August 13, 2017
I debated over writing this for several days. I finally decided to go ahead and put it out there.
I grew up in Oklahoma almost the center of what we call in the U.S. the Bible belt. It’s an imaginary line of states that start in Ohio Valley and extends to the South West. A lot of farm lands, oil drilling, and small towns.
I came from a Native American background in which the culture has either been lost, erased or is slowly dying from years of abuse of power, broken trust and misdeeds by outsiders who came and “Discovered” North America. That is a whole other issue that won’t be discussed here.
I grew up knowing about both sides of our culture. The forced Christianity that was integrated within our belief system and our own native beliefs that my people fought to keep. It was always a confusing thing to me growing up about where I fit in and what was I supposed to believe.
I spent a great deal of time attending Christian services through Southern Baptist, Baptist, Pentecostal and Methodist denominations from a very young age of about 5 years old until I was 18.
I actually began losing my faith in the church establishment when I was around 12 years old. I was growing up in an abusive household and sought help through a Deacon’s wife who taught our Sunday Bible school. She turned me over to the Deacon and the Pastor who both reprimanded me for saying such terrible things and not honoring my parents. It was the last time I attended that church and my faith in adults was forever changed. I never recovered and left the whole Christian religious based system when I turned 19 years old after going to a pastor at a church I was attending while in the military. I was falling into a bad state of mind, now knowing that it was actually depression, and I sought counsel. Once again I got turned away and never went back.
I say this because I left attending the church system but my faith in something greater than myself was still there and it always has been.
Now I believe it’s more of a universal force or energy that we all share. Our interactions with each other have an effect it. We make it stronger or weaker. Most believe it is this all-powerful being called God.
I’m still not sure if that is what it is called but growing up with that word makes it easier for me to describe how I feel. It’s really just an old habit that is now ingrained into my thoughts and reactions to things that I cannot explain.
The reason I am writing about this today is that events that occurred over the last 3 years plus something that happened this past week that raised questions for me about faith and belief.
I’ve written before about the moment when I decided to change the path I was walking on that November evening in 2013 when I believed that my life was not worth anything. I was making an attempt on my life. I was numb and felt nothing but sadness that was pulling more into the darkness. As I sat there making the cuts on my wrist suddenly there was a voice saying “No!” It was clear and audible almost as if there was someone sitting beside me on that cold bathroom floor. It was a man’s voice. I continued to cut and it said “No!” again. It was like I was suddenly awake and the bathroom light was so bright I couldn’t see. I looked down and saw the beginning cuts on my wrist and started to cry. I felt so ashamed. I felt so angry that things had gotten to that point. I heard in my thoughts “You need to get help.” I got up and went to the hospital and was sent to a behavioral health center for observation. It was that pivot moment that I needed to change my life forever. I could no longer continue walking that path with my then husband. I needed to find a way to survive on my own.
It was a rough the next couple of years with many times the thoughts spiraled out of control and I started falling into the darkness again. I had begun counseling, the divorce process and was bouncing between jobs and homes. I had also started having an affair with a friend that I used to work with, my life was in shambles.
Yet despite the turmoil I always had this thought in my mind to keep pushing forward and that things would get better. This thought was in constant conflict with the dark mood swings, depression, and anxiety. When things started to fall apart financially because I just wasn’t making enough money, I would pray or meditate for guidance. Every time, money would just appear just enough to take care of what was needed. Most said it was just a coincidence but a part of me felt like the universe was answering my call. I always felt like there was something out there hearing my anguished thoughts and finding a way to give me a subtle push in the right direction.
Then in March of 2016, I fell into darkness again. The affair I was in had ended, I lost a job, found a new one but had to quit school, was being threatened with eviction and was behind on bills. I couldn’t afford to pay my now ex-husband child support and he was threatening to take away my kids. I felt like he was slowly turning them against me. My heart was so broken and the pain from the heartache of losing everything was too much.
That time I took over the counter cold medicines with alcohol and started cutting my wrists again. I remember laying there waiting for the medication and alcohol to start taking effect. As I cut my wrist, I saw it open slightly and it began to bleed then it stopped and the wound closed up. I started crying more and started yelling to God “Why?” I asked why was it so damn important that I continue to live.
A picture of my children flashed before my eyes and I started crying. I felt in that moment that they were so much better off without me but the universe thought differently. At some point during this episode, I apparently called the VA crisis line and heard this woman’s voice asking me if I was there. I picked up my phone and started talking to her. Shortly after the police and paramedics arrived. I spent 4 days in the hospital and subsequently lost the new job. I was having to start over yet once again.
Time moved on and things started turning back around. I was finally facing the trauma from my childhood in therapy. I found a better job and was finally making headway on finances. Then my ex-husband died. It was a shock to the system. The first couple of months all I could think about was the fact that if one of the previous attempts at ending my life had been completed then my children would have had to deal with everything on their own. It made me sad to think about it.
After everything started to settle down the dark thoughts and mood returned once more. I made a last attempt in March of 2017. I should have been happy but I wasn’t. Things were okay for the first time in my life. Money wasn’t an issue. Therapy and counseling were going well. I had removed all the people from life that were toxic. I was attending school and maintaining my grades. Things were easy. I had even attempted online dating. So why did I wake up that morning and feel nothing? I was just going through the motions of our daily routine and not feeling anything. I was numb.
I had an argument with my kids the day before about the online person I was talking to and took it out on him as well. I felt so guilty and so hurt over everything. The feelings of heartache and being broken were there once more. All the old thoughts of the past were coming forward and running over me like a freight train. I couldn’t control it.
I made preparations for my kids, instructions for them of what to do. This time I took sleeping pills and cold medications. Apparently, according to the paramedic, he counted at least 26 pills were taken all the boxes were empty. I was in the middle of cutting my wrists once again when I heard this beep on my phone. It was a text from the online person and a phone call I missed. I read the text message and started crying. I texted back what was going on. I called the VA crisis line and once again the police and paramedics were at my door. I spent 5 days in the hospital that time and was finally diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. That was the last attempt.
According to the doctors and nurses in the ER, the pills I took should have caused my kidneys to shut down and for organ failure to begin or cause irreversible harm. It didn’t. I was in and out of consciousness during the whole time. I slept and woke up when they needed me to. After everything wore off and they transferred me once again to the VA hospital all it felt like was a really bad hangover. The cut I made on my wrist was deep enough to leave a scar this time but when I got to the hospital they said it had already closed so they just cleaned it up and put a new dressing on it.
Three attempts in three years and each time something intervened.
This past week I was sitting there with other people at the food pantry waiting for assistance. I’m still not working and money was tight because of a higher than normal electric bill. I knew the routine. We sign in, they feed us lunch and then there is a Bible study to fill us with words of inspiration to try to feed our spirit as well. I don’t mind it, some did and left.
This particular session was different. After the person leading the study finished talking about the passage he asked if there were any prayer requests. A few people raised their hands.
So we bowed our heads and closed our eyes waiting for it to be done. As I was standing there the leader of the group said that God told him that there were a few additional things that needed to be prayed over. He said that someone was having back and leg issues. A few more people were prayed over who raised their hands. Then he said someone is worried about work or a new job. Some more hands went up. Then he was beginning to wrap it all up when he suddenly stopped and said: “God says there is someone here that is angry, bitter and needs to let it go.”
I started to feel strange like I was getting warm but my hands felt cold and numb. I opened up my eyes and looked at my hands. My fingertips were turning blue and I had a red line in the middle of both of my hands. All I could think “What the hell?” Yes, I know that’s an ironic statement considering the circumstances. Then an overwhelming feeling started to come over me. The leader then said “Someone out there has had a really bad childhood, they were abused by the people who were supposed to protect them and it’s time to let it go”
The overwhelming feeling turned into crying. It was a feeling of a wave moving over me. I couldn’t control it and I found myself holding my breath. As I stood there silently sobbing, I opened my eyes and looked at my hands once more. They had gone back to normal.
The knot of pain that was always there in the center of my chest was gone. The pain I would always feel every time I got hurt by someone. The knot of pain I would always feel every time I was disappointed. The knot of pain that I would feel when I had regret and self-doubt. That knot of pain that filled with anger, sadness and heartache. That heaviness that I carried with me my whole life was gone.
In that pivot moment, I knew that things would be okay. That the pain I had carried with me my whole life was gone and wasn’t coming back. That I had finally let it go.
I knew in that moment that somewhere in the universe my anguish, hurt, pain and calls for help were finally heard. A sense of calmness that I’ve never felt before came over me.
That sense of calm was even there this past weekend when my parents showed up to my yard sale. I normally get a feeling of anxiousness, frustrations, and anger when they are around me but it wasn’t there. I had no feeling toward them at all.
Just because that calmness is there I also know that it doesn’t mean they are coming back into my life. I may have finally let go of the pain but the memory doesn’t forget. They have no purpose in my life and never will. I can let go of the bitterness but it doesn’t mean I have to be around them if I don’t want to. I decide who is in my life and who isn’t
I don’t know if there is an all-knowing God or that what we feel is the energy we bounce off of one another. Our souls recognizing and acknowledging each other.
I just know how I feel when I meet people for the first time. How I feel when I’m going in a certain direction and suddenly a thought makes me change course. How sometimes I go to someplace I’ve never been before but it feels safe and secure. How all my life there has always been so many coincidences that something has been guiding me along.
That the purpose in the life I was given is yet to be seen and I still have to be patient.
That with each chance I took in life and when I failed a better opportunity always came along.
That my future is what I determine it be and I will live how I want to live.
That my children do love me and need me. I feel the same about them and always will.
That I took my life for granted in those moments when I wanted it to end.
That there are still so many beautiful and wonderful things in life to see.
That one day the right person for me will come along and if for some reason that doesn’t happen it will still be okay.
That when things seem bleak or not going well I need to step back, evaluate and meditate on the situation to find a solution.
That the depression and anxiety will no longer be there one day or at least be manageable but I still have to keep working on it until then.
That I will continue to love, laugh and learn how to live.
Thank you for stopping by.
Have a great week!