue hurting me. I must start saying no. I should say it even when I want to say yes. If you are poisoning me, I need going to tell you that I am aware of it. I can’t let it keep happening. I need my time alone and the quiet. I need to find a balance between the housework and the rest of my life. Between my family and my mind. Between life outside these four walls and the life within. I somehow must create, out of whole cloth, a world in which I can practice self-care while caring for my family. I need to create a family that knows that, even though I am here and present, I am doing something for myself right now and could you please try to understand that this is something that will hopefully benefit all of us in the long run. I’m trying. Please leave me alone and let me try.

‘I wish I was in the hospital…’

It always surprises me when I have this thought. It has happened more than once over the last 13 years. It didn’t happen once after my first hospitalization but it has flitted through my mind on more than one occasion since my second admission. It happens when there is too much noise in my head. I’m not sure how to describe the sound. It’s a buzzing, a white sound. It is the roar of a Nor’Easter in January with 50 mph winds. The rumble of the freight train used to describe an impending tornado. The babble of a thousand voices running together, not one loud enough to discern the words. The noise makes it impossible for me to have a complete thought, if I can think at all. It is the only thing I hear. A Roaring inside my head. My cognizance will soon be gone. I don’t think about how to get out of bed or appointments I will miss. Calls and e-mails go unreturned. All my contacts are ghosted. Mail will start piling up and eventually I will put it somewhere out of sight, until it is completely forgotten about. I can’t remember to comb my hair, never mind pay the power bill. I begin to feel overwhelmed and inadequate. I begin to feel that I am letting my loved ones down. Eventually, my perception and intuition will fail me and I will be defenseless. I am easily offended. For now, I will question the motives of EVERYONE I speak to and some that I don’t. I will look for deception in every word and nuance. I will keep my eyes open for any weapon you may use against me, I am vulnerable and that makes me paranoid. I am constantly scanning my surroundings for the exits. I will ruminate possible scenarios and outcomes of situations for hours. There is danger everywhere. I remain constantly aware. It’s exhausting.

Many times, it accompanies a tingling in my body that resembles the feeling of too much caffeine or not enough sleep. Maybe it’s both… I get itches that I can’t scratch. It seems they are under the skin. I have scratched myself until I bled on more than one occasion, sometimes in my sleep. All this comes with a tiredness of mind that no sleep can refresh. It brings irritability and a lack of patience. I feel compelled to move. I will pace and, alternately, sit on the couch and rocking forward and back, before getting up to do some chore. I begin to feel unconnected to my husband and in my other relationships. I begin to have nightmares; some I will remember and many I will not. I will wake knowing that something is bad somewhere. Something is not okay. Maybe I’ve done something, maybe somebody has done something to me that I don’t know about yet. I will lash out and can become combative if others get too close physically or attempt to suggest I do something that will “make me feel better”. Those suggestions run the gamut from calling the doctor to taking a nap to taking a bath. I never find them helpful and they always make me angry. I will snap, “I’m fine, why do you always treat me like a crazy person? Why don’t YOU go take YOUR meds!! I’m not a child!” I become aggressive and will snap at anyone, anywhere for any slight. Real or imagined. I’m not sure how I still show my face in this county, I am ashamed of my behavior but must go on so I hold my head high, looking over others, the same way I always have. I will smile as I pass you in the aisle at the grocery store even though I know you saw me raging so bad I was spitting last week at the drug store.

It takes a special kind of strength to be mentally ill and survive. It takes a special kind of strength to survive abuse, whether inflicted on you by strangers or by those who claim to love you. Whether it happens in the dark of night or the light of day, at home behind closed doors or in a public place. Whether it is a well-hidden secret or one everyone knows about but refuses to notice. Maybe it is public knowledge and strangers feel they can bring it up whenever they want because somehow, they feel they know you, through the news or social media. To know you have acted in ways that are shameful to you is only a problem when you are well, otherwise you were in the right and it doesn’t seem to matter. You are indignant if anyone claims you are in the wrong. It is when you are well that you must be your strongest. To apologize and try to explain. You can try to explain what you have gone through. but there are no words. How do you explain that there was nothing? Just nothing..in you. I’m sorry now…I didn’t know what I was doing…I don’t describe myself as sick- I am not sick. Like, what? What kind of sick? Like cancer? Heart-disease? If I eat right, I’ll be okay?My mind won’t betray me? My body? The flu? It is very disconcerting for your mind to turn on you. It felt that the WORLD fell on me. I broke. I got shattered. Turned to dust. I will be well and learn to balance myself. To watch for the signs. I will get up. Bi- Polar will not be a terminal illness for me. We WILL co-exist, if not in perfect harmony, then with an uneasy partnership.

I know what it means when I start thinking I should go to the hospital. It means I need to rest and by rest, I mean be alone. The appeal of the hospital to me is NOT the massive doses of anti-psychotics they will numb me with or the puzzles with missing pieces in the rec room. It is the lack of responsibility. It is that I won’t have to talk about anything that matters and that the most I may have to focus on is a coloring page. I crave the order and the quiet. No one makes me eat when I am not hungry or wash my hair when I don’t care. Who wants to take a shower with someone watching to make sure you don’t eat the damn soap? That’s desperation, suicide by .75oz. shampoo….From a hospital bed, I can’t see the pile of dishes in the sink and the dog is not whining to go out. It is a letting go, a giving in. It is no judgement and no sideways looks. I would much rather say, “Hey honey- I need some quiet time so I’m going for a drive, I’ll be back in a week…Love you…” That would sound too much like a vacation and then others would want to ride along, which would defeat the purpose. So instead I will stock the freezer with frozen foods and the refrigerator with sandwich meat and milk. I will stock the cabinets with mac and cheese and rice mixes. I will buy plenty of spaghetti and canned sauce and put the least amount of effort in cooking while I put music on my earbuds or stream the same reruns I always do, finding their repetitive drones comforting. I will lay on the couch for 3 days, with my husband right beside me. I’m going to tell my granddaughter she can’t come over for a bit and apologize to my son about the short notice. I will take the increased doses of anti-psychotics and benzodiazepines my Psychiatric NP. lovingly prescribes me, for the time required for me to “level” out. When I feel better, when I begin to think again, I will slowly cut back on my doses until I am, once again, “stable”. But for now, I’m going to wear my pajamas and sleep whenever I want, IF I want. I’m going to hope it is warm enough to go outside, even if just to sit on the step. I am going to tell everyone around me to figure it out themselves and if I say it loud enough, they will. They are getting used to this by now. I’m sorry they have to, but it is the way it is. Everybody makes concessions to the Bi-Polar- and I share my strength back with them when I am well and they need to take a rest.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

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Boxes

Bi-Polar Disorder was never a diagnosis that I fully accepted. I am not going to try and deny that I can check off every box on the diagnosis checklist. I can. No doubt. The PTSD one too. That is true. I like to think that the fact that I see the world a bit differently than the average Joe is a good thing. My experiences are different. I bring each one of them with me. I have always considered myself moody. Why wouldn’t I be? I had plenty to be moody about. I have always had a mind prone to daydreams and fantasies. Doesn’t every little girl? A dear departed friend from high school who lovingly referred to me as “Wacky Jackie.” I loved it, I felt it set me apart from everyone, where I should be… Set off to the side like a broken chair. I already felt like I was apart from most of my peers- how many of them were hiding the secrets I held within me? I loved school really, I felt safe there. I could bury myself in homework and forget the turmoil inside. I could focus on what was within that building and forget about everything else. I heard it whispered many times that I was “stuck up”, sometimes even “snobby”. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. My aloof manner stemmed from trying to protect myself. If I placed myself on a higher field I could see and hear everything going on around me and no one attacks from below.

Even then I knew not to get too close to people. I had a few very good friends and that was all I ever needed. No one ever got to know everything. I kept myself at a distance knowing somehow instinctually that were I ever to utter a word or a blip or a wrong cross glance bad things would happen. My child’s mind did not know what exactly would transpire, just that everyone would be mad at me. What child wants that?

Once when I was around 13 or 14, a woman from church asked me to babysit for the evening. She picked me up and drove me to her house. Before she left to go out for the evening she pulled me to the side and came right out and asked,” How long has “HE” (referring to a family member) been touching you?” I was shocked and speechless and horrified. I never said a word to anyone. EVER. How does she know? Tears instantly welled up in my eyes. There were no words. I said indignantly, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” and pulled away. She reached out and turned my face towards hers and said, “It happened to me, I can see it. You don’t have to talk to me or tell me anything right now, but I want you to know that you can.”

Those words should have comforted me. I was NOT ALONE! I believe that is the way she meant them. They did not comfort me in any way. Instead, they had the effect of magnifying what I already believed. That I was broken and my worst fear had come true. EVERYONE KNEW. EVERYONE COULD SEE IT! The shame I felt always, I wrapped around me like a cloak. I could hide under it. I learned how to look over and through everybody. Looking for signs they could tell or see… I learned how to smile and laugh on the outside without letting it touch me on the inside. I learned to watch every move and all the angles. I learned to put up walls. Walls between me and people, walls between the outer me and the inner. I had cities of walls around me and boxes and boxes in my mind. Boxes filled with one horror or another. Mental boxes, firmly latched. Everything in its place, always. I learned early and well how to watch out for danger. I slept lightly and covered with as many blankets as I thought it would take to keep the monsters out, everything tucked in around me.

This is around the time that I began to create angels and protectors. I began to believe that no matter what happened to me, I would be ok. I could go to anyplace in my mind whenever needed now. I didn’t know the term or what it meant, but disassociation was my best friend. I could leave at any time, go anywhere in my mind, if I felt the least bit uncomfortable. It was easy. It is still way too easy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. I began to imagine that there were people outside, maybe living people, maybe not. Out my window at the tree line. Just in the shadows. Sometimes I had a feeling who they were, other times not so much. God was watching me, I knew, but he can’t be EVERYWHERE, ALL the time, so he sent others. This is what I knew. They would keep me from going too far away…Make sure I would get back from wherever I had to go…. I knew these things as real, the way I survived-not as hallucinations of a psychotic mind… I still see them as real. Real protectors sent from God. Who went away when I didn’t need them anymore. That to me is not crazy. It sounds perfectly sane to me. What else would prepubescent girl think?

I’ve spent a good deal of my life fighting. Fighting to be free. In my mind. Fighting for myself, for my kids, against husbands and boyfriends. Fighting the police on occasion. Fighting anyone who thought they knew what was “best” for me. Fighting myself. Fighting for my right to be free to express myself, whether seen as appropriate or not. Fighting to be free of what “the establishment” thinks is right for my mind, what meds I will and will not take and once you get a diagnosis of ANY kind, mental or physical, it begins to define you. It defines how others see you and it can define how you see yourself, if you let it. I feel that diagnosis box around me. I feel the limits it sets on me, even if only in my own mind. Well, not JUST in MY mind, I can see it in the faces of others I interact with, if they know. Today I am taking that box off. I’m going to pick it up off my shoulders and I am going to gently set it on the floor beside me. I am cautiously exploring a newfound peace. In the future I will take the advice of those who love and care for me and ponder it before I make a decision but the decision will be mine. I will care what they think and accept their reasoning. Then I will make the best decision for me.

I heard that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. I’ve been listening a long time. Today I have something to say….

Radio Silence

Since I was a child, music had been inside me. It is what had saved me all along. It rescued me from many bleak moments and situations with its fighting lyrics and beats. It was what blocked out the inner horror of the childhood I had been living. It blocked out scary noises and bumps in the night and somehow corralled every terror and fright inside me and quieted them. I could be a different me if I focused and sang. I could feel myself be lifted away from the hell I was in and carried to a lighter place inside me. I used music to escape my life. Every song was like a little story in itself. Each one could either make you happy, sad or melancholy. There were songs you could scream along with when you were angry and ones you could cry to if you were sad. I listened to music in my room, on my headphones and in the car, I would fall asleep listening to the sounds of the top 40 and at 6 a.m. music would gently wake me.  I knew classic rock, pop and country. I would play disco and the “Battle of New Orleans.” I had my favorites of and I knew them all by heart. Notes and lyrics would carry me away and for three minutes I was somewhere else, in a world of my own creation. It was a place inhabited only by me and the only place I knew I was safe. No one could follow me in, I had a secret door and I was the only person who could open it. I know that the reason I survived my childhood was because of music. It was always there when I needed it to take me away so I could escape for a while. It was my ONLY coping mechanism. Besides forgetting..

After my second admission, which was technically for bipolar depression- but I think the hospital’s decision to admit me probably had a lot more to do with my admission that  my husband had hired someone to kill me and that they had been following me around for days trying to find the best place to perform the deed than that I couldn’t stop crying. This statement drew quite the look from my sister in law, who had kindly driven me to the emergency room and agreed to stay with me for the time being. I’m sure the stories were flying around her dinner table that night and for many nights after. I’m sure they did because I still get the looks now. They don’t say anything to me about me being”sick.” It’s just the looks they give me, like nothing I say can be trusted. Same old, same old…..

I’m not sure I came out of the hospital alive that time. I couldn’t smile, I couldn’t feel anything inside me. No feelings- not sad, not mad, not happy- just blank. I spent time staring at the walls, rocking in my seat, talking to myself, acting just the way the patients at ST. Mary’s did that freaked me out so badly. I had told myself that would never be me..Never say never…I spent a lot of time trying to discern what was fact and what was fiction in my mind. I did need my husband to take care of me during that time and he was patient and kind and observant and gave everything of himself that he had to give. I needed him. I couldn’t form my own thoughts, I couldn’t remember to get out of bed , clean my house or brush my teeth. I needed to be reminded to do anything, everything. There was no more music in my life. I wondered why people even wasted there time turning on the radio. There is no real music now anyway. Not music that means anything. It’s all just fluff. Riding in the car, I rode in silence because anything extra was just too much noise in my head. My mind was so busy with itself that any extra noise was more than I could bear. I could call them the silent years, but there was more noise in my head than any orchestra could make. I just couldn’t hear what it was saying….

Last year-after 5 long years- in 2017-the music began coming back. It started coming through to me in my sleep, every day waking with a song lyric in my head. Finally I began to get up and play the song I woke with, then it was songs from my childhood the 70’s, classic rock and some disco, then the music from my teens-Prince, Bruce Springsteen. Then it was Pink songs- and slowly, oh so slowly, my life began to come back. Then I grasped onto it like a lifesaver and held on for dear life, knowing that the music was going to pull me free. With the music releasing my spirit, somehow I began to get flashes of memories and to feel an inkling here and there of who I used to be. I didn’t realize how silent it was until the sound began to come back. The memories that it brought were not always happy. More often than not they weren’t. They were dirty and hard and traumatic. When I get the flashbacks now I get them written down in the hopes of exorcising them.

I didn’t realize until recently that there are other times I’ve lost music and with distance I can see that the times I did were not good times. No matter what my family thinks, whether they think I am well or crazy, whether they think I’m wasting my time writing or should be doing something they consider more productive, I will take it with a grain of salt and know that I am on the path God put me on. It will take something a lot bigger than some second guessing of me by my family to deter me.

Suffocating Under Good Intentions

“Do we need to adjust your meds?” Every time I hear these words, whether from my doc or my husband or any other person who thinks they know the inner workings of my mind better than I do myself, I immediately let out an exacerbated sigh and think to myself, “Why can’t they just let me be happy?” Or a little down or a little energetic? A little less sleepy than usual? Why can’t I make grand plans for myself without being “sick?” It’s not like I’m going to build a spaceship or anything. If I decide to rearrange the furniture and stay up late playing games on my phone why can’t it just be that? Other people do these things on a regular basis and never get questioned, as if they’re off their rocker, about it by anyone.  Those are the so called ‘normal’ people. Maybe I’m just extra tired this week and I want to stay in my bed for 5 days, so what? Give me a minute then. If I’m still in the same spot in a month perhaps you should be concerned.  Why is there always a question mark after every decision I make? There is always a well meaning, “Do you think you are ready for that? ” or “Maybe you should take a break right now and get a little rest.” Don’t forget to eat, are you drinking enough water? How can I convince these people around me that I am not sick? That I won’t freak out in the grocery store because there are too many people or because someone looks at me sideways? Will my husband always watch me out of the corner of his eye, standing at a distance in public because he is unsure of me, and in case I start rambling or screaming at strangers he doesn’t want to be in the fallout zone. Will I never be allowed to drive any distance by myself or make a decision of my own and then just go out and DO it?

The boyfriend that I had during that first admission became my husband four years later. We have since been through another admission, that one for depression, and we have fought many battles, real and imagined . This May will be our 9th wedding anniversary. Since my last admission in 2012, he has driven me to all my monthly doctors appointments. He has given me baths and washed my hair when I couldn’t do it myself. He has dressed me, made sure I took a few bites of a little something at least once a day. He has kept our cell phone provider in business by calling me 45 times a day to see what I was doing or to remind me of something I needed to do. He has been the sole breadwinner for most of our time together. He was a father to the four boys I brought with me into our marriage. He built us our beautiful dream castle and still managed to find time for fishing and stock car races so he could relax himself. I owe my life to him. Literally. I owe everything I have to him. He is the angel that God sent me. I am forever his and I will be eternally grateful. His devotion and the care he has given me exceeded ALL my expectation.

But I don’t know how to get him to stand down. I feel good right now, and no one believes me. I guess a person with a mood disorder shouldn’t be trusted to know their own moods. I have wanted to write since I was in high school 30 years ago and I took a crooked path but here I am. I feel that I am following the path that God set for me. Finally! I have a somewhat formed plan in my mind and I’m not letting anything stand in my way this time. My kids are grown and mostly out of the house so I see it as my time now, I’ve been waiting all my life and I’m ready but all around me there is resistance. I’m hearing it from my husband, “Don’t put yourself out there too much, everyone can see that, you know..-Are you sure you want your family to see that…?? Maybe you should start small..Blah, blah, blah.. Two weeks ago my doc said she was worried I was becoming increasingly hypo manic and increased my meds, “Just to be safe, you know how fast you tend to cycle…” Yada, Yada… It feels like stigma is sitting on the couch next to me eating pistachios and every time I want to say something, I have to check it, reel it in some, test my line and end up tasting not the big nasty Northern Pike that I have on line, but what amounts to be the bait fish, little and cute, but its not sustenance.

I can’t live wrapped in the bubble wrap they rolled around me. In this padded house they built for me.  I can’t breathe. I can’t see the sun. I want to be happy and sing a song and dance in my kitchen without having someone say, “OH NO!, I’ll call the doctor.” I know everyone from my family to my doctors have all meant well as far as my treatment is concerned but I think now it’s time for them to let go of the reins and see what happens. Maybe I will be able to control it. What’s wrong with a little hypo-mania anyway? It’s one of my favorite places to be.. I may just fly.

 

Admission

My first trip to the psych ward was because I went bat-shit crazy. It is hard to get into a lot of detail because I remember it as flashes. I remember being at a bar with my boyfriend, at that time having been together barely a year, and a guy we knew from work.

I remember leaving there to go to the wooded site where my sister had been murdered. I remember the woods, and the dark and the moon. I can feel the early September crisp in the night air. I remember sobbing and telling her that I was sorry and that it should have been me. Sorry because I was the one who had already been broken and it should have been me. It just made more sense that way. I told her that I was sorry that I prayed so hard to God that day in July, only one day before she was murdered, while I was being raped 3000 miles away in San Luis Obispo, California praying over and over that this man wouldn’t kill me and leave me out here in these mountains where no one I knew would ever find me. I prayed so hard God couldn’t hear you or I made him make a choice between 2 sisters and he chose to take you. You probably deserved heaven more than me anyway. Instead it was you, I told her. You left in the woods, tortured. Dead so young. Still a baby you were, just turned 12. I got off too easy. It just wasn’t right and I’m so sorry.  Telling her I was so sorry that it went all wrong.

Then I remember being home and my oldest son chasing me around the dining room table trying to get me to calm down. I do not remember biting my husband but the proof was on his shoulder. Vibrantly red and round. I DO remember him trying to leave while I was raging—at I don’t know what– life, God, every man I ever knew, society, humanity, myself, whatever it was that made me this way…I remember hanging onto the door of the truck while he dragged me down the driveway, trying to back out- the proof of that I wouldn’t feel until the next day. I remember him calling my mother and uncle and I remember spurts of talking to them but not the topics and I’m not sure that I was talking in any way that made sense. If it sounded the way I was thinking and it was circular and magical and definitely delusional. I remember waking up the next morning in my mom’s bed at my uncle’s house not knowing how I got there and I remember asking her to take me to the hospital.

She drove me to St. Mary’s and I waited to be examined by a doctor. I never saw one that I remember. I saw a social worker and tried to explain to her the best that I could about what was going on. I wasn’t sleeping well and I needed to relax. She asked if I had any injuries and I showed her the road rash down my right side from my shoulder down to the knee. She asked how it happened and I told her. She left the exam room- I didn’t realize until years later that there wasn’t even a bed in that room- just 3 chairs and a table. I don’t know what I was thinking would happen exactly; that they would give me medicine or a shot that would magically flush the demons inside me out. Maybe they would give me an appointment with a counselor, or both but either way they would fix this hurt inside of me that was causing the infection that was slowly and steadily poisoning and destroying my soul. I only knew I was broken. I was broken and I had been for a long time. There was a hole inside me that nothing could fill. This was not the first time I had behaved in a manner similar to this, it wouldn’t be the first time I needed medication or counseling. This was not my first ride on this bull. I had experienced more than a few less than satisfactory relationships and as usual, my boyfriend just didn’t understand me. Nobody could understand me, I think differently than others, I’ve always felt that way. I spoke with the social worker, then waited for her or a doctor to come give me my prescription and my referral for my counseling appointment.

That’s not exactly the way it happened. The social worker came back into the room and told me to sign some papers and give my jewelry, purse and cell phone to my mom. I was handed a plastic hospital belongings bag and told to change my clothes and put my belongings in the bag and give it to my mother. I asked if the doctor was going to come in and she told me I was being admitted. I was told to say goodbye to my mom and was then led to the elevator where the social worker pressed the 3 button. The elevator doors closed, the elevator rose and on the third floor the elevator doors opened into a landing encircled with glass walls and a locked door leading into the ward. We stepped into the glass cubicle and the social worker took a set of keys out of her pocket and unlocked the door into the ward. This is the moment when I realize that this door is different. I ask why the door is locked and she informs me this is a “locked” ward. I try to tell her that this is a mistake, that I just need some rest, I’m tired, I won’t ever drink again, I’m ok, I don’t belong in a hospital ward that I can’t leave of my own volition and I am not going in there. She is not impressed by my pleas and leads me to a room that I will share with an older lady who is coloring with markers on one of those black velvet posters. I wonder why she is coloring and why she seems so excited about having received some new posters today. What’s exciting about that? I lay down on my cot and she tells me that they won’t let me sleep because I’m on “checks”. I don’t know what that means so I ask and find out, that apparently, it means I’m on suicide watch and they will come into our room and I have to talk to them every 15 minutes.. Fantastic, I think to myself, these people are morons, why the hell would I kill myself? I have everything and I can do anything. After a while, I wandered to the tv room, looking for something to do. Entering, I looked around and saw people talking to themselves, others sitting rocking back and forth, staring at the wall, arguing over the tv, some pacing- crossing the room from one wall to another and back again. I found a book as fast as I could and returned to my room. I’m glad and relieved that I’m not like these people. I’m not crazy.. This is just some weird misunderstanding.  I spent much of the day sitting on my cot alternatively reading and staring at the wall. That night, after we ate, it was time for meds. Just like on tv, there was a closet filled with pills and a locked door with a nurse behind it dispensing meds. She handed me a small dose cup with a few pills in it and I asked her what they were and what they were for she told me and I told her that I wasn’t interested and went back to my room. That was another decision that didn’t quite work out in my favor for soon there was a nurse standing over me with a syringe saying, “It’s just a little something to help you sleep, but if you don’t take the meds like the doctor ordered he will blue paper you and then you’re in here until the doctor decides you are ready. “I get the message loud and clear, “Comply!” “Be a sheep!” I tell her just to go ahead and do it and then lay down on my cot.

The next morning, my boyfriend called before he went to work and although I was talking my words were so slurred he couldn’t understand anything I was saying. I’m not sure my lips were even moving. I couldn’t feel my body. My body felt like it was filled with lead weights. He asked what the hell they gave me and I don’t know. I thought they said Ativan, but this does NOT feel like Ativan. I try to go lay back down and try to skip breakfast but am not allowed. I didn’t know it at the time but I would become way too familiar with this numbness in the next several years. When I am finally able to speak, I call my mom and tell her she has to get me out of here. This is NOT what I need.

I don’t know how many days I was in before I first saw the doctor but I know he was from another country and I had a hard time understanding him not only because of his accent but because of the words he was saying. A psychotic break due to: Bi-Polar 1 rapid cycling mixed episodes with a heaping helping dose of PTSD thrown in.   I basically tell him that he is full of crap, sure I’m moody- but he’s the crazy one. He tells me he has spoken to my mother and that I need to understand that I will not be leaving. That I signed myself in for 72 hours and it is up to him to decide when I will be leaving to go home. He told me that at the 72 hr. mark, he can decide if he wants to keep me involuntarily or send me home but that a lot of it was up to me.

This makes me feel at once indignant, helpless, trapped, tricked and claustrophobic. They told me I had a psychotic break. What the hell does that mean? I’m psychotic? They told me that my mind broke because it felt safe. Could have fooled me, there is nothing safe feeling about this entire situation. I give in and agree to take my medication and do everything the doctor says so he won’t keep me locked in this place with these crazy people. My boyfriend comes to see me and tells me he loves me and he will stay but I must promise to never go off my medicine. I agree, I acquiesce, really. I need to get out of here. I don’t want to paint pictures or color or talk in groups. I don’t want these meds that literally cause me to drool on myself. I don’t want someone watching me in the shower, handing me shampoo, making sure I’m not going to eat the soap. I want to shave my damn armpits. My only option is to follow the rules set once again by “the Man”, if only until the point that I can escape and my only chance of getting out is to comply, try to figure out what they need to hear-wait out my 72 hour hold.

 

Who am I?

Thanks for joining me! My name is Jackie. I am the wife of a wonderful husband, mother of four boys and GiGi to one beautiful little girl. I am an intensely private person, so creating this blog was like being hung from the rack for me but I put on my headphones and powered through the wet cement in my mind to create what I believe will be the pathway to my healing. I have not really been out in public much or talked to anyone other than my immediate family and the custodian of my med management, a psychiatric nurse practitioner to whom I credit my current clarity of mind, since my last hospitalization in 2012. It wasn’t until I signed up for, what I thought, was a writing “class” and walked into a writing “workshop”, that I knew my life was changing in a big way. Until that moment, I was ignorant of the difference and I was under-prepared and overwhelmed. I am private for my own protection and it seems writers must become masters at self-promotion. I’m going to add that to my list of things I must do…NOT.

I am a person that is very good at placing things in boxes, both emotionally and physically,  to be dealt with later, only later never seems to come. I have packed away large sections of my life, mind and memory over the years and now it seems some of the boxes are tearing open and the contents of a life filled with trauma, abuse and mental illness are spilling out and must be dealt with.

I have written and journal-ed off and on since I was in grade school. I have been through years of behavioral therapy, individual counseling, group counseling, 2 hospitalizations and 2 day programs. I began studying for my Bachelors in Mental Health and Human Services with a concentration in Addiction Studies but bailed out of college after 3 years, just a few classes short of a degree. The subject matter just hit me too hard. I was trying to cure myself of all my afflictions as if knowing everything I could about a disease would make me immune to it. It didn’t.

I recently admitted to myself that writing was what I really wanted to be doing and that I should have been doing it all along and it was high time I got to doing something about it. So, here goes- I’m all in!! Well, I’m heading there..going in the right direction anyway… If only one person out there can relate and know they are not alone by reading my ramblings, I will feel my purpose is filled…While each of our battles are fought single-handed and in private; there is no need for any of us to feel we are alone and suffering in this big world…

 

 

 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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