It’s Time to Tell My Story

Today is Mother’s Day, basically, my favorite day of the year. It’s not for the gifts, nor the appreciation that mother’s across the nation receive; although I do love to hear my children and their friends wishing me well and telling me how much they love me … but that’s not all.

Many don’t know this, but I almost didn’t get to be a mom. In a fit of confusion, impulsiveness, sadness and despair I attempted to end my life in 1992. Days later I learned that I was pregnant with my oldest child and chances were that the medication that I attempted to overdose on was in my system as my helpless child was beginning to grow.

The following is MY perception of what happened, others that were present may have a different perception and that’s fine, but that’s your story, this is mine.

I was 18 years old, in 3 weeks time I would be a wife to someone that I had committed to spend the rest of my life with. In a strange twist I began to see things as they were, I stopped looking at him through a lens of perfection and I noticed that everything that attracted me to him was built on lies that I excused when I found out the truth. Reality was that he probably didn’t have the motivation to do much with his life and everything that my mom warned me about was seeming to be accurate.

I was raised that your word is your word and you can’t back down. You stay loyal, you make a commitment and you follow through. Being a teenager I also had this hatred of proving my mom right … I couldn’t go to her and say, “You were right. Can I come back home?” After all, I had left when I was 17 and given up my car in order prove to my parents that I was an adult and could survive.

Now, 26 years later, I don’t even remember what our argument was about, but at that time it was obviously a life or death discussion to me. Quietly, I opened up my cedar chest (a graduation gift from my parents) where the medication was stored. I dug through the contents until I found a box of over the counter sleep aid, not melatonin, the real stuff, the stuff that takes you out in a … dream.

When he realized what I had done he went to tell him mother, whom we were living with. To this day I remember her words, “Get her out of here, I don’t want her dying here.” In that moment I realized that her words were a reflection of my worth; it wasn’t about keeping me alive, or getting me help, it was about her not having to deal with authorities coming into her home to remove my body.

I was taken to the hospital, I remember being to angry about being saved to talk to anyone … I just wanted to be left alone to die. A hose was shoved up my nose and fished into my stomach to pump out the contents of my wishful death. That hose cut off my ability to talk and I couldn’t have been more pleased, it was the closest that I could get to being isolated from the world.

Hospital staff were questioning my fiancé about the events of the evening, but he kept repeating the lie that he had told me to say on our way to the hospital. She has severe back pain from a car accident last year. She must have gotten her medications mixed up and in her tired state took more than necessary.

The nurse came to my bedside and told me that they would remove the hose leading to my stomach if I could promise to drink a glass of “charcoal” I agreed, not realizing that yes, they do serve charcoal in the emergency room.

I took a strong hard sip on the straw before I realized that I was drinking the real deal and charcoal is not a code word for a medicinal cocktail. I wanted to beg to have the hose put back in, that’s how nasty this experience was, but the nurse was too busy grilling me (pun intended) about what had happened to lead me to the emergency room half heartedly fighting for my life.

This poor nurse, she wanted to help me so bad. She asked me nicely, she asked me with compassion, and finally she tried anger, but I wouldn’t budge, I stuck to the story I was told to tell. If only the medical staff would have put a 72 hour psych evaluation on me, if only I had spoke up, if only, if only …. maybe I wouldn’t have spent years hating myself, and suffering in emotional turmoil.

When I left the hospital that night I still had a strong wish to die, I even said a bedtime prayer, “Dear God, please take me in my sleep tonight so that no one will ever have to tolerate me again.” When God didn’t fulfill my wish I spent days trying to find a way to escape this miserable world, but I had to plan better, I had to be sure that I wasn’t found until it was too late.

Before I was able to figure out a plan I found out that I was pregnant. Life became a gift, I was responsible for another human and the only way to take care of that life was to take care of me. This didn’t end my suicidal ideation, it only made them easier to fight back. Some days, even 26 years later, I wonder why I’m here or how worthy am I to have oxygen to breathe. I go on because I know that my experiences in life can help others to go on.

My Mother’s Day wish is for anyone that feels like I did, or sometimes do, to seek help, because you have a purpose. If you are reading this and know or fear that someone you know might be feeling these things, ask! Don’t be afraid to discuss suicide, you don’t have to understand the thoughts and you don’t have to get angry, just being there and breaking down the wall of fear regarding the word “suicide” can help someone get the strength to get help in surviving and overcoming their feeling of being unworthy.

; Sequitur Historia Mea;

;My Story Goes On;

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Destined for Greatness

What if I told you that each of us is born destined for some sort of greatness? That God created YOU to be an amazing individual, but from the moment that you were born your environment has catapulted trauma onto you, thus resulting in your lack of luster?

I’m asking you to consider the above, I’m not trying to shove my beliefs on you, I’m just asking you to consider it as you read this post.

In my last post I briefly discussed the death of my brother over eight years before my birth. I also discussed how my siblings often consider me lucky, because I didn’t have to try to survive during the horrific time in the lives of my parents and family. Or, did I? Did I in some way endure the consequences poured upon their souls by society?

Some will have an easier time imagining this than others, but for a moment … imagine that you have had to bury a child, specifically an infant; imagine the torture, pain, and questioning your faith in God.

Now, you find out that you are going to have another child. What if this one passes away? What if there is another investigation? Or if the children are removed out of fear that I’m not a good parent? What if … a million other things run through your mind?

In the midst of all of the chaos your father says, “You’re pregnant.”

You respond with, “Oh, Dad, I am not.”

“Don’t tell me, I know when one of my girls is expecting!”

With in a couple of weeks of this conversation your dad, your hero, passes away. You grieve, you deny, you hide and five months in you find out that Dad was right, you are pregnant. Three months later the baby is born a full month early.

Every stressor that you endure during this time is flooding your infant with cortisol, a hormone released by the adrenal gland during times of stress. Stress, upon stress, and yup, more stress, and your baby is fighting this intense hormone that is being directed right to him or her.

The child’s environment is already changing the child before birth, the infant is ultimately fighting a war in utero. The destiny for greatness suffers, the child is born not knowing who s/he is, just a baby, already tainted by society.

I hope that you were born to achieve greatness, but the truth is … I was not. If you were, you have a fighting chance to find you, your true destiny, yourself. However, there are many just like me, born lost and fighting a war that no one knows about, we can reach greatness, we just have to put up a bigger fight.

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To Bipolar or Not to Bipolar

Has anyone every tried to suffocate you with a pillow? What about dangling at the ends of another’s hands by your neck, your feet just inches from the floor, and no air getting in, nothing left but the telltale signs of his fingerprints etched in bruises upon your neck? Or, has anyone ever struck you as you held your infant child in your arms, with five other young children looking on?

My answers to these questions are yes, yes, and yes. These are just a few of the instances of abuse that I endured during my second marriage, and they left me spent, fearful, dare I say paranoid!?

In order to survive in a home like this everything has to be perfect … children shall be seen and not heard, the wife is in control of everything … or at least everything that causes his anger to be triggered.

The night that this beast was arrested he called me over a dozen times, from the county jail, to try to persuade me to drop the charges (the calls were collect of course). Finally, I had to call 911 to contact the jail and make him stop calling.

Within two years of this horrendous relationship I was preparing for another marriage. The stress was high, though a good stress, it triggered negative memories and behaviors within me. I became fearful of “being owned by a man.” Scared that the old one would hunt me down to be sure I never had happiness. Most of all, I was pissed off, yes, I was angry that my past could taint my future, and every little thing that I viewed as out of place was cause for screaming, and in some cases even throwing things.

My fiance sat me down, “Laura,” he said, “this isn’t normal, you need help.” He ran me to the doctor who said that I had bipolar and started me on medication.

That was in 2002, and for the past 14 years I have had endless amounts of counseling and when things weren’t perfect my husband would report it and doctors would throw more medication at me. We never decreased or altered, we only added more medication.

When I was raising five children, working full-time and attending college part-time I slept about two or three hours every night, but when college break was on, this mama bear was curled up in bed trying to catch up on lost sleep. No one said a word about my illness when I was setting the world on its ear, but when I slept for more than five hours, suddenly I was considered depressed and whoop, look out, more medication down the throat!

Through all of this I have tried to tell others that I am in control of this, that it was an enviromental reaction, not a chemical imbalance, but no one listened.

NOW, finally, after 14 years of medication I have someone that is listening to me and is considering the fact that I might have been misdiagnosed and over medicated. Now, think this through, I can’t just stop taking my meds, the withdrawals would be pure hell … bad things could happen. So, first I am weaning off the medication that causes: weight gain, high cholesterol, and diabetes … my three biggest concerns since starting this medication path so long ago.

We don’t know for sure if I’ve been misdiagnosed, the only way to know for certain is for me to be off medication, and I have a lot of weaning to get there. I can tell you, that I believe my earlier bouts of anger and throwing things was pure fear of anything less than perfection. Now I know, I’m not perfect, my children aren’t perfect, and neither is my home, but the world won’t end because of that … no one is going to kill me … because those that I surround myself with know that each of us is in charge of our own happiness.

Finally, I have found a doctor that listens and is in this field to help me rather than possible kickbacks. Woohoo!

Surviving Chaos

It seems that the girls and I are reverting to simpler times, and I’m learning that there is huge cost in the convience of our lives as we once knew it.

Although we greatly appreciate all of the assistance that we have and are getting from people both near and far, there is something to be said about surviving on your “own accord.” For the first time since we retreated to a safe place on February 15th, we have our own money for food. We actually got to go grocery shopping and pick out what would most satisfy our hungry souls. Homemade waffles, yum, a staple in our lives, a $10 waffle iron and a few ingredients and we are in waffle heaven.

I allowed the girls to pick out much of the food; pork chops and green bean casserole, spaghetti, soups for those crazy days, and of course, Ramen Noodles, because what teen can survive without those!? If I had to guess on February 14th, I never would have seen us here, where meeting the most basic of needs would make us feel so empowered.

In all of this shopping and glory to the way things are I forgot one thing: to shop for food for my diabetes. When I checked my blood sugar yesterday morning it was 268. Yikes! With renewed confidence I set out to the store again, this time to meet my own needs while still pleasing all of us. Sugar free this, sugar free that, and all should be right in the diabetic world that I call home.

It seems so simple, you earn money, you pay bills, you go grocery shopping. Yet, in our world, where illness restricts us from things like work, these things are such a blessing.

A lot of people are very bitter toward those that receive state assistance, but, when in a situation like ours, I couldn’t be more thankful for the years that I’ve paid into taxes, as well as the taxes that you are paying to help us get through this rough time.

Aside from our basic needs, everyone needs time to relax and entertain themselves. Much of society relies on television or other electronic devices to get them through. We don’t have a television in our unit, so we play games instead, family games like the dice game “Forget It.” There is something to be said for sitting around the table rolling dice and hoping for the best, or worst, depending on whose turn it is. There is something amazing to be said about spending time with my children, laughing, crying, sharing, and just relaxing.

In this crazy world we often forget what it’s like to have to do things like cook from scratch, or oh, the horrors of spending time with family … without your phone in hand. However, we seem to be finding great joy in these stolen moments.

For you, on the outside looking in, it may seem that our lives suck right now, and there are moments that you are right. Yet, all things considered, our familial bonds are strengthing and we are finding the simple things to be most enjoyable.

Reality Hits Hard

In talking with someone about the extreme expenses added since the awareness of my family’s circumstances I learned of a program meant for people in our situation. Yes, there are others that have been, are, and will be in our situation. The person, meaning no harm, handed me a pamphlet, “Crime Victim’s Compensation.” For some reason my heart wanted to stop beating for just a moment.

To begin with, I prefer the word survivor over victim, but that’s not all. The wording on the front of the pamphlet left me reeling in anger, disgust, betrayal, sadness, grief, and an entire host of other emotions. A crime has been committed, and it is up to us to survive this insanity.

The reality of our circumstances tears at my heart and devours my soul. For some, our pain is evident, the financial strain is incomprehensible, but the emotional strain, though less visible, is far more devastating. Sleepless nights, tears shed into a pillow, not even our pillows, but pillows donated by a community that faces these situations daily.

As a mom, the tasks seem pretty clear; feed, clothe, empower my children. Yet, as a mom of some amazing survivors the tasks are a bit foggier. Where do I begin? Am I allowed to mourn the loss of life as we thought it was? How do I keep my crap together so that I am not impacting the pain of my children further? Since trust is earned, and it costs a lot more to earn that from us, now; how do we cope? Blame, oh my gosh, the blame … how do I help my family direct that to the one that needs it, rather than upon themselves?

I imagine that an outsider might have the answers to these questions, but when living the situation daily it becomes tough, trying to keep it all together. Tonight I allowed myself to feel the full impact of our current circumstances and the decisions that I have been forced to make. I would not change my reactions for anything, but allowing the tears to flow unchecked has allowed me to clear my head and pull myself together.

As a mom, I’m not perfect, but I damn sure am helping my children develop their coping skills as we traverse the path that someone else has chosen for us!