I can’t remember when it started. I just remember a moment in time. I hurt, pain so unbearable but unrecognizable. I confided in someone about my worst nightmare. Something I held back, and was so unbelievably ashamed of something that I had no control of. My family members, were so close, and when this come out, it reeked havoc on, and into our family, and destroyed us from the inside out. My mother was torn between her daughter’s claims and the undeniable claim from the rest of the family that the child is making up stories. I was judged. I was excluded. I wasn’t believed. What made matters worse was that I never saw the belief in my mother’s eyes. I did things that got me attention. I don’t know why. I slept around, and was very promiscuous. I took big risks. I was doing drugs, running away. I was running away from reality and an abusive step father. He usually would drink himself into oblivious, but on many occasions he would just decide that my brother and I could be the balls in his batting cage.
I was broken, lonely, depressed. I wasn’t pretty, in fact, I was fat. I also have an eye genetic disorder and my left eye was wonky…. yeah! wonky! I like that word! I was a target for school and neighborhood bullying. My own cousins, my own blood, were part of the vicious rumors that had started about me long before I started to deserve those rumors. At 15, I was hit by a car. I was crossing the road to go home and a vehicle hit me head-on at 45mph, only 3 steps from the sidewalk.
I got a concussion, head trauma…scalped. My scalp was literally a flap with hair, hanging off of my head on the gurney. Had other damage, but I survived, and I realized that the PTSD became part of that wouldn’t go away shortly after. I dealt with that. Don’t ask me how, I can’t remember.
I remember going into Boston University and being in the center of this huge room with a balcony of people watching, observing. The day came when I was finally getting surgery on my eye. This was my hope for a fresh start in life. To be normal. I say this because not only is my eye wonky, but it blinks all the time…even when I am talking. I’ve been accused of winking at boys, which gave them more reason to cat-call on me. I winked when I chewed my food. That was lonely sitting in the cafeteria with your schoolmates and avoiding looking at anyone in fear that they would see me blinking, and call it out.
I got to the point where going to school had become a daily obstacle course of avoiding people. Sure, I had friends. Not many at all. They were not too popular but they were good friends – a few of them. I failed 10th grade, mostly on purpose. The few classes that I had passed where the only ones of interest for me; English/Writing, Arts. I skipped the rest of the classes and didn’t care to make it up. 10th grade the second round, same thing. I think I attended 3 or 4 months and just stopped going.
You see, my mom always worked. She had worked 2-3 jobs as a single parent before said step dad came into the picture. My mom, she was a good, a hard working woman with a good moral upbringing with a Catholic background. I loved her, but she just wasn’t there when I need her. When she did come around and realized there was problems, I was already too angry, and full of contempt. I had internalized and compartmentalized my feelings and they were just bursting at the seems. I was volatile. She always stayed steadfast on me once she realized I was having problems.
We moved to Florida 6 months after my eye surgeries. (2 total that year) My eye lid had healed, scarring was minimal. My eyes finally looked some semblance of normal. I had a true fresh start. Nobody knew me. I could swipe clean and start fresh with new friends, and nobody would know the better. How quickly that changed in just one night. I was invited to a party with my girlfriends. Huge barn fire in the middle of the woods, kegs, people, drugs. Once there, I quickly realized that everyone had coupled off. I didn’t go with my boyfriend. I didn’t want to ruin the night for my friends so I started to walk home. On the path that lead to the main road, I was pounced on by 2 older guys that had been to the party. One was a secret crush. I’d been daydreaming about him since I’d met him a few months earlier. We were dating other people, so I never said anything. The other, he was someone I had wanted nothing to do with. He creeped me out. He leered at me, made me very uncomfortable to be around. He was being very belligerent and asked me if I wanted to fuck. I started to walk away and was pulled back and knocked to the ground. I was forced to participate and beaten if I didn’t. I was raped by both of them, sodomized, got pregnant, gonorrhea, and worms from being in the woods. I was ashamed. I was beaten and forced to cry out to “keep going” or to cheer them on. I was humiliated. I was wounded, not physically (nothing broken), but spiritually broken. I crawled out the woods a few hours later after they left me there. I must have blacked out at some points…it’s a bit fuzzy. I went home and showered! I was so dirty, so, so, so dirty. I couldn’t wash the dirt that I still felt off my skin…and felt discussed with myself because I didn’t fight back hard enough. I was confused and mixed up on what I need to do. Nobody believed me when I came out and told before. I knew that they wouldn’t believe me then too….but I did tell my boyfriend. He then made sure that I reported it. And I did.
So much for that…by the time it’s all done and said I realized that there was absolutely nothing that I could do to them. It was there word against mine. The lawyers ganged up on me, trying to claim how I slept around, and that it was consensual, that would be why I didn’t report it. They also claimed the only reason why I reported it was because I was pregnant.
My depression was so bad that I didn’t stick up for myself, or defended myself. Instead, I cried. My mom told me that she didn’t want my reputation ruined through this. The charges were reduced to hardly nothing at all for my ex-crush while the other went back to him home country, Mexico. He fled from the law. At least, that is what I was told. Still, my mother neither had faith in me nor believed me. I felt useless, depressed, lonely, and reckless.
Months later, I moved out, or should I say that I was tired of being a battle bot for my step dad, and fought back, and was thrown out. (My mom told me years later that he was bleeding from his penis for a week after we fought. Good!) I was still 17, but I found a place to live and work. My mom was working when I left, and I didn’t see her for 6 months after, when I returned home pregnant. My boyfriend had been incarcerated, and I didn’t have a place to live. One day I heard commotion walking into the house, ran to my brothers room, and saw my step father on top of my brother in his room, beating him. I ran to my brother’s defense, (big, pregnant), and my step dad stormed off telling me not to mess with him. Not so friendly though. He left my mom the next day. Yup, he drove his little beaten red pickup truck all the way up 95 with all his belongings in a big trash bag. Gone, never to return. I know my mom blamed me. She went into a deep depression after he left her.
My boyfriend got out of jail and we moved into his mother’s old house. She moved out with her new husband and left it to us. Brian was a drunkard also. Seems to be a pattern there doesn’t it? He was a sadistic, nasty drunk though. He turned on me the first time. He came home and charged at me, picked me up, and threw me into the headboard of our old water bed (Oak, solid). I must have made every excuse in the book to be with him. My head was so mixed up about what love really was. Well, it was tumultuous at best, and downright dangerous at worst. He liked to use my head as a dodge ball on the walls. I’ve never been to the doctor, but I can tell you that I had experienced a couple of concussions with him. I hid the fact that I was being beaten and my child was being neglected when in his care. After a few years of him being locked up for warrants, narcissistic abuse, and cheating on me, I finally stood up for myself with the help of my best friend. I finally stood on my own feet. For 3 years, I worked and paid the bills for myself, and my child. I struggled also, worked 2 to 3 jobs. I did it though.
The day came when I got a call from my mom. She told me to meet her up at the Orlando hospital. I went. That was the day I learned that she had Stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer. She had a biopsy and was sent home. The doctor told her that she had 1 year to live. We moved out of my place, and I began the role of caretaker for mom. I had begun talking to someone, online. He was different, but I liked him. I developed further into a relationship, eventually my husband now.
Have you ever experienced watching your mother deteriorate right in front of your own eyes? It was traumatizing. We struggled in Florida. She had hospice, they were great, and super supportive. She was going to radiation. After 6 weeks of that, the doctor told her that there was no use to finish, or to continue with chemo. The tumor had grown back bigger and had burrowed a new hole in her brain. She was in a wheelchair by the time the call came. One month later, she was bedridden. Her body swelled up with cellulitis, and cortisone medications. Pain management was awful. How can you manage pain when it is all coming from the brain? I remember nights, tied up with the doctors or nurses from hospice, trying to get her doses increased. She wasn’t prescribed the Morphine as much as she needed it. Despite Duragesic patches, drops, continuous contact with professions to increase the doses, she still cried in pain nightly and, at the end, almost daily.
I was 24 years old without a clue on how to take care of her, and no medical background, besides a little nursing add in high school. Her family finally come down to visit. Two aunts that my mother constantly fought with throughout her life, came in, and just undermined everything that I established in 3 days. To make matters worse, this was the mother of the person who had abused me as a child, knew about it, and laughed at it. She didn’t make that a secret, that she didn’t care what I had to say. Had my 5-year-old son terrorized, and ridiculed. They had manipulated my mom into believing that I wasn’t there to take care of her best interests. I mean I was doing the best I knew how to. Still, I never once stuck up for myself, and let these women come in change the POA back to her name, taking me completely out of the equation. Left her back in charge and poof, they left. While visiting, they got my mother interested in donating her money to charity. She would watch all these shows and want to give all the money away to them without realizing that there were bills to be paid, or we needed groceries. My mother was never in the right mind after radiation. A couple of weeks later my mother’s other sister and her lifelong best friend come to visit. This was better, filled with promise, hope, compassion, and an offer for help if I moved her back home to their house. Filled my ears with “There will be others to help you there”, “You’re all alone here, you’re brother is working all the time, you need help”, and this was the best ” You can even get a part-time job there.”
So we moved. Opened my eyes to just how sweet words sound, but they don’t really mean. It took me 3 days to move all our belongings in a u haul truck to move, but I did it alone. My mother had an angel flight plane to New England and was there already. When I finally get there, the very first thing that was said to me, is that “You’re mom is fine, but do you know that you are overdosing her? ( that was a little octave) – Oh yeah! 2am Sunday morning I am actually arguing with this women over this. The whole time I was there I was accused of many, many things, that didn’t add up. We even was paying them more than what mom was paying on her house in Florida she gave up. This women also demanded that I’d do something like clean the pool. The fact, that I didn’t use the pool, didn’t seem to bother her. Going swimming in 60 degrees isn’t I was used to doing after living in Florida for 10 years. My aunt would play mind trips with my mother. I would had a baby monitor in her room that I would listen out for my mom and hear her talking to my mother. Mom was so confused didn’t know who she even was, and my aunt would be saying that I wasn’t worth anything for something that I didn’t do. There was always something I didn’t do. And if by chance I got it right, it was always wrong to her. We’d get company and she’d sit out on the porch with her friends drinking, and quiet up if I ever get close. This was a 50 year old women behaving like this. She would tell her children that I was hostile after she’d been particularly nasty to me, and I exploded back at her. She never said how she behaved. Always trying to shine that bad lighting in my favor.
Her children still are fooled to this day. Or is it that they are just so used to her behavior that it has been conditioned in them to accept it. Not sure with that.
We had gotten so bad that I was ready to just go. I gave up. I felt like I was utterly useless there. I felt my mom will never remember, that she loved me. I had no support, was made to feel badly daily. I just gave up. I left to be with my then boyfriend, now husband. I took a plane trip with my son and went to South Carolina. 3 days later I get a phone call, that mom was unresponsive.
I went back to New England and to my mom and her family. She had been placed in a nursing home. Even though she was only 51, they let her in because my aunt and her daughter that has worked there for years. The next 3 days seem like a blur of emotions. My mom opened her eyes and looked at me, mumbled something to me that I didn’t hear, too. But what was there was recognition, if only for a few seconds. My heart, my heart…I just can’t explain…my love …my mom! You wouldn’t get it unless you’ve been there.
She closed her eyes again, and never opened them again. Moments before my mom stopped breathing, my aunt whispered to me that my mom had another child that she gave up for adoption in 1969. That she was a beautiful redhead baby girl that was 3 years older than me. She gave her up while staying at a Catholic convent. It was something they did back then to protect the reputation of the mother. They hid them while pregnant, only to give the baby up to them.
That was a bombshell. She told me my mom never wanted us to know.
The more I thought about the timing of this particular news the angrier I get.
My depression had controlled my anger, my inability to defend myself, and to take pride in my self. I was being robbed of self esteem and confidence. To think back and pinpoint all those times, that you didn’t realize just how much control it did have on you. It will control and circumvent around in ways that you will never see coming. The whirlwind of emotions that swamp you, blanket you, take hold at it roots, and the growth is like something you never want to see…..Anger, resentment, hatred, fear, then submission.
My journey isn’t very exciting, and I know that others have much worse than mine. I suffer from panic attacks, depression, PTSD. Sometimes exacerbated even while on medication. I have Xanax for breakthrough panic attacks.
Two years ago, I met my biological sister. I was doing so good for 3 years with my medication, and I developed an ulcer. I am susceptible to ulcers because I do not produce enough stomach acid that protects the lining. I stopped taking my medication, because I could no longer hold anything down. I lost almost 40lbs, and crashed hard from withdrawing from my Cymbalta. My depression spiraled out of control, sunk me down into a winding black hole. I had an extreme withdrawal from it. My emotions kicked in full gear when my biological sister finds me on FB. She has problems. Apparently my “feelings” hurt her…or she’s allergic, we no longer talk. Finding out she’s a narcissistic person, makes things a little easier. Not much.
So here I am now. I am back in control of my life. I take my medications, and try to surround myself with positive…because it is so hard for me to see it. I exercise more now. I find that it does good for my soul to get out there and be alone with just fresh air and my music.
I guess what I need to say if that the only time that you will be able to take control of your life is when YOU are ready to take charge of your life. Depression is just an obstacle to get around for me. Surviving is my goal. I have a wonderful husband, and 3 beautiful healthy kids. I have so much to be grateful for. I truly feel blessed sometimes that my kids didn’t have my upbringing. In fact, if I were to fault myself it would be for overprotection.
I hope this wasn’t a long boring read for you. – not sure if the read will help anyone…I hope so!