Or at least that’s what they say anyway. I’m not sure who those “they” are, but that’s perhaps a discussion for another day.
Today I wanna talk about something pretty serious so grab your cuppa whatevuh and get comfortable. I have a lot to say.
Here we go…
I know that bad things happen to everyone be they good or bad. I also know that our reaction to those things, good or bad, can make a huge difference in the degree of impact bad things have. I’ve had a life full of bad things happen. Often it feels like it is way more than my fair share. For instance, I was well into my teen years before I could even think that my mother ever wanted me and now, as an adult, I’m not entirely convinced she actually does or ever did. I was abused by every man she let into her life from as far back as I can remember with the exception of my uncle, my grandfather, and two of her boyfriends. My abusers were her love interests, family members, babysitters I was left with, and just about anyone else who decided to target me.
Though it certainly wasn’t the first time it had ever happened, I finally disclosed the abuse when I was 12. As a result, I was taken away from my home only to be further abused in foster-care and be robbed of relationships with my sister and brothers both. As best as I can recollect, from February of 1986 when I was first taken away from home until I turned 18 six years later I was in 14 different placements. This doesn’t include the time I was returned to my mother only to wind up in foster-care again later. It took me an extra 6 months to graduate high school and because I wanted to actually experience all the pomp and circumstance that comes with a graduation, I ended up being in the class of 1993 instead of 1992 with most of my friends.
Zero to 18 was lonely…wait let’s be honest here. Zero to 22 was lonely. I masked my loneliness with homework, school activities, and boys. Lots of boys. How I didn’t wind up doing drugs and alcohol is quite honestly beyond me. At 22, I had a baby of my own and things were less lonely, but now it was all about her instead of me. After becoming a mother I was back in the same caretaker role I had in my family of origin only for different reasons. I have no regrets though, having my daughter was one of the four most amazing things I’ve ever done. The other three are her siblings.
A year after my daughter’s arrival I met and married the devil. I’m not even being dramatic about that (OK well maybe just a wee bit dramatic). You can read more about how that started and began here. In short, I put my duties as a mother and wife before my duties to myself. We do have duties to ourselves, did you know that? I’m still learning about them; it is a kind of foreign concept. Soon I was no longer me…I was simply his wife and her mom. Then more babies came and the only thing that changed is I want from her mom to their mom. I have four kids now, presently aged 11-12-14-17. Seems like the only thing I’ve ever been really good at is having sex. I’m not proud of it, but I’m grateful God saw fit to bless me with my children.
By the time my only son was born, I couldn’t honestly tell you who I was anymore. I had no idea what I enjoyed, what made me tick, or even what my identity was aside from wife and mother. In time my abusive marriage led me back to the same lonely road I was on from 0-22. Looking back, maybe I never really left the road at all. Single parenting that first year was lonely and 4 months into my marriage I was writing in my journal that I had made a terrible mistake. A mistake that took me more than 11 years to rectify and was mostly lonely, despite being surrounded by people. That’s a very interesting feeling or experience right there…feeling utterly alone when surrounded by people. Maybe that too will be a post for another day.
Years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse as a child turned into years of the same as an adult and then…when the abuse was finally more or less entirely over (my ex is still pretty abusive in the only way he now can be…economics), I found myself in foreign lands. When you’ve been abused essentially your entire life you learn a skill set that becomes obsolete, if not harmful, once the abuse ends entirely. I found myself depressed. It took me years to acknowledge that for what it was…in fact it wasn’t even me that first recognized it.
My middle daughter is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever know. She has so many skills I admire her for. About 2 years ago she got very concerned about me and eventually my Relief Society president intervened. The result was a diagnosis of clinical depression, anxiety and PTSD. What I alter learned was that every day I was crying for hours on end she was texting a good friend of mine and the RS President both. When suicidal ideation came into play, I took a trip to the emergency room and was put on meds a few days later. Shortly after that I started counseling and worked hard to get the upper hand. I was successful for a while and then other issues came up, medication stopped being effective, more bad things happened and I again found myself unable to cope. Back to therapy and my doctor I went.
Yesterday I was asked if there were any lights at the end of this deep dark tunnel I find myself in. It’s so dark I can’t even see the lighter darkness that comes from the reflected light that may or may not be at the end of the tunnel. Things just keep spinning out of control. New meds are not yet at therapeutic levels, I’ve only had a few therapy sessions, and quite frankly…my feet, back and legs are tired from this journey. It seems like I’m wrapped up in an epic battle for my healing and right now I know that Satan is winning.
I haven’t yet managed to secure financial resources adequate to sustain my children and I, there is conflict with my mother and oldest daughter and I, while once a great student I’m now barely making it and am not sure I can even see college completion any longer, I live with constant chronic back pain made worse by being overweight and yet the pain makes strenuous activity (which would result in weight loss) impossible, I am finding it increasingly difficult to be around people (even church attendance is hard because I don’t do well in crowds anymore), I never feel worthy of the time it takes me to shower, dress, style my hair and put on makeup (even though it makes me feel better) so I seldom to never do it, with few exceptions the things I once enjoyed I now find arduous, and I cry daily.
I used to think people chose to be depressed. That happiness was something you just decided to have; if someone was depressed it was because they were choosing not to be happy. Then I realized it had happened to me. I’ve not been genuinely happy in years. How many I’m not sure, but likely far more than I may have originally thought and way more than I’m willing to admit to myself let alone anyone else. Every day is a battle and just when I think I’ve got the upper hand, something happens that pushes me off the latter to success entirely instead of just knocking me down a few rungs. I’m miserable more or less all the time. I hurt inside and out and I can only imagine how difficult it must be for those I’m closest too to watch.
Knowing is half the battle they say and there is very little that I know anymore. I know I’m struggling, but I also know that I am courageous. Hopefully my courage will allow me to overcome the struggle.