Teenage Trauma Almost Made Me Give Up On Life

One of the few pics of me from that time. Not too many happy memories.

I went through a lot of trauma between the ages of 15-19. I had already been through prior trauma, losing my dad to a heart attack at the age of 12, getting hit by a delivery truck while crossing the street when I was 10, living with an abusive, dysfunctional family dynamic from birth, etc.

But from the ages of 15 to 19, a lot of other bad stuff happened in short sequence:

  • My mother married my first boy friend that I brought home from school. They married on his 18th birthday. I was 15 and had to go to school with my new “stepdad”. It was humiliating. I started skipping school constantly and went from a straight A honors student to just not caring.
  • I started working a rather dangerous and technically illegal 3rd shift job when I was 16. There was one really threatening experience where a drunk guy was physically threatening me and I had to call the cops. Scary stuff at that age.
  • When I was 17, I was robbed at gunpoint after a shift at Burger King (after leaving the above job obviously).
  • When I was 16, we moved from Georgia, back to Indiana (where I was born), which meant leaving all my friends and the school I had been attending for the past five years. I found it very hard to integrate into my new school.
  • Being dumped on family and friends unceremoniously when my mother and her husband wanted to go away. I had to stay with people I really didn’t like, in living conditions that were pretty nasty at times. Places I knew my mother would have never stayed herself, but she left me there so she could go away and have fun.
  • I developed my first “real” feelings for a guy around 17-18. Unfortunately, he led me on, made me think we might have a future together, then lied to me, moved another girl in with him, told me they were just friends, then when I found out they were together and expressed anger about it, he wrote me a nasty letter saying I was obsessive and pretty much accused me of being crazy.

Looking back now, I really wish I could have known then what I know now. I wish my adult self could have been there to comfort myself. I wish that instead of giving up on education and school, that I would have embraced it as a way out. At the time, I was just so humiliated and depressed, that skipping school and not caring seemed the only way.

Before all this happened, I had big plans. I wanted to go to college to study journalism. I had dreams of being a foreign correspondent, or even just a regular reporter. At the age of 12, I was studying college course catalogs and trying to figure out which college would be best for journalism. I would also regularly write practice made up “news articles” just for fun. I wish I had kept those. I’d imagine they would give me quite a kick now. My other dream was to own a used bookstore.

The trauma made me give up on all that. I stopped caring about my future at all. I couldn’t see that I HAD much of a future at all. It is really a wonder that I never attempted suicide. I think my fear of hell (because I was religious at the time) is probably what stopped me.

I guess in the end, my determination and stubbornness has helped me fix some of the errors made back then. I have become a writer, even if I’m not a journalist. I write a fairly successful blog here, have published and even won awards for books I’ve written, share my poetry here and on social media, have worked freelance jobs as a copywriter, ghostwriter, editor, and reviewer – so I’ve come a long way for someone who didn’t take the traditional path and get a college degree.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if things seem like they can never get better, they can. Don’t give up. I still have to tell myself that today on my bad days and in my bad moments. And if you are young, don’t give up on the things that could be your way out (like education).

Why Yesterday Amused Me

Mandatory Credit: Photo by JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Yesterday I was glued to the tv news in a way I haven’t been since 9/11. Watching the insurrection happening in DC as Trumpers laid siege to the Capital was unreal in some ways, but in other ways, it was all too expected.

As I read the responses from all my friends on Facebook (shame, deep sadness, tears, anger, shock, fear, etc.), I must admit that I wasn’t quite feeling what everyone else seemed to be.

In fact, aside from sorrow for those who died and regret for the injured, yesterday highly entertained and amused me in many ways. Why? Because I’ve seen this coming from miles and miles away and wonder how so many others were wearing blinders.

As I watched these “protesters” take down the US flag and replace it with the Trump flag, walk through the Capital building with Confederate flags (something that never even happened during the Civil War era), and watched all the politicians forced to run like terrified children during a school shooting, the absurdity of it all just struck me as funny and (unfortunately) ironically fitting for the times we are living in now.

Our society is sick and this kind of stuff is only symptomatic of that deep, festering illness. Sometimes, I do feel great sadness and despair about it all, but I think I learned to laugh at the stupidity for the sake of my sanity. I feel a bit like the Joker with such a dark, nihilistic view, but it is what it is.

Migraines are Killing Me

These migraines are killing me. Today’s the 8th day in a row, beating my last record of 7 days. It is affecting my whole life. I can barely function.

The stress of dealing with marriage counseling and the hurt over my husband’s online behavior that I see as a betrayal of our relationship is probably playing a big role in this particular flareup, which makes me feel resentful too. Almost like he is putting me through this. He is doing everything he can to make amends, and I deeply appreciate that, but the hurt is still there.

I have to debate every day whether I should even take migraine relieving medicine (no matter how much pain I am in) as I run the risk of causing rebound migraines if I take more than a few pills a week. It is SO frustrating 😦

I’m Afraid for the Future Right Now

I was tempted to just post a poem or something today, but I know some of you are worried about me after my last post and I could use your support right now, so I’m going to share what I’m comfortable sharing about what is going on.

Those of you who have followed me for a long time have figured out some of it I’m sure. I’ve mentioned enough times how my husband is my whole world and my main support system. So it will come as no surprise that we are having trouble right now. We are not separated or planning to divorce or anything like that, but my husband made some very foolish decisions lately that hurt me deeply, destroyed my ability to trust him fully, and have set us on a long road to relationship recovery.

He didn’t fully cheat (thank God), but his inability to deal with his feelings of depression/isolation, feeling drained at work, and overwhelmed at times by being a caretaker to someone with severe chronic illness (me), caused a perfect storm, and instead of handling it the right way by communicating with me or someone who could really help, he started acting out stupidly, doing things behind my back, and lying to me.

It isn’t even so much what he did that bothers me, but the lying and sneaking around. That has to change and end. He shows an immense amount of remorse, and I can tell it is genuine. We do plan to get help by doing couples counseling. Both of us can sometimes struggle with communication when it comes to anything that might cause confrontation or that we think might upset the other and I know we need to work on that to solve this.

At this point I’m cautiously optimistic. Trust is such a hard thing for me anyway because of my abusive past, and I fear I may never be able to get that back. I think that is what I’m most scared of. And if we can’t work through that, I don’t know what to do.

My World Has Crashed

I’m normally brutally honest with you guys, but sometimes that is hard when someone else’s privacy and reputation is involved, but I am deeply hurting today and must share that much at least. I feel like my entire world has been turned upside down in less than a day’s worth of time. I found out that many of the core beliefs I based my life on no longer seem to be true. My support system is in tatters. The person I thought I could trust most in the world has hurt me deeply. I am feeling worthless, alone, and like there is no hope left in my life right now.

I am not actively suicidal, but I almost wish I were. It would be easier. I wish I had somewhere to go. Someone to go to. But I don’t. I never thought this would happen and I definitely don’t feel prepared.

Life Update – Health, Exciting News!

It’s been a minute since I just did a life update, so let’s take a minute to do so! I’ll break it up into categories for ease:

Physical health – Thank God, the Topamax increase seems to have helped the migraines quite a bit. They aren’t gone entirely, but have been much better lately. Still having some digestive issues, so I’m seeing the GI doctor soon. We suspect Gastroparesis or some other motility disorder might be at play. I’ve already been following a gastroparesis diet and it has been helping my symptoms, but we won’t know till I get a test obviously. That condition is really common with Ehlers Danlos though.

Mental health – Uh, all over the place. Anxiety like crazy. Kinda hyper. Hard to concentrate and focus…that one has been a real pain lately. Even getting stuff like this done isn’t easy. My brain wants to go in fifty million directions, none of them what they are supposed to be doing. Depression too, but kind of medium level. Like just the blahs. Apathetic. Need constant positive stimuli to not start feeling blah again, but that isn’t reality, is it?

My writing – Finally, some good news!!! First off, I was contacted by a music professor at Central Washington University in Washington state who wants to use one of my poems to set to music for a project she and her colleagues and a few students are working on. They will compose music for the poem (for instrument and voice) and then put together a concert music video for it (because covid and all I assume) and it will be released in April. Of course, I will be credited for my part in the project, and will share the video when I can.

Also, I just got an email today that the educational resources website Twinkl has chosen my blog to be one of their Top Autism Blogs of 2020! They get pretty high traffic on their site, so it is quite an honor and I’m psyched about it!

I Did Get to Go On My Birthday Trip!

My last blog entry was about how I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go on my birthday trip or not due to recent health issues. I did get to go and I’m so glad I did! We went to Louisville, KY to see the Jackolantern Spectacular, and it was awesome!

Normally the Spectacular is walk through, but because of covid, it has to be drive-thru this year, which sucks because there is a LONG wait to get to see it. About 1-2.5 hours on average, but it was worth the wait. It is hard to get good pics of everything when you are only driving through, but here are my fave pics from the event:

The hotel room we stayed in gave us a great view of a theme park that was shut down for the season, a bit of creepiness in its own right with the unmoving rides and the empty parking lots and walkways .

We also visited a botanical gardens park:

and even played dress-up with some vintage-style hats:

It was a great time, and much needed! But now I’m exhausted and sore lol.

Quotation Contest – Bullying

Here is another quote I wrote for a quotation contest/art exhibit. The subject for this one was bullying, something I unfortunately have quite a bit of experience with personally. Do you think my quote captures the feeling of being bullied honestly? I know sometimes it is more than one person doing the bullying, but typically there is one main bully (a ring leader shall we say) and the rest are just minions who are also afraid of crossing the big bad bully. At least that has been my experience.

The Most Successful Blogs on WordPress

Have you ever noticed that some of the biggest blogs on WordPress focus mostly on telling other bloggers how to “make it as a blogger” and “grow your blog quickly”? I noticed this a while ago myself. It makes sense, people are most likely to read a blog that posts information they find useful and practical, and since many WP readers are also bloggers who dream of huge followings and internet stardom, it makes sense that the blogs that promise that or try to help you achieve that would be most popular.

It is human nature to want what helps us to succeed. At times I have been tempted to follow the example of these large blogs and focus on commercialization, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I’m just not interested in focusing on follower numbers, views, and marketing strategies. I understand those things and think I could easily follow the “formula” to try to make it happen, but my passion just isn’t there.

What makes me feel alive is sharing my art, my poetry, my experiences and lessons learned from this whole crazy experience called life. I like to share my pain, my joy, my sadness, my hopes, my dreams, and my heart. I like to read other blogs that focus mostly on the same types of things. It may mean I never become a superstar, and neither will my WP friends, but I enjoy our communication and heart-to-heart connection so much more than large numbers ♥