(me on left, sister on right)
It’s important to give a background story because I fully believe I wouldn’t be who I am without where I’ve been.
My blood father is a batterer. He beat the shit out of my mom, stepmom, and who knows who else. He’s clinically Bipolar I, suffers from alcoholism (and other substances in the past), and has been in and out of jail my entire life. He was a weekend dad, but my sister and I had fun over there when he wasn’t experiencing his ups and downs, and/or wasn’t drinking as much as usual. When he was manic he was more fun than when he was depressed, but he was intense nonetheless. He has a serious mental disorder and chemical imbalance(s), and although I no longer hold a grudge toward him, I have PTSD thanks to my traumatic childhood experiences (along with some other adult experiences that have added to its severity), and I sometimes fear I may be more like him than I wish to admit (especially if I over consume alcohol, which I’ve pretty much given up at this point in my life). I do not have a relationship with my blood father due to my life experiences with him.
My mom did the best she could to raise my sister and me with what she had. She has been with my stepdad (if I ever refer to my dad, it’s Gary, my stepdad) for almost 25 years, and again, they both did the best they could with what they had. Unfortunately, they never pushed us to strive for greatness, and it affects my sister more than me. I had a closer relationship with my dad than she, as I was younger and looking for that connection/hole to fill. My dad is not an emotional creature, but he sure did scare the shit out of me. It was that fear-of-God that motivated me to quit drugs and graduate high school.
Sometime along the way, I became self motivated. I believe it was after I left my most abusive (emotionally/verbally) relationship, when I was 21. It took me literally walking in on him in bed with someone else for me to leave, and that lit a fire under my ass. I’ve had a lot of mess ups between then and now, but I would NEVER take any of them away, as they’ve taught me many valuable life lessons and shaped who I am today (and I’m learning to like this new woman in her 30s).
Fast forward to 2018, and in the past three years I’ve gone to court and represented myself while fighting my kids’ dad for a parenting plan (and cried for endless hours all the while), lived with my fiancé’s parent for a couple months, gotten in a gnarly car accident (my first of 3 concussions in a year), held 3 jobs at once, had to take over a week off two jobs (and quit one) due to my most recent concussion this past May (I’ve been hitting my head my entire life, pretty hard, and this most recent one was the worst ever. My dr. literally told me I have to be very careful, as I could be on the road toward CTE), supported a 4-person home on one income for quite some time, all while battling severe anxiety and depression.
Looking back on the past year, I wonder how I did it all, because every day was a struggle to even get out of bed and face myself and my life. I’ve been anti-BigPharma for a long time, and after some long and hard consideration I swallowed my pride and decided to try sertraline/Zoloft. After all, I had literally exhausted as many natural options as you can think of right now to no avail. I couldn’t even slow my brain down long enough to remember to breathe through an anxious episode. I haven’t been able to leave my house to go grocery shopping in almost a year, if that gives you any clue. I’ve been avoiding anything that would make me anxious, which has been literally almost every regular daily life task.
It is just so refreshing to have a new perspective on life right now. I’ve only been on Zoloft for two months, but it has made a huge difference in my mindset and mentality. I don’t plan on being on it forever; I’ll try and wean off after my dr. and I have decided the time is right, and we’ll go from there. But for now I use my prescription drug, and essential oils, and baths, and yoga, and meditation, and breathing, and getting fresh air, and my bullet journal, and my regular journal, and (now) my blog, and my therapist.
My therapist is helping me work through my childhood tragedies, one at a time. We’ve only just begun to open Pandora’s box, but I’m optimistic.