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Showing posts with label Mental Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mental Health. Show all posts

A Note of Abuse (warning)

I don't talk openly about the details of my past often, if at all in certain circles, especially on my blog, but I thought I would take a moment and type up a little something to mostly share it with anyone else that's struggling with the same issues, and to maybe get some of it off my chest. This story is a bit hard to read, so please take caution if you are easily triggered by abuse, bullying, suicidal thoughts, or details about mental health and mental illness struggles. 

Growing up in a household where pretty much your every move is controlled, or scrutinized, you end up with issues as an adult. I didn't realize I had any problems, other than small problems, until I was 38 years old. It was almost as if my brain completely shut the doors, or maybe open the doors, finally and couldn't handle it anymore. 

I'm not exactly sure what happened, but I knew that something was wrong. I went for awhile trying to handle it myself, but when I was 42 and got to a point where I was either going to die from how I was living, thinking, or processing stuff, or I needed to reach out for help. 

I remember the exact day that I hit the bottom and knew I was either going to survive that day, or I was going to die. I text Jeff two words, "HELP ME." He knew right then that I was in dire need of something. He had seen me struggling and knew something was wrong, and I would talk to him some, but I never knew how to put it into words. That day he raced home and took me immediately to the hospital and told them I may be suicidal. I stayed in the hospital for 36 hours talking to what seemed like 100 different people, nurses, doctors, therapist, mental health counselors. I remember they took everything I had from me, my bracelets, my clothes, my shoes, my shoe laces, my belongings/purse, and anything else that I could harm myself with. I don't remember exactly everything from that day, most of it was flash moments that I remember. I was mostly having an out-of-body, or out-of-mind experience that day and knew that who I was at the moment in time was not me. It was as if someone else was controlling me and if that "other" person could have gotten a weapon that day, or if I had not been strong enough to control that person inside me, I wouldn't be alive today. I wanted to die. Not so much wanted to die, but I wanted to give up, give in. 

It was a strong pull towards ending it all. It was such a bizarre feeling of giving up. It scared me. But, I had no feelings, or emotions. It was as if I was being held prisoner inside of my own body and mind. All I could think about was how much everyone around me would be better off if I was gone. Remembering my mom trying to strangle me with a plastic hanger at the age of nine/ten and my sister at just a tender age of 11 telling her to stop. I remember my dad standing at the counter just watching and not stepping it. And, again at the age of 16 my mom saying to me, "I would throw you out of this upstairs window if I knew I wouldn't go to prison for it." There were other voices and moments flooding my head that day. It was as if all the abuse chapters had been laid out on a table and I was being forced to read them all and accept them.

My brain and my spirit put up with so much throughout my life. I was a victim of child abuse, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was a victim of rape at the age of 30. I was a victim of adult bullying from a young age and still into my late 30s. Yet, here I am. I am still thriving and I am still fighting. It was the worst and the best thing that could have happened to me that day. The worst was going through that moment, not sure if I was going to come out on the other side, but the best thing is, I survived it. I got through. I made it. I am so proud of me. I am so incredibly proud of ME. 

I am now currently working with a (RDN) dietitian to get back to eating normally again from not eating hardly 500 calories a day for a long time. I am in therapy to face my past and what has been done to me, and to learn that what happened to me as a child was/is not my fault. I've been diagnosed with PTSD, severe anxiety disorder, eating disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic/mood disorder, and depression brought on by anxiety/PTSD. Self-forgiveness is something I am learning slowly. I'm also learning slowly how to navigate through all of the disorders and mental health issues I now have. Learning to forgive myself for not doing more, not speaking up, not telling someone what was happening to me is not something I am punishing myself for, but more about learning that the words said to me are not true-it is not my fault. The only thing I can't do and I wish I could so much is to be able to hug my younger self and tell her, "You are strong! And, you are brave! And, you are enough! And, you are going to be okay." My goals now are to always make my younger self proud. To keep fighting for that little girl that had no emotional support, understanding, or respect given to her.

I have okay days and I have horrible days. There is no in between. On those horrible days, I have two people that I can lean on to help me through and I am extremely grateful for them and all they do for me. Without them, I just don't know. As a parent myself, I literally have no reasonings as to why my parents chose to beat, hit, yell, verbally assault, and mentally abuse me, their middle child, even to this day. I was the only one in the family that received such horrible abuse and assault. I'm glad they didn't do the same to my brother and sister, but I still don't understand why they did that to me. At this point, no matter what reason they give still won't make it okay. Other family members not stepping in to stop it. None of their friends stepping in to stop it. Although child abuse was sort of a taboo topic in the 80s, and even into the 90s, I wish someone had stepped in and questioned what was happening. A few people came close a couple of times-A neighbor asking why I was walking down the road barefooted late one night, to a teacher asking why I had so many dark bruises on my arms and legs. Of course, loving my parents and afraid of getting into trouble, I made jokes about it and excuses. 

My mom always called me "goofy," or told me to stop acting so weird, but it was all a front to hide what I was dealing with on the inside. Being constantly compared to my sister, or my brother and always feeling like I wasn't enough, or would ever be good enough. Behind our closed doors it was not a good place for me. Always being put on edge and afraid I was going to get into trouble for minor things I lied about things-my grades, my tests, projects due, etc. I even lied about a science project's due date just so I could be the first person in my class to turn mine in. I lied for no other reason other than to stay out of trouble. My mom always thought my lies were because I was a terrible child, but it was quite the opposite. I didn't want to disappoint them and I was constantly struggling to win their love and affection. Over time, I grew into an adult with such severe anxiety that at times I get so exhausted and overwhelmed that I can't think straight. Some days are so bad that I can't get out of bed. High levels of anxiety constantly flooding your body wears on you and causes other health issues, too. 

One thing I learned growing up is how to fake it. Fake how you feel, fake being uncomfortable, fake how your family is in front of people, fake being YOU. Now as an adult there are still times I catch myself going back on old habits and I have to stop. Old habits such as, faking your way through an uncomfortable conversation with someone that isn't kind or sincere, smiling instead of telling someone to stop, laughing off hurtful and derogatory comments, talking to people that have been extremely rude, judgmental, critical of you, or even adult bullying. All of these things are not okay and not being taught to defend myself, or put a stop to these behaviors literally gave people a gateway to keep treating me the same. Through counseling I am learning how to navigate through what I am okay with and what I am not okay with. I am also learning how to set boundaries and how not to feel guilty about these boundaries.

As far as boundaries go, I haven't spoken to my family, not one person, in 16 months. I don't know when I will speak to them again, but for now I am working on me. I am loving on me and fixing the damage. The last words from my mom were to Jeff on December 28, 2020. It was an odd end to a year that was really hard for me. We had wildfires close to us, one being 10 miles from our front door, I had major surgery, we had riots, protests, other weird things happening around our city alone, but mostly the state of Oregon, as a whole. We also dealt with Jeff's hours being cut, the pandemic, struggling to stay afloat, and bleeding our entire savings to just be able to eat. With all of that, I fell apart on December 26, 2020, at 4:15 p.m. When I was wanting some comfort and some love I reached out to my parents. My dad, I had called while in the hospital and told him what happened to me and he was like a stranger. As if he didn't know who I was, or why I was calling to tell him I was in the hospital. Told me that the reason why I was there was a stupid reason. My dad literally said the word "stupid" to me for my mental health issues. I couldn't believe it. 

My mom called me on my way home from the hospital and I thought she was calling to ask about how I was doing from being in the hospital and yet she had no idea I was even in the hospital. She was calling to tell me about a surgery she had scheduled for several months later. I told her why I was in the hospital and she did not comfort, love, or even support me when I needed her the most. Instead she started talking about all of the things I've done as a child and how stressful I was to raise. I literally couldn't handle listening to these strangers belittle me on the telephone over something that I couldn't control. I passed the phone to Jeff and told him that I can't handle this anymore. He told my mom that if they want to have a relationship with me in the future they need to change the way they speak to me. My mom replied, "I don't appreciate being talked to like this and you wouldn't believe the shit she put us through when she was growing up..." Jeff hung up on her and that was that. 

The last phone call I had with my own mother, the lady that carried me for nine months, raised me, and knows that I am a good-hearted person was able to easily forget how to love me when I needed her the most. The last time my dad had contact with any of us was on Skylar's eighteenth birthday September 2021. Skylar and I spent the entire day together. He is my only child and him turning 18 was a huge deal to me, but definitely for him . We decided to do a lot of fun things and not one time did we think of anyone else, but him the whole day. Jeff had to work until 3:30 p.m. that day, and Skylar and I had a wonderful day. Yet my parents, Skylar being their first grandchild and turning 18, you would think more effort or thought would have been put into his special day. My dad called both of our phones, Skylar's and mine, which I leave my mailbox full all the time, because I don't like telemarketers calling me. Most people that know me personally know this and will text instead if they need to talk to me. Skylar left his phone in the car, and didn't check it throughout the day. My dad took that as a personal attack against him. He called us both and we didn't answer because we were busy celebrating the day. He ended up calling Jeff's phone while he was at work and left a message that to this day, still floors me. Instead of saying happy birthday to Skylar and other loving, kind, and respectful words, he takes that moment to say, "We were calling for Skylar's birthday, but since no one is answering phones I guess we've been written out of Skylar's life and I put that full blame on you and Shelly." And, that was it. After spending a great day with Skylar all day, Jeff tells us about the message later that evening. Instead of making the day about Skylar, my dad/family made the day about them. It not only offended Skylar, but hurt his heart to know his grandparents couldn't even set their own issues aside to wish him a happy eighteenth birthday, the only one he will ever have, and they can't ever get that moment back. 

It hurts my heart knowing that they are treating my child the same way they treat(ed) me. It's now been five months since his birthday and instead of dwelling on what we can't control, we've been working on things we can control. One of things we can control is having less interaction with people that don't see our worth, respect us, or our boundaries. Hopefully, with all my fingers and my heart crossed, things will change with them and they will see our worth and what great people we are. But until then, we will continue to heal. One of the ways I've gone about healing is to choose not to inherit dysfunction, lack of communication, and/or respect for my own child. The physical and mental abuse stopped with me. I have never and will never treat Skylar in a way that makes him question my love for him. Above all, the thought of him sitting on the end of his bed at the age of 40, crying and asking why did my mom treat me so poorly, like I have, is something that will never happen to him. That alone gives me great comfort in knowing that I'm a damn good mom and I will always make sure to build him up and not tear him down. Another way I am helping to heal is to stand up against abuse no matter who it is, or where I am. I will not stand idly by while bullying and abuse happens in front of me. Ever!

A quote I read several years ago, 

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Frederick Douglass

Abuse is never okay, no matter what context it falls under, or reasons given. The point of this post is to bring awareness that if you suspect something, or are in a position to step in, do and report it. It's better to be wrong and nothing is happening, than be right and do nothing. Below are a list of abuse hotlines within the United States, Canada, and other areas. Don't hesitate to report abuse. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are 100% confidential and free to call. 

If you are also questioning suicidal thoughts, or actions, please reach out. I promise there are people that will hear you and understand. If you need immediate help, please contact 911, or your local emergency services. Don't give up! Don't let other people take away your importance, your spirit, or your life. You can do this! If you need to just talk to someone, please message me directly at mcwilkerson1977@yahoo.com. You are enough!

•National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE

•National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders 1-847-831-3438

•National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE

•National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453)

•Children in immediate danger 1-800-THE-LOST

•Family Violence Prevention Center 1-800-313-1310

•Gay and Lesbian National Hotline 1-888-843-4564

•Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-448-4663

•Teen Hope Line 1-800-394-HOPE

•Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-252-8966

•Suicide Hotline 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

•Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-827-7571

•Full list of hotlines can be found here.