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!

A Nightmare from the Past

Written on: March 28, 2015

A teen’s dream, no parents, just a friend and me going to the State Fair. It was a warm May day in southeast Pennsylvania. In 1988, neon colors and big hair were all the rage, and I was very in touch with the 80s, as I sported a pair of neon green and black spandex with an oversize t-shirt to match. My childhood friend, Janelle, was with me, we each had $10 to spend, and a day of oversize fun was about to be had!

Janelle found food, especially carnival food, to be an extremely important part of her life, so first she and I walked around looking for the perfect junk food meal. With her being just 13 years old, I was an entire year older and felt a certain responsibility to her. As she scouted for food I kept my eyes open for cute boys.

“Step right up!” a deep voice shouted to us from about fifteen feet away. “For a single dollar you could win one of these adorable stuffed animals. Come on, ladies, give it a shot!”

I smiled at him, he was sort of cute, with a baby face, and bright blue eyes. “Hi,” I said, raising my voice as I closed the distance between us, dragging Janelle along with me to see this hottie close up.

“Hey, how are you?” he questioned me as his eyes seemed to smother my body from top to bottom.

“Okay,” I responded.

“Would you like to give my game a try? All you have to do is ring the milk bottle with one of these,” he held up a ring barely big enough to land around the neck of one of the bottles.

“Nah,” I looked at Janelle, “Do you want to give it a try? I’m not good at the ring toss game.”

“No way,” she said, “I’m hungry, I want to go eat.”

“No surprise there,” said the carnie as he shot me a smile and for the first time I noticed the rotting spaces that once were teeth. His smile reminded me of something out of a Stephen King novel, and I grabbed Janelle’s hand to escort her away from the fear I had rising in me.

He grabbed my free hand, “Hey,” he said, “not so fast. I have some pot, want to catch up later and smoke a joint?”

Feeling the nausea in my stomach I ignored the sensation. I could easily be described as an avid toker, but I never purchased my own. The only time I would smoke was if a friend had some.

“Sure,” I said.

“I’m not sure if I have enough for everyone though,” he nodded in Janelle’s direction.

“No worries,” I laughed, “she’s pretty righteous, she doesn’t do anything like that.”

“Perfect, come on back in a half hour, and we can enjoy the smoke on my next break.”

“Awesome!”

Janelle and I continued the great hunt for good carnie food, until it was time to meet the ring toss boss. Picking our way through the games we finally found his station. He took my hand, and I grabbed Janelle’s hand. Together he led us to the back of the fair, behind the semi’s that brought the many games, rides, and food trailers to our home town.

“Ready?” he asked.

“You bet,” I smiled as I eyed the ground between us, trying to avoid the gaping holes in his mouth.

As he lit the fat joint I watched his eyes smile and his lips curl around the hand rolled paper. Eager to take my own toke I reached out for his hand to receive the pass.

As I held the deep inhale, he looked at Janelle, “Why don’t you go get us a soda?” as he handed her two dollars.

“Oh, I better go with her, I’m responsible for her today.”

“Ah, she’ll be fine, just let her go,” he stepped a couple of steps to his right, pointing he showed me that the soda trailer was just about 20 feet away.

Janelle looked scared, “No, I’ll go with her, just let me get one more hit.”

She didn’t make eye contact with me, but she began to walk away. “Don’t go, she’ll be fine, besides, I can’t smoke all of this by myself.”

“No, I need to stay with her.”

“Please, stay?” he seemed quite pitiful, I looked for Janelle, but she was long gone, and the carnie had pulled me back behind the semi.

“Take another hit?” he asked as he held out the bit of joint that we had just about smoked to completion.

The roach was hot, burning my fingers. “Here,” he pulled the feathered clip from my hair and used it to hold the bitty paper that was left.

With no more smoke left, I smiled at him, “Thanks,” and I took a step away, with Janelle really having me worried about where she could be.

I felt him grab my shoulder, “Not so fast, that shit ain’t free ya know? You owe me,” he said as he shoved my back against the semi.

“No,” I yelled, but his rotting mouth smothered my cries. Tears streamed through my make-up as he furiously searched me for my button breasts. Pushing at his chest I managed to put enough space between us that I could escape his touch.

In a flash I realized that I couldn’t run toward the crowds, I was too high, and a minor. Instead, I ran toward the eight foot chain link fence, topped with barbed wire. On the other side was a brief stand of trees, then a road, and my best friend’s apartment. If only I could make it. Leaping toward the fence I felt the barbed wire etching future scars into my body, but I didn’t care. Reaching the top I fell to the ground in a heap of relief and pain on the other side.

Stumbling to my feet I heard the brush beside me give way to the carnie’s weight. He had jumped the fence as well. My screams again muffled, but this time by his hand covering my mouth as he dragged me deeper into the brush.

Struggling against his grasp I felt him pulling at my clothing, as he carelessly ignored my tears. Somewhere, deep in the woods of the state fair he penetrated me, alternating between his hand suffocating my screams and his rotting mouth. “Oh,” he said, “isn’t that just wonderful? Mmm, I love you. You’re so hot,” his words were endless, as if he had planned this day for years, as if we were young lover’s exploring long awaited, raging wants and needs.

Succumbing to his ravaging needs I weakened my fight, glaring at the leaves, and the occasional glimpse of passing clouds. My body weak, my mind struggling, there was no escape; my head still swarming from the fat joint we had shared, the only thing I wanted to share.

Years seemed to pass before he was done with his invasion of my body. When he completed the task he gently kissed my mouth, “Mmm, now was that so bad?” he asked.

Tears continued, “No, no, it wasn’t.” I knew it was, but I also knew I had to tell him what he wanted to hear. This was no longer a task of saving face, it was a task of surviving this unfortunate encounter.

He helped me back over the fence, laying his denim jacket over the barbed wire to help protect us. Landing on the other side I felt weak, his feet again hit the ground beside me. I shook as he said, “Goodbye.” I feared him and I needed to find Janelle, she could be my safe haven in the midst of chaos.

I searched the fair for over an hour for Janelle, careful to avoid my assaulter, and the police, in my stoned state I was sure to find time in juvenile hall for this.

My search for Janelle proved useless, so I called home to have Mom pick me up. “Where’s Janelle?” Mom questioned when she picked me up.

“She ran into some friends and left me.”

“Bullshit!” she cursed far different from the Mom I knew. “She’s at home, you left her to take off with some boy! You’re a little slut.”

Sitting in stunned silence I realized, my circumstances were my fault. That rotting carnie had done nothing wrong, it was because I was a girl, the way I dressed, too pretty for my own damn good.

Struggling from my slumber, years later, I realize, it was just a memory, a nightmare that happened too long ago, but it seemed so immediate, the scars are still there. Will I ever heal?

Just Drifting through this life

Well, we left him and his sorry ass behind one month and two days ago. We have been in a shelter for exactly one month today. Still, we have no money for things like gas. In the month since we have left he sent us one $75 deposit to my debit card, and yesterday he sent $25 with the stipulation that it is for gas only, and he wants a receipt!

One hundred dollars in 30 days!? I don’t know anyone that can raise two children on that. Especially when I’m putting an average of 300 miles a day on my car to transport children to school, doctors, and extracurricular activities. He must think that I’m a financial wizard of sorts!

As part of Medicaid, in some instances, they will reimburse for mileage to doctors appointments, but not in our case, because we have primary insurance and it is up to them. So, I call them and explain what I need, no problem, they are going to send me  the forms to fill out. “Great, but I need to change my address first,” I told the representative.

“Oh, we can’t do that, he has to do that through his employer!”

“Okay, that isn’t going to work, there is a restraining order and he isn’t allowed to have my address.”

“Oh,” the lady said with a long pause, “I’m sorry, we can’t help you then.”

“So, you’re saying that you have no sort of deviation for a situation like mine?” I questioned.

“Well, I can change the address here, but once a week we get a file upload from the employer that will undo any changes that I make.”

“Wait,” now I’m angry, “so you’re telling me that I can receive the forms, fill them out, mail them in, and the address will automatically revert to his, so he will receive the check?”

“Yes.”

So, here we are, AGAIN, I’m taking care of the children and he’s getting all of the money. Right now, I owe more money than Trump pays for his toupee! Well he is crying about how poor he is he only paid $100 in 30 days to raise two children … but no surprise, he had enough money to bond out when he got arrested … while his children wonder if they will ever again live in a permanent home.

He knew this was going to happen, knew that the doctor does not want me working until our daughter has overcome some medical struggles, and he did little to contribute to our children’s care. My guess is that he is real proud that he predicted my struggles and is seeing it happen before his eyes. A real parent, a loving parent, would be concerned with their children’s well-being, not in proving himself right in an effort to screw the other parent over.

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.