Chapter 10 Adult choices so young..

There isn’t a whole lot to talk about when it comes to my high school years. I was a normal as I could be kids. I spent most of my time in Texas during those years, but came back after a huge falling out with my dad. I choose to come back and the last thing my dad told me were, ” you’re going to end up pregnant and alone. You will accomplish nothing there, but you are just so like your mother. You betrayed me to be with her. I disown you and never want to see you again.”

Yes that’s right. At 17 that is what my dad told me. I realized at that moment that I don’t hate my dad but feel bad for my dad. He still held on to so much hurt against my mom. So what happened?? My dad was gone a lot of the time. I was really independent. I made sure to get to school on time, get good grades, maintain friendship and feed myself. But I was home alone all that time while he was away. My mom and step dad actually had to bring all my things from my house in NM. I think this is what actually triggered my dad. My mom and step dad bought me groceries, pots and pans, and all the other things that I may have needed. My dad I think felt less of a provider by them actually doing that kind gesture. My mom and step dad were literally trying to help me not so much my dad. My dad at this point has never had to raise any of us kids on his own before. So I think this was the blow.

I had just turned 17. In Texas, at the time you were considered emancipated from your parents but still couldn’t do things as if you were 18. My dad, was seeing a woman who was not his type at all. They met on the internet and she came to visit him. He tried so hard to make her stay as comfy as possible but I could tell he wasn’t into her. Anyway, that Monday morning, I was getting ready for school. It was super early in the morning. I had already had my own routine going. I had my radio going and I was about to start doing my makeup and hair. Dad walked back to my side of the apartment and asked me to turn down my radio. I gave his sass. He was never home and I treated our place as if it were mine, Not his. So by him telling me to turn it down I was not having it. I told him, as I was complying with his request, that this is how it normally is every morning. The next thing I know he has lifted me and has me up against the wall. My feet were off the ground and we are nose to nose! I just screamed. I didn’t know what else to do. My dad has NEVER done such a thing. EVER!!!

The onslaught on rage and anger came over my dad. He was telling me that everything bad that happened to him was because of me. I countered with, It was his fault not mine. He blamed me again for his divorce with my step mom and the break up of his last girlfriend was my fault and how embarrassed he was of the gal that spent the weekend with us. All of which I told him that it was his doing not mine and that I didn’t make his choices he did. Has he over reacted to everything that morning. I was still locked in my bathroom. Finally, he told me that he was taking me to school. I was literally in my Pj’s and all out of sorts. He drove like a crazy person to school almost hitting a couple of people on the road that morning. Then gave me a running start to get out of the truck and peeled out. Everyone was looking at me. My boyfriend at the time was there, he knew something was wrong. I was escorted to the office and I had to explain everything to my counselor she handed me her makeup bag and told me to finish looking presentable. I did what I could with what little I had. I finished my dad and went home. I stayed in other places than going home. Eventually, I put myself into a home in downtown Ft. Worth. To make a point to my dad. He told the people there that I threatened to kill him with a butter knife. I had remembered what my mom had told me about how I would start knowing who my parents were. She was right.

I finished my seven days at the shelter and went home and I was given choices, I could stay with my dad, I could move back with my mom, or I can move in with my friend Eric. I chose to move back home with my mom. I knew if I stayed with my dad things would eventually fall a part again, and if I move with Eric I may not stay strong enough to finish school and really be a responsible adult, so I went with door number 3 and move back home. I knew that I was in a good place to excel with my mom. I was more grown than the last time I was there. I can start  new … again.

That meant that once again that I was starting over again…. and leaving people I cared about back in Texas. I was leaving Texas again. Texas is my home. Damn. Once again I was packing all my crap into a trailer and driving back to New Mexico. That was the last time I would see my dad. I didn’t care either. I knew that I would always love him and would forgive him for this…again. But I was not going to be hurt or disappointed by him again.

So when I started my days there at my high school. It was just so easy for me to go see all my old friends. It was like I never left but I was still different from them still but I was welcomed anyway. Skip forward to the summer of senior year. I was going to turn 18 soon and my mom begged me not to move out until I finished school. A month later I told her that I was pregnant. I moved out shortly after that. She told me that I didn’t have to but I needed too. I didn’t want her to raise my child because I was young. My baby’s father and I were friends and nothing more. We had sex and it was unprotected. This was my doing and I needed to ” Man up,” and take responsibility. I was scared to death but excited. I mourned my life to some extent. I was giving up my senior fun year. I was losing a lot of things that I could be doing, but I am going to be a mom.

Little did I know how much my life was going to change. I gave birth to a baby girl in April of 2001 and I would graduate high school with a six-week old baby. I remember nights falling asleep in my books while nursing her.  Her father telling me that he was moving out because he wanted to have a baby with our neighbor at the time. I was okay with that because we were friends nothing more. He also told me he wanted nothing to do with our daughter and signed a piece of paper saying that. He also just had triplet boys 18 months before our daughter was born. Their mother and I choose to stay in contact just in case they were to ever meet one day. That we would choose to teach our children of their siblings. I choose to move on with my life and started dating.

I was also young and made some choices that were very juvenile with my daughter. I wanted to party and be a mom. I couldn’t do both, but I thought I could. My daughter spent some time with her father and I was getting married soon and would be moving from the tiny town we were living in. Life happened in 3….2…..1…BOOM!

I was served with a restraining order and my daughter was taken from me just like that. Over a fraudulent claim of domestic abuse. I had a lot of choice words for that man. But I was about to embark on a crash course of a custody battle for the next 5 years of my life. Guess who was hurting the most in all of this…. My daughter. Then eventually my oldest son, then my youngest, my marriage, me.

Every week I had to spend more than hour in personal mediation, that costs an arm and leg, at least once of month we were in court, huge amounts of money for retainers for lawyers. The more emotional I got the worse the hammer came down on me. He eventually married this woman who was abusing my child, and there was nothing I could about it. Everything was falling a part. So fast.  I was married and a baby boy on his way and I was being forced to live my mom during the times I had my daughter. I very much disliked his wife. I have known her since high school, and I didn’t like her then either. He didn’t like her either but she was there and he liked having her there. He didn’t really live alone. My relationship with his parents was now in shambles and I didn’t trust any of them. Eventually, all of this destroyed my mental wellness. I ended up with postpartum depression, my marriage was falling a part, I was isolated from family, my husband was showing signs of being controlling, he too was abusing me, and he was a weekend alcoholic. Great!! I won the lottery of bad luck it felt like. I reached out for help and no one was listening to me. So I helped myself, postpartum transformed into angoraphobia and not really allowing my son to go outside in the country, and OCD. It was the way that I handled a lot of what was going on. It finally became everything that I was.

Things between my husband and I are in limbo. I eventually asked for a divorce, little did I know that he was seeing my sister and my daughters step mom behind my back. I wouldn’t learn of this until later years. Once I was done going through my self destruction phase, He and I got back together to attempt to make things work. I would get pregnant again. He wasn’t happy about anything. More than once he would beat me, the last time he did he was sober and did it in front of my daughter and my son. I was pregnant when he did it too. He would eventually tell me that he had a credible source who told him that I was not pregnant with his child but someone he called ” Sancho.” He denied our youngest son for almost three years. In that time he would also tell me that I was worthless and I didn’t deserve my children. I should just kill myself. He threw a knife at me while I was 8 months pregnant. I seriously thought about it. This was the first memory that my son remembers of me. I was sticking up for myself against his father I took that knife and stuck it in the wall and said no. Then his father struck me down onto the bathroom floor and there I laid. It sucks that is what my son remembers of those times. Is all the abuse and then his mom is gone.

I asked nothing from my ex-husband but only to be a good man and treat me good. That wasn’t happening. He had nothing to do with our new baby, and eventually he called him an abomination. We ended up leaving, and I couldn’t take my oldest son because of our divorce decree. My ex-husband would eventually help my daughters father in custody which ended up with me giving her up to them to save her from anymore hurt.

There is a bible story that it reminded me of this sort of situation… 1 Kings 3… A wise ruling. IT was this story in the Bible that got me through this moments in my life. I don’t want my children cut in two. This would surly bring them death in a worse way. I love my children with all that I am and I had to put them on the altar for God. It was the hardest thing in my life. But I also knew that my daughter would eventually come home to me. One way or another. I will never forget what I said to them the day of the adoption. Her father and his father tried to comfort me as I just signed over my rights to a woman who had ruined my life a few times at this point. I told them ‘ Get off me! You may have won this battle, But one day our daughter is going to want the truth. I know she won’t hate me at the end of this!” I walked away with all the energy I could muster at that point. I hated them. I hated myself for what I did but I knew at that moment it was the right thing to do even though other people didn’t know.

I was publicly shamed for it over and over. Little did those people know that they were only hearing her side of the story. Not mine and not my daughters. I had no need to explain myself. I took comfort that I did the right thing because I had prayed about it. I knew that I didn’t have to explain myself anymore to anyone else. Little did those people who judged me didn’t know that she was having an affair with my ex-husband for almost 6 years. When I finally confronted the whole situation with her. She told that she did have the affair and how sorry she was. I asked if her husband knew, my daughters father, she said yes, that I was the only who didn’t know. She kept saying sorry disingenuously and I told her that the apology goes to my kids because not once but twice it was split because of her actions. She later that year posted about me in a passive way on Fb and I finally fought back.

For a long time I wouldn’t dare think to cross them just in case I get to see my daughter I didn’t want to ruin that relationship by sticking up for myself. That day I had enough of bad mom bashing. After all the years I didn’t talk crap about these people, I didn’t disrespect them, I was at their mercy. I allowed them to say bad things about me and allowed people to believe them. That day was different. I flat-out said that I would tell our daughter the truth. Their response was that if I did that I would NEVER see her again. My daughter ended up calling me moments later. She wanted to know. I asked her to take some time to really think if she wanted to hear the truth. She took some time and I told her everything. Right down to every bad choice that I had held shame for. EVERYTHING!!!  I didn’t blame her step mom, dad or myself solely. It was all of our doing as well as the influence of her former step dad. It was all of us who have made her life complicated. I apologized a lot to her and knowing that my sorry’s weren’t enough to take the pain away. But what I did what done out of love for her and thought at the moment that I was doing the right thing.

After telling her all that had happened throughout her life, pieces of her life started to fit better. She was able to make sense of what was truth and what was lies. They were telling her that I was going to abort her because she was worthless before she was born, they were telling her that I gave her up because she was a pain in ass and that I didn’t want her. I mean the list goes on and on of all the crappy things that were said to her but still she held her head high and she went on her own survival mode. Her grandmother and I finally were able to work together for the betterment of my daughter. I may not have been there everyday of her life, and I have missed out on a lot of her achievements, but the moments that I did have with her I made sure that she knew how much she is loved, missed and that the teachable moments are impactful.

She now lives with me and I will help her undo all the damage that we did to her. But for once she feels like she means something to herself, and to others. She has a long road but I know that I am here with her through it all. Her grandmother and grandfather love her so very much, but they need to enjoy retirement and allow me to finish raising her. They are so loving towards my daughter and I am grateful that we were able to work together to raise such an awesome young woman.

As far as her step mom and father go. I have forgiven them. Sometimes its a lot over time of forgiving them. I still won’t talk crap about them but rather that they seek the help that they need, to seek a life that they love, that they learn to love and practice love,and to pour into others with life, I also hope that find where they are happy and less hatful towards the one person who just wanted to be loved and accepted. I pray that one day they learn to forgive themselves and who ever has caused them pain. I pray that one day there will be peace. I pray that one day they can see what a beautiful lady our daughter is but for now I am glad there is a pause in this relationship for all of them. God is working on them and that is all that I can ask for.

In all of this Father was there to help us all through. One day my daughters story is going to touch someones life. What my daughter went through was not in vain, and their story is going to matter to someone else. It was that passage that has impacted my life to make one of the hardest choices in life. Children are so precious. I know that Father loves me the  same ( A lot more) as I love my children. God had a plan the whole time, I just need a little bit of faith. I still don’t hate her step mom or dad and I won’t. It’s just not my thing.

I was wanting to go further into detail of what she’s gone through. I opted not to because there is way too much and I don’t want people to think of her step mom and dad are bad people. We don’t know the extent of their path, what we do know that we are not fighting flesh and blood but rather the demons that had taken residency within their home. We know that a young girl of 15 soon to be 16 took 10 second of courage and faith to make a choice that was best for her.I had the audience of the Holy Spirit and the knowing that Father has a plan. I just had to listen and get out-of-the-way.

When we bring things to light, the enemy can’t use them to hurt us anymore and when the enemy tries we can discern and get the guidance from The Holy Spirit. Just gotta have faith. Now my daughter has the chance for real healing and to live instead of survive. Gotta break the cycle. I am proud of her. It’s funny it has come full circle…. It started with me making adult choices as a young adult to my daughter making different adult choices now.

 

Much love…

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Chapter 9 Here’s to you…

For those of you who know someone or you yourself are suffering from mental illness of some kind. These words are for you. Well all of this is for all of you who read.

After enduring all that I have in my life, some of which that I haven’t even begun to talk about it… YET… So lets start with packing up to go to a treatment retreat. That is what I am going to call it or summer camp .. in the winter.

The night before I was so scared, mad, upset, accepting, stubborn, sad some more, shame, guilt, hatred, rage, depression and the rest of all the emotions that you can go through. It was like I was packing to go to a summer camp that my parents are making me go to and I didn’t want. I felt bad for what I had put my kids through, my brother and my mom and lastly my husband. I felt like a huge mistake. I felt bad for what I did to my employees and my job. I mean it was a lot all at once. Too many emotions all at once and I was not in a place to detach from it all. I mean if I had I wouldn’t be going to a ” summer camp.”

When I got there, I was welcomed and yet I just wanted to run away. I knew I needed help and I was being forced to confront all these things. Things as in being alone with all my shit. Plain and simple. I said my goodbyes and it was harder than ever. I clung to my husband just hoping he wouldn’t leave me. But it was time. I walked away and it was so hard. At this point ( a few days after attempting) I couldn’t talk to anyone, or walk out of my house. I even turned off my phone days before. I just couldn’t cope with anything. I couldn’t even be left alone for more than 10 minutes at a time before every bad thing in The Wall contained came crashing down. Every brick of shame, every guilty thing, all the things I have said and done would come full force into my mind. As a result I was really jacked. Panic attacks full force!

So for me, to be in a place where I didn’t have anyone safe to cling to, and I am to trust them fully. That’s crazy. It took all I had to put on my strong face. That seemed to go on a little smoothly than I would have liked, but I was also in survival mode to the max. I hadn’t slept in a few days. I was tired but there was no way that I was going to start sleeping right away. Sleep was a treat for me at this point. I rather be awake and active than have nightmares. I was told that I would meet with all the doctors and therapist in the coming day or two but to try to get settled in and sleep. Once they searched everything in my bag, and took all the things that I could kill myself with I was left alone. FINALLY. The staff was really nice and supportive. They all knew my name without even knowing me yet.

My room was really a small house. The bathroom was pretty nice. I was expecting something more like a hospital bathroom. But It felt like home for now. I just couldn’t have all my stuff the way I wanted, and that was something I struggled with the whole time actually. The room had a great view of tall mountains, and old wooden floors. I had a space that was all mine. I shared the room with others but we weren’t cramped and respected each others space. I stayed as far to back of the room as possible. I had a large desk all to myself. I loved that!! It was in front of a huge window where I could look at the wonderful views. I was unpacking when I was told that everyone had already had dinner but they are waiting for me to eat so they can close the kitchen. Y’all!! We had a chef. I walked in and they all introduced themselves and I ate quickly and alone. The food was pretty good. Eventually the chef knew exactly how I liked my eggs every morning! Fresh food, and very healthy yummy food. Anyway, they made it feel like home as much as they could for the residents there. My camp mates. I will not talk about them or what we did but I will say they are pretty awesome people. We were a community that is for sure.

I still wasn’t really sleeping I was very happy to hear that I was going to be talking to the psychiatrist that morning. I was looking forward to maybe getting some medication to sleep and calm my internal self. Not permanently but for the time being. So I had basically 90 minutes to tell my life story to this person, and just like that I was given a diagnoses. I felt a glimmer of hope. I also was given my schedule of what my days would look like and I was to see my therapist that same day. I felt great that she also prescribed me with meds. I was looking forward to sleeping that night.

So what was my diagnoses. Well, I wasn’t told the whole thing at first. I was told that I have PTSD, Depression with suicide ideation and two others that I didn’t really pay attention too. That was until I saw them on paperwork that was being sent to my work. That is when I saw Borderline Personality Disorder. I lost my crap! Internally, that is. To me when I read that, I needed to see the psychiatrist right then. I called my husband and he tried to calm me down. Even though I was enjoying my newly found community I wanted out of there. I no longer trusted. At this point there was a defcon 1 situation going on in my mind and in that office. haha looking back at it now, they were trying to help me understand what I was going through. Little did I know that I was showing that I was actually having an episode of BPD right then and there. I didn’t see that then, but in all fairness I rejected that part of my diagnoses from that moment.

So let me explain myself a little. When I saw this term BPD I have associated it with like multiple personalities. That is so not it at all. BPD is a result of trauma in my case. It was a result of coping with life, and always being in survival mode all my life. I feel emotions longer and deeper than a healthier mental person. I don’t know who I really am without these symptoms of survival. I have defined my life based on what I have done in my life. Work, accomplishments, kids, spouse, family. Everyone in my life was my personality, everything I did was my personality. I didn’t have my own identity that was truly mine. Then to complicate it even more having BPD I would tend to detach from all emotions to think and asses my situation better to survive. BPD doesn’t allow room for boundaries to be made because there is the huge fear of rejection and abandonment, hence why I overworked myself, tried to be everything everyone ever wanted. Because who would want this jacked up mess of a woman. RIGHT?! And because this a very real thing, people who have this condition get depressed because they have no idea who they are or where they fit. They don’t always know their purpose.They get into bad toxic relationships. I mean everything goes wrong with small amounts of good that happen. That has been my experience. It is a complicated condition. Those that are diagnosed with it hold a lot of shame and guilt for everything and everyone. Someone with BPD can take up to 10 years in order to recover fully. In women that statistic is 60/ 40… 60% of women will recover fully whereas 40% have ended up committing suicide because of it.

The people who take care of people like myself are great people who have great hearts. It’s not easy for the people around me to notice when I am in a mood. BPD patients also have a lot of zoning out stuff. We live in our heads a lot. I do anyway. Not as much as before. People close to me are able to bring me out of the zone. I feel a lot of guilt for the people who take care of me, there are days I feel bad for myself. I just want to be better and it is a long road ahead of me to get there. I am learning patience and its worth it because I am worth it.

Imagine a situation where you accidentally bump into someone at the store. Healthy people just say sorry and move on. People with BPD over think the whole thing. They feel so deeply sorry and sad that they didn’t pay attention, then they feel that they need to over apologize, then go through an array of other emotions. Before it’s all said and done  a day has passed and two panic attacks later than can move on and realized that it wasn’t a bad thing. This is a, at times a moment to moment, day-to-day, hour by hour thing. Learning to feel and accept an emotional response is hard. Allowing myself to cry just because I had a flashback is hard. Allowing myself to feel joy is harder, because I feel that I don’t deserve all that joy at that moment, then that whole cycle starts again. Its exhausting. PERIOD. To actually talk to someone about feelings is hard when you have spent all your life detaching from emotional stressors. That includes the good too.

So what works… well we are all different. Some people with BPD are really hard to handle when they don’t talk openly or honestly about whats in their head. All BPD patients have had similar traumas but we are all different. That is why it is so complicated to have a pinpoint plan of action to help that person. We all respond differently to treatment courses. There isn’t a pill on this planet that can treat this condition. So for those of you who think that… please don’t. It is completely up to the person to take action to get the help they need. Forcing pills down their throat to most is just confirming to that person that they are not worth the work. Forcing them to do anything is not a good thing. That is my opinion. When it was forced to me, I bailed and rejected, detached, burned that bridge and walked away. This condition is right at the heart of this person. Rewiring is what needs to happen.

So for me, I finally decided to take another look at BPD. With an open heart and mind. I had already treated most of my issues. Oh yeah! I was also diagnosed with OCD and extreme agoraphobia. Haha squirrel moment. I am still working on my OCD, somethings are very hard to break when you have done them for a long time. Just saying. The depression is gone. I have to practice some things when I am triggered but that is all part of the recovery process. Plain and simple. I have tools that I can use for that other stuff.

Those other issues are just fruit from a bad root. That root for me is BPD. Tackle that root and I will continue to have good soil to grow. So when I chose to read my condition I finally accepted that I have this issue. BPD doesn’t define who I am as a person. I do the work in order to get better. I can’t wait to see who I really am when I am done with all of this. So I do work that is called DBT ( Dialectical behavior Therapy) Basically, you learn who you are. You are being rewired to who your real identity really is. You learn new ways to cope, learn ways to feel the emotions and process them in a healthy way, figuring out what you really like and don’t. Setting boundaries, learning what your true morals and ethics are. I mean the list goes on and on. There are days where I get so frustrated and want to take it out on something, and that is usually myself. Learning to communicate in a way that is less aggressive to myself and others. Learning grace for myself and others. being mindful. It’s all in practice. As much as I would like to be better now, I know that I am not. I have to rewire all the lies that I believed and work on the ones that are true.

I know that I can’t work outside the home because I know that I will dominate in ways that are unhealthy for me. I will put all that I know into that job and overwork myself and start that cycle again. I am mindful enough to know that. I recognize that I would even make up lies to convince others that I am okay enough to work outside the home just so I can feel something that I have known. I am fortunate enough that I have an opportunity to live out my dreams right now. I wouldn’t have said that a year ago. I had to overcome people telling me that I needed to go back to work. I had to overcome their judgments. It’s really hard to do when you feel everything and detaching is not an option. Besides it’s not their life its mine. That was a hard thing to say at first.

Sometimes day-to-day stuff can be just too much. But everyday I have the opportunity to live not survive. I have to fight for my life everyday but everyday it gets that much more easier to handle. I know what is important to me. I know that life happens and I can’t run detach from my issues. I have to be present in them not in the past, not in the future. I have to be in the right now. I also know that I can’t do this alone. I know that I have voice and its ok for me to use it. It’s ok for me to vulnerable and its ok to show that without feeling shame for it. Not everyone is going to like me, and I have no business knowing what they feel about me when it’s behind my back. Its ok for me to feel the way that I do, and I know that its ok for me to tell people NO.

Everyday is a new day, a new problem, a new solution, a new way of seeing who I am, a new way to live, a new day to be who I am meant to be. To the people who help take care of BPD patients, family, spouses, kids, parents, anyone there is hope. Don’t give up on that person but don’t live their life either. Don’t stop living because they don’t know how to yet. Create your own boundaries but don’t sink into every fiber of who they are. You are meant to live just as much as they are. They just don’t know it yet. It is not your responsibility to ensure that they get the help, you are there to support and love. But they have to be the ones to do the work not you. Try not to take what they say personally because they are fighting a deeper fight within themselves. and yes most BPD folks fear that you will leave them, sometimes they just need to hear that they are worth it. Even if they don’t believe yet. They will eventually see the mirror in new eyes if they want to and ready to. Be kind, full of grace, assertiveness and love. That is all we all really want anyway. It’s a complicated condition and there is a lot of work to be done. There is a way out.

I had the great experience of deliverance to help me know who I am in Gods eyes. That gives me something to hold on to but that is my experience. I can’t say the same for so many others. I know how hard it is to be on the side of BPD but I refuse to be defined by it. BPD is not who I am. I am a great person. I have a big heart. I am an introvert with great social skills for the most. It’s a work in progress. I am a good mom. I am beautiful. I am funny, I am caring and loving. I am cherished, I am loved, I am worth it, I am loved by my creator, I am so many other things. I am falling in love with who I am little by little.

I am reversing all the lies that I once believed. I am learning what people really see in me and that is inspirational and empowering. I am seeing how I can affect my life in a positive way and how I impact others. I see that I am worth it to myself. I am happy. I am not perfect and I don’t want to be. I am me and I have a lot to offer to myself and others. I have a long road of me but I am enjoying the journey.

To those of you who have a mental illness, hold on. You are worth it, you are loved even if you don’t believe it yet, there is hope, make a commitment to yourself to do the work everyday, give yourself a lot of grace, you are not a mistake, its ok to make mistakes. You can do this. Reach out… you can even reach out to me. I will gladly be there to listen without saying anything… unless you want me too.

Kris