Road to Crazy – Revving the Engine

I got up that night crying and praying.  I was so sick of thinking about the same thing over and over.  I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t make it stop.  I thought maybe I’m just weak, or crazy, or making a big deal out of

Me at 15...the storm was calming but still in the background
Me at 15…the storm was calming but still in the background

nothing.  At 14 years old I didn’t know who to really ask if it was normal – thinking about the same thought from morning till night.  When I thought of something going good…it would come.  “It” was its own entity.  Creeping in to steal any joy from the day.  I prayed – even hoping that my Aunt Sue could hear my dilemma from heaven (at least that is where I hoped she was).   I finally broke down and told my mom about it – well some of it.  I didn’t let her know how long or how often – just that it was bothering me.  She could only give me advice based on what I told her…”just think of something else and pray about it.”  Oh God if it had only been that easy!  The thought…for the past year…everyday…was DEATH.  I couldn’t escape it.  If I thought to myself…”Wow I did a really great job on _______”  the next thought that intruded was “But you are going to die one day so it really doesn’t matter.”  Yes all day, everyday.   I was so tired of it.

It hit me one day while talking to my boyfriend  about dying.  AIDS had really just started scaring the pants off people (no pun intended) and it made me think, really think about dying. From that day – us standing in the sun after church – the thought got “stuck”.  I kept waiting for it to fade…go away…something.  But no – it just built a little nest in the back of my good thoughts and I hated it.  This was far from counting to 8 when the refrigerator door shut.

Two years prior to that my Aunt Sue had died very suddenly.  I remember her vibrant, red hair.  Her wonderful smile and her petite hands.  She had fire in her belly and she would take me and walk with me as often as she could.  Sometimes confiding in me things she shouldn’t but I’m now glad she did.  I had no idea up to that point she had suffered from severe depression her entire life, threatening here and there to take her own life with aspirin.  When we got the news…then it was very clear that she had struggled alone with much of it.  She shot herself…in her home after lighting fire to the kitchen.  I was and am still devastated.   I will elaborate on this much more in depth later…but I feel this was a trigger for me to an already fragile mind because of self esteem, past family history, and current living conditions with my alcoholic father.  So…I had hoped she could give me wisdom…from wherever she was – she always did.

So…I dealt with it, I cried over it, and finally it really just faded away over the next few months.  Its like a storm had come and passed.  I didn’t speak of it anymore…but what a warning it was for events to come.  I was just happy it stopped so I didn’t think too much on it after that.   No one knew that they should think about it for me…

The engine had been primed and readied…

xoxo

me with glasses

Road to Crazy – The Beginning

It’s funny to me how people always talk about the long road to recovery from mental issues.  They describe it as a long, drawn out, painful, seemingly impossible feat.  It doesn’t matter what they are recovering from really – addiction, abuse, depression, obsessive disorders, etc.  What they talk about is very true don’t get me wrong – but I rarely hear them talk about the road to the actual thing they had to recover from.   Most people don’t wake up one day and think, “Man – my life is great – I think I’ll go ahead and get addicted to Meth – who needs teeth”  or “I’m so happy all the time – great childhood, great life – let’s change it up..I’m going to be really depressed today – so back to bed!”  No – it doesn’t happen that way (usually – there may be that odd ball statistic out there that says otherwise – but I’m going with my gut on this one.)  Typically – as it was with me – it is a very long road to what I lovingly call “crazy”.

Crazy is what I claim.  I know – there are all kinds of people out there really trying to get rid of that word because they believe it is too derogatory.  Well guess what – I’m going to print a t-shirt that says – I’M CRAZY BUT I TAKE ZOLOFT SO I’M COOL.  Do you have any idea where that comes from?  My defiance to bottling it in some “pretty” label?  It comes from the fact that I am so very NOT ashamed of my mental issues.  I have no problem with the fact that I had a nervous breakdown, that I struggled with severe anxiety and obsessive thoughts since I was 6 years old, that it took me years to finally find the right equation to fit my life to equal sanity (or my definition of sanity).  Why you ask?  Because mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of – but it is something to face head on – take seriously – not hide – and something we must actively work on so to  keep our minds as healthy as they can be.  You see – shame doesn’t help anyone to be healed or deal with their issues.  Actually it’s just a tool to keep people down.  Shame sucks.  So I threw it out the door – screaming.

From 2 years old to "nuts" was a very long road
From 2 years old to “crazy” was a very long road

My “road to crazy” started when I was born.   I was born into a family where both my father and mother’s family histories were wrought with stories of severe mental illness, addiction, abuse, suicide, depression, etc.  Now I’m not going to argue whether or not it is inherited completely.  I’m not a doctor.  However as much as my parents tried to shelter me from all of the issues of our family and their own issues – the “crazy” crept up on me – slowly.  The earliest thing I remember was trying to count to 8 before the refrigerator door closed – and if I made it to 8 – then the rest of the day was going to be ok.  Most could brush that off as a silly thing a little 6 year old girl might do for fun – I did it every day for quite a while – but at that age I didn’t know that I should probably let someone know that this was the way I would get through my day.  8 comforted me I think because I loved music and singing – so counting in “4’s” seemed natural.  Crazy right?

Flash forward 15 years when horrible, unwanted thoughts were crowding my head.  It was like a cloud of Hell over my head and in my soul.  The “real me” was there – fighting  and exhausted.  I withdrew from the ones I loved for fear of hurting them.  From morning to night I had the same, awful, intrusive thoughts over and over and over.  I stopped caring for my 3 year old daughter when it happened so my parents had to take over.  They didn’t understand why I couldn’t just “snap out of it”.  However I didn’t tell them how vivid and terrifying fears had become.  How I couldn’t even imagine giving the little girl that I loved so much a hug because in my mind my hands and arms became razor blades.  So even imagining being near her was terrifying.   I drank to make my mind slow –  had sex to numb my body.  All I really wanted was to be the mother I was before I broke completely.

Now from 6 years old to 21 years old – I didn’t live this perfect, untarnished life.  It was my road to crazy – a very long one.  One that I will share bits at a time.  My recovery however was a leap onto the highest mountain – screw long roads – sometimes you just gotta take a bull by the horns.

xoxo
Angela
 
me with glasses
 
 

Eating My Frog – Part III

So my friend and I – we’ll call him Bill – were sitting and watching television in the front room of my parents’ house.  It was the episode of Friendz where Phoebe was having twins…and it was hilarious!!  Bill – whom was truly and still is one of my best friends – was just getting a kick out of me laughing hysterically.  He didn’t realize thought that my laughing had turned to sobbing in about three seconds.  They sounded a bit the same.  When he did realize he quickly was asking me what was wrong – I couldn’t speak.  It was the first time in six months I had thought about it – really thought about it…

Seeing those babies being born – as funny as it was – made me realize what I had “gotten rid of”.  Every emotion that had been held back by the dam of my mind suddenly and painfully flooded in.  I wanted to go to jail – I had killed my baby (the pro-choice group just made new protest signs).  Bill just held me – he didn’t know what to say – how could he?  I cried and cried until my face hurt and my eyes burned.  I started thinking about all the other faces that day and I sobbed more.  Every lingering piece of regret, pain, guilt was pushing its way to the surface – scratching at my soul and bleeding my heart out.  It was then though – that I started the long road to recognition and forgiveness.

Over the next several years around the time of my abortion I would become depressed – at first not realizing why but then knowing my body hadn’t forgotten.  That has faded now.  I went through all the decisions I could have made, all the reasons I may have had, what the baby would have looked like, hoping I wouldn’t be punished later by God for this decision.  I’ve hidden it and I have revealed it.  But the one thing that I had to finally accept is that I couldn’t change it – not one piece of it.  I’m not even sure that if I could go back that I would even change my mind (this is where the pro-life people should really get upset).   You see this is where I am now.  I have a wonderful husband, wonderful children, a purpose in my life.  This has shaped me.  And to be honest – if I was the person I am now – none of it would have ever happened – but because it happened is WHY I am who I am now.

We cannot change the past nor can we dictate the future.  We can make decisions along the way and lay claim to each of them as our responsibility.  If you ask me if I think that abortion is “right” I will say no.  I think that it is a life – I know it is.  I saw the heartbeat and I have felt the soul of each of my children.  If you ask me if I think it should be illegal – I’ll say absolutely not.  We don’t need young women going to “butchers” because they have no other choice.  We can’t force others into the “right” decision regardless of what we think it is.  I think protesting these women is a horrible thing to do – what are they protesting?  Are they going to adopt the baby?  Are they going to give her financial and emotional support if she decides to keep it?  Probably not.  They would better serve as people that women can come to to talk with regardless of their decision and get help and support.  I would give more education about the process, what you may go through and offer an array of support for these women – if they need it – and its okay if they don’t.

I do not applaud nor do I celebrate abortion – it is here.  I happen to regret mine in many ways and have had to deal with it.  I learned so much that day about the human heart, different reasons for doing the same thing, and about myself and for that I am grateful.  I hope that anyone struggling with this will talk with someone – get help – forgive yourself and help others to do the same.  And if you don’t ever want to have to make the decision – never have sex.  That’s the only sure way.

Remember…you are not alone…

Here are several post-abortion counseling sites I found that may help anyone that has had an abortion and is still struggling with it…

Hope After Abortion

Exhale

Pregnant Help Online

If you are considering abortion there are also many agencies available to help you make the right decision for you…Planned Parenthood has many of these options available.

Angela

Eating my Frog – Part II

Day two of this is just a little easier.  Not because I’m spilling my guts – but because I know that some woman somewhere has read this and realized that she doesn’t have to be silent.  That she can talk to someone – even if they don’t understand because what’s done is done.  I realize too though that there are women currently trying to make the decision on having an abortion, or those that will in the future.  I’m not sure that this will help in your decision making – not even sure that I want it to.  We all have to make decisions based on the knowledge we have at the time, our current believe system, and where we are in life.  That’s all we have to go on really.  So be sure to know my intent is not for guilt or even for forgiveness – it is purely to share what I experienced.

They called me from the waiting room into the “intake” area.  They asked me questions about my health, gave me some literature about the procedure and had me watch a video of how the procedure worked.  They gave us the option of pain medicine for the procedure but it cost extra so most of us opted out.  The we waited again.  When it was my turn I hear my name and I went.  I laid down on the bed with stirrups – nothing different than that of a gynecologist’s and they did an ultrasound.  They told me they had to be sure of where the fetus was for a successful procedure.  I made the “mistake” of looking at the ultrasound.  I saw this little dot – a small heartbeat of life – and for a moment I smiled at how precious it was.  I then realized that I had to look away because I wasn’t there to enjoy this so I didn’t back out nor did they ask if I was sure.  The pain of the abortion was the worst pain I had ever felt.  They used a “vacuum” type instrument to perform the procedure and I remember coming up off the table.  It only lasted a few seconds I guess and it was done.  The nurse was very kind and walked me to the post-surgical room.  All of the ladies – except the one that never spoke – was back there with me.

The one that made her decision quickly and painlessly – walked out painlessly.  I was in some pain – but not like I thought I would be.  But the woman who so desperately didn’t want this – was crying in pain.  She had waited until the very last minute – so her baby had grown larger.  She didn’t get the pain meds either so she was in a ridiculous amount pain – emotionally and physically.  I sat with her, held her hand, and told her she was going to be ok and she made the best choice she could.  I walked with her to the bathroom and helped her sit down.  She had large clots and I called the nurse over to check her.  The nurse starting taking care of her and looked at me and said – “You should do this for a living.”  I didn’t realize at the time that she meant helping others – I just thought she wanted me to be an abortion nurse – and it pissed me off a little.  So I went back and sat down.  The nurse told me I was ok to leave.  I went out and told my friends I was just really hungry.  We went and ate – and I really didn’t feel anything.  I didn’t think about what I had just done or been through – it was lodged into the back of my brain to deal with later.  It was six months before the emotions started.

Now I will tell you – the nurses and doctors there were very kind and respectful.  There was no push/pull in any direction.  I used to be angry that they didn’t tell me that in a few months I may have some psychological scarring.  I realize though that they may have – I just wasn’t listening.  It wasn’t their job to track every emotion or lack of that I may have – it was there job to be sure that I did it safely and could write about it later if I wish.  I had to take full responsibility for what I did and felt – period.  It was then that I started healing.

Tomorrow will be the final piece to this story and hopefully a beginning for others…

me with glasses

Eating my Frog – Part One

There is a GREAT book called “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” by Brian Tracy (it’s only $9 on Amazon and worth the read).  The book is geared toward time management but once you read it, it can be applied to life management.  The premise is that if you do the absolute worst thing you have to do all day first – then everything else won’t seem so bad.  I would have to say eating a frog would definitely be the worst thing I could do – so yeah…everything else would be awesome compared to that!  So as I tried to decide what to write about next – I chose the subject that is the absolute hardest for me to talk about and share with the world.  It was something I left off my “life list” in my introduction – because for me – it is the pinnacle of guilt in my life and took the longest for me to forgive myself for it.  My Abortion.

I am going to make Pro-Life and Pro-Choice mad – just mad.  Each will think for a moment that I am “on their side” then I’m going to slam each of them with the reality that my side is the one I decided on between myself and God and from learning and experiencing so much during this episode of my life and the women I learned from on that very day.  I’m not going to share everything up until that period – for this it doesn’t really matter yet.  I just know that there are so many women out there that keep this a secret before anything else in their life.  They would rather tell the world they had been a prostitute than tell someone they had an abortion.  So if they are struggling with the action they took – they struggle alone.  No more.

My life had been out of control for a while – this was all post breakdown and lots of “boyfriends.”  I had just started working at a great company but was still really struggling with my mental health issues so I was also still partying quite a bit at night.  I had met this guy – we’ll call him John – through my friend at the time.  He was tall, polite, lots of fun, etc etc.  We dated for just a little while until he started trying to tell me what to wear and “owning” me.  I had already decided at this point I wasn’t going to see him anymore – besides his idea of a great time was sitting around smoking weed – a lot of weed and then smoke some more weed.  I have no ill opinion of anyone that smokes weed – but when something takes your life over – and keeps you from living – then it sucks.  This could be television, food, drugs, or popcorn – doesn’t matter.  But I digress…

I went to see him one last night – gave him what I considered a “going away” present.  Now here is where everyone would like an “excuse” as to why we had unprotected sex.  I don’t have one – I made a really stupid mistake – period.  I knew almost immediately that I was pregnant – it was instinct.  He told me I was just paranoid.  He was an idiot.

Three weeks later I missed my period.  I was sitting next to the person whom I didn’t know was going to be my best friend for the rest of my life when I made the call to the doctor.  We were at work – she was wearing a dress like she did everyday (this will be significant in later stories) and was just supportive.   I found out I was pregnant.  My daughter at the time was only 4 years old, my head was still a cloud of crazy, I was living with my parents and the “baby daddy” was, as it turns out, one of the biggest jerks I had dated.  I cried for three days trying to figure out what I was going to do.  The day I decided – I stopped crying.  I stopped all emotion.  It was decided.

I made the appointment and I had two really great friends who agreed to go with me and support me.  The days before the actual abortion I wouldn’t drink or smoke because I was pregnant.  If  this doesn’t tell you how screwed up in the head I was at the time then you need to re-read this again and again until you do.  The day I went in was surreal.  I and my friends went to the clinic in Charlotte.  I happily didn’t see any protesters telling me I was going to hell – no need to confirm what I was already thinking.  We went into the waiting room and sat there with several other women – women that would touch my life forever…

I have to go back to when I was 17 and pregnant with my first daughter Lydia.  We were all having a heated debate about abortion in class.  I was very against abortion – I let everyone know that.  In my opinion any woman that could have an abortion was a horrible person – they didn’t realize the gift they had inside of them.  I wouldn’t budge on it – because I just knew how right I was.  Because of my steadfastness a friend of mine was afraid to tell me that she had an abortion – and had to do it alone.  That is something I will regret forever.

Flash forward to the waiting room.  One girl there was telling us that when she found out she was pregnant she did made the appointment immediately.  She told her boyfriend that she would take care of it – no problem.  Another girl there was with her “significant other” I assume.  She never spoke.  She was so beautiful – fair skin, tall, healthy, with black hair that hung in her face because she never lifted her head.  He was reading magazine unaware of her detachment.  It seemed that he didn’t really care and that she was there against her better judgement.  I’ll never know.  Another was there because her life was at risk.  With her first daughter, that was now 7 years old, she had developed antibodies to RH positive blood (for more info on this check out this link).  So with her second pregnancy her body had rejected her baby.  They did blood transfusions for the baby in utero – she gave birth to a still born child – half dead herself .  From then she had made sure that she had very strong birth control with an appointment to have her tubes tied – but it failed.  She was then 4 months pregnant and her doctor told her that if she tried to carry the child – they both would die.  She was grief stricken.  Her husband was there holding her hand.  She waited until the very last week she could do the abortion hoping for a miracle.  I told her she had to be there for her daughter and she was making the best decision she could.  As she cried I felt so low for my “reasons” for my abortion.  I was still numb though…but not numb enough.

Come back tomorrow for Part II…and remember you are not alone…

me bb